Katie Taylor became a titleholder in a second weight class today in Manchester, outpointing Christina Linardatou to lift the WBO junior welterweight title in front of an adoring crowd.
Taylor (15-0, 6 KO) largely had her way through the first seven rounds, thwarting the rather predictable rushes of Linardatou (12-2, 6 KO) and just plain outboxing her round after round, building up a sizable lead.
She needed that lead, though, as Linardatou never gave up and never went away, and took some late rounds in the fight as Taylor seemed to tire a bit. In the end, judges had it 96-94, 97-93, and 97-93 for Taylor, all fair scores. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 97-93 for Taylor, giving Linardatou the final three rounds of the contest.
At 33, there’s a question of how much more Taylor can really hope to achieve in boxing. She is a legitimate legend of the women’s side of the sport, probably the greatest female amateur ever to this point, and she did fully unify at 135 as a pro, albeit with some controversy, and has now won a title at 140.
There are obvious big fights out there for her, and she’ll almost surely be taking them, but how much more can she give to the sweet science? Her absolute prime years were probably left in the unpaid ranks, and while she’s still quite a good fighter, the gap seems to have narrowed between her and other top names in the pros. Delfine Persoon gave her hell in June, and Linardatou certainly wasn’t easy here.
“Christina was the best 140-pounder in the division, and we knew it was going to be a tough fight for 10 rounds,” Taylor said after the fight, tearing up due to the loving reception she received from the crowd. “I boxed beautifully from the outside and I boxed smart for a change.”
Taylor mentioned possible fights with weight-jumping Amanda Serrano or welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus for the future, plus a rematch with Persoon, which many fans still want to see. Persoon, for the record, is fighting for an interim 130-pound title on Nov. 11 in Belgium.
“She’s just an absolutely brilliant example of how hard work, drive, determination, and a dream can get you to the very, very top,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. “She’s changed the sport. 2020, the challenges keep on coming. There’s the undisputed championship at 140 pounds, there’s the Persoon rematch, there’s Amanda Serrano, there’s Cecilia Braekhus. Katie Taylor is an absolute legend of the sport of boxing.”