Oisin Keniry/INPHO
# jingle bells
Katie Taylor will headline in England in December for her first world title defence
Taylor will defend her title in the first women’s fight ever to headline a Sky Sports boxing broadcast.

Updated at 17.23

NEW WBA WORLD lightweight champion Katie Taylor will make the first defence of her world strap in London on Friday 15 December, the fighter and her promoter Eddie Hearn have confirmed.

Taylor and her team had initially indicated that a minor cut suffered during Saturday’s title victory over Anahi Sanchez in Cardiff had put paid to her chances of returning to the ring before Christmas, but having reassessed the injury since, Taylor requested that she have one more outing before the new year.

The 31-year-old Bray woman will headline on Sky Sports in an as-of-yet-unconfirmed city, most likely London per Hearn, with an opponent due to be named later this week.

Hearn suggested at a press conference in Dublin today that his preferred option would be Chicago’s Jessica McCaskill, 5-1(3KOs), who – along with her trainer/manager Ricardo Ramos – have been calling Taylor out for the best part of the Irishwoman’s professional career.

Taylor is willing and ready to face McCaskill should the ABO American champion decide to put her money where her mouth is, but first and foremost is excited to climb through the ropes as a headliner for the first time as a professional.

“I’m delighted,” said the champion. “It’s going to be a great end to the year, I hope. I love the fact that I’m staying busy, and having the opportunity to headline a show is incredible. I can’t wait.”

“It was only a small cut really,” Taylor continued on the injury caused by a clash of heads with Sanchez. “I was surprised I needed stitches in it – it was very minor. I’ll be fine.

“That was my first cut, so thank God we had a good cutman in the corner – he took control of it straight away. I don’t think it was too bad, though, was it? I didn’t even notice it to be quite honest. It was handled very well.”

Katie Taylor talks to the media Oisin Keniry / INPHO Oisin Keniry / INPHO / INPHO

Matchroom Director Hearn proceeded to explain how the decision for Taylor to headline in England was a testament to her performance against the teak tough Sanchez, who survived a second-round knockdown but was widely outpointed by the 2012 Olympic gold medalist.

It was following a conversation with Peters that Hearn suggested to Sky Sports’ head of boxing, Adam Smith, that Taylor should top a bill, and Smith was highly enthused by the idea.

“Actually, yesterday when we were talking to Brian [Peters] about fighting on the Haye-Bellew card on 17 December, I sort of said to Brian: ‘I think we should come out of the shadows a bit now. Maybe we should headline our own show,’” Hearn said.

And I text Adam Smith [Sky's head of boxing] and I said: ‘I’m thinking of headlining Katie in maybe London in December.’ And he just replied: ‘Aw, I was hoping you’d say that! Great idea.’

“It’ll be on a Friday night. It’ll be on December 15th. We’re just going to identify the venue now, but it’ll be a Fight Night card.”

And having watched Taylor’s career continue to blossom over the course of seven fights during her first 11 months as a professional, Hearn is convinced not even Sky is the limit for his Irish recruit, with a homecoming fight beckoning next spring.

I think that when you look at the stars, now, of British and Irish boxing, you’d have to put Katie certainly in the top 10 in terms of household names in the sport – maybe top five. And that’s men and women, by the way. Obviously she’s the standout in the women’s game, but in the mixed game, in terms of [being] a draw, in terms of excitement, I would say she’s top five across the board, and that’s with the likes of AJ [Anthony Joshua], Kell Brook, Bellew and Haye – she’s right up there.

“It will be the first time on Sky Sports that there’s been a women’s fight headlining on the channel, which is again another groundbreaking move for Katie Taylor.”

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