Katie Taylor believes she made a mockery of suggestions she is on the slide after successfully defending her WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight titles by edging out old adversary Natasha Jonas in a gripping contest.
Jonas’ trainer Joe Gallagher argued in the days leading up to the bout that Taylor was showing signs of waning and the Irish fighter was pushed to the limit by a rival she had beaten nearly nine years ago en route to Olympic gold.
Taylor used her superior speed and deft footwork to successfully get in and out of range early on, although Jonas rallied in the second half of the fight and several toe-to-toe exchanges showcased women’s boxing at its finest.
But Taylor – in her 12th successive world title fight, the same number of professional contests Jonas has now had – finished strongly to claim a unanimous decision win by scores of 96-94, 96-95 and 96-95 at the Manchester Arena.
“My performance showed that I’m definitely not on the decline, that’s for sure,” the unbeaten Taylor said.
“There was obviously a lot of talk in the week from Joe but after the fight it is all respect. I had the most respect for Joe and Tasha coming into this. I was just completely focused on the fight itself.
“These are the kind of fights you train for. I just love a bit of a tear up too much than I should. My favourite fights are (Marco Antonio) Barrera against (Erik) Morales, Arturo Gatti against Micky Ward, these kind of fights.
“I don’t want to be involved in too many of those fights but sometimes in the heat of the moment it’s hard not to trade back. Another great fight and another great win.”
Taylor (now 18-0, 6KOs) would be receptive to a rematch against Jonas (9-2-1, 7KOs) while undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill – who the 34-year-old beat in December 2017 – and Amanda Serrano are other options.
Serrano, who has won world titles in seven weight divisions, was set to fight Taylor last year but the showdown was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic although it could now be revived at the back end of the year.
Promoter Eddie Hearn indicated Taylor will likely have to satisfy one of her mandatory challengers before then in September but the Bray fighter is for now happy to put boxing on the backburner.
“I’m ready to fight anybody,” she said. “There’s so many big fights out there for me. I’m willing and ready to step in. Jessica McCaskill is a big, big fight. Jumping back into a big fight like that would be fantastic.
“Amanda Serrano would be a great fight. There have been big names being thrown out there and I’m OK to fight any of those big fights. I’m just looking forward to going home and resting for a few weeks.
“I’ve been in America for the last few months, I haven’t had the chance to spend time with family, I just can’t wait to be around the niece and nephews again, my granny, take a few weeks to relax and not think about boxing.
“I probably will think about it but just being around family is great for me. The last time I was back over Christmas time. I went back to training in January, I can’t wait to spend some time with them.”