Finding peace on the water, meeting Sly Stallone, and enjoying the pressure of being Katie Taylor

Finding peace on the water, meeting Sly Stallone, and enjoying the pressure of being Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor and Sylvester Stallone sharing a laugh in October.

AFTER SHE DEFENDED her lightweight title for a fourth time with a shutout victory over Jennifer Han in Leeds, Katie Taylor returned home-home to Bray for only a few days before making tracks once more for her new home, Connecticut.

Taylor suspected she would have business to tend to before year’s end, and she began laying the groundwork in the gym for next Saturday night’s bout in Liverpool as soon as she touched back down on American soil.

For the most part, that’s the way Taylor likes it. It’s telling that she describes her male pound-for-pound-number-one equivalent, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez of Mexico, as “the perfect boxer right now to actually study”. Undisputed super-middleweight champion Canelo these days tends to fight once or twice more per year than your typical elite boxer and Taylor’s bout with Kazakhstan’s Firuza Sharipova on Merseyside will be her fourth in just over a year. For comparison, Taylor’s fellow female undisputed champs, Jessica McCaskill and Claressa Shields, have each fought just once in the same period of time.

“I would hate nothing more than to be actually sitting around waiting for a fight,” Taylor says. “That would actually drive me mad, I think.

“You can do all the sparring in the world but nothing is ever the same as actually stepping into the ring and actually fighting. I think when you do stay busy like that… You will see the best of me in those situations. But obviously, the minuses are that you’re always in camp, you’re always training, you’re always putting your body under a lot of stress, I guess.”

Finding peace on the water, meeting Sly Stallone, and enjoying the pressure of being Katie Taylor
© Matchroom Boxing

Even for somebody as singularly devoted to their profession as Taylor is, there has to be some room for decompression.

The 35-year-old has lived near her training base in the rural town of Vernon, about 90 miles south-west of Boston, for the guts of five years. She bought her first house there (furnished with its own boxing gym) about two years ago. She has ostensibly settled there — for the short to medium term at least — for she now has in Vernon virtually all she needs outside of the ring: a Pentecostal church, a group of friends and, crucially, peace.

Oh, and a speedboat.

“It’s along the Connecticut River,” Taylor says. “I have it docked around 30 minutes away from me.

“It was just pretty much… I was out kayaking one day and I saw a little speedboat going out on the lake. I just got a bit of an urge to test one out. It just looked like great fun. That’s pretty much how I got a passion for speedboats,” she smiles.

It was a bit of an impulse buy but it’s been just a great buzz. It’s a great way to spend a bit of time off, being on the water. There’s just something about the water… It’s so peaceful out there, I could spend all day on the water, really. Just by the sea, by the lake — I just love times like that.

Mind you, days on her boat aren’t yet a complete escape from the rest of the world.

“No, I usually go out with a few friends. I still can’t dock the boat yet, so…” Taylor laughs. “I need someone else there with me to actually dock it! I’m still learning that.

“So, I’ll usually go out with a couple of friends but it just a great time, to spend a few hours out on the water. It’s just fantastic.”

Finding peace on the water, meeting Sly Stallone, and enjoying the pressure of being Katie Taylor
© Matchroom Boxing

Back to the noise, and Saturday’s opponent Firuza Sharipova is bringing plenty of it with her from Kazakhstan.

Taylor laughs off the 27-year-old’s claims that she could knock out Taylor and Conor McGregor on the same night, insisting that she has been paying so little attention to her mandatory challenger, she didn’t even realise Sharipova had said as much.

The reality is that this is merely a fight for Taylor to get out of the way, chosen to satisfy one of the four sanctioning bodies whose belts compose her intangible undisputed title, and designed simply to keep her ticking over before a potentially career-defining fight versus Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden, New York, in the spring.

Sharipova boasts a decent record [14-1(8KOs)] on paper but only one name on her CV jumps off the page: that of Sofya Ochigava, whom Taylor beat by the skin of her teeth to win her Olympic gold medal in London nine years ago. Russian great Ochigava beat Sharipova on points on what was both of their professional debuts in 2016 and, intriguingly, she has been ‘instrumental’ to the Kazakh’s preparation for her shot at the bigtime next Saturday night.

But let’s get down to brass tacks: Taylor should beat Firuza Sharipova at M&S Bank Arena and she should do so convincingly. This fight should transpire to be merely a warm-up for Amanda Serrano, who will take one of her own a week later. These are realities that are neither lost on Taylor nor do they remotely bother her.

Finding peace on the water, meeting Sly Stallone, and enjoying the pressure of being Katie Taylor

“Yeah, I mean, I think it’d be unusual for me if I wasn’t the favourite going into a fight at this stage,” she laughs. “I’m definitely starting to enjoy the pressure: I love going into these fights as the favourite. Well, not that I even look at myself as that — I just go in and do my thing, perform to my absolute best.

“I’ve never, ever found it hard to actually get up and keep myself motivated for these mandatories. I do understand that these girls are coming for all my belts and we’re going to see the best of these opponents every time they step into the ring with me.

You see it all the time in boxing where fighters have a flat performance and they fail to hold onto their belts, so I can never, ever get complacent. I’m so aware of that. So, I never, ever find it tough to focus on these fights — even with so much noise around other fights.

While reiterating — as she always does — that she dare not overlook Sharipova, Taylor does convey a confidence that the white-whale bout with Serrano, which has been five years in the making (and was literally ‘made’ last spring only for Serrano to withdraw citing Covid restrictions), will finally take place early next year provided they both emerge unscathed in the coming weeks.

“Even the fact that she’s fighting one of my past opponents (Miriam Gutierrez) in her next fight: that’s the perfect build-up to our fight, so it is,” Taylor says. “It is looking very, very likely that that fight will happen next year, now.

“The fact that she’s teamed up with Jake Paul, as well… I think that gives even more incentive for her. So, definitely, right now, it’s looking very, very likely, but of course we both have to get past both of our opponents in the next few weeks. Once we do that, we can start speaking seriously about the next fight.

I think next year is the perfect time for it to happen. If it doesn’t happen next year, it would be so disappointing for the sport as a whole. I’d be very surprised if it didn’t happen next year with all of the talk that’s been done over these last few months. If it doesn’t happen next year, it won’t be my fault — I’d put it that way. We’re definitely ready and willing. We always have been.

Finding peace on the water, meeting Sly Stallone, and enjoying the pressure of being Katie Taylor
© SIPA USA Amanda Serrano.

There is genuine mainstream interest in their prospective bout, which Taylor chucklingly claims that she hopes takes place only once — she wants to beat seven-weight world champion Serrano [41-1-1, 30KOs] in dominant fashion and she believes that’s “very, very possible”.

What’s certain is that the appetite for what would be the biggest and most lucrative women’s boxing match in history would not exist had Taylor not turned professional in 2016. On the business side of things, Taylor’s manager, Brian Peters and her promoter, Eddie Hearn, have collaborated to effectively start a new industry which is just about capable of sustaining its biggest star. From a sociological point of view, Taylor has done in the ring as a professional what she has been doing since she fought Alanna Nihell in the National Stadium 20 years ago: changing minds.

“We’re seeing fights that people are really interested in, the fanbase is growing, and there are so many female fighters out there now who are actual genuine household names,” she says. “I think that’s absolutely incredible. That, for me, has been the highlight I think.”

Yet, as we suspected then and as we know now, the butterfly which flapped its wings at the Rio Olympics five summers ago was poisoned: Taylor’s quarter-final exit at the stone fists of Finland’s Mira Potkonen was recently listed by the McLaren report — an independent investigation into irregularities at the Rio Games — as “suspicious”.

The damning report by Canadian Bill McLaren, a lawyer, found evidence of “corruption, bribery and the manipulation of sporting results” at the Games, where AIBA judges were revealed to have fixed the results of certain bouts through the use of, among other things, hand signals to each other.

Though Taylor doubtless underperformed versus the Finn, she ultimately fell foul of a quirk in the judging system at the time wherein only three of five judges’ scorecards would be used to determine the outcome of a fight, with the other two — chosen at random — discarded and never revealed.

Finding peace on the water, meeting Sly Stallone, and enjoying the pressure of being Katie Taylor
© INPHO

Of the three scorecards used, Taylor was adjudged the victor by one judge, another saw the bout for Potkonen and a third judge scored the bout a draw — but leaned towards Potkonen when prompted to break the tie.

The McLaren report revealed that the two discarded scorecards each had Taylor winning. Therefore, the Bray woman had for all intents and purposes ‘won’ the bout on a 3-1-1 split decision — but instead of guaranteeing herself an Olympic bronze medal and advancing to the lightweight semi-finals, she officially lost 2-1 and exited the Games at the first hurdle. (However, it’s worth noting that McLaren found no evidence that the scoring system had been manipulated).

“I have seen the report” Taylor says, “and I guess everyone knew during those Olympic Games that there was a lot of cheating going on.

“I came out of the ring that day, I guess, feeling like I did do enough to win the fight — but it’s in the past now. It doesn’t matter what the McLaren Report says. It is what it is, I guess. I didn’t take too much notice of it, really.

“But it is definitely hard to look past the fact that three judges had me winning, one judge had her winning and one judge had it a draw, and yet she still got the decision.”

“I didn’t think too much about it, really, over these last few years.

SEE SPORT

DIFFERENTLY

Get closer to the stories that matter with exclusive analysis, insight and debate in The42 Membership.

Become a Member

“I guess…” Taylor tuts, mulling things over. “It’s a small bit satisfying to know that I actually won that fight — but at the same time, I still came away heartbroken over a loss at the time.

But now, I’m in a great place and I obviously feel like I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today as a professional fighter if all had went well in Rio. There is a bit of a silver lining there.

Five and a half years on, Taylor is a two-weight professional world champion and one of the highest-earning female athletes on the planet. She notes that she “can’t say that there’s any one particular person that actually inspires me” and yet, these days, she is a hero to far more people than she was even during her amateur heyday.

That much is evident at fight-week events and fight nights in the UK or America where one could be mistaken for briefly believing they were in Ireland such is the clamour for selfies, signatures and general acknowledgement.

Recently, closer to home, 11-year-old Addison Whelan — the young girl who famously procured Cristiano Ronaldo’s jersey at Lansdowne Road, and who boxes out of the Corinthians club in which Kellie Harrington began her career — revealed to FM104 that she had been speaking to another of her heroes.

Finding peace on the water, meeting Sly Stallone, and enjoying the pressure of being Katie Taylor
© Matchroom Boxing

Taylor explains that, “Actually, one of my friends rang me that night. She (Addison Whelan) is actually the cousin of that friend so she just got her on the phone to me, I was chatting to her for a few minutes.

My friend sent me a clip of her hitting the pads — and she’s obviously a huge boxing talent as well — so I just told her that I’d seen her hitting the pads, that she was so impressive, and I told her that I’d do a training session with her once I get back home after this fight.

“I’m looking forward to actually meeting her in the flesh and having that training session with her,” smiles Taylor.

She might not have too many heroes of her own but that’s not to say Taylor is incapable of being starstruck.

She recently met actor Sylvester Stallone at Arnold Schwarznnegger’s health and fitness festival in Birmingham, England, at which she was herself a guest speaker.

“He was an absolute gentleman, actually,” Taylor beams. “We were just kind of talking about the belts that I’ve won. He was talking to me about when my next fight was and his desire to actually get to one of my fights as well, which was really cool.

“It was an absolute pleasure to meet him, really. He was a complete gentleman.

“I would have been a huge fan of the Rocky movies. I think every boxer is, really. Even with the new boxing movies that have come out in these last few years, you just can’t beat a Rocky movie,” Taylor says.

“They’re still the best for me.”

Finding peace on the water, meeting Sly Stallone, and enjoying the pressure of being Katie Taylor
Taylor by the ‘Rocky’ statue in Philadelphia before fighting Rose Volante in March 2019.

Even if they’re a little bit different from the real thing…

“We always laugh that we never actually see any of his preparation for fights. He’s never, ever had a sparring partner!” Taylor laughs.

“Hollywood, I guess…”

Stallone will surely have one eye on the streaming platform, DAZN, when Taylor aims to remind us all how winning is done next Saturday.

Then, maybe they can swap sides of the screen for a Rocky binge back in Bray over Christmas.

“I actually can’t wait just to get home and spend a bit of time with family,” Taylor says. “I’ve spent the whole year out here, really, preparing and training for these fights and it is going to be a perfect time just to relax and spend a bit of time with nieces and nephews — and get ready for the Christmas weeks.”

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Pokémon Legends: Arceus game is out NOW – where to buy cheapest in the UK and US

Poke balls at the ready! The latest Pokémon game has just landed. A whopping 26 years after the very first game was released, the latest instalment of the franchise has ... Read more »

India logs 2,51,209 new COVID-19 cases, daily positivity rate drops to 15.88%

© Provided by DNA India reported 2,51,209 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry reported on Friday. With this, the daily positivity rate in the ... Read more »

This multi-million ultra-rare Lamborghini supercar is hard to recognizable after a fire

© Provided by Zee News There is nothing more frightening than a car fire, so it must have been especially intense in this case, not just for the occupants but ... Read more »

Mikel Arteta scraps Unai Emery's Arsenal blueprint again with January transfer U-turn

Mikel Arteta has continued to scrap predecessor Unai Emery’s blueprint at Arsenal after making a surprise January transfer U-turn. The former Gunners skipper replaced Emery in the Emirates hotseat in ... Read more »

Joel Villanueva tests positive for COVID-19

Sen. Joel Villanueva at the Senate on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. Voltaire F. Domingo/ Senate PRIB Senator Joel Villanueva on Friday bared that he tested positive for COVID-19. In a ... Read more »

Amazon will shut down its 'Sold by Amazon' 3rd-party-seller program and pay $2.25 million to settle price-fixing allegations

© Provided by Business Insider An Amazon package. Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images Amazon will shutter the third-party-seller program Sold by Amazon over allegations of price fixing. Washington’s AG said ... Read more »

PNP COVID-19 active cases now at 1,862 with 139 new infections

Philippine National Police national headquarters PNP logo The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday reported 139 more personnel who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total active cases in the ... Read more »

PNP to Eleksyon 2022 candidates: Follow COVID-19 new normal campaign rules

© Senate PRIB PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos attends a hearing of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on Wednesday, November 24, 2021. Senate PRIB The Philippine ... Read more »

Australia pledges $700 million to protect Great Barrier Reef amid climate change threat

The Australian government on Friday pledged 1 billion Australian dollars ($700 million) to protect the Great Barrier Reef, months after it narrowly avoided being placed on the UN’s cultural agency’s ... Read more »

WHO chief backs Neil Young after the singer demanded Spotify either drop Joe Rogan from its platform or remove his music from the service

© Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP via Getty Images, Jo Hale/Redferns via Getty Images Tedros thanked singer Neil Young in a tweet Thursday. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP via Getty Images, Jo ... Read more »

Could a vaccine prevent drug deaths and cure addiction? U.S. research draws mixed reaction in B.C.

Some researchers believe vaccines could be a powerful new tool to fight substance use disorder and overdoses, but some experts are expressing caution about the idea. Columbia University neurobiology professor Sandra ... Read more »

Hong Kong cuts foreign arrival quarantine from 21 to 14 days

The Associated PressA shop assistant wearing a face mask, waits for customer at a shop in Hong Kong, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022. Hong Kong is cutting the length of mandatory ... Read more »

'Tiger King' Joe Exotic set for resentencing in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge is set to decide a new sentence Friday for “Tiger King” Joe Exotic after an appeals court ruled last year that the prison ... Read more »

Asian stocks advance after Wall Street sinks for third day

The Associated PressA man wearing a protective mask looks at an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, in Tokyo. Asian ... Read more »

Henrik Lundqvist's best Rangers moments No. 1: Ticket to the Cup Finals

Leading up to Friday’s ceremony in which the Rangers will retire Henrik Lundqvist’s No. 30 at the Garden, The Post is taking a look at the King’s five best moments ... Read more »

Not easy being green: China's 'health codes' define Covid-era life

© Jade Gao Across China, scanning a “green” health code app is a must for entering shops, offices and public transport Days after buying over-the-counter medicine from a pharmacy in ... Read more »

Bei diesen Dingen spricht die Queen ein Machtwort

Queen Elizabeth II. ist weit mehr als nur die Königin von England. Sie ist das unangefochtene Familienoberhaupt und kann sogar bei intimsten Fragen ein Wörtchen mitreden. Die Queen gibt bei ... Read more »

Australia PM promises $700m more to protect Great Barrier Reef

© Provided by Al Jazeera The Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of its coral over three decades with marine heatwaves triggering three major bleaching events in the ... Read more »

Taiwan president expresses 'empathy' for Ukraine's situation

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday expressed “empathy” for Ukraine’s situation due to the military threat the island faces from China, saying force was not the solution ... Read more »

Celebrating the 2022 Hong Kong MX with elegance

© The Manila Times Take a pick among the variety of Hong Kong MX’s unrivaled delectable creations and share it with family and friends for a perfect Chinese New Year ... Read more »

Peguam Negara langkaui kuasa apabila lantik Sri Ram, kata Rosmah

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Rosmah Mansor berdepan 12 pertuduhan pengubahan wang haram membabitkan RM7,097,750 dan lima pertuduhan gagal mengisytiharkan pendapatannya kepada Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri. (Gambar Bernama) KUALA ... Read more »

Indus Towers gains 5%; strong Q3 show as telcos add more locations

NEW DELHI – Shares of Indus Towers jumped 5 per cent in early trade Friday as the telecom infrastructure company posted about a 16 per cent rise in consolidated profit ... Read more »

FIIs selling Indian stocks like never before in last 5 years

Indian stocks are facing the longest run of foreign outflows in five years, an exodus that’s stalling the market’s steady surge from pandemic lows in March 2020. Foreign institutional investors ... Read more »

Route Mobile zooms 13% as Q3 net profit rises 28%

NEW DELHI – Shares of Route Mobile skyrocketed 12.9 per cent in early trade on Friday as the enterprise communication services firm posted a 28.33 per cent rise in consolidated ... Read more »

Fortnite “You do not have permission to play Fortnite” error, explained

© Provided by GamePur Fortnite is a hugely popular game and is not without issues from time to time. One problem that players run into is random log-in errors. Sometimes, ... Read more »

Radhika Apte says pandemic made her question film choices: Felt in a rat race, want to do what makes me happy

© Provided by Pinkvilla Radhika Apte, who once ruled the streaming giant by starring in several Indian web series at a given time, has been missing from the space. Her ... Read more »

Salaar: Shruti Haasan introduced as Aadya in the special birthday poster from Prabhas' starrer

© Provided by Pinkvilla On the occasion of Shruti Haasan’s birthday, the makers shared a special poster to introduce her character from upcoming pan Indian film Salaar, which has Prabhas ... Read more »

Alia Bhatt to reign theatres as Gangubai Kathiawadi will now release on 25 February 2022, announce makers

© Provided by Pinkvilla Friday, January 28, came as a massive surprise for all Alia Bhatt fans who had been waiting for the release of her upcoming movie, Gangubai Kathiawadi. ... Read more »

GST lebih baik untuk tangani hutang isi rumah yang tinggi, kata pakar ekonomi

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Pelaksanaan GST berlapis akan meringankan beban golongan berpendapatan rendah, kata ahli ekonomi Carmelo Ferlito. (Gambar Bernama) PETALING JAYA: Cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST) yang ... Read more »

Perpecahan dalam PRN Johor rugikan Umno-PAS dalam jangka panjang, kata penganalisis

© Provided by MalaysiaNow Perpecahan antara Umno dan PAS dalam Pilihan Raya Negeri (PRN) Johor dijangka akan merugikan kedua-dua pihak dalam jangka panjang, kata beberapa penganalisis politik. Mereka berkata, ini ... Read more »

Peguam Negara jangkaui kuasa apabila lantik Sri Ram, kata Rosmah

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Rosmah Mansor berdepan 12 pertuduhan pengubahan wang haram membabitkan RM7,097,750 dan lima pertuduhan gagal mengisytiharkan pendapatannya kepada Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri. (Gambar Bernama) KUALA ... Read more »

SC to pronounce its judgment on reservation in promotion to SCs, STs in govt jobs today

The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Friday its judgment on the issue of the grant of reservation in promotion to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) ... Read more »

Prime Minister Modi pays tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid tributes to noted freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary. Remembering the ‘Punjab Kesari’, as Rai was known, Modi said his ... Read more »

Pushpa: Sophie Choudry croons Allu Arjun, Samantha Ruth Prabhu's Oo Antava; Allu Sirish finds a mistake

Pushpa: The Rise has become one of the biggest success stories that the film industry has witnessed in recent times. The film registered insane collection at box office and fans ... Read more »

Shriya Saran's adorable family will make your day happier & leave a smile on face; WATCH

© Provided by Pinkvilla Shriya Saran is married to Andrei Kooschev and has a daughter named Radha. She often takes to social media and shares pics of their family moments ... Read more »

Ananya Panday says she may have a reality show of her own, Deepika Padukone has a request

© Provided by Hindustan Times Ananya Panday with Deepika Padukone at the promotion of Gehraiyaan. (ANI) (Sunil Khandare) Ananya Panday said that she may have a reality show of her ... Read more »

Allu Arjun can't stop admiring Dubai's Palm Jumeirah, shares a stunning pic

Allu Arjun shares a breathtaking picture of the Dubai skyline. Allu Arjun treated fans to a breathtaking picture of the Dubai skyline from his suite. In the viral photo, he ... Read more »

Twinkle Khanna calls Akshay Kumar 'apna maal', says he is ageing like whiskey

Twinkle Khanna shared a cheeky note for Akshay Kumar. Twinkle Khanna never shies away from speaking her mind. The actress-turned-writer always leaves us amused with her Instagram photo captions, giving ... Read more »

Bigg Boss 15 Day 115 Written Update: Karan Kundrra, Tejasswi get cosy and romantic during task

Bigg Boss 15 is about to end in two days. In the previous, January 27, episode, live audience had entered the house for the first time. Their job was to ... Read more »

PHOTOS: Salman Khan amps up his airport style as he looks dapper in black formals

Salman Khan was snapped on early Friday morning at Mumbai’s private airport. The paparazzi spotted the actor from afar as he made his way to his car. Salman, who usually ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic