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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 23 March, 2019

Katie Taylor could have 7 fights this year as she's fast-tracked towards world title shot

The Bray boxer has her first fight of 2017 in London this Saturday night.

Taylor (file photo).
Taylor (file photo).
Image: Martin Rickett

WITH THREE BOUTS already lined up for 2017, Katie Taylor’s fight schedule is expected to get even more hectic over the coming months.

The Bray woman competes for the third time as professional on Saturday night in London, taking on Italian lightweight Monica Gentili on the undercard of the Sky Box Office heavyweight clash between David Haye and Tony Bellew at London’s O2 Arena.

After that six-rounder, the 30-year-old is likely to fight again on 25 March in Manchester in support of Anthony Crolla’s world lightweight title rematch against Jorge Linares, while Taylor has already secured an undercard bout in support of the world heavyweight title clash between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Arena on 29 April.

And manager Brian Peters reckons Taylor will fight at least four more times by the year’s end as the former Olympic champ seeks to become more accustomed to the paid game.

“I think my goal is to fight for a world title at some stage this year but, obviously, I need to have a couple of ten round fights lined up before that,” said Taylor.

I can’t just go straight into a world title fight. It’s definitely going to be a busy year for me, a busy few months,” she added.

A homecoming date in Ireland is likely to be delayed due to potential fight dates in the US and a keen interest from American TV networks.

Bouts in Germany, China and Scandinavia are also a possibility, although Taylor recently saw a mooted fight date in New York’s Madison Square Garden scrapped.

Monica Gentili 2 Taylor's latest opponent Monica Gentili. Source: YouTube

Matchroom Promoter Eddie Hearn had talked up the possibility of Taylor fighting on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin’s middleweight world-title defence against Danny Jacobs on St Patrick’s weekend in the Big Apple.

Hearn later claimed that Michael Conlan’s Top Rank promoters lobbied to have Taylor kicked off the 18 March bill. But, in reality, the fact that Sky Sports will not broadcast the Golovkin-headlined fight night dashed any hope of the Matchroom-promoted Irishwoman featuring on the card.

“That fight wasn’t really confirmed, so I didn’t have my heart set on it,” said Taylor. “It would have been great to fight on the show, but I wasn’t really too disappointed,” added the Bray woman, who recently completed a gruelling seven-week training camp at trainer Ross Enamait’s camp in Vernon, Connecticut.

Having come through her first two paid bouts in the last two months of 2016, her clash with 39-year-old Gentili (6-6) will be the first date on Taylor’s whirlwind 2017 fight tour with the fight set for the 135lb lightweight limit.

“I’ve seen a few videos of her. She’s an experienced girl — six loses, but she’s definitely going to come to fight,” said the five-time amateur world champion on her foe this weekend – a replacement for Bulgarian world-title challenger Milena Koleva, who was set to face Taylor before pulling out of the bout due to a chest infection.

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Katie Taylor will fight Italian Monica Gentili on the Haye-Bellew undercard this weekend

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Ciarán Gallagher

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