Katie Taylor has all the ingredients necessary to take women’s boxing to a new level.
This week it was announced that Ireland’s Golden girl Katie Taylor had signed with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport in a deal that will see her turn professional next month and fight live on Sky Sports.
But for me outside of next month’s pro debut, it’s the potential that the news could have overall not just for women’s boxing but boxing as a whole that intrigued me from a big picture, long-term viewpoint.
It probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that TV companies are starting to put on more and more female sports action and the demand for such product is increasing.
But from a strictly combat sports product point of view, it also doesn’t take an Einstein to see that Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports have probably looked at recent star building successes of UFC female fighters such as Ronda Rousy in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts over the last few years and thought themselves, why can’t we do something similar in boxing?
Not to compare Katie Taylor and Ronda Rousey directly of course. Two very different personalities. Rousey went on to have an extended break from her sport after this devastating loss.
But as the younger generation and demographic of fight fan begins to take more of a foothold in 2017, a group of people that in my view has some crossover among them that enjoy both the sports of boxing and MMA, this signing of Taylor from a business perspective represents a shrewd investment as both sports’ fan bases continue to grow closer together in the coming years.
She has all the qualities to not only become an even bigger star in Ireland and the UK than she already is (having won Olympic Gold in London 2012 and much more) but has even greater potential to elevate women’s boxing around the world over the next few years.
Traditionally that has not been easy but if anyone can do it it’s Taylor. Particularly with this new backing.
The challenge will be finding enough competitive opponents for her I suspect. This was also an initial fear when rolling out female fighting in the UFC too.
But being the media and marketing beats that they are (similar to Sky Sports) those initial fears appeared to be well and truly squashed as of 2016 – with a number of talented women fighting within their roster outside of Rousey.
The challenge in boxing however will come in that Taylor will not be competing in one specific league as it were like UFC, rather in more of a fragmented international landscape.
But she certainly has the promotional and broadcaster backing to build her profile and get her out there to the masses.
Here humility, exciting fight style and role model friendly personality could act as a huge catalyst for women’s boxing, boxing as a whole and indeed women’s sport in general if this building is done correctly.
Putting her on substantial cards with well known male fighters such as IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will only grow her star further and at 30 years of age, she is now in the prime of her athletic career and can maximise this opportunity over the next few years.
She’s training hard at the moment ahead of her upcoming pro debut on November 26th at the Wembley Arena as this video on Ross Enamait’s Facebook page (hat tip) suggests today:
Some speed on display there.
Taylor will also box again after next month straight away on December 10th as part of IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s next fight bill in the UK.