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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019

Taylor braced for 'huge 12 months' as opponent Linardatou and team cry foul in awkward presser

The champion’s manager claimed she stepped off in the plane in tears due to the lack of rematch clause in her contract.

KATIE TAYLOR SAYS she is prepared to pursue further greatness for herself and for her country when she headlines at the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena on 2 November (Sky Sports), but her opponent and team were quick to air their grievances over the terms of their contract upon their arrival at The Principal hotel for this afternoon’s press conference.

Christina Linardatou [12-1, 6KOs], a Dominican-born Greek resident whose record stands at 12-1 — half of her victories by stoppage — will defend her WBO 140-pound belt as Taylor bids to become a two-weight world champion across the water in six-and-a-half weeks’ time.

But ‘Medusa”s manager, Brian Cohen, was quick to point out his and his fighter’s dissatisfaction at the lack of a rematch clause in the contract to which they agreed, leading to a protracted and awkward back-and-forth with Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, at the top table.

Cohen questioned Hearn’s “cojones” for working a rematch clause into Taylor’s own contract, and suggested Linardatou got off the plane in Manchester in tears due to what she perceived to be unfair treatment.

Hearn, for his part, suggested Cohen was already worried that his fighter would lose to Taylor [14-0, 6KOs] before doing his best to brush past their frosty exchange.

“I wrote down a bunch of quirky things to say on the airplane”, said Cohen, “but at this point, I really can’t say that, Eddie.

“Because I’ve been in women’s boxing for 10 years, managing women for 10 years. 26 world champions I’ve had, all right? And when you see a fighter get off an airplane in tears — and I know it’s light-hearted in here; I’m sorry to bring the energy down — [but] she’s not happy.

“She’s the champion, and like you said, we were negotiating for quite some time. And she just feels as the champion that she should have a rematch clause in her contract.”

Hearn interjected: “You that worried about losing already? I mean…”

“Don’t be cute,” replied Cohen. “You ain’t gotta be cute. I mean, she (Linardatou) is coming to win the fight, but you don’t gotta be cute, Eddie.”

Cohen then asked Hearn if he was worried considering the rematch clause in Taylor’s contract, to which the Essex promoter replied to laughs: “We’re not worried. We’ve got one.”

After being told to “show some cojones” by Linardatou’s adviser, Hearn opened the floor to the champion.

“It’s going to be a great match,” said Linardatou. “I genuinely believe that.

We’ve been expecting this match for a long time but under different conditions and circumstances. But at any rate, I’ll go ahead with this match.

“Both Katie and I come from lower [weight] categories, and I entered 140 [pounds] because I didn’t have the chance to challenge for titles.

I always boxed away from my home — I’ve always done that in my career. And if Katie wants my title, she has to take it off me.

“I’m not afraid of losing. I’m not afraid of losing my belt. I’m just getting in the ring and giving my best. This is what I’m going to do always. So, I’m here.”

Typically, Taylor offered nothing but respect for her opponent, even when quizzed about the prospect of bigger scraps — a long-awaited showdown against Amanda Serrano and a badly needed Delfine Persoon rematch among them.

She also expressed her excitement at the prospect of fighting on this side of the Atlantic for the first time since she blasted out Kimberly Connor in an IBF mandatory challenge at London’s O2 Arena in July of 2018, five bouts ago.

“This is a huge opportunity for me to become a two-weight world champion,” said a smiling Taylor.

This is history-making for me and my country, really, and I’m very, very aware of the challenge that Christina brings. I do believe that she is the best 140-pounder, and I can’t wait for a very, very exciting fight.

“This is my first time fighting in the UK in a long time, actually, so… I absolutely love fighting here in the UK, and the support I’ve gotten here over the last few years since I turned pro has been absolutely outstanding. I’m so grateful for that.

“This is my first time in the ring as the undisputed lightweight champion as well, which is going to be very, very special.

“This is going to be an absolutely fantastic fight. Christina is a great, great champion, a great fighter, and people are again going to see the best of women’s boxing.”

While Serrano and Persoon are the two mouths Taylor is most keen to silence provided she sees off the considerable challenge of Linardatou, the idea of moving up in weight at all is not without its potential spoils.

Former opponent Jessica McCaskill holds two of the other three belts at 140 pounds, and the odd one out is currently vacant. And so Hearn and Taylor’s manager, Brian Peters, are simply setting the wheels in motion for an assault on a second undisputed title — a feat unprecedented in the women’s ranks.

Taylor, though, is reticent to look beyond the teak-tough Greek, whose sole career defeat came at the hands of Persoon down at lightweight in 2016.

The Bray woman said:

I only take it one fight at a time, so my focus is completely on November 2nd. But there is huge fights out there for me. Delfine Persoon, the rematch; Amanda Serrano — those fights are going to happen next year sometime I hope. And it’s going to be a huge 12 months for me. But right now, my focus is fully on November 2nd, and I have to get past Christina, and she brings a lot to the table. She’s a very strong fighter. I’m very aware of the challenge that she brings.

Former Ireland performance analyst and current coaching wizard of OZ Eoin Toolan joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to predict Ireland’s World Cup, break down every pool, and call the overall winners.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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