Katie Taylor Uses Her Experience to Defeat Firuza Sharipova
Undisputed women’s lightweight champ Katie Taylor (20-0, 6KO) returned to successfully make the fifth defense of her crown against Kazakh Firuza Sharipova (14-2, 8KO).
Taylor not only made the fifth defense of her undisputed status. She now has twelve WBA defenses, ten with the IBF, six for the WBO and five with the WBC. Needless to say, she is arguably the most dominant champion in the entire sport of boxing.
Upon the fight announcement, many were quick to state this was a “cherry-picked” event. Many had that thought process because of the anticipation to see Taylor in the ring with eight division champ Amanda Serrano. Nevertheless, the truth is, Sharipova is seen as one of the better women fighters in the lightweight division.
WHO IS FIRUZA SHARIPOVA?
Unless you are an avid women’s boxing fan, it is easy for someone like Sharipova to be perceived as a “cherry-pick” At 27 years-old, her resume doesn’t boast the bigger names in an already virtually unknown (to the average boxing fan) women’s professional circuit. All but one of her wins were in Russia and her native Kazakhstan. Regardless, she managed fourteen straight victories after losing her professional debut in 2016 and picked up numerous minor titles along the way.
Furthermore, Sharipova has a credible amateur career. She won several medals in Kazakh national tournaments; two of which were gold. While her amateur or professional accolades do not stack up against Taylor’s, Sharipova presents more of a threat than a “cherry-pick” would.
HANGING IN THERE WITH THE BEST
Both women were virtually identical in dimensions as Sharipova had a half-inch height advantage and Taylor ahead by the same amount in reach. The difference is the Kazakh purely fights from mid-range behind her jab. Meanwhile, the champ has an assortment of tools at her disposal to outclass opponents.
Early on, both fighters took time to feel each other out. While the challenger looked good bouncing on her toes and displayed decent reflexes, Taylor clearly had the advantage in hand speed and ring generalship. Each time the champion was first, the straight right hand landed on Sharipova with ease.
Also, Taylor would use “throw-away” shots to open her opponent up. This means a punch would be thrown but used as a decoy to draw attention away from the real punch that is intended to do the most damage. Sharipova fell for this every time but always looked to follow up with a combination of her own to diminish the big shot she just ate. Some times, it worked out for her as she showed good technical ability behind her jab. Unfortunately for her, Taylor was smart enough to adjust.
TOO MUCH EXPERIENCE
By the middle rounds, the champion switched things up a little by taking the fight to the inside. Thing got rougher as the challenger was exposed for her lack of an inside game. Then in round six, the challenger gets deducted a point for hitting on the break. As petty as the point deduction was, it really didn’t make too much of a difference as Taylor had this fight in control from the onset.
While Taylor won virtually every round, Sharipova showed that she could give even the best lightweight a slight headache in the ring. The official scorecards read 96-93, 97-92 and 98-92 all for the champ. 3kingsboxing.com had Taylor winning 99-90.
Next, the undisputed champion awaits the winner of Serrano vs former foe Miriam Gutierrez December 18!
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By: EJ Williams