The last time we saw Katie Taylor in the ring, she had her hand raised via split decision following an electrifying thriller and instant classic with Amanda Serrano. Now, almost exactly six months later and Taylor returns to the ring at Wembly Arena in London, and live on DAZN, on Saturday night when she’ll defend her undisputed lightweight crown against Karen Carabajal.
A win and Taylor could line herself up for a must-see rematch with Serrano next year. With the stakes always high when Taylor fights, DAZN lists the keys to victory for each fighter.
Karen Carabajal’s keys to victory
Keep guard tight
At times, Karen Carabajal goes high with her guard. In the process, she leaves herself vulnerable to body punches.
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While feinting with her left or making good on that southpaw jab to set up her right, Carabajal often leaves the left side of her face unprotected as well. That makes her ripe for the punching with an overhand right. She got caught with the shot numerous times in her win against Lorena Edith Agoutborde back in April.
She cannot afford either undisciplined lapse against Katie Taylor who will feast on the body and connect with power via overhand rights as she did in her riveting win over Amanda Serrano.
Punch off the clinch with compact punches
Considering how relentless and ferocious Taylor can be, Carabajal might need to resort to clinching over the course of Saturday night’s fight. The key for the Argentine fighter is to punch off the clinch with compact punches. Amanda Serrano had success doing this against Taylor landing hard shots on the Irish sensation’s temples.
Let hands go behind the jab
Let’s be clear — this is Karen Carabajal’s chance to possibly walk out of SSE Arena in London as the brand new undisputed lightweight world champion. In order to pull off what would be a massive upset, Carabajal must let her hands go especially if she senses that Taylor is willing to exchange the way she did against Serrano. If Carabajal scores with her jab early, it would be in her best interest to bring the pressure and up the volume behind that weapon in attempt to put the favorite on her heels and possibly do enough to notch the upset. Carabajal must look to seize the opportunity.
Katie Taylor’s keys to victory
Pound the body
The first two keys for Katie Taylor have direct connection to Carabajal’s need to keep her guard tight on defense. Those would be ripping the body and looking to unload with the overhand right (see below). Taylor is already a solid, often relentless body puncher which won’t bode well for Carabajal if she holds her guard too high. If that happens, Taylor should turn Carabajal’s midsection to mush and cruise toward another defense of her undisputed titles.
Look to unload overhand right
If Agoutborde can tee off on and land that overhand right on Carabajal with bad intentions, imagine what the undisputed lightweight world champion can do. As aforementioned, Carabajal has a tendency to leave the left side of her face open while throwing her left jab. If Taylor times the lapse and unloads on the overhand right, it’s capable of doing major damage. If Taylor has softened Carabajal’s body up enough by then, look for the Argentine's elbows to drop, giving Taylor the open lane to unleash the overhand right.
Don’t get goaded into slugfest
The boxing superstar stood in the phonebooth with Serrano and exchanged heavy artillery, making their headlining fight at Madison Square Garden an unforgettable tilt. The back and forth fire was intoxicating but Taylor might have taken more punishment than she dished out despite the Irish icon winning by split decision. At 36-years-old, Taylor can’t afford to be goaded into exchanges like that to entertain fans. Relying on her superior boxing skills should be enough to get this victory and will go ways toward extending Taylor’s career.