Katie Taylor blitzes Firuza Sharipova to defend world titles in style
There she goes. There she goes again.
There goes Katie Taylor. At it again. Defending her stack of belts and looking on another level entirely.
Firuza Sharipova was a brave opponent for Katie Taylor at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, but she finished imperiously and defended her WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight titles in unanimous style. Taylor has moved to 20-0 and surely it is Amanda Serrano next.
Walking out to the ring with 'The La's' classic 'There She Goes' blaring out, Taylor looked intent on getting through her 15th world title defence with no fooling about.
Taylor edged a feeling out first round with a couple of combination connections in the second half of the round. Sharipova could argue for the second round with justification after her left jab landed a couple of times, but Taylor did finish it strong.
Sharipova's frustration showed at the end of a third round that went to Taylor, when she landed an extra jab after the bell rang. Taylor simply walked to her corner as her opponent was scolded by the referee. There was a similar scolding in the fourth as Sharipova shouldered Taylor after a clinch, but the round went to the Bray native thanks to a couple of combos landing. Still, it was tight going.
Katie Taylor finishes strong
Some of the TV pundits had it 2-2 after the first four rounds, but there was no doubt Taylor won the fifth after getting through the Kazakh's defences with some crunching blows.
Taylor had really found her range by the sixth and the right eye of Sharipova was swelling up. She also had a point deducted after getting her third warning of the fight. The ring-side commentators said Sharipova was getting "ragged" and using "nasty" tactics.
The seventh round was a clinch frenzy with little to right home about, with even the referee getting frustrated. Sharipova edged it but Taylor still had a couple of decent punches land. The eighth was much of the same, but it went Taylor's way as she got a couple through the net. She was content to pick Sharipova off, only upping the ante when her opponent pressed forward.
Firuza Sharipova goes for broke
The ninth was a close enough affair but Taylor was never in trouble. She then took it with a big right-hand that connected flush with Sharipova in the final seconds.
The final round was a barnstormer as both women swung hard. Sharipova bit down on her gumshield and let the hands goes. Still, Taylor's class shone through.
Only Sharipova will know how she was still on her feet at the end, after Taylor landed a huge right-hand to her jaw and followed it up, in the next 20 seconds, with two sweet left hooks.
The two fighters embraced at the final bell, but Taylor's superiority was clear for all to see.