Katie Taylor insists she “can’t afford” complacency despite her dominance in the ring because she remembers the “hard lesson” of the last time she lost.
Undisputed lightweight champion Taylor defends her belts against Miriam Gutierrez on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, headlining a triple-header of women’s world title fights that also features Terri Harper and Rachel Ball.
“This is definitely an historic night,” Taylor told Sky Sports. “When I turned pro four years ago, I didn’t think I’d be in this position, where I’m headlining a show with three female world title fights.
“It’s amazing to see where women’s boxing has come.”
Taylor has enjoyed unparalleled success through her iconic career – she was a five-time amateur world champion, 2012 Olympic gold medallist and, since turning pro, she has won every major title at lightweight plus a super-lightweight belt.
But memories of her rare amateur losses are what motivate Taylor to remain unbeaten as a professional – the last time she lost in any format was at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“I’ve learned the hard way,” she said.
“I got complacent years ago as an amateur fighter and that’s when I lost a fight.
“It was a hard lesson to learn, but an important one.
“I know that I can’t afford in the slightest to be complacent because that’s when you lose fights.
“I am well prepared coming in. I am ready to go into the trenches if needed.”
Relaxed & Confident 👌
Miriam Gutierrez is full of confidence ahead of her Undisputed World Title fight with @KatieTaylor on Saturday night 📺 pic.twitter.com/A7EQWK0gXN
Her opponent Gutierrez of Spain is undefeated in 13 and arrives at the biggest moment of her career as a survivor of domestic abuse and as a campaigner against it.
She has been described as a big puncher, and Taylor said: “It’s something you have to be careful of every time you step in the ring, especially with those smaller gloves.
“You can’t be complacent, you can’t take your foot off the gas, you always have to be alert.
“I can’t afford to get hit with any clean shots. It’s always a risk but I am well prepared and in great shape.
“She’s very good, very talented, better than people expect. She’s very tricky, awkward and I expect a tough fight. I’m prepared for whatever comes my way on Saturday.”
Three months ago, Taylor outpointed Delfine Persoon, the longstanding rival that she had previously beaten under controversial circumstances.
“If I fought someone else in the last fight, then people would still be bringing Persoon up,” Taylor said. “So it’s great to close that chapter and move on.
“These are the fights I was born for and always dreamt of.
“I want to leave a great legacy in this sport and those are legacy-building fights.
“I always wanted to get out again before Christmas and I felt ready to step back in.
“I was unscathed from the Persoon fight besides a big lump on my head! I didn’t take too many shots in that last fight and I felt prepared to step back in so soon.
“It’s a quick turnaround but I would fight every month if I could.”
Taylor is a modern legend but, aged 34 and with a long career behind her, has faced questions about how long she can sustain her dominance.
Major fights with Amanda Serrano or even MMA fighter Cris Cyborg have been mooted.
“There are critics regardless of winning or losing,” she said. “People will always criticise, that is part of life.
“But right now? I feel as strong and fit as ever.
“I want to be involved in the biggest and best fights possible. I want to leave a legacy of fights that people are genuinely excited about.
“Whoever that may be, I’m very excited to step in the ring.”
‘That is the sort of legacy I want to leave’
Chantelle Cameron and Savannah Marshall have become new world champions in recent weeks, joining Terri Harper in holding a world title belt, a sure sign of the progress that women’s boxing is making.
Rachel Ball, an NHS worker by day, will join them as world champions if she can beat Jorgelina Guanini on Saturday.
Taylor has inspired all of those boxers and responded: “I want to continue to make history. I feel like I have years left in me. People haven’t seen the best of me and there is so much I can improve on.
“I want to inspire the next generation, inspire girls to dream big, and do even better than I’ve done.
“That is what true legacy is about.
“That is the sort of legacy I want to leave.
“The most satisfying part of this journey is to see so many girls boxing.
“Every time I walk into a boxing club in Ireland, it is packed with girls.
“Across the UK too, ask people their favourite fighter and they might say Terri Harper or Savannah Marshall.
“It has come a long way in a few years and this is only the start.”
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