Taylor wins, targets world title shot this year

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LONDON– Katie Taylor produced another sparkling display by overwhelming Nina Meinke with her fast combinations and forcing a seventh-round stoppage win at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

The Irishwoman improved her professional record to 5-0 with her third stoppage victim in the second bout on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko world heavyweight title fight.

Many of the 90,000 crowd had yet to take their seats, but they missed another exhibition of brilliant boxing skills from the 2012 Olympic gold medallist.

Victory earned US-based Taylor the fringe WBA Inter-Continental lightweight title, but the plan is to land her a world title shot by the end of the year.

“It was a bit scrappy at times but she’s a great opponent, I was expecting a tough fight, but I’m absolutely delighted,” said Taylor. “These are moments that I dream of, boxing on big shows like these.”

Taylor was in complete control from start to finish and the stoppage had seemed inevitable. Meinke was brave, but outclassed, and Taylor showed she is ready for harder tests.

“I think I’m ready right now to box for a world title, but we leave that to the likes of Eddie [Hearn] and I’ll just keep focusing on my job. The best is yet to come and I didn’t perform to my best tonight but the most important thing is I won. I hope to unify the division.”

Taylor’s promoter Eddie Hearn hopes an American debut is next. “We are looking for an October-November date in Ireland for a world title,” said Hearn.

“America is next in June or July possibly on the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev bill. She’s the most entertaining female fighter on the planet – what you saw tonight was more professionalism.”

Taylor, who is from Bray in Ireland but trains in Connecticut with coach Ross Enamait, had expected the toughest test of her professional career against an opponent who started with one more paid bout on her resume.

Meinke (5-1, 2 KOs), from Berlin, had already sprung one surprise earlier in the week when she spoke at the pre-fight press conference in a Yorkshire accent. Meinke spent time in England during her childhood, studying for her A levels in Scarborough.

But she failed to cause Taylor any problems.

Taylor, 30, was too sharp for Meinke and her stinging blows quickly began reddening the face of the Germany-based boxer.

Taylor, whose last fight had been a month ago, landed quick flurries of punches as she relentlessly hunted Meinke around the ring. The German’s punches often landed short and off target and she was caught by a spiteful short right on the ropes in the fourth round.

But Meinke was tough and in the fifth appeared to be cut above her left eye during an accidental clash of heads. It was a nasty gash and Taylor kept throwing hurtful punches. Meinke was on unsteady legs in the sixth as Taylor began hitting to the body.

Taylor landed a few punches flush at the beginning of the seventh round and it seemed only a matter of time before there was a stoppage.

A few moments later it came when referee Howard Foster stopped the punishment with Meinke’s right eye badly swollen.

As well as her Olympic success, Taylor also won five world titles and six European titles in a 13-year amateur career. Now she is racing towards success at the top level in the pro ranks.

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