Boxing

Katie Taylor targeting WBO title in rumble with Rose Volante in Philadelphia

Katie Taylor takes on WBO lightweight champion Rose Volante in Philadelphia tonight
Andy Watters

KATIE Taylor intends to be the undisputed lightweight champion of the world by the end of the year and will add Rose Volante's WBO belt to the IBF and WBA straps she already holds with victory in Philadelphia tonight.

Taylor (12-0) takes on undefeated Brazilian Volante in the chief support on the undercard of Dubliner Jono Carroll's super-featherweight scrap against homeboy, and defending IBF champion, Tevin Farmer.

A win for Taylor, who should have too much ringscraft, power and experience for Volante, looks certain to set up a summer showdown with WBC champion Delfine Persoon and a clash with seven-weight world champion Amanda Serrano, younger sister of Cindy who was outclassed by Taylor in Boston last October, could follow.

Bray native Taylor also has undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus on her radar and predicts a “monumental year” ahead.

“It could be the biggest of my career both amateur and pro,” said USA-based Taylor (32).

“I believe that by the end of the year I can look back at being the undisputed lightweight champion and have had huge fights with Amanda and Cecilia. They want those fights as well, but I have to keep winning and everyone raises their game when they fight me.

“When I sat down with Eddie Hearn a few years ago and talked about turning pro, the one thing we talked about was to fight three or four times a year and he's never let me down, I'm fighting regularly and they are great fights too.

“I have the chance to win my third World title belt inside two years as a pro, and I'd love to have four fights again this year, but Rose is the only fight in front of me.”

Volante (35) has never fought outside South America and only once outside her native Brazil when she travelled to Argentina to win the WBO title against Brenda Carabajal. She is strong and determined and can punch – her right hand is a potent weapon.

“Rose is a great champion,” said Taylor.

“She's undefeated too so she's a proud fighter and she's chasing the same prize as me. We want each other's belts and unbeaten records, but I have had a great camp and I am full of confidence. I think I am getting better and I think it will show on the night. This could be a very physical fight and I am prepared for that.

“I'm at 135 now and I make the weight very comfortably. I could move up to 140lbs but 147? That could be a stretch but maybe I could make it; but anything past that I am not big enough for - so Welterweight would be my maximum. I couldn't go down from 135, I love food too much!

“My speed is going to be key in these big fights and I think that technically I am better than a lot of the other girls as well. I feel I have a great team around me, the best coach in the world in Ross Enamait, I feel so prepared going into every fight.

“But each one is harder than the last and I am aware of that, but I have a lot of confidence and belief in myself, I really feel that no-one can beat me.”

Meanwhile, experienced Luke Wilton (20-5-1) takes on unbeaten Tommy Frank (9-0) for the vacant Commonwealth super-flyweight title in Sheffield tonight.

Wilton, who lost on points when he met Charlie Edwards on the undercard of Frampton-Quigg for this belt back in 2016, took an extended break from the sport in 2017 but returned late last year and has scored three points wins since.

Now 30, the Belfast man wants to cap the second chapter of his career with a title. Frank is five years younger and won an eliminator in October last year against Tanzania's Adam Yahaya but is taking a step up in class tonight.

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