Irish professional boxer Katie Taylor faces Natasha Jonas at Manchester Arena this Saturday as she bids to defend her undisputed lightweight title.
Taylor is a two-weight world champion and holds the WBA, IBF, WBC and WBO belts as well as the Ring magazine title.
The 34-year-old is one of just eight boxers, male or female, to hold all of these honours simultaneously and is considered the inaugural lightweight lineal champion.
Already a beloved figure and icon of the boxing world, Taylor has an army of loyal fans. That being said, here are five things you need to know about the Bray Bomber:
She had an unbelievable amateur career
Taylor was coached as an amateur by her father and two older brothers at St Fergal’s Boxing Club in Bray.
At 15, she fought the first-ever officially sanctioned female boxing match in Ireland when she defeated Allana Audley at the National Stadium in Dublin.
Across her distinguished amateur boxing career, Taylor won five consecutive gold medals at the World Championships, six golds at the European Championships, five at the European Union Championships and a famous gold at the London Olympics in 2012.
It was in 2009 when the Irish star first entered the private eye, beating Caroline Barry of the United States on the undercard of the bantamweight world title fight between Bernard Dunne and Ricardo Cordoba.
Speaking afterwards, Taylor said: “I couldn’t believe the reception I got –– it was an amazing experience for me.”
She’s beaten Jonas before
On course to winning gold at the Olympics, Taylor actually faced Jonas in the quarter-final, who was competing for Great Britain.
She achieved an impressive 26-15 victory to book her place in the semi-finals and secure at least a bronze medal.
That win was relatively comfortable in truth, but Taylor will expect a much greater challenge this weekend.
She played professional football for Ireland
Not just a talented boxer, Taylor also represented the Republic of Ireland women’s football team at under-17, under-19 and senior level.
Having made her debut for the full national team in 2006, the boxing star went on to make 11 appearances, scoring twice.
Her first international goal came against Hungary in a UEFA Women’s Euro 2009 qualifier, which Ireland won 2-1.
She messaged Eddie Hearn on Twitter before turning professional
Taylor is renowned as a trailblazer of women’s boxing, helping to gain more exposure and more money for female fighters.
When she decided to turn professional in 2016, the undisputed champion reached out to Matchroom Boxing chief executive Eddie Hearn by messaging him on Twitter.
Hearn recently posted a screenshot on Twitter of the messages alongside a photo of Taylor holding all four of her belts, captioned: “How it started...how it’s going.”
Speaking to The Athletic about her first interaction with Hearn, Taylor admitted: “I look back at that message and I’m really embarrassed at how I put myself out there.
“I just really wanted to see what could come of it. He’s obviously one of the biggest promoters around and with me being from Ireland, the UK fanbase was very strong, so I thought there was no harm in sending him a message.
“I was hoping he would get back to me but I didn’t know if he actually would.”
She’s still unbeaten in her professional career
In total, Taylor has fought professionally 17 times, winning every single bout, six of which were via knockout.
She first became the undisputed lightweight champion when she defeated Delfine Persoon at Madison Square Garden, on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
Persoon believed herself to have won the fight, but Taylor also won a subsequent rematch the following year to retain her titles.