Katie Taylor cemented her place at the top of the pound for pound female rankings after a dominant performance over previously undefeated Spaniard Miriam Gutierrez at Wembley Arena.
The unanimous decision victory for the Bray superstar ensured that she retained her status as undisputed lightweight champion and enhanced her status as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Taylor, who is 17 times undefeated in her professional career, has been the trailblazer and the face of women’s boxing since her amateur days; she is in the rare position of being able to pick and choose the fights which will cement her legacy in the sport.
The question is, what next for the 34-year-old? In her post-fight interview Taylor said “There is no shortage of big fights out there. It is all about the legacy and making history in this sport and inspiring the next generation but yeah, people still haven’t seen the best of me yet.” A scary thought for anyone out there that was hoping Taylor would begin to slow down. It’s a thought echoed by her promoter Eddie Hearn, head of Matchroom Boxing who said “I believe she’s got four, five, six years left. I don’t want to put a number on it because she’ll have a go at me, but so many years to come.”
Taylor was due to face Amanda Serrano, who is a seven-weight world champion, earlier this year but Serrano pulled out after failing to agree terms to the fight. Other names such as Natasha Jonas whom Taylor beat at London 2012 on route to gold or Terri Harper are among the favourites to be next. Former UFC Featherweight champion Cris Cyborg is also in contention in what would be a huge crossover fight between the boxing and MMA stars.
Perhaps the highest profile fight out there for Katie however is the winner between American Jessica McCaskill and Norwegian Cecilia Braekhus for the undisputed World Welterweight Championship. Taylor has already beaten McCaskill in 2017 on points but has improved significantly since then defeating Braekhus last August to claim the undisputed welterweight crown. The rematch is set for early next year and this could be seen as the No.1 contenders match of sorts to face Taylor in what would be one of the biggest fights in the sport in 2021.
Could 2021 see Katie Taylor fight on home turf? That is the million dollar question but one that appears unlikely until crowds are allowed to return. Even at that it would seem that Taylor’s short-term future appears to be in America where she is already a big name and with a prime time American audience, potentially ready to tap in for another undisputed title bout; it makes sense both money and legacy wise. Hearn has said that Taylor hopes to fight at home at some stage adding that “She does have aspirations to fight in Ireland for sure. It is something that we would love to do and something we should do. We shouldn’t close the door to that.”
There’s no doubt that it would be a special occasion in Dublin or Belfast but hosting big boxing shows in Ireland particularly in the Republic has had its complications. This is mainly due to the need for extra security resources needed to hold a boxing event in the republic with gangland incidents marring the events in the past. The Regency Hotel incident in 2016 at a boxing weigh-in comes to mind but that is a discussion for another day. Ultimately if anyone can reunite the country’s love of boxing it’s Taylor and as she has already shown on numerous occasions, nothing is impossible.
With Katie Taylor as a role model, Irish boxing has a bright future and with Taylor’s legacy already secured long ago, the best may be yet to come.