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29th Apr 2018

Katie Taylor unifies world title in easily the best fight of her career

That was a war

Ben Kiely

Two down, two to go for Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor has added the IBF title to her WBA crown, but it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Although the judges scored the fight 99-91, 99-91, 98-92 in her favour, she had to work to beat Victoria Bustos.

It was easy to tell that Bustos was an experienced champion. This was her sixth defence of the title she held for over five years. However, the skill differential was very prevalent for the duration of the fight as the Pride of Bray put on a show. Taylor cut off the ring well from the get-go, trapping her opponent against the ropes, piecing her up before retreating out of danger.

As the fight headed towards the middle rounds, Taylor only extended her lead. She was dominating the exchanges, consistently landing the crisper, cleaner punches. She seemed to take energy from the ‘Ole’ chants from the Irish-heavy crowd inside the Barclays Center, Brooklyn.

Even while she was being thoroughly outclassed to rapturous applause, Bustos never lay down. It didn’t take a boxing expert to realise she was well behind on the scorecards heading into the final rounds, but she wasn’t prepared to hand her title over to the heavy favourite. Once the result appeared beyond all doubt, Bustos tried to turn the one-sided showcase into a fist-fight.

Taylor had the speed advantage, the better technique and was overall the more talented pugilist, bust Bustos had heart. She bit down on her mouthpiece, stepped inside the phonebox and goaded Taylor into a close-quarters gun-fight. Taylor landed with more venom more consistently, but Bustos got her shots in. If she was going to go down, she was going to do it swinging. Although, she never actually hit the deck.

Bustos’ face was marked up, but no blood was drawn. She tolled the dice in the closing minutes throwing some decent haymakers, but Taylor fired back harder. Once the final buzzer sounded, both warriors embraced in the middle of the ring. Bustos was soundly beaten, but she wasn’t embarrassed by the best in the world. She went the distance and even when all hope seemed lost, she brought the fight to Taylor.

After the fight, Taylor praised her opponent for her toughness and bravery.

“I’m so, so happy right now. As I said before, it’s always been my dream to acquire this title. It was a tough, tough contest. I had to work for every, every second of every round. She’s obviously a proven champ coming into this fight so I knew I had to be sharp. I’m just so, so happy right now.”

Another win in the books. Another belt in the bag. It’s only onwards and upwards for Taylor from here on out as even greater challenges lie ahead. There are still two more belts out there to be won.