Katie Taylor vs. Han Live on DAZN on Saturday
Katie Taylor says she is relishing the opportunity to make the latest defence of her Undisputed Lightweight crown in front of 20,000 passionate Leeds fans at Emerald Headingley Stadium on the blockbuster Lara vs. Warrington 2 card this Saturday September 4.
The Irish star (18-0, 6 KOs) was forced to dig deep as she retained her World Titles via a unanimous decision victory after another memorable meeting with Natasha Jonas last time out at Manchester Arena in May – nine years on from their London 2012 Olympic Games bout.
This time Taylor puts her belts on the line against six-time national amateur champion and former IBF Featherweight World Champion Jennifer Han (18-3-1, 1 KO) – her latest Mandatory Challenger who heads into this weekend’s clash on the back of an eight-fight winning streak.
“My father was born and raised in Leeds, so we all grew up as Leeds United fans,” said Taylor. “There are still a few Leeds United fans out there! I’m really excited to fight in Leeds and in front of so many fans. It’s kind of like a second home to me so I just can’t wait. It’s going to be so exciting boxing in front of 20,000 people. The atmosphere is going to be insane. Leeds fans are very passionate and loud.
“I think the last 12 months have been fantastic for me personally. I’m still sitting here as the Undisputed Champion, 18-0 with some fantastic performances and some amazing fights under my belt. The fights I’ve been in have elevated women’s boxing to another level. This is the pinnacle of professional boxing – holding all of the belts, that’s what everyone in professional boxing wants to do. Everyone’s dream is to become the Undisputed Champion.
“I’m going to try my best to hold on to every one of those belts for as long as I can. This is what I’m in the sport for. I want to make history, I want to be a World Champion and I want to hold all of the belts – I’m all in. “The women are definitely more inclined to take a few more risks and actually go in and take the bigger fights. I love that about the female fighters. We actually want the big fights. We’re willing and able to actually step in the ring and fight all of these other champions.
“I’m expecting the toughest fight from Jennifer. She has a lot of amateur experience and she’s a very technical fighter. She’s a six-time World Champion. She was my No.1 Mandatory as well so I had to take the fight. These girls have stepped up – they’ve boxed beyond themselves, they have raised their game against me. I’m expecting a very very tough fight and I’m going to be prepared like I have been for every single fight I’ve had over the last few years.
“She is a fighter that believes in herself. This fight is going to bring the best out of the both of us. I love the fact that she’s stepping into the ring confident like I am as well. I don’t really take much notice of what other fighters say, I just focus on my own performance and my own preparation. We’re going to be stepping into the ring 100% prepared. The only words that matter are, ‘and still’. Training is going well – I feel good and sharp. I can’t wait to step in again on September 4 and get another great victory.”
HAN – THIS IS THE BIGGEST PLATFORM POSSIBLE FOR ME
Jennifer Han believes she can pull off the mother of all victories when she challenges Katie Taylor for the Undisputed World Lightweight Championship at Emerald Headingley Stadium in Leeds this Saturday September 4, live worldwide on DAZN.
Han (18-3-1 1 KO) is back in World Title action after giving birth to her second son earlier in the year, and the former IBF Featherweight ruler is more than confident she’s back in fighting shape for the biggest night of her career.
‘El Paso’s Sweetheart’, a six-time national amateur champion, landed the vacant IBF strap in September 2015, and went on to make four successful title defenses of the belt before taking time out to start her family. Han’s last fight came in February of 2020, a unanimous decision win against Jeri Sitzes on home turf at the El Paso County Coliseum.
The 38-year-old is moving up to 135lbs for the fight of her life and fights outside of America for the second time in her career, having been edged out by majority decision in South Korea by Ji Hye Woo in March 2013, and knows that she has to be at her very best to take the titles from the number one female fighter.
“I’ve been a road warrior, I know how it is, the odds are stacked against me, she’s the hometown girl – I get it,” said Han. “When I went to Korea, I felt I dominated the fight and the decision was taken away from me, so this time I have to not only dominate but be in command of every single round or go for the KO.
“This is huge, it’s the biggest fight of my life and you can’t get bigger than Katie Taylor. I’m going to be fighting for all her belts, this is the greatest opportunity that God has blessed me with, I’ve worked my whole life for this, and I am ready.
“After I fought last year, I was meant to defend my title again versus the interim champion, but she lost, and the new champion wasn’t ready to fight yet. The IBF granted me the opportunity to fight Jeri, and then they made me the number one contender at Lightweight so I could fight Katie – but then COVID got in the way and crushed those dreams.
“Americans weren’t allowed to go over to the UK, so the fight was shelved, there was nothing out there for me, so I had baby number two. I kept my number one spot which I did, I didn’t think that the opportunity would come around so soon, but it has, you must be prepared for this, and I am, it’s great and I have trained so hard for this and it’s going to be so worth it.
“I was IBF champion for five years, but I was only fighting once a year because I couldn’t get the big fights. I can’t pause my life, I don’t have that luxury, so I had my baby, I’m very lucky and happy. I am in great shape, and I want to fight the best of the best, and that’s what I am doing on Saturday.
“She has amazing strengths, an Olympic gold medalist, Undisputed World Champion, she’s beaten a lot of talented fighters, but they are not the same as me, and I think what I bring to the table she hasn’t seen before so I hope that I surprise her with my technique.
“I hope she underestimates me and takes into consideration all the things that are stacked up against me. I hope she hasn’t trained hard; she’s taken me for granted, that’d be sweeter for me.
“I was hoping to just be on TV and become a two-weight World Champion, but this is the biggest platform possible for me. I’m not going to take anything away from her, but she’s beatable. Believe me, my camp and I are studying her inside and out. We have plenty of strategies.”
Taylor vs. Han is part of a huge night of boxing in Leeds, Mauricio Lara (23-2, 16 KOs) and Josh Warrington (30-1, 7 KOs) face each other again in a huge rematch for the Featherweight division, rising Welterweight star Conor Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) faces Adrian Granados (21-8-3, 15 KOs) after their Fight Camp Week 1 headliner fell through, Mexico’s Jovanni Straffon (24-3-1, 17 KOs) makes the first defence of his IBO Lightweight World Title against the in-form Maxi Hughes (23-5-2, 5 KOs), Australia’s Ebanie Bridges (6-1, 3 KOs) looks to build on her impressive KO win over Bec Connolly at Fight Camp earlier this month when she meets Mailys Gangloff (5-2, 2 KOs), Super-Bantamweight prospect Hopey Price (5-0, 1 KO) steps up against Zahid Hussain (16-1, 2 KOs) in an all-Leeds clash, undefeated Super-Bantamweight talent Jack Bateson (13-0, 3 KOs) clashes with Felix Garcia (7-2-1, 3 KOs) over six rounds, 1-0 Super-Welterweight Brandon Stansfield takes on MJ Hall (2-61-2) and Light-Heavyweight Mali Wright makes his pro debut against Anthony Woolery (2-6).
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