Katie Taylor is not bothered where she is ranked in comparison to Claressa Shields, preferring to view the debate surrounding boxing’s greatest female fighter as another hallmark of an unprecedented era in the sport.
Ireland’s Taylor, the undisputed world lightweight champion, was recently knocked off top spot in some pound-for-pound lists by American Shields, who earlier this month beat Savannah Marshall at London’s O2 Arena to unify the world middleweight titles.
The latest results sent fans of both fighters flocking to social media, arguing why their woman deserved the title of – to use Shields’ signature phrase – boxing’s GWOAT (Greatest Woman of all Time).
It is a dispute Taylor is happy to leave to those online, preferring instead to highlight the pioneering impact both women are having on boxing.
“I wouldn’t say [the rankings] motivate me at all,” Taylor told the PA news agency. “I think we’re both just doing our thing, and I’m trying to be the best I can be, and she’s trying to be the best she can be, and we’re both having a huge influence on the boxing world, which is fantastic.
“I think some of the greatest fights we’ve seen this year have been myself and [Amanda] Serrano, Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall a few weeks ago, which is absolutely incredible.
“It’s been an amazing few months for women’s boxing and I’m just delighted to be a part of that.”
More than two million viewers tuned in to watch the 15 October fight between Shields and Marshall on an all-woman card, a sold-out event broadcaster Sky Sports believes broke the record for the most-watched women’s professional boxing event in history.
It surpassed the 1.5 million who took in Taylor’s undisputed lightweight crown defence against Serrano at Madison Square Garden in New York, the first women to headline the venue in its history and where another full house watched the Irishwoman edge a split-decision to retain her titles.
Those unprecedented numbers are part of the reason why Taylor is more concerned with the ring than the rankings.
The ‘Bray Bomber’ said: “For the first time in boxing history we’re seeing the biggest names as female fighters. Some of the household names are actually female fighters right now, which is absolutely incredible.
“We’re definitely seeing the best of women’s boxing for the first time in its history, I think, and it’s just a great time to be a part of the sport.”
Taylor (21-0) will defend her lightweight belts for the seventh time on Saturday when she takes on Argentinian Karen Elizabeth Carabajal at Wembley.
Both women are undefeated, but Carabajal 19-0 has never fought professionally outside of Argentina, nor for a world title, so Taylor remains the heavy favourite.
It will also mark a return trip to Wembley, where Taylor made her professional debut in 2016 when she defeated Poland’s Karina Kopinska.
Taylor, 36, said: “It’s been an amazing six years and just the start of an amazing journey for me as a professional boxer. So yeah, I’m definitely excited to step back in there and just to showcase what I can do.
“I’m not really one for looking back too much. It has been an amazing few years.”
Taylor knows she cannot fight forever, but insists any retirement talk is utterly of others’ ignition, joking, “I feel like everyone else is talking about [it]. It’s either they can’t wait for me to retire, but I feel very, very fresh right now.”
Before that day comes, Taylor hopes to see the fruition of a long-held dream of a fight at Dublin’s Croke Park — she has never fought at home in Ireland. She also has another burning ambition.
“I would love to fight in Las Vegas as well,” Taylor added. “That’s where the big mega-fights happen. I’d love to scratch that off my bucket list as well. But I just want to be involved in the biggest fights possible, really.
“I want to challenge myself against the best, and I’m excited about what’s to come.”