Katie Taylor focused on Natasha Jonas bout ahead of possibly switching divisions

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David Charlesworth, PA
·3-min read
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Katie Taylor admitted moving up in weight and becoming undisputed champion in a second division is a tantalising prospect but the acclaimed Irish fighter refuses to overlook old rival Natasha Jonas.

Taylor defends her WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles against Jonas at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night nearly nine years after memorably seeing off the Liverpudlian en route to winning gold at the London Olympics.

While she is well aware of the need to concentrate fully on Jonas, Taylor has plenty she still wants to achieve in her trailblazing career and the chance to rule in multiple weight categories is at the top of the list.

A rematch with Jessica McCaskill – the holder of all four welterweight titles who Taylor outpointed when they fought in December 2017 – might be an option somewhere down the line in what would be a contest to savour.

Katie Taylor, right, defeated Natasha Jonas in the Olympics nine years ago (Nick Potts/PA)
Katie Taylor (right) defeated Natasha Jonas in the Olympics nine years ago (Nick Potts/PA)

However, Taylor anticipates there would have to be some compromise at the exact weight they fight at, with the 34-year-old insisting the welterweight limit would be a bridge too far for her.

“It’s definitely a possibility at some sort of a catchweight,” said Taylor. “I wouldn’t be able to make 147lbs but maybe at some sort of a catchweight like 142lbs or whatever.

“She’s not a genuine welterweight as well but it’s definitely a huge possibility. I’d love to become a multiple weight undisputed champion.

“I’d love to headline a big pay-per-view event in the future, I think that would be huge for the sport as well, if that’s a possibility.

“I just want to continue to break down those barriers. But first things first, I have to win on Saturday night.”

Taylor, who in November 2019 moved up to light-welterweight and won a world title before immediately returning to lightweight, has been at the forefront of pushing professional women’s boxing into mainstream in recent years.

While there is still a clear disparity between what male and female fighters earn in the ring, Taylor (17-0, 6KOs) believes it is not as wide as when she first set out on her career in the paid ranks four and a half years ago.

“I think we’ve even made a lot of ground over the last few years,” said Taylor. “With the money, for example, when I first started as a professional boxer, the female boxers were making pennies in comparison to the male fighters.

“I think we’ve covered a lot of ground in that area. I’m very, very grateful but there’s definitely a lot of room to bridge that gap.

“There are so many household names right now in women’s boxing, you have the likes of Savannah Marshall, Amanda Serrano and Claressa Shields. That’s incredible for the sport.”

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While Taylor has a claim of being regarded as the best pound-for-pound female fighter in boxing, Jonas (9-1-1, 7KOs) is yet to win a world title, with the 36-year-old coming close against Terri Harper last August.

Many observers thought Jonas deserved to have her hand raised but the contest was ruled a split draw as Harper retained her WBC super-featherweight crown. A rematch failed to materialise, leading Jonas to Taylor’s door.

While Taylor is obviously looking to dash her next opponent’s world title dreams once again, she thinks Jonas has all the talent to make it third time lucky in the future.

“She’s definitely good enough to become a world champion, that’s for sure. Hopefully it’s not this weekend,” added Taylor, who scaled 134.8lbs at Friday’s weigh-in, one ounce heavier than Jonas.

“Her draw against Terri Harper showed that she’s definitely capable of winning a world title, she deserves to be at this level.”