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Katie Taylor: 'The best is yet to come for women's boxing'

Irish lightweight Katie Taylor is already a big name in women's boxing in Ireland and England, where she has had all of her pro fights since turning pro following the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Now she is branching out and looking to make a name for herself in the United States as well. Taylor, who trains in Vernon, Connecticut, will make her stateside debut against Jasmine Clarkson in a scheduled eight-round fight on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The bout is on the undercard of the junior welterweight fight between former four-division titlist Adrien Broner (33-2, 24 KOs), who is moving down one division, and reigning lightweight titleholder Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs), who is moving up one weight class.

Irish lightweight Katie Taylor. Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
Taylor likely will fight in Ireland for a world title later this year, but first she is hoping to take New York by storm.

"I'm really excited about fighting in Brooklyn," Taylor said. "New York has been very good to Irish fighters in the past, and hopefully I can give people something to shout about. I feel like I'm still improving and still learning every day in the gym, but I definitely feel ready for a world title fight now. Hopefully I can get another good win [on Saturday] and win a world title later in the year before coming back to New York again at some point as a world champion to defend my title."

While Showtime will televise Broner-Garcia and the middleweight title eliminator between Jermall Charlo (25-0, 19 KOs), the former junior middleweight titlist who is moving up in weight, and Jorge Sebastian Heiland (29-4-2, 16 KOs), the network will offer a live stream of the heavyweight fight between former world title challenger Gerald Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs) and rising contender Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller (18-0-1, 16 KOs) as well as Taylor-Clarkson on Facebook and YouTube beginning at 7:15 p.m. ET.

Taylor (5-0, 3 KOs), 31, won an Olympic gold medal in 2012 and also boxed in the 2016 Games, losing in the quarterfinals. She is a five-time world amateur champion and won numerous other tournaments to make her one of the most decorated amateurs in women's boxing history, and she is off to a fine start as a professional.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has put her fights on his major cards in England. On April 29, she boxed on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight title fight before a crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London.

"After my fight at Wembley, I took a couple of weeks off back home but then it was back to Connecticut to start training camp for this fight," Taylor said. "I've probably spent 90 percent of my time here in the U.S. since turning pro, so of course it's tough being away from family and friends. But if you want to do great things, you have to make great sacrifices."

On paper, Clarkson (4-8, 0 KOs), 22, of Cesar Hill, Texas, does not seem to pose much of a threat. However, she has never been knocked out, so if Taylor can become the first to stop her, it would be a nice accomplishment. But Taylor said whatever Clarkson's record is she is preparing as though it was a big fight, especially because she would like to impress the New York crowd.

"We prepare for every fight like it's a world title fight, so I'm feeling fantastic heading into this one," Taylor said. "It's great to be on such a big card as well. I'm very excited for Saturday night. It's great to finally have an opportunity like this stateside.

"Since the fight was announced, I've gotten a great reaction from the public. I think a lot of Irish people will be there for both me and [welterweight prospect] Noel Murphy. It's going to be a great crowd."

Women's boxing is as hot as it's been in a long time thanks to Taylor and other Olympians who have turned pro and have been getting attention, including super middleweight Claressa Shields, the two-time U.S. gold medalist, and junior bantamweight Nicola Adams, the two-time gold medalist from Great Britain.

"I can be quite aggressive in the ring at times. I think my style is exciting," Taylor said. "I've also been working on a few new things that I hope people will be impressed by as well. I'm looking forward to showcasing women's boxing.

"Women's boxing is on a high at the moment. There have been so many great pros recently and so many big fights being made. It's only going to get bigger and bigger. I truly believe the best is yet to come for women's boxing."

Source: http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/20181444/katie-taylor-best-yet-come-women-boxing

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