Hell of a championship! Ukrainian-born Irish boxers Katie Taylor and world champion Russia’s Firuza Sharipova are set to go head-to-head on Monday night (Feb. 12) in Manchester, where the women’s Super Middleweight World Championship fights will take place live on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes.
Taylor (11-0, 6 KOs) will look to avenge a loss to Sharipova (13-1, 7 KOs) from two years ago. Taylor will first look to maintain her perfect record against Liza Alejandra (6-9-1, 5 KOs) from Colombia, but after that, she has to survive a tough war to take the title.
“I’m fully aware of what I’m in for on Monday and I’m going to be prepared to fight for 12 rounds,” said Taylor. “Sharipova is a very tough, determined girl and it will be tough in there, but so far I haven’t been affected by any of the opposition that I’ve faced. I’m just trying to enjoy my training and going out and putting on a good show for the fans.”
After beating Maciej Sulecki, the 2011 & 2014 European Women’s Boxing Champion, in London on Jan. 28, Taylor returned to the training camp in Dublin to earn the sixth and final piece of her personal training camp on Feb. 9.
“Fighting back in Belfast was a great move for me and getting back to the Trinity Boxing Gym was great, too,” said Taylor. “It was just great to be back again and it was great to go out and spar one last time and feel the feel the work that we’ve put in over the years.”
The former three-time Irish national amateur champion Taylor has been training with coach Joe Coffey for more than five years. In addition to their daily camps, the two often do extra work at the gym in Belfast, usually around the end of a session.
“The strength and conditioning aspect to our training is what we put on with our coach, but sometimes in Belfast there are just moments in the gym where we have more time so it’s great to have extra strength and conditioning in the gym that we can put on ourselves,” said Taylor. “Sometimes in Belfast we can run for up to three or four hours every day, so it’s nice to have that little bit of time to do some strength and conditioning, but I always manage to find my way back to my training with Joe to keep that strength up.”
She will be flanked by a host of familiar faces in her corner, including coach Joe Coffey, who guided her to the podium for her gold medal performance at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“We’ve been training in Manchester now for a week and I’m loving it,” said Taylor. “It’s been a lot quieter and we’ve had more time to get our diet down and get everything a little bit right. It’s great to be training with my team and with Joe. It’s going well and I’m just looking forward to fighting on Monday.”
Taylor has never dropped a fight as a professional in 10 appearances. Last November, she knocked out Natasha Jonas in the fourth round of their world title challenge in Cardiff. Her victory helped Taylor regain the IBF world Super-Middleweight title. She then knocked out Johannes Estrada on Dec. 3 in Dublin, remaining undefeated as the World Boxing Super Series continues to build its tournament with champions and contenders moving into the next round.
“This is the ultimate event of our world championship season,” said Fred Sternburg, President of WBSS. “She’s going to be fighting the world champion in her own backyard and it will be huge in terms of popularity and ticket sales, but Katie is doing her thing. The real world title fight comes next month when she goes against Adrianna Maccarinelli, which is just as big a matchup for Ireland and the country’s sports fans and that is what we all will be looking forward to on May 19.”