By Michael O’Neill
Katie Taylor, Ireland’s Gold Medallist from the 2012 Olympics in London, and 5 times AIBA World Champion, duly won her first ever Pro bout in the United States as she proved (as expected) much too strong for the gallant Texan, 22 years old Jasmine Clarkson when the two clashed on Saturday night at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.
This was not Taylor at or even near her very best though Clarkson had never been stopped in 12 previous bouts, only four of which she had won ; as the Bray woman herself acknowledged after the bout she learned a lot from this fight, identified issues she will be working on before her next bout and also spoke out about the difficulties she and her team have found in getting quality opponents to take her on.
She hopes that she will have tougher opponents in her next few outings but remains confident she can defeat anyone in the Lightweight division. Away from the ring there are ‘hopes’ that she could yet appear on the undercard of the ‘fight’ between Floyd Mayweather and Ireland’s MMA King Conor McGregor. Taylor’s former AIBA ‘amateur’ Great Britain’s Savannah Marshall will make her U.S pro debut on that occasion too.
On Saturday, though Taylor got off to a slow start she soon proved too powerful for the 22 years old Texan and it was no surprise when the Referee decided that the American had suffered enough punishment at the end of round three.
Speaking to Sky Sports after her victory, Taylor said: “It was a great experience, first fight over here, had a lot of nerves but I thought I handled it well, good to get the stoppage.
There are things I definitely need to improve on. I didn’t really catch her with any significant big shots but the constant pressure forced the stoppage.
“I feel like I’m ready for a world title shot, it’s definitely going to be an exciting few months for me, and I am also looking forward to boxing at home in Ireland soon
“I thought the reception was fantastic and there was a lot of Irish in the crowd which made it very special for me. I hope to create a good fanbase over here as I said earlier on in the week and I hope I gained a few more fans here tonight.
“I don’t know what the plan is but the more fights out here the better. I think I’m definitely well-known back home in Ireland and in the UK, so it would be great to get more fights over here.”
Why have their not been tougher opponents ready to take her on?
She told ‘Irish Examiner’ boxing correspondent Ciaran Gallagher:
“It’s been a frustrating few weeks just trying to get an opponent nailed down,” said Taylor. “It’s not the opponent I really wanted for this weekend.
“If you turn down those opportunities and those fights, you shouldn’t really call yourself a professional boxer because what are they in the sport for?
“I assume everyone has the same mindset and that they want to box the best and box on these big shows, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
“This girl is the only one who would take the fight and she is to be respected because of that. What can I do if no-one else takes it? These girls need to step up to the plate and you’d think they’d be raring to go for a big fight and a big opportunity.”
It is understood that as many as 20 more experienced ‘possible opponents’ had been ‘sounded out’ but declined the offer of a fight against Taylor, though of course most of the top boxers in the division would prefer to wait for a title bout and thus guarantee themselves a much bigger purse.
Taylor’s first highly experienced opponent may well prove to be Uruguay’s Cecilia Communales and that fight could well be in Dublin in late Autumn.
Link to after fight interview with “FightHub TV” & other reporters via You Tube: