Katie Taylor talks potential megafights with Cris Cyborg, Claressa Shields

3 min read
Katie-Taylor-Delfine-Persoon-2019-getty-ftr (Getty Images)

As the women's undisputed lightweight champion of the world, Ireland's Katie Taylor is constantly linked with dream bouts vs. the elite fighters not just within her weight class, but in neighbouring divisions and even other sports.

And during her preparations for the mandatory title defence against Miriam Gutierrez at the SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday, Taylor sat down to talk boxing with DAZN's Chris Mannix.

While she remains focused on the immediate task at hand on Nov. 14, Mannix encouraged her to play along with a game which saw her rating various future opponents out of 10, with 10 meaning she would absolutely love to fight them one day and 1 meaning she has hardly any interest at all.

The first name offered by Mannix came from outside boxing altogether: current MMA star and Bellator's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg.

"That’s a 10," said Taylor (16-0, 6 KOs), confirming her eagerness to one day make a crossover colission with Cyborg happen.

"Whatever name you put out there, I’m very happy to fight.

"Obviously (Cris) is one of the biggest names in MMA. It’d probably have to be at a catchweight, and I hope the fight isn't going to happen in a cage and it is going to happen in the ring.

"But it’s something I’m very interested in doing."

Cyborg, who has competed in grappling and Muay Thai in the past as well as her 23-2 record in MMA, was granted a boxing license in California in 2017 and has stated her interest in crossing over to take on Taylor.

The Olympic gold medalist also told Mannix that undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill (9-2, 3 KOs) and the woman she dethroned in August, Cecila Braekhus (36-1, 9 KOs), score a 10 on her interest level rating, though a title rematch between the two in 2021 is likely to come first.

"I obviously fought McCaskill a few years ago," said Taylor of her Dec. 13, 2017 win over the new welter champ which took place at London's York Hall, though McCaskill would surely be a completely different proposition if the two ever met in the ring again, thanks to her recent success.

"Braekhus has been the number one for a few years now. Both of those are fantastic and I’d be happy to fight either of those girls."

Mannix continued to roll on with big and seemingly unlikely bouts, next offering up the middleweight division's undefeated multi-champion Claressa Shields (10-0, 2 KOs).

This received another enthusiastic "10" from Taylor, though she admitted it may be one of the most difficult to make happen.

She said: "I think that’s a dream fight for everyone, isn’t it?

"A lot of people have her as number one pound-for-pound, so it’s a fight everyone dreams about.

"It’d have to be some sort of catchweight as well, because I walk around at 140 lb and I definitely couldn’t go heavier than 147 lb, but I’d be open to fighting at 147."

With the WBO vacating their middleweight crown from Shields in September and the title being subsequently won by Britain's Savannah Marshall, who remains the only boxer to ever defeat Shields at any level of the sport, it seems Shields vs. Marshall is the more obvious megafight to market, though time will tell whether we ultimately arrive at a stage where Taylor and Shields could do battle at a catchweight.

Lastly, Taylor reiterated her desire to have at least one of these mouth-watering bouts in her native Ireland before she retires.

"It’d be an awful shame if I went my whole career without fighting in Ireland at some stage," said Taylor. "My fights have mostly been in the UK so far, but to have a fight in a packed stadium in Ireland at some point would be a dream.

"I want to be in the big fights, I want to be an active fighter and I want to be in fights the fans want to see."

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