Katie Taylor’s manager eyes Victoria Bustos fight in Dublin
Bray boxer’s next WBA title defence may be against the experienced Argentinean
Katie Taylor arrives home to Dublin Airport after successfully defending her lightweight title against America’s Jessica McCaskill. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Victoria Bustos is the Argentinean Katie Taylor could, would, should face in the next defence of her WBA title. The bout if the Taylor management can make it happen – always a consideration – will take place in Ireland in April or March and will be a unification bout.
Barely settled into her world champion professional status and with one tough defence out of the way, Taylor’s thoughts are already settling on another upwards step. It has ever been thus.
The more experienced Bustos (22-18-4) ticks all the boxes in that scenario as she is the IBF champion, the woman with a title.
Multiple belts over more than one weight division has always been Taylor’s stated aim and given the hurtling speed of her assent to the world strap, a three-month hiatus without a fight seems only too well earned.
But 2018 will continue to be a business year with the possibility of five more fights for the 31-year-old.
“That would be our first choice, the direction we are heading is a unification fight,” says manager Brian Peters. “We need a fight of some significance. Natasha Jonas would be a great one too.”
Jonas was the British fighter Taylor beat in London on her way to the Olympic lightweight gold medal in 2016 and has also turned professional, although later than Taylor did.
In many people’s opinion that bout in the Excel Arena was included among the best fights of the London games, male or female.
“If you are going to the Three Arena, or the RDS you need someone who is going to sell it,” adds Peters. “Sanchez, who Katie beat [for the WBA title] wasn’t the best to sell a fight. Bustos, she is also from Argentina and has the belt. Katie wants the belt. She’ll be the front-runner for it.
“Unfortunately some of these fighters end up pricing themselves out of it. Too smart is fine but three smart can come back to bite you in the ass sometimes.”
It has been Taylor’s position in the market that she is perceived to be lethal. To make the fights happen managers expect more because they know their boxer will at least come under pressure and at worst be beaten.
With Bustos, a champion and title holder, defeat also takes the belt from her and for that possibility there is a financial cost to the Taylor camp.
“April would be our preference, possibly March,” says Peters. “It was a very tough year for Katie. Six fights in the calendar year, eight fights in 13 months. It’s been gruelling for her. April would be my preference for Katie and in the Three Arena and against Bustos.”
But there are others and the Californian, Mikaela Mayer is also on the horizon, perhaps though further down the line. The American is well known to Taylor’s former head coach with Ireland, Billy Walsh, as she was part of the US Amateur team before making her pro debut with Top Rank in August.
“Yeah a very good fighter,” says Peters. “That’s probably a fight…like anything we’re thinking who is Katie going to fight next year four or five times. I have got to have a list of opponents and she [Mayer] could be down the road a bit.
“I’d love her [Mayer] to get a world title, a belt and get a unification fight. What I’m really looking for outside of Holly Holm [MMA star], are super fights, big fights.
“There’s talk of Mikaela headlining on ESPN. She could be main event on ESPN herself that would be huge. Katie’s profile is bigger than a lot of these fighters. I’d like to see their profiles get built up a lot more, generate a lot more interest.”
Nobody is off the table and the reality of the talent pool is that real quality opposition is a finite resource even with more and more amateurs taking the leap. Holmes, famous in MMA, was at least a decent boxer before she switched codes. A possible meeting with the American would not be as egregiously one sided as the fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather earlier this year.
Even a rematch with Taylor’s recent London opponent, Jessica McCaskill, is an option that Peters is not discounting, all of it hinging on Taylor continuing to make progress without losing and also McCaskill moving on and up and earning something of value to make the fight a realistic proposition.
“Even McCaskill, if she goes on and puts four or five wins together, picks up a world title you could have a rematch there,” says Peters.
“Make no doubt about it. By the time Katie retires she will have fought them all she will have beaten them all.”