Why female boxers everywhere should be thanking Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor is currently the IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine champion of the world.
With enough letters in her credentials to fill a bowl of alphabet soup, the Irish fighter has also won titles across two different weight divisions and for the fun of it, we may as well throw in her 2012 Olympic gold medal too.
The term "levels" is usually brought up in boxing as a way of describing the difference between two fighters' abilities. Taylor isn't on a different level as much as she's on a completely different planet in comparison to her peers.
This Saturday, the 34-year-old is the co-main event on a Sky Box Office show that boasts Dereck Chisora, Joseph Parker, Chris Eubank Jr and Campbell Hatton. Not only is this prime time television, but people are willing to dip into their pockets and pay for the privilege to see the county Wicklow star.
It's hard to believe that the Bray native had to pretend to be a boy just to fight in the amateurs when she was a child; tying her hair up into her head-guard and avoiding the gaze of the referee as she dismantled each of her male opponents, one after the other.
Her father and trainer, Peter Taylor shared a dream with his daughter to win an Olympic gold medal, before women's boxing was even recognised as a sport within the tournament.
After accomplishing this dream and a disappointing turnout in Rio 2016, Taylor turned her attention to the pro ranks. She teamed up with Matchroom, promoted by Eddie Hearns, and so the evolution officially began.
Soon Taylor was collecting titles as nonchalantly as you would collect your Sunday paper. Suddenly, the spotlight started to grow from Katie Taylor, to women's boxing in general, and other names began to break onto the scene.
Between Taylor's professional debut to now, Terri Harper, Savannah Marshall and Shannon Courtenay have all became world champions. Although there were female world champions for decades before this, they weren't being aired on Sky Sports with huge media coverage and build-ups.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Ebanie Bridges proved that the huge social media following she has accumulated wasn't the only reason she was given the platform to fight, as she put on a gutsy performance against Shannon Courtenay.
Even when her eye completely closed over, Bridges showed the heart and determination that boxing fans love to see as she got off her stool, bit down on her gum-shield and went toe-to-toe with the 'Baby Face Assassin'.
Beyond the bantz & fight build up I always have huge respect for any1 I share the ring wit it’s the hardest sport in the world& what we put ourselves thru to be great only one fighter to another can really understand. Great fight loved every minute of it.. thanks Shannyyyy 😜😘🥊 pic.twitter.com/Pa2v7slmTF
— Blonde Bomber 🥊💣💁🏼♀️😈 (@EbanieBridges) April 11, 2021
American star, Claressa Shields has won back-to-back Olympic gold medals and dominated the heavier divisions of boxing, but looked set to move to the UFC in order to get the payday her talents deserve.
That is until Savannah Marshall started knocking people out on Sky Sports, picked up the WBO world middleweight title, grabbed the mic and told the world in no uncertain terms that Shields is running away from her.
Now all eyes are on Shields' next move and it looks like boxing might just be the place for the undisputed champ to get her big payday after all, because nothing sells a fight quite like a rivalry and unsettled business.
Make no mistake though, Taylor is very much still the queen of this sport and on Saturday night she will lock horns with Natasha Jonas, in a repeat of their 2012 Olympic duel in which Taylor proved victorious.
Liverpudlian Jonas has recently risen to prominence after a hugely impressive performance against current world champion, Terri Harper. Although it was a draw on the night, many believed that Jonas was a victim of poor judging and should have left the ring with that belt around her waist.
Now, rivals are renewed as Jonas will attemptto tear through the aura surrounding Taylor and drag her into a dog fight - but as we saw when Taylor faced Delfine Persoon in their recent rematch, the Irishwoman isn't exactly afraid of a dog fight.