Katie Taylor is the real star attraction in Manchester on Saturday night … the Irish icon has no appetite for Derek Chisora’s fighting spirit after his gruff threat to pull out of the showdown with Joseph Parker
- Derek Chisora resorted to promotional tricks and a hard sell on Friday
- But he failed to divert most of the interest in Saturday’s fights from Katie Taylor
- Taylor plays a subdued role as the undisputed lightweight world champion
- She takes women’s boxing to greater heights for Natasha Jonas’ fight
While Derek Chisora resorted to promotional tricks and a tough Friday sale, it was quite telling that he failed to divert most of the interest in the Saturday night fights from two women with a long history.
Had he done so, it would have been a disservice of the highest order to Katie Taylor, who has no desire to make a living out of belligerent outside the ring, which included a gruff threat to walk away from Eddie Hearn’s Manchester on Friday show because of a lost coin throw.
Whether that tantrum drove up his pay-per-view earnings check, or even his fee from Hearn’s pocket, is a matter for Chisora’s accountant, but the lingering sense of being the headliner in name only won’t have changed. The real draw for boxing fans has always been Taylor, and her fascinating reunion with Natasha Jonas from Liverpool.
The real draw to the Saturday night fights for boxing fans has always been Irish icon Katie Taylor
Derek Chisora’s irritability saw him threaten to withdraw from his fight over a lost coin
She plays a subdued role in the pantomime of boxing, but as the undisputed world lightweight champion, she brings much more to the table with her actions, taking women’s boxing to ever greater heights.
Defending her many ties against Jonas has proved enough to eclipse all other components of a Matchroom card supposedly led by Chisora, and followed by Craig Richards’ challenge for Dmitry Bivol’s light-heavyweight world title, Campbell Hatton’s second professional fight. and a return for Chris Eubank Jr after a year on Roy Jones Jr.’s ranch. James Tennyson is also heading towards big things again.
But undoubtedly it is Taylor, 34, who offers the most compelling story, as this is her third meeting with Jonas after two amateur wins. The second of these, a roaring quarter-final at the London Olympics in 2012, yielded an audience noise of 113.7 decibels – the most recorded of any event at those Games.
Taylor won gold that year and has since amassed an impeccable 17-0 professional record and world titles across two weights, becoming the most outstanding woman in boxing. Jonas, a world champion bronze medalist as an amateur, was controversially sentenced to a draw in her super featherweight title challenge against Terri Harper in Eddie Hearn’s yard last August, so this is both a second chance and a mission of revenge at the age of 36.
That hasn’t changed the persistent sense of being only the protagonist in name when facing Joseph Parker
In favor of the underdog is the suspicion that Taylor got lucky in at least one of her two point wins with the Belgian Delfine Persoon, which has led to the suggestion that the Irish woman has become vulnerable.
“The aura isn’t the same as what it was,” Jonas said Sportsmail. ‘It’s like the Anthony Joshuas and Vasyl Lomachenkos. Someone comes by and makes them human and that’s how it was with her.
‘We expect such high standards from her, put her on a pedestal, and then someone as a Person shows that they are human. They have flaws and make mistakes. Taylor, who won’t have the same insane work pace that she endured from Person on Saturday, hasn’t bit back. “I don’t think I’m someone whose skin can be mastered,” she said. ‘I don’t believe what they say. I know that I will be at my very best.
“Tasha herself has a loss on her record, and that loss is the result of a knockout, so if anyone can get hurt, it is actually her.” Chisora took a more dramatic approach leading up to a fight that will determine if he can still play a role in the heavyweights.
Many dispute his status as a pay-per-view headliner, but he has a habit of grabbing attention, which in this case posed a threat to walk away after losing a toss from former champion Parker over who came second in the ring would come. Hearn and Matchroom CEO Frank Smith were both sent to Chisora’s room to resolve the deadlock, and many raised eyebrows about the rationale for his maneuver.
Taylor prepares for a fascinating reunion with Natasha Jonas from Liverpool (left)