Irish boxing fans are in for a real treat if a proposed January bout between Olympic and World champion Katie Taylor and Quanitta Underwood, the ‘Queen of U.S Boxing” is confirmed. The Bray woman mentioned this possibility when appearing on last week’s ‘Late Late Show’ though as yet no final arrangements have been agreed.
Most likely venue would be the O2 arena in Dublin’s Dockyard which could house around 9,500 seated fans as was the case in March 2009 when Bernard Dunne became the WBA Super-Bantamweight World Champion as he defeated Panama’s Ricardo Cordoba with an eleventh round knock-out.
On that same bill, Taylor scored a convincing 27–3 win over three-time Pan-American champion Caroline Barry, the then United States champion.
As most Irish fans will recall, Queen Underwood and Katie Taylor’s most recent bout was in Barbados in September 2010 when in a ‘never to be forgotten’ semi-final of the World Championships, Underwood came from being 10-2 down at the end of the 2nd and 13- 6 a round later , to
level at 16 – 16 with but 40 seconds left . Taylor found the target twice in those last few seconds going on to win 18-16 and next day in her 100th career win took her 3rd World crown with a much more convincing win over China’s Cheng Dong .
The Bray woman had entered the ring against Underwood some 2kg below her normal weight but as IABA Head Performance Unit coach Billy Walsh revealed months later
“She got an injury, took too much difene, got diarrhoea, weighed in two kilos below her weight and nearly lost the fight” .
If it comes to pass, it would be their fourth meeting as Katie beat Underwood 30-3 at the National Stadium in Dublin on February 27th, 2009 — she also stopped the American in the second round at the Arch Centre in Kildare three days later in the second Ireland v USA dual international that year.
The most likely dates for a Dublin contest would be either 18th or 25th January and it is likely that the bill that night would also include some top class male supporting bouts.
Should Underwood not be available, a possible opponent would be Team GB’s Natasha Jonas whom Taylor defeated in the Olympic Quarter Final at the ExCeL Arena in what was described as one of the bests bouts of the Olympics, male or female. Indeed it would not surprise me if Underwood’s appearance in Dublin – should it come off – may well be her last as an amateur for it is widely believed in U.S boxing circles that after her Olympic games opening bout defeat by Jonas she is considering a professional career . I well recall attending the press conference when a very disappointed Underwood said:
“I don’t think staying amateur another four years is wise. I’ll be what, 32?”
“I gave away like half my life for this” “It just doesn’t feel like the reward being here is enough. I just wish and hope that the supporters and fans, and my family, can look at my journey as a champion rather than the outcome of the decision.”
Though it was the first Olympics that included women’s boxing she did not view the moment in purely historical terms.
“Just being a part of history wasn’t enough for me,” she said.
“The gold medal meant more.”
So it might well be farewell for Queen Underwood at the O2 in January. In other news, Tajikistan’s Olympic bronze medallist Mavzuna Chorieva has married and according to the respected “Global Voices” agency she has announced she is ‘temporarily retiring’. Chorieva lost to Taylor in London.
On October 27, the 19-year old boxer got married and announced that she would not return to the boxing ring until after she has a child. ”I love the sport,” she told journalists. “But family is more important to me.”.
At 20, Chorieva was seen as one of Taylor’s main competitors in Rio.