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Katie Taylor wins pro debut in London

Katie Taylor was successful in her pro debut, scoring a TKO-3 win.

Boxing at Wembley Arena Photo by Leigh Dawney/Getty Images

Katie Taylor returned to the city where she won Olympic gold in 2012, and picked up her first professional boxing victory today at Wembley Arena, stopping Poland’s Karina Kopinska in the third round of a scheduled six-round bout.

Taylor (1-0, 1 KO) has had some recent struggles in the amateurs, losing in the AIBA World Boxing Championships semifinal to France’s Estelle Mossely, and then in the quarterfinals at Rio 2016 to Finland’s Mira Potkonen.

But Taylor, 30, was expected to have a fairly easy time with Kopinska (7-15-13, 2 KO), and she did, simply outclassing her opponent from the start of the fight.

There is some hope that Taylor, along with the United States’ two-time gold medalist Claressa Shields, will help elevate the visibility of women’s boxing. Shields is a dynamic, potentially dominant talent, who thrashed the competition in both London and Rio. Taylor, on the other hand, is herself quite a talent, but is also — and perhaps more importantly — monstrously popular in Ireland, which gives her a leg up on drawing attention to her fights.

With her wealth of amateur experience, competing at the highest levels, Taylor may not wait too long before targeting a world title, but there’s still plenty to prove in the paid ranks.

Also on the card in London, Martin J. Ward retained his British super featherweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision win over Scotland’s Ronnie Clark. Scores were 114-113, 115-113, and 116-112. Ward (16-0-2, 8 KO) was dropped in the 10th round, but that wasn’t enough for Clark (17-4-2, 10 KO) to get the decision.