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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 15 April 2021

'I never hid!' - Rose Volante ready to halt Katie Taylor's march in unification clash

‘Queen Rose’ wasn’t impressed by Brian Peters’ claims that she was ‘hiding out in Brazil’ instead of answering the call to face Taylor.

'Queen' Rose Volante faces Ireland's Katie Taylor in Philadelphia on 15 March.
'Queen' Rose Volante faces Ireland's Katie Taylor in Philadelphia on 15 March.

WBO WORLD LIGHTWEIGHT champion Rose Volante has rejected Brian Peters’ claims that she went into hiding when Katie Taylor first sought a world-title unification clash between the pair, and says she fully intends to depart Philadelphia with Taylor’s belts as well as her own on St Patrick’s weekend.

Taylor [12-0, 5KOs] and Volante [14-0, 8KOs] will finally clash at Liacouras Center on 15 March, with the Irishwoman’s WBA and IBF straps as well as the Brazilian’s WBO title on the line in what will be the co-main event to Tevin Farmer’s super-featherweight world-title defence against Dublin’s Jono Carroll.

To the victor will go not only the spoils but the opportunity to face either Belgium’s Delfine Persoon [42-1, 17KOs] or Haiti’s Melissa St Vil [11-3-4, 1KO] in a scrap for the undisputed World lightweight championship later this year. Only one other female boxer in history, reigning undisputed welterweight champ Cecilia Braekhus, has held all four major titles simultaneously.

Sao Paulo native ‘Queen Rose’ is set to earn over 10 times her career-highest purse to face Taylor in their televised title clash next month (Sky Sports in Ireland, DAZN in America), but her team has previously received criticisism from Taylor’s manager Peters for playing hardball and turning down a number of six-figure offers.

In an interview with this publication last August, Peters accused WBO champ Volante of “hiding out in Brazil”.

Speaking to The42 herself, however, Volante stressed that she has never shied away from a unification bout with the Bray woman — rather, she is relishing the prospect of herself becoming the unified lightweight world champion.

“I never hid myself!” Volante said.

My team decides where and when I will fight. I fight with anyone and at the right time. My team has accepted the fight and can be sure it’s going to be a great fight. I always look for big challenges and now the time has come and I am preparing to win and return with the three belts.

“Every athlete dreams of being the best and fighting with the best, and I’m willing to do it,” she added. “I’ve always prepared well to fight the best and now it’s no different.”

Katie Taylor and Eva Wahlstrom after the fight Taylor defeated Finland's Eva Wahlstrom at Madison Square Garden in December to defend her titles. Source: Tom Hogan/INPHO

Volante, 36, described Taylor, 32, as “a great champion”, but she could scarcely be described as being overawed by the task awaiting her on the Friday of Patrick’s weekend.

Whereas Taylor’s most recent opponent, the previously unbeaten Eva Wahlstrom, admitted after a comprehensive defeat to her former amateur rival that she always knew she was “likely to lose”, Volante was less than impressed by the suggestion that she’ll personally be up against it come 15 March.

“I’m going into the fight to do my best and to win the fight,” she said.

I am also a world champion. It will be a great fight for championships. The fight will promote an amazing spectacle for those who watch. The fight is decided upon in the ring. Whoever is better prepared will win. I’m very willing to do that.

An upset of Taylor would be nothing short of career-altering for ‘Queen Rose’ — so-called, she explains, because she is “in search of the crown”.

But befitting of her ring moniker, Volante was nonplussed by the prospect of becoming an overnight boxing sensation in America, instead pointing out that “the winner will have three world titles but will still be missing the WBC”.

She is content, for now, to be considered a hero on native soil — a status which she has enjoyed since winning the WBO world title against Argentina’s Brenda Karen Carabajal in December of 2017.

“Brazil admires me and supports me and I’m happy about it,” she said. “I’m getting a lot of support from everyone. My life has changed a lot because I was the first woman champion of the world in my country.”

That adulation will intensify tenfold, and extend beyond her homeland, if Volante can take a spanner to Taylor’s plans when they meet at centre-ring next month.

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