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I'll handle pressure of world title dream, says Katie

By Ciaran Gallagher

With big fight dates in Manchester and New York now on her schedule, the launch of Katie Taylor's professional career was subsumed into a wider narrative of hype and ambition at Dublin's City Hall yesterday.

The former Olympic champion and five-time world amateur gold medallist will take on Poland's Karina Kopinska on Saturday night at the SSE Arena, Wembley, live on Sky Sports.

But such are the general expectations that Taylor will ease past her unheralded opponent this weekend that future fight dates - including a possible world title bout in Ireland - and the Bray boxer's general hopes and expectations quickly became more excitable talking points at yesterday's media event.

Just seven months on from the disappointment of Rio, it looks likely that Taylor will feature on a potentially impressive St Patrick's Weekend fight bill at New York's Madison Square Garden, which is set to be headlined by world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on March 18.

Irish fight fans will surely be excited by that prospect, particularly given that Belfast's world amateur champion Michael Conlan is already booked to make his own pro debut in the Big Apple on St Patrick's Day.

But the reality is that Taylor is stepping into a different world this weekend.

Even her new promoter, Matchroom's Eddie Hearn, admitted that the 30-year-old is under pressure to attract attention to women's pro boxing - which has traditionally struggled in terms of profile, pay days and public support.

"I don't feel under any more pressure than I have done throughout my whole amateur career really," said Taylor on such expectations.

"I think in every big competition there's always been a lot of pressure for me to go in and perform and come back with medals, so it's no different really.

"My focus is the same as well. I'm as ready as I'll ever be, I think," continued Taylor, who was also quizzed on the significance of this weekend's bout taking place 25 miles from where she won Olympic gold at the ExCel Arena four years ago.

"It's not something I really think of too often to be honest," answered Taylor. "It is my pro debut, it is a huge fight for me and I just want to go in and showcase everything now.

"It is a great place to be, London, I've got great memories there but this is a new journey."

Belfast Telegraph


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