Tay­lor looks to have the tech­ni­cal edge

Ir­ish boxer hop­ing for a ninth pro­fes­sional win in clash with Ar­gen­tinian Bus­tos

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - Johnny Wat­ter­son

On Tues­day Katie Tay­lor moved south from her base in Con­necti­cut into New York, a city that is be­com­ing more fa­mil­iar to the Ir­ish WBA light­weight world cham­pion.

Tay­lor’s de­ci­sion to go where her pro­fes­sional ca­reer takes her has been fruit­ful for the past 18 months, and this week­end in the Bar­clay Cen­tre in Brook­lyn she is hop­ing that eight pro­fes­sional wins will be­come nine in her uni­fi­ca­tion bout with IBF cham­pion Ar­gen­tinean Vic­to­ria Bus­tos.

For both fight­ers it is a new ex­pe­ri­ence. Tay­lor will meet a cham­pion with 18 wins from 22 fights but one who has never be­fore fought out­side of Ar­gentina.

Bus­tos will step into the ring with a five-time world am­a­teur cham­pion and a boxer with tech­ni­cal abil­ity that far ex­ceeds any­thing the Ar­gen­tinean has pre­vi­ously faced.

That has been a fact of life for all of Tay­lor’s op­po­nents. The prob­a­bil­ity is no one will ever equal her am­a­teur record.

Am­bi­tion

It is early into Tay­lor’s am­bi­tion to unify all of the belts and step up into other di­vi­sions but, as much as her de­sire for suc­cess is wide-rang­ing, her focus is nar­row. “Not an ounce of com­pla­cency. Never,” said her man­ager Brian Peters.

An al­most her­metic life in Hart­ford be­side where her coach Ross Ena­mait lives has been Tay­lor’s sac­ri­fice to the pro­fes­sional game, with the uni­fi­ca­tion bid com­ing just six months after beat­ing Anahi Esther Sánchez for the WBA strap in the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium on the un­der­card of An­thony Joshua.

Rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced, Tay­lor has not wa­vered since her first win in Novem­ber 2016 to Ka­rina Kopin­ska or her first ti­tle de­fence last time out against Amer­i­can Jes­sica McCaskill in Lon­don’s Beth­nal Green.

Mixed per­for­mances

It has gone all Tay­lor’s way in terms of re­sults, al­though her per­for­mances, in her own es­ti­ma­tion, have been mixed de­spite end­ing four of her eight fights be­fore the fi­nal round.

Bus­tos, who is younger at 29 years old, last lost a bout in July 2017, to a fighter with a bet­ter record, Érica An­abella Farías (25-2). It is fair to say Bus­tos is not at the very top of her di­vi­sion, with Farías as well as Bel­gian Delfine Per­soon (40-1-0), the WBC world ti­tle holder pos­si­ble fu­ture op­po­nents when the time is right.

Now that Tay­lor has a belt and per­haps two after this week­end, as well as a build­ing au­di­ence, the fights she wants and needs will be made, al­though man­ager Brian Peters has been singing a fa­mil­iar tune this week. “We are hav­ing some prob­lems get­ting op­po­nents lined up and it is frus­trat­ing,” he said.

Per­soon and Farías will be among the fu­ture con­tenders. Farías at least is no stranger. As a 20-year-old am­a­teur Tay­lor beat her to win her first world light­weight ti­tle in New Delhi in 2006 by a con­vinc­ing 31-14 over three rounds.

Tay­lor goes into Satur­day night’s bout 25-1 on, un­rea­son­able for a two-horse race where one punch could end it, es­pe­cially as Tay­lor, be­cause she has done it so of­ten be­fore, is favourably dis­posed to go­ing toe-to-toe.

Un­ques­tion­ably, she is the most tal­ented in her di­vi­sion, but Tay­lor also likes to fight. Her fa­ther and for­mer coach Pete couldn’t stop her do­ing it as an am­a­teur and oc­ca­sion­ally threw his eyes to heaven.

Care­free in­stinct

It’s an oddly en­dear­ing wil­ful streak, a care­free in­stinct to go off script and front up to op­po­nents at their own game, some­thing Bus­tos would en­cour­age Tay­lor to do.

This fight is an­other step up in qual­ity and al­though Bus­tos claims she will not make ad­just­ments to counter Tay­lor’s nat­u­ral abil­ity, she will prob­a­bly have to. She won’t win a tech­ni­cal fight so she has to try an­other method as those be­fore her have tried.

El­bows, fight­ing on the inside, clos­ing down the ring, head clashes, all sorts of junk has been thrown and Tay­lor has en­dured.

If she keeps her left guard up – leav­ing it low is an­other ex­pres­sion of con­fi­dence in her eva­sive abil­ity and re­ac­tion time – and fights to her ob­vi­ous strengths, be­hind her dev­as­tat­ing left jab and with speed she will unify the IBF and WBA belts.

Katie is what Katie does. It has al­ways been that way and will be again at third in the bill in New York’s Bar­clays Cen­tre on Satur­day night.

Tay­lor goes into tonight’s bout 25-1 on, un­rea­son­able for a two horse race

PHO­TO­GRAPH: MATT HEASLEY/INPHO

WBA light­weight world cham­pion Katie Tay­lor and Ar­gentina’s IBF cham­pion Vic­to­ria Bus­tos in New York ahead of their uni­fi­ca­tion bout tonight.

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