Christina Linardatou: “I Was Ready to Explode!”
Without any outside obstacles, excelling at boxing is one difficult objective to achieve. The required hours of dedication to the craft, grueling sessions in the gym and sacrifices at the dinner table are often times more than most athletes can sustain. When stationed on the elite level, all these elements become intensified greatly. This is why when a fighter arrives at the championship level, they are adamant about tolerating zero disrespect.
A CHAMPION SLIGHTED
At her September 17 presser, WBO world super lightweight champion Christina “Medusa” Linardatou (12-1, 6 KO’s), felt highly disrespected. The event’s purpose was to announce her November 2 prizefight with WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF world lightweight champion Katie Taylor (14-0, 6 KO’s). When they meet at Manchester Arena, Taylor will be stepping up in weight to challenge for Linardatou’s WBO strap.
“That’s why I say I’m better now, because before I was ready to explode on anyone in front of me […] that’s why I do boxing, it calms me down because sometimes when I get angry I need to train, train, train, train a lot to calm down. So now I’m not training here and we have these things happening so I was like I want to kill someone!” ~Christina Linardatou, WBO super lightweight champion
At the media event, it was overtly evident that Linardatou was not pleased. Like her moniker suggests, Medusa’s smoldering eyes were more than ready to turn some hapless individual into stone! The reason for the champ’s such a sour mood was because she was unhappy with her contract.
THE DEVILISH DETAILS
Astonishingly, it was revealed that Taylor, the challenger, was guaranteed a rematch, while as the champion Christina Linardatou was not. Eddie Hearn alibied Taylor’s impending future obligations as justification. Given obligations with Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano (37-1-1, 27 KO’s) and Delfine Persoon (43-2, 18 KO’s), he was not at liberty to offer Linardatou a rematch clause.
Interestingly, Serrano is currently claiming that Taylor’s November 2 fight is a duck. By her account, the Irish star should be fighting her now. The two did have a loosely agreed upon arrangement to fight one another. On top of the Real Deal’s very legitimate claim, many in the boxing world feel the bout with Linardatou is also a duck of Persoon. The majority of viewers who saw Taylor v Persoon felt as though the Belgian boxer bested Taylor and deserved the nod instead of a UD loss. This is why it’s so glaring that Taylor is fighting neither woman and briefly hightailed it out of the division.
“Anyway, we’ll worry about it later, but I’m telling you the reason that I can’t give you the rematch clause is because she [Katie Taylor] wants to fight Serrano and Persoon and the WBC are going to order Persoon as well, so it conflicts.” ~Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Promotions
THE IMPROMPTU COMPROMISE
Naturally, Linardatou and her promoter, Brian Cohen were none too pleased with this explanation. While all parties were still on stage Cohen and Hearn shared an intense, albeit brief, cantankerous moment. The instance almost ruptured into something more serious when a glib Eddie Hearn made light of Linardatou’s imbalanced contract. Once Hearn and Cohen had a chance to talk to the side, after the official proceedings, they came to a serviceable ‘gentleman’s agreement.’
With his temper cooled a touch, Cohen was able to get Hearn to agree that if she came up short against Taylor, Linardatou would be guaranteed a shot at WBC and WBO super lightweight champion Jessica “CASkilla” McCaskill (7-2, 3 KO’s). This agreement came with two stipulations.
“If Christina looks like a bat out of hell in this fight, and Katie beats her, you’ll give us McCaskill?” ~Brian Cohen, Christina Linardatou’s promoter
“I’ll tell you, I have to be honest, if there is no way for McCaskill to unify, Yes!” ~Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Promotions
The first was that, even in a losing effort Linardatou would have to put on a great showing. The second stipulation stated that McCaskill would not be offered if at the time she had a chance to unify. Granted both items were in place, if necessary, Medusa would get her shot at CASkilla. The compromise, sealed by a handshake, seemed to quell the anger of both Cohen and his charge Linardatou.
Even though Linardatou in the end was somewhat placated, she was still mad at the initial disrespect. Although, outside of her own personal situation, the WBO super lightweight champion admitted that injustice done anywhere, to anyone, was a major pet peeve of hers. So even with the side deal in place, she fully intends on venting her lingering animosity on Taylor this November.
“What will happen in that fight? I told you, I’m going to destroy anything on my way. Simple. That simple, I have no choice. Every time I have to do the same: destroy what’s on my way. Anything else, because differently […] you never get the win, you will never be a world champion.” ~Christina Linardatou, WBO super lightweight champion
By: Bakari Simpson