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Can Katie Taylor become boxing’s Ronda Rousey?

Katie Taylor turns pro today with lofty goals.

Olympics Day 13 - Boxing Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

At London 2012, the building shook when she fought. Ireland’s Katie Taylor was arguably the biggest star of the Olympic boxing that year, winning the gold medal in the women’s 60kg division.

Today, she turns pro, facing Poland’s Karina Kopinska at Wembley Arena in London. And Taylor has high hopes for being a star force in the pro ranks, as well, saying she wants to elevate women’s boxing to a level that rivals what UFC has done with women’s MMA:

"I'd like to do what the likes of Ronda Rousey have done in the UFC and become a big name in professional boxing and raise the profile of the sport. UFC take their female fighters very seriously and they claim equal billing to the men on the shows, that's huge, and that's why a lot of boxers are turning to UFC.”

If there’s one red flag for Taylor, 30, it’s that her recent results haven’t been so encouraging. She lost in her first fight at Rio 2016, falling to Finland’s Mira Potkonen, and was defeated in May at the World Championships by France’s Estelle Mossely, ending her quest for a sixth straight world title.

Taylor has been dominant, but is her prime behind her? She says she grew “disillusioned with the amateur game in the last year.” Whether or not that’s the reason she found herself on the losing end for the first time in years, only she really knows. There is also the possibility that time and the competition simply caught up to her.

But turning pro, she’ll have the opportunity to shut down the idea that her best days are behind her. Kopinska (7-14-3, 2 KO) is a veteran fighter who has lost three straight, and Taylor’s first fight won’t likely tell us much about how she can do as a professional. How quickly she may challenge the likes of top super featherweights Anahi Esther Sanchez, Eva Wahlstrom, Maiva Hamadouche, or Sandy Tsagouris is another question, but her experience suggests that if she feels good after a few fights, it shouldn’t be too long.

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