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Dublin: 3°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

'It's going to be amazing': Katie set for PPV debut in front of biggest crowd of her career

US broadcaster Showtime interested in screening Saturday night’s fight against Viviane Obenauf.

Joshua and Taylor:
Joshua and Taylor: "A privilege to share this platform"
Image: Martin Rickett

KATIE TAYLOR MAY not have been centre stage at Thursday’s press conference ahead of Sky Sports’ latest pay-per-view bill, but the former Olympic champion was certainly talked up as a leading player in Saturday night’s show.

While Wednesday’s chaotic undercard event was marred by Derek Chisora’s bad table manners, Taylor was bumped up to the main media event in promotion of Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Eric Molina this weekend in the Manchester Arena.

The Bray woman will have her second pro contest, taking on Swiss-based Brazilian Viviane Obenauf (9-1) in what is expected to be the live TV ‘float’ bout on Sky Box Office (Taylor’s fight is likely to take place sometime after 8pm in advance of the headliner on Saturday night).

Promoter Eddie Hearn indicated that US broadcasters Showtime have expressed a keen interest in screening Taylor’s fight, while Sky Sports’ head of boxing Adam Smith was glowing in his praise for the Irishwoman, who opened her paid career with a ruthless third-round stoppage win over Polish journeywoman Karina Kopinska just two weeks ago in London.

“Katie Taylor was absolutely phenomenal in her professional debut,” said Smith. “It was one of the best professional debuts I’ve ever seen throughout our coverage of sport on Sky.

“It was absolutely terrific and I’m really excited about her future,” added the TV chief, who has been with the British broadcaster since the mid-90s.

Hearn, meanwhile, appeared delighted to have two of his most famous Olympic gold medallists sharing the pre-fight stage ahead of Saturday’s card, and he too emphasised that the Bray woman is making the waves that he had hoped after signing the 30-year-old.

“Both of these two fighters shared gold medals in the London 2012 Olympics,” noted Hearn.

“We had [Taylor’s] debut a couple of weeks ago and we’ve had every promoter in the world saying, ‘Can we get Katie Taylor on our show?’

“It looks like Showtime are also going to be showing her fight as well… She has all the attributes to be a total superstar and I’m very excited to see her in her second fight on Saturday night,” added the promoter, who quizzed Taylor at the top-table media event in front of the UK and world press about her feelings on fighting in front what is anticipated to be a capacity crowd of 21,000.

The Bray woman laughed in response: “Are you trying to make me nervous? It’s going to be amazing.

“This is the platform I’ve dreamt of really… This is what I’ve been training for my whole life really and it’s an honour to be on this card.”

The five-time amateur world champion attempted to shift the focus on the event’s headliners, but Taylor admitted that she sees Obenauf as more of a challenge than the vanquished Kopinska.

“I’m under no illusion – this is about Anthony Joshua and Eric Molina today, so it’s a privilege to share this platform with these boxers,” said a modest Taylor. “Obviously the debut was fantastic, but it is a step up for me this weekend.

“It’s a great step-up, a great challenge for me and I’m looking forward to putting on a show again,” added Taylor, whose trainer, Ross Enamait, dismissed concerns over the quick turnaround since the 30-year-old’s debut.

“She was in shape obviously two weeks ago, so it’s a quick turnaround, but she didn’t lose anything,” said Enamait.

“We were right back in the gym [on the] Monday after the fight on Saturday, so we just got right back into action and she’s ready to go,” added the Connecticut-based trainer ahead of the six-round bout, which is capped at 132lbs.

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Ciarán Gallagher

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