Taylor moving up in class to challenge Linardatou

Boxing

Katie Taylor, the undisputed women’s lightweight world champion, is pursuing her next goal — to win a title in a second weight division.

Taylor will move up one weight class to challenge Christina Linardatou for her junior welterweight world title on Nov. 2 (DAZN) at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced Tuesday.

“Katie Taylor is now established as one of the biggest stars in world boxing and she bids to make more history by becoming a multi-weight world champion,” Hearn said at a news conference attended by the combatants.

When Taylor (14-0, 6 KOs), 33, who won an Olympic gold medal for Ireland in 2012, turned pro in 2016 after a second straight Olympic appearance, her initial goal was to win a women’s lightweight title, which she accomplished in her seventh fight.

Her second goal was to become the undisputed champion, which Taylor did when she collected the fourth belt in the 135-pound division by controversial majority decision against Delfine Persoon on June 1 on the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. undercard at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“I had some of my early pro fights at Manchester Arena and to come back in November and headline a card there a couple of years on is amazing,” Taylor said. “It’s played host to some huge nights in boxing history so I’m honored to be part of that tradition.

“It’s a new challenge at a new weight and something I’m really excited about. I still feel like I have so much left to achieve in the sport and becoming a two-weight world champion is one of those goals.”

Taylor said she is not necessarily leaving the lightweight division for good and she has not vacated her titles. “There are still so many huge fights out there for me like the Amanda Serrano fight, a rematch with Delfine Persoon and a fight with Cecilia Braekhus, but the first goal is Nov. 2nd and winning another world title,” Taylor said. “I don’t have any issues making lightweight so I think I can move comfortably between the two weights. I always want to push myself and Christina’s an excellent world champion so it will be a big test for me.”

Linardatou (12-1, 6 KOs), 31, a Dominican Republic native fighting out of Greece, won her 140-pound belt with a sixth round knockout of Kandi Wyatt in Athens in March, which she followed by a unanimous decision against Deanha Hobbs on June 7 in her first defense, also in Athens.

Linardatou’s only defeat came by unanimous decision challenging Persoon for her lightweight belt in June 2016. “I plan on leaving England with my title,” Linardatou said through a translator. “If I need to knock Katie Taylor out in order to retain the title, that’s what I’ll do.”

Former lightweight world titlist Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs), 32, of Manchester, will also fight on the card against an opponent to be determined in what he said will be his farewell fight.

After Crolla got knocked out in the fourth round in a mandatory title shot against pound-for-pound king and unified lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko on April 12 in Los Angeles, he said he wanted one more fight in front of his hometown fans before retiring.

Also on the card, rising light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (12-0, 10 KOs), 26, a 2016 Olympian from England, will take on former world title challenger in Blake Caparello (30-3-1, 13 KOs), 33, of Australia, who has won four fights in a row. He challenged Sergey Kovalev for his light heavyweight world title in 2014 and lost by second-round knockout after having dropped Kovalev in the first round.

England’s Felix Cash (11-0, 7 KOs), 26, will defend the Commonwealth middleweight title for the first time when he faces Jack Cullen (17-1, 8 KOs), 25, of England.

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