Beating Christina Linardatou to become a two-weight world champion is no simple feat but boxing trailblazer Katie Taylor is ready to achieve the unheard of, writes Luke Madeira.
The Irish sensation will bid to make history on Saturday night when she faces WBO super lightweight champion Linardatou at the Manchester Arena, attempting to add to her unified lightweight belts.
Taylor edged past Delfine Persoon last time out at Madison Square Gardens, and the move up in weight is an attempt to extend her legacy beyond just the lightweight division.
If Taylor is to be successful on Saturday night, she will become only the third Irish fighter to win a world title in two weight division – and Taylor is more than confident she can take on the challenge.
She said: “It’s going to be tough but I’m ready.
“I’m well prepared and so excited to have the chance to become a two weight champion.
“I’ve had a long training camp, the longest I’ve had for a professional fight so I’m feeling strong and these are the kind of challenges that I absolutely relish.
“I’m expecting a very tough fight, obviously she’s the champion and I’m the challenger coming into this, but I'm ready."
The extra five pounds Taylor carries to the ring on Saturday will provide an extra dimension to the fight, with Linardatou carrying power Taylor will not have faced before in the paid ranks.
She added: “I’m in against the bigger stronger girls now but I’ve done hundreds of rounds of sparring over the last few years and I am ready and prepared for this kind of challenge.
“I’ve done a lot of strength and conditioning over the last few months and I’m feeling strong. I can’t wait to get in there.”
Taylor is no stranger to being involved in big fights, and she continues to pave the way for other female fighters as she headlines a big fight for the first time.
A win will set up more headlines, with the likes of Cecilia Braekhus, Amanda Serrano and a rematch with Persoon all being discussed.
But for Taylor, nights don’t come bigger than Saturday, the Bray boxer avoiding the temptation to look ahead to the future just yet.
“There’s a lot of big fights out there for me but I’m only focused on this fight on Saturday night.
“I have to get past Christina first before other big names are available to me. It’s a big night for me and I’m just completely focused on this.”
Elsewhere on the card, Anthony Crolla bids goodbye to the Manchester faithful with his final fight against Frank Urquiaga, as well as a huge domestic clash between Felix Cash and Jack Cullen