'I never thought, three years ago, I'd be headlining somewhere like the Manchester Arena' 1 month ago

'I never thought, three years ago, I'd be headlining somewhere like the Manchester Arena'

Finish 2019 on a high and Katie Taylor can look forward to at least three blockbuster bouts in 2020.

In November 2016, Katie Taylor shrugged off the disappointment of the Rio Olympics and set her sights on becoming a professional world champion.

Within a year, the Bray native had won the WBA lightweight title. By June 2019 when she defeated Delfine Persoon, in a close, close call, Taylor had run through the entire division.

Winning that bout over the Belgian saw her retain her WBA, IBF, and WBO female lightweight titles and win the WBC belt. It made her the undisputed, lineal lightweight champion too.

What next? Well, Taylor will still have to dip back into the lightweight division to hold onto her gold but her next bout, this Saturday in the 21,000-seater Manchester Arena, is in the junior welterweight division (140 lbs) and there is a WBO belt up for grabs.

Katie Taylor and Christina Linardatou pose for pictures following a press conference at the Principal Hotel in Manchester. (Dave Thompson/Matchroom Boxing via Sportsfile)

The 33-year-old will take on WBO champ Christina Linardatou at the Manchester Arena on a night that will also see British boxer Anthony Crolla hang up his gloves after a farewell bout.

"This is going to be a tough challenge but the chance to become a two-weight champion is absolutely unbelievable," Taylor told Sky Sports.

"This is history making, only a couple of other people from Ireland has actually done that become a two-weight world champion, so this is a great, great position to be in.

"I'm excited about it, I never thought three years ago when I turned professional that I would be in this position where I could actually headline shows at somewhere like the Manchester Arena."

Beat the Greek champion on Saturday and Eddie Hearn, one of Taylor's promoters, believes 2020 can smash a lot of the records Taylor has already helped set.

Hearn says the next fights on the horizon for Taylor are a rematch with Persoon, a tilt with seven-weight world champion Amanda Serrano and a super-super fight against undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus.

Braekhus is currently mopping up at 147 lbs and she would have to come down at least one weight class to tee up a fight with Taylor, but Hearn is hopeful. "Two undisputed champions together is the kind of thing we want," he declared.