Undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor is relishing the opportunity to fight in her ‘second home’ this weekend.
The Irish boxing superstar defends her crown against WBO mandatory challenger Jennifer Han at Headingley Stadium, Leeds on Saturday night live on DAZN. A crowd of 20,000 is expected for Eddie Hearn’s card which is headlined by local hero Josh Warrington’s rematch against Mauricio Lara, but a large portion of that crowd could be on Taylor’s side too.
“My father was born and raised in Leeds, so we all grew up as Leeds United fans,” said Taylor via a Matchroom press release.
“There are still a few Leeds United fans out there! I’m really excited to fight in Leeds and in front of so many fans. It’s kind of like a second home to me so I just can’t wait. It’s going to be so exciting boxing in front of 20,000 people. The atmosphere is going to be insane. Leeds fans are very passionate and loud.”
Taylor is now undefeated in 18 fights since making her professional debut in 2016, and along the way the likes of Jessica McCaskill, Eva Wahlstrom, Delfine Persoon and Natasha Jonas have failed to take the Golden Girl’s lightweight crown but she has been pushed to the limit along the way. Taylor says she intends to carry on for as long as possible.
“This is what I’m in the sport for. I want to make history; I want to be a World Champion and I want to hold all of the belts – I’m all in.
“The women are definitely more inclined to take a few more risks and actually go in and take the bigger fights. I love that about the female fighters. We actually want the big fights. We’re willing and able to actually step in the ring and fight all of these other champions.”
Han, a six-time amateur champion and a former IBF featherweight titlist is unbeaten in seven years. But however steep the test is for Taylor the mindset and attitude remain the same.
“I’m expecting the toughest fight from Jennifer. She has a lot of amateur experience and she’s a very technical fighter. She’s a six-time World Champion. She was my number one mandatory as well, so I had to take the fight. These girls have stepped up – they’ve boxed beyond themselves; they have raised their game against me. I’m expecting a very very tough fight and I’m going to be prepared like I have been for every single fight I’ve had over the last few years.
“She is a fighter that believes in herself. This fight is going to bring the best out of the both of us. I love the fact that she’s stepping into the ring confident like I am as well. I don’t really take much notice of what other fighters say, I just focus on my own performance and my own preparation. We’re going to be stepping into the ring 100% prepared. The only words that matter are, ‘and still’. Training is going well – I feel good and sharp. I can’t wait to step in again on September 4 and get another great victory.”
Main image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing