The sport of Women Boxing has been enjoying a long overdue resurgence and belated recognition In recent years. Although much of the attention has centered around undefeated multi-division world champion Claressa Shields, the resurgence of Women’s Boxing Is also attributed to fighters such as undefeated Undisputed Welterweight world champion Cecilia Braekhus, who will go down in history as a fighter to have competed in and won the final fight to be broadcast by Home Box Office (HBO) in December of last year bringing the network’s forty-five year run in the sport to an end, and undefeated Undisputed Lightweight world champion Katie Taylor, who has been showcased over the last year as one of the stars of digital subscription streaming network DAZN.
Much like Shields and Braekhus, Taylor is not only unbeaten, but has also emerged as one of the top fighters in the sport. The native of Bray, Ireland compiled an Impressive record of 154-10-1, with 34 Knockouts as an amateur before embarking on a professional career. After turning pro in November 2016 with a knockout win over Karina Kopinska, Taylor would win the vacant WBA Lightweight world championship In her seventh pro fight by scoring a ten round unanimous decision over Anahi Sanchez in October of 2017. As her career went on, Taylor eventually fully unified the 135lb. Lightweight division by scoring a hard fought ten round majority decision over Delfine Pearson in June of this year in Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY.
The victory over Pearson seen as controversial by some meant that Taylor had for the moment stood alone atop the Lightweight division. As has been the case for many men and women in the sport after unifying a division, they set their sights on attempting to win a world championship In higher weight division. For Taylor, her attempt to become a two-division world champion will come on Saturday night as she will challenge WBO Jr. Welterweight world champion Christina Linardatou at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
The fight, which will headline one of two cards broadcast by DAZN along with the card In Las Vegas, NV headlined by WBO Light-Heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev defending against current unified Middleweight world champion Saul Alvarez, presents an Inter challenge for Taylor, who will be moving up five pounds from Lightweight to the Jr. Welterweight division.
In Christina Linardatou, Taylor will face a fighter who has won twelve of her thirteen professional fights. The Dominican Republic-born, Athens, Greece-based Linardatou will be making her second defense of the WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship she won in March of this year with a sixth round stoppage of Kandi Wyatt in Greece. In her last fight, Linardatou scored a ten round unanimous decision over Deanha Hobbs in June.
The question going into this fight is the same that is asked of any fighter that is moving up in weight. Will Katie Taylor be as effective as a Jr. Welterweight as she has been as a Lightweight? Linardatou has scored knockouts in six of her twelve career wins and it is logical to assume that her fight plan might be to apply pressure on Taylor from the outset.
While both women are boxer/punchers, Taylor has scored knockouts in six of her fourteen career wins. Although this Is nearly identical to Linardatou’s statistics, some may say that the champion might have a slight edge in terms of her ability to end a fight early. Stylistically, how do these fighters match up?
Taylor is a fighter who uses good lateral movement and precise compact combination punching to attempt to gradually break her opponents down over the course of a fight. She can be effective fighting from distance and has shown a willingness to fight on the inside and mix it up with her opponents. Although this has often worked out well for Taylor, her last fight against Delfine Pearson was the first time as a professional that there was an element of doubt as to whether or not Taylor had won the fight. A bout that was grueling, Pearson was able to push Taylor more than any of her previous opponents and left the ring that night having convinced some that she deserved the victory.
In contrast to Taylor, Linardatou is a pressure fighter who tends to look to force her opponents against the ropes. The champion is also heavy-handed and puts a lot of power behind every punch she throws. Although this would give an appearance of a potential advantage in the challenger’s favor, Linardatou has shown success in landing hard, thudding punches to the head and body in the past. While the champion has also shown a tendency to throw wide, looping hooks with both hands to the head, which could create openings for a fighter with Taylor’s counter punch ability, and more specifically her ability to be accurate with her offense, if Linardatou can bring the fight to the challenger and limit Taylor’s ability to move, this could prove to be another test for the Lightweight champion of the world.
In terms of common opponents, the lone defeat on Linardatou’s record came In a decision to Delfine Pearson in June 2016. While some may be tempted to base their opinion as to who might win this fight based on the fact that Taylor defeated Pearson in her last fight, whereas Pearson holds a victory over Linardatou, it I important to keep In mind just how competitive Women’s Boxing is and that there are several fighters throughout the sport who can give a world champion/elite-level fighter a difficult fight.
No matter who wins this fight however, Delfine Pearson will likely be a potential rematch option for both Linardatou and Taylor. With the sport of Women’s Boxing finally receiving its share of the spotlight, which will only benefit the sport in the long-term as far as its overall growth, there is nothing quite like the anticipation that usually comes before two world champions square off against each other. This observer believes as with the recent battle between world champions Heather Hardy and Amanda Serrano that this fight between Christina Linardatou and Katie Taylor has all of the potential to elevate both fighters and in the process continue the elevation of the sport.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Linardatou vs. Taylor takes place on Saturday, November 2nd at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The fight as well as it’s full undercard can be seen in the United States and several international countries on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 2PM ET/11AM PT. For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices/platforms/Smart TVs, availability around the world, and to subscribe please visit: www.DAZN.com.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the card can be seen on Sky Sports Main Event (Formerly Sky Sports 1) beginning at 9PM (Local UK Time.) For more information about Sky Sports Including channel schedules and availability in you’re area please visit: www.SkySports.com. Check your local listings internationally.
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