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Katie Taylor Unifies World Titles With Masterclass In New York

Katie Taylor Unifies World Titles With Masterclass In New York
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Katie Taylor unified the WBA and IBF lightweight world titles with a sensational performance against Victoria Bustos at the Barclays Centre in New York on Saturday night.

It was a unanimous decision win for Taylor, the judges scoring the fight 99-91, 99-91, 98-92 as the Bray fighter defeated the Argentine Bustos to claim the IBF belt.

It was a masterclass from Taylor in her ninth bout as a professional. The 31-year-old controlled the opening rounds as Bustos, two years Taylor's junior, struggled to even land a punch.

The former Olympic champion brilliantly controlled the distance, stepping in and out of range with an intelligent performance. In the sixth, Taylor landed a telling left hook which snapped back Bustos's head.

It was not until the next round that Taylor's opponent, who was defending her title for the sixth time, showed any signs of life. Bustos stepped up her levels of aggression towards the end of the seventh but it was still Taylor's at the bell.

The eighth may have been the only round which Bustos won. The two stood toe to toe in the middle of the ring, exchanging blows which brought the crowd to its feet. Bustos landed an uppercut, her best punch of the fight, a sign she was not going to just lie down and give up her title.

katie taylor victoria bustos

It was only when Taylor stepped into close range that Bustos looked any real danger. The distance controlled and it was all about the Irish fighter.


Speaking to Sky Sports after the fight, Taylor admitted that she probably stood a little too long with her opponent in the eighth. Though, she added that it was good to entertain. She also agreed that it was probably the best performance of her pro career.

After the fight, Taylor's promoter Eddie Hearn outlined the plan for the remainder of this year - it's all about becoming undisputed world champion.

"We sat in the office a year-and-a-half ago with a plan to become the undisputed world champion," said Hearn.


"Tonight she's unified the belts against a very good fighter. Bustos deserves a lot of credit - she was immensely tough in there.

"Two belts down, two to go. It's just a brilliant story. Katie Taylor, lighting up both sides of the Atlantic. We know they love her in the UK, Ireland; now they're going to love her in America as well.

"We've got two more and we'd love to do it in 2018. Clean up the division in 2018 and maybe even move up. There's some really big fights out there."


Sky Sports Katie Taylor interview

Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile



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