By Ciarán Gallagher in Cardiff
Katie Taylor has hailed her world-title date as the “biggest night” of her career ahead of Saturday’s showdown with WBA lightweight champion Anahi Esther Sanchez.
Former Olympic gold medallist Taylor takes on 26-year-old Argentine Sanchez at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Carlos Takam, live on Sky Box Office.
Despite claiming five world titles as an amateur in addition to her London 2012 Olympic gold, 31-year-old Taylor –heading into just her seventh paid contest – believes this weekend’s bout is the biggest occasion of her glittering fight career.
“This is the biggest night of my career, without a doubt, and I’m so excited about it,” said Taylor at today’s final pre-fight press conference.
“Ever since I turned pro I wanted to fight for world titles and fight on big nights… These are the sort of fights that are going to elevate women’s boxing.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn echoed those sentiments when claiming that Taylor has the potential to replicate the success of headliner Joshua in transcending the sport of boxing.
“When you talk about superstars transcending the sport, Katie Taylor is one of them,” said Hearn.
“This is her first opportunity to win a world title. She turned professional 11 months ago and the plan was to win a world title within 12 months, but she has a huge step up on Saturday against a two-weight world champion.”
Boasting a pro record of 27 wins and two losses, Sanchez has claimed world titles at both super-featherweight and lightweight yet the Buenos Aires native is a massive underdog with the bookies ahead of Saturday’s bout.
However, the champion has warned Taylor that she is in for a tough evening as Sanchez aims to cause a major shock.
“Everybody is thinking that Katie is coming to lift the belt over here, but they’re wrong,” said Sanchez, with manager Sampson Lewkowicz acting as an interpreter.
“It won’t be a walk in the park. It will be a dark and rainy night for Katie,” added the champion.
Lewkowicz insisted his fighter’s pro experience will be the difference on fight night, claiming that Taylor’s amateur success has not prepared her for the realities of the pro game.
“I honestly don’t think she’s prepared for what’s coming on Saturday night,” said Lewkowicz. “No disrespect, but amateur is completely different from professional.”
However, Taylor believes she is ready to put in a peak performance against the Argentine – whose two career losses both came in Europe – with the Bray woman confident that an 11-week training camp at the Connecticut base of coach Ross Enamait has her well primed for Saturday’s showdown.
“It’s definitely a big step up, that’s why I’m taking this fight so seriously and why I’ve had a very long training camp under my belt as well,” said Taylor, who has cruised to an undefeated 6-0 as a pro since turning over to the paid ranks last November.
“I’m prepared for a tough 10-round battle. I’ve had a great 11-week camp in America and I’m prepared for whatever comes my way. I’m ready for a tough challenge, but this is the sort of challenge I absolutely cherish and I can’t wait for it,” added the Wicklow woman.