Dunshaughlin boxing promoter Brian Peters has announced Olympic champion Katie Taylor faces double trouble at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin with the confirmation of both opponents for her bouts there on Sunday, February 24th and Friday, March 22nd.
Taylor will begin her Road to Rio campaign when she takes on German Champion Maike Klueners in February before switching her attention to reigning Ukrainian champ Yulia Tsiplakova in March.
The bout with Klueners sold out in a matter of hours leading to the addition of a second date at the same venue on March 22nd. A limited number of tickets remain on sale for the March 22nd bout from Ticketmaster.ie and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre box office. Taylor says she has been amazed at the response from fans and wants to reward them by putting on a show.
"I'm just so grateful for the support and I'll be looking to repay that with my performances in the ring," said Taylor. "Boxing at home is always special and I'm really looking forward to the fights. I've boxed both girls before and they are very experienced international boxers so I know what to expect. My Dad is already working on the tactics for those fights and we're working hard in the gym every day so it's great to have some fights coming up again and the fact they are in Ireland is an added bonus."
Katie's father and trainer Pete revealed that finding opponents willing to step into the ring with his daughter has become an increasingly difficult task. "It's always been tough getting opposition for Katie but it's even tougher since the Olympics. We tried for Queen Underwood and a couple of the other top American's but their national Championships are coming up at the end of March so the dates didn't really suit them. Very few of the Europeans are willing to box her before the European Championships later this year but both Maike Klueners and Yulia Tsiplakova accepted the challenge.
"They have both been competing at the highest level in women's boxing for quite a few years now and after the Olympics Katie is the one they all want to beat and that's something we're very aware off. Both girls like to come and have a fight so they should be exciting bouts and good to watch. Katie is training as hard as ever. She's moving on from the London games now and looking to the future and retaining her Olympic, World and European titles."
Klueners says she's looking forward to renewing her rivalry with Taylor. "Katie is a big role model for boxers across the world both male and female. Her success has been really important for female boxing and it's now taken seriously as a sport across the world and given the respect it deserves."
However despite her respect for Taylor and what she has done for the sport Klueners says she won't be intimidated and is happy to meet Taylor head on in Dublin. "Katie is the best female fighter in the world today but she is human too and boxing is a sport where anything is possible. I know it won't be easy but I have a brave heart and I believe I will be a very dangerous opponent for Katie.
"I recently won the German national championships so I'm looking forward to this fight and the European Championships later in the year with confidence. Of course like Katie I am also looking forward to the 2016 Olympics. I have considered turning professional and that is always an option but once the Olympic dream catches you it's hard to let that go."
Brian Peters who is promoting the events in association with Bray Boxing Club and Trinity Boys Boxing club says fans can expect a boxing night with a difference. "These events are about showcasing amateur boxing and also to tell Katie's story and the remarkable journey she made against all the odds from lacing up the gloves for the first time to standing at the top of the podium in London. There will be ten bouts in total with Katie obviously the main event but her Olympic team mate Adam Nolan will also be in action as will the next generation of Katie Taylor's."
Tickets for Katie Taylor's bout with Yulia Tsiplakova on Friday, March 22nd are priced from €40 (with a discount available for under 14's) and on sale from Ticketmaster.ie (0818 719 377) or the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Box Office.