Katie Taylor is set to fight for her first professional world boxing championship on the 28th of October against Anahi Esther Sanchez. Taylor will compete for the WBA lightweight title, which Sanchez won just last month. Taylor will be attempting to follow up on her incredible amateur career, when she won 5 amateur world titles, 6 amateur European titles and an Olympic gold medal in the first ever women’s boxing event at an Olympic games.
Taylor decided to remain focused on the amateur side of boxing until last November when she turned professional, at the age of 30. It has taken Taylor a mere 11 months to earn a world title shot, having had just 6 pro fights. Taylor won all 6 of those fights and ended 4 of them by knockout. Typically it would take way more than 6 fights for someone to earn a title shot, but because of Taylor’s significant amateur background, an exception was made.
The Wicklow native will attempt to add to her legacy by overcoming her opponent Anahi Sanchez in front of an estimated 80,000 people at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. The fight will take place on the under-card of boxing megastar Anthony Joshua, as he defends his heavyweight title against Kubrat Pulev. The magnitude of this event could be great for the profile of Taylor and women’s boxing as a whole.
Women’s boxing has been hurt in the same way that many women’s sports has, by not getting the same attention that male sport gets. The hope is that female boxers such as Katie Taylor, Clarissa Shields and Nicola Adams (who have all won Olympic gold) can break that mold in professional boxing. There is a blueprint to gaining massive popularity in women’s sports in the past. Ronda Rousey built a huge fan base in MMA by having a dominant run that gained international attention and big financial gain.
If Taylor is successful in her quest for world gold, it will bring up the question where her achievements land her in the history of Irish sports. It would be hard to argue against her being one of Ireland’s greatest ever athletes. Taylor is only the second Irish boxing gold medalist ever following in the footsteps of Michael Carruth. Nobody has even come close to Taylor’s achievements at the world amateur championships for Ireland. Ireland has won 6 amateur world championships total, 5 of which came from the hands of Taylor.
Taylor fighting professionally against Jasmine Clarkson.
That kind of success puts Taylor up there with Irish sporting legends such as Sonia O’Sullivan, Brian O’Driscoll and Robbie Keane. If Taylor is victorious in her title fight, it will be very telling how the media and the public respond. Katie Taylor is already a huge role model to young Irish women and Irish athletes as a whole. A win on October 28th would further cement Taylor’s already immaculate legacy in Irish sporting history.