By John J. Raspanti
Katie Taylor captured Olympic gold and five world championships during a sparkling amateur career. Since turning professional less than a year ago, Taylor has stopped four of her six opponents-showing superior hand speed and great footwork.
This Saturday night at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, the Irish sensation will meet WBA lightweight champion Anahi Ester Sanchez in a bid to win her first world championship. Though accomplished and loaded with boxing experience, Taylor, 31, admitted this week feeling a little edgy in the days leading up to the fight.
"Since the fight was announced the weeks have flown by," Taylor told www.theirishmirror.ie "There’s an element of nerves for every fight. I’ve had the opportunity to box on big shows before but this fight, without a doubt, is going to be the biggest of my career and open more doors in the future.
Sanchez has won 17 of 19 bouts, with nine knockouts. She captured the junior lightweight title last year by defeating Tamara Marianella Nunez. She lost her title a few months later, but added the lightweight belt to her resume by knocking out fellow Argentina boxer Cecilia Sofia Mena seven weeks ago.
Taylor is aware of Sanchez’s reputation.
“Sanchez has won multiple world titles so I’m expecting a very tough fight,” said Taylor. “I definitely feel I’m ready for it and these are the kind of challenges I want."
Taylor looked sharp in her last fight, stopping over matched Jasmine Clarkson, She peppered Clarkson with combinations from the opening bell. Clarkson took her beating with barely a rebuttal—until referee Howard Foster rescued her in round three.
Sanchez likely won’t go as easily as Clarkson. She’s a seasoned pro.
“This opponent Sanchez is very, very experienced,” Taylor said.” “She has a great record as well. She’s had more world title fights than I’ve had fights really in the pro game so it is going to be a very tough challenge.”
A challenge to a point. Taylor is a talented fighter with a prodigious boxing pedigree. I see a competitive fight in the early going. Taylor will box on the outside and bang on the inside. The taller Sanchez will look to the counter. She might land a few, but Taylor will wear Sanchez down and stop her late in the fight.
Taylor is ready to go.
“It’s an honor to be fighting for the WBA title,” Taylor said. “It’s my first time at Principality Stadium – what a stage to be fighting on. Wembley Stadium was good preparation for this and I do love an Anthony Joshua undercard. This is more than a dream for me.
“I cannot let this chance slip,” added Taylor