Taylor the star attraction ahead of Saturday's fights in Manchester
Katie Taylor is the real star attraction in Manchester on Saturday night… the Irish icon has no appetite for Derek Chisora’s belligerence following his petulant threat to pull out of Joseph Parker clash
- Derek Chisora resorted to tricks of promotion and a hard sell on Friday
- But he failed to divert most of the interest in Saturday’s fights from Katie Taylor
- Taylor plays an understated role as the undisputed lightweight world champion
- She is carrying women’s boxing to greater heights ahead of Natasha Jonas bout
While Derek Chisora resorted to tricks of promotion and a hard sell on Friday, it was quite telling that he failed to divert most of the interest in Saturday night’s fights away from two women with a long history.
If he had, it would have been a disservice of the highest order to Katie Taylor, who has none of Chisora’s appetite for monetising belligerence outside of the ring, which on Friday included a petulant threat to walk away from Eddie Hearn’s Manchester show over a lost coin toss.
Whether that tantrum inflated his cheque from the pay-per-view revenues, or indeed his fee from Hearn’s pocket, is a matter for Chisora’s accountant, but it won’t have changed the persistent feeling that he is the headliner in name only. The real draw to boxing fans was always Taylor, and her fascinating reunion with Liverpool’s Natasha Jonas.
The real draw to Saturday night’s fights for boxing fans was always Irish icon Katie Taylor
Derek Chisora’s petulance saw him threaten to pull out of his fight over a lost coin toss
She plays an understated role in boxing’s pantomime, but as the undisputed lightweight world champion she brings far more to the table with her deeds, and with it she is carrying women’s boxing to ever greater heights.
That she defends her many belts against Jonas has proven sufficient to eclipse all other components of a Matchroom card that is notionally led by Chisora, and followed by Craig Richards’ challenge for Dmitry Bivol’s light-heavyweight world title, Campbell Hatton’s second professional bout and a return for Chris Eubank Jr after a year on Roy Jones Jr’s farm. James Tennyson is also moving towards big things again.
But doubtless it is Taylor, 34, who offers the most compelling narrative, with this being her third encounter with Jonas after two wins in the amateurs. The second of those, a rip-roaring quarter-final at the London Olympics in 2012, yielded a crowd noise measured at 113.7 decibels – the most recorded of any event at those Games.
Taylor won gold that year and has since accumulated a flawless 17-0 professional record and world titles across two weights, becoming the highest-profile woman in boxing. Jonas, a world bronze medallist as an amateur, was controversially held to a draw in her super-featherweight title challenge against Terri Harper in Eddie Hearn’s garden last August, so this is both a second chance and a revenge mission at the age of 36.
That won’t have changed the persistent feeling that he is the headliner in name only when he faces Joseph Parker
In the underdog’s favour is the suspicion that Taylor got lucky in at least one of her two points wins with Belgium’s Delfine Persoon, which has led to a suggestion that the Irishwoman has become vulnerable.
‘The aura is not the same as what it was,’ Jonas told Sportsmail. ‘It is like with the Anthony Joshuas and Vasyl Lomachenkos. Someone comes along and makes them human and that is what it was with her.
‘We expect such high standards from her, put her on a pedestal, and then someone like Persoon shows they are human. They have flaws and make mistakes.’ Taylor, who won’t face the same frenzied work-rate on Saturday that she endured from Persoon, hasn’t bitten back. ‘I don’t think I’m someone whose skin you can get under,’ she said. ‘I don’t believe anything they’re saying. I know that I’m going to be at my very, very best.
‘Tasha has got a loss on her record herself, and that loss has come from a knockout, so if anybody can be hurt it’s actually her.’ Chisora took a more dramatic approach ahead of a fight that will determine if he can still be a factor on the heavyweight fringes.
Plenty dispute his status as a pay-per-view headliner, but he has a habit of drawing attention, which in this case meant a threat to walk out after losing a coin toss to former champion Parker over who would enter the ring second. Hearn and Matchroom CEO Frank Smith were both dispatched to Chisora’s room to resolve the stand-off, with many raising an eyebrow about the motivations of his manoeuvre.
Taylor’s fight consists of her fascinating reunion with Liverpool’s Natasha Jonas (left)
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