Katie Taylor-Christina Linardatou set for November 2, Anthony Crolla to box for the final time
Undisputed female lightweight champion Katie Taylor will move five pounds north to challenge reigning WBO junior welterweight titleholder Christina Linardatou on Nov. 2 at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Taylor, The Ring champion at 135 pounds, is coming off a controversial 12-round majority decision win over Delfine Persoon, which saw her emerge as the first undisputed female lightweight champion in boxing history.
There was talk at Tuesday’s press conference that Taylor would renew ties with Persoon or open a new rivalry with unified featherweight titleholder Amanda Serrano in early 2020, but the Irish star expects a stern test from her next opponent.
“This is a huge opportunity for me to become a two-weight world champion, it’s history in the making for my country,” said Taylor (14-0, 6 knockouts). “I’m very aware of the challenge that Christina brings, and I do believe she’s the best 140-pounder in the division. I can’t wait for an exciting fight.”
Brian Cohen, manager for Linardatou, voiced displeasure towards Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn that his fighter – as defending titleholder – was not granted a rematch clause, whereas Taylor was. The atmosphere had turned decidedly frosty before the Greece-based fighter took the mic.
“It’s going to be a great match, I genuinely believe that,” said Linardatou (12-1, 6 KOs) through a member of her team. “Both Katie and I came from lower weight categories, but I came up to 140 for an opportunity to fight for titles. I’ve been fighting away from home for my entire career and if Katie wants my title, she’ll have to get it off me.”
Also on the card, former WBA lightweight titleholder Anthony Crolla will fight for the final time against an as yet unknown opponent. Crolla, who is coming off a fourth-round knockout defeat to pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko, is determined not to overstay his welcome in the sport.
“It’s the last one and if it wasn’t Manchester, then I probably wouldn’t have another one,” Crolla, 32, admitted. “I genuinely believe that I could compete at world-level for another year or two, but if you stay in boxing too long, then it takes more from you than you take from boxing. I don’t want to be that guy.”
Rising light heavyweight star Joshua Buatsi faces Blake Caparello on the card and Felix Cash takes on Jack Cullen for the Commonwealth middleweight title.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing