Katie Taylor made it 15 professional wins when she beat Christina Linardatou on a unanimous decision (KT won 96-94, 97-93, 97-93) at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night. Stepping up five pounds to the 140 lb super lightweight limit earned the undisputed world lightweight champion world titles across two weight divisions.
Headlining the card, which was live on Sky Sports Taylor remains unbeaten since she turned professional three years ago after the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
Linardatou, from the Dominican Republic, came into the fight with the WBO title, having defeated Canadian Kandi Wyatt in March of this year.
Almost 21,00 crowded in to the arena to see Taylor and Anthony Crolla, the former lightweight world champion who brought the curtain down on his career following his 45th fight against Frank Urquiaga.
But the crowd were as much there for Taylor, who saw Linardatou coming aggressively forward from the first round poking her left into Taylor’s face. Taylor responded with jabs with the round ending even enough to still the crowd.
The second round was similar with Linardatou showing a fearlessness with Taylor beginning to find range. But there was little between the two. By round three although Linardatou had slipped to the canvas a large swelling above Taylor’s right eye had begun to show.
Taylor was scoring but not disabling her opponent , cleverly boxing from a distance as Linardatou came in trying to hurt or land a heavy back hand. Half way through Taylor began to land cleaner combinations as the energy levels of Linardatou dipped a little but it was still an open fight by round six.
Taylor was boxing from range and scoring. Her inclination has always been to go at least one round toe to toe but she sensibly stayed long trying to pick her shots.
Superior speed of movement and punching continued to control the bout with some of Linardatou’s wilder efforts pulling her off balance.
But the eighth round was a difficult one, Linardatou catching Taylor with a heavy left towards the end. Although it rocked the Olympic gold medalist she recovered and stayed elusive in the ninth, Linardatou sometimes running to try to close the ring space down.
The final round was a full press from Linardatou and she had to find something. A left was blocked by Taylor and two rights missed. Business like and intelligent, Taylor avoided the big shots and by then had built enough of a score for her unanimous decision.
She joins Steve Collins and Carl Frampton as the only Irish boxers to have won world titles at two weight divisions. A four belt lightweight world champion and now a super lightweight world champion, Taylor moves towards 2020 with five world titles coming back to Bray.