Katie Taylor shuts out Eva Wahlstrom in Garden debut, retains lightweight belts
NEW YORK — In a matchup between unbeaten titleholders, Katie Taylor dominated Eva Wahlstrom from bell to bell to retain the IBF and WBA women’s lightweight titles Saturday on the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding card.
The scores were 100-90 on all three judges scorecards, an accurate reflection of what took place in the ten round fight at Madison Square Garden.
Taylor, 32, of Bray, Ireland improves to 12-0 (5 knockouts) with the win. Wahlstrom, 38, of Helsinki, Finland drops to 22-1-1 (3 KOs), who loses for the first time in her eight year career.
“I thought it was a very good performance. She’s obviously a fantastic champion and a great, great fighter. I knew it was going to be a great showcase for women’s boxing,” said Taylor.
“It was such a privilege to fight here in Madison Square Garden in front of so many Irish people, so thank you so much for the support.”
From the outset Taylor was the more aggressive and explosive of the two, backing up Wahlstrom and landing with body blows to set up punches upstairs. Wahlstrom, who holds the WBC title a division below at 130, seemed gun-shy to trade with the quicker Taylor, and would infrequently muster back a return shot against the combination punching of Taylor.
Wahlstrom started both the fifth and eighth rounds with more urgency, but on both occasions was forced back midway through the round by the counter shots of Taylor, who was fighting for the third time in New York and for the first time at The Garden. Wahlstrom hadn’t previously fought outside of Finland.
Wahlstrom began bleeding from her forehead after a clash of heads in round nine, and had a nasty cut on the corner of her left eye to go with it in the tenth round. As if that wasn’t enough to discourage Wahlstrom from a last ditch comeback effort, Taylor opened the final round with a twenty punch flurry to the body, to which Wahlstrom could only hold on and catch her breath.
Taylor’s domination was reflected in the Compubox punch stat numbers, which showed Taylor landing 133 of her 395 punches for a 34% connect percentage compared to 70 of 297 shots (24%).
Taylor voiced her interest in facing another undefeated champion in Amanda Serrano, which she says would be the biggest fight to be made for her around her weight class.
“The goal is to be the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. Obviously one of the biggest fighters out there is Amanda Serrano, and that’s a huge, huge fight,” said Taylor.