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Katie Taylor ready for ‘biggest fight of her career’

Lightweight champion says it will be ‘a dark and rainy night’ in Cardiff for the Bray native

Katie Taylor and Anahi Esther Sanchez at a press conference ahead of their hotly anticipated lightweight fight which the Irish boxer has been tipped to win. Photograph: Lawrence Lustig/Inpho

While Katie Taylor yesterday labelled her world-title date against Argentina’s Anahi Esther Sanchez as “the biggest fight of her career”, the former Olympic champion insisted she is prepared for a potentially ill-tempered clash this weekend in Cardiff.

Ireland’s five-time world amateur gold medallist aims to claim her first world professional crown on Saturday night when she takes on WBA lightweight champion Sanchez in a scheduled 10-round bout at the Principality Stadium on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Carlos Takam.

Having claimed 18 major amateur titles, one might expect Taylor to be used to a big occasion but the 31-year-old believes victory this weekend will be the crowning achievement of her fighting career so far.

“This fight is going to open a lot of doors for me, and open up opportunities for big fights down the road, so I can’t let this opportunity slip,” said Taylor.

“This is the biggest night of my career, without a doubt, and I’m so excited about it,” added the Bray native, who is a huge money-on favourite with the bookmarkers to claim her first professional crown this weekend, despite the fact she is up against a two-weight world pro champion.

Seventh paid fight

While Taylor is heading into her seventh paid fight, 25-year-old Sanchez carries a 27-2 record – although both of the Buenos Aires native’s defeats came in Europe in her only bouts outside of Argentina.

The champion, however, is adamant that she will inflict a first loss on her decorated foe.

“I want to show the quality of boxer than I am. If it is 10 rounds, I will fight to the end,” said Sanchez. “Everybody is thinking that Katie is coming to lift the belt over here, but they’re wrong. It won’t be a walk in the park. It will be a dark and rainy night for Katie.”

While the Argentine ignored the fact that the Principality Stadium’s roof will be closed on fight night for the 70,000-plus crowd when making her prediction, Taylor acknowledged that she expects an aggressive bout.

“That’s the plan, to go in there and mix it up. There are going to be stages in the fight when I am going to be toe-to-toe with her,” said the Bray native. “Hopefully, I will make it a small bit easier on myself.

“But she [Sanchez] is very experienced, very rough and rugged when she does get in there as well. She likes to get in close, so I would be expecting all that but I am prepared for that,” added Taylor.