Katie Taylor: ‘I want all the belts before the end of the year’
Irish boxer shows no signs of slowing down after successfully unifying lightweight titles
Katie Taylor takes on Victoria Bustos, at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, New York, US. Photograph: ©INPHO/Matt Heasley
Still winning, still in a hurry and continuing to challenge herself, there was no slowing down in the early hours of Sunday morning of the speed at which Taylor has gone about annexing titles in the professional lightweight division.
Another dominant, up-tempo performance against Victoria Noelia Bustos in the Barclays Centre ended the Argentinean’s five-year reign as IBF lightweight champion, with Taylor taking the belt to add to her WBA strap won in the Principality Stadium in Cardiff last October.
The unification of the belts and stage two of her redefining journey ended the same way as her previous eight successful professional outings – with an opponent outclassed in all departments and resigned to accepting second best.
The scoring cards reflected Taylor’s influence and domination, with all three judges giving the contest to her, on two scores of 99-91 and one score of 98-92.
“I’m there to fight anyone,” repeated the 31-year-old after the bout, not half as bothered as her backroom team and promoter Eddie Hearn are about who that might be.
Her approach since turning professional after the Rio Olympics in 2016 has been harum-scarum – stacking them up and knocking them down.
Although well beaten, Bustos did not go down throughout the 10-round fight. Like it was last time out against Jessica McCaskill, Taylor’s tempo didn’t drop.
“I had to work every second of every round out there. I knew I had to be sharp. I knew the quality of the opposition was much higher than before,” said Taylor.
Never having fought outside of Argentina, Bustos had come into the fight with a record of 18 wins from 22 fights.
“There are some great fights out there to be made and I want all the belts before the end of this year,” Taylor added, which even for her was cranking up the pace.
The Olympic gold medallist typically went about her job with buzzing intensity, the left jab and backhand landing from early in the bout. Bustos was brave and robust, but from the outset of the sixth defence of her IBF title, she was chasing.
The aggressive speed and movement that comes naturally to Taylor was lacking in the 29-year-old Argentinean and technically she could not match her. Taylor was defending her WBA title for just the second time.
Taylor pushed the fight through the early rounds, building her lead, and past the halfway stage, she was scoring and controlling the tempo all the time.
In the 80th, Taylor performed her traditional cameo role and went toe-to-toe with Bustos for no other reason than she could. That could have ended well for the counterpuncher Bustos, but Taylor knew what she was doing.
Bar a catastrophe the fight was in Irish hands, so the two stood their ground and the crowd in the New York venue rose to their feet.
“She just kept coming and coming. I probably stood there too much. There’s probably a bit too much fight in me sometimes. But it probably entertained the crowd,” said Taylor. “I think I mixed it up well between boxing and fighting.”
Her manager Brian Peters spoke wearily about the difficulty in getting opponents last week. There are a variety of options, but television doesn’t want or need worthy but unknown champions, more so names that draw attention.
Most of the potential challengers are from South America, such as 35-year-old Brazilian Rose Volante, who became the WBO lightweight world champion last December, and WBC belt-holder Delfine Persoon, a policewoman from Belgium.
There is also Natasha Jonas, the British fighter who Taylor beat on her way to winning gold in the ExCeL Arena in London, as well as Chantelle Cameron and Mikaela Mayer.
Taylor is also tied to Hearn, who promotes Anthony Joshua, now the biggest name in world boxing. She has already benefited from slots on the undercards of two major Joshua fights – as big a stage as any potential opponents could hope for.
In Taylor’s world, everything changes and nothing does. She will be back in Ireland this week.