KATIE TAYLOR demonstrated her immense talent as she took Eva Wahlstrom apart in a pulsating world title fight at Madison Square Garden.
The pair had met six times in the amateur ranks but this was their first as pros, with the fight billed as one of the highest-profile bouts in women’s boxing to date.
And Taylor wasted no time in getting into her work in-front of a packed crowd at The Garden, dominating the early stages and drawing blood from the Finn’s nose within the opening round.
Wahlstrom didn’t have an answer to Taylor’s superior hand-speed, as she demonstrated some terrific combinations to break through the defences all too easily again in the fourth.
A defensive Plan A clearly wasn’t working for the Finn, who attempted to go on the attack in the fifth only to be on the receiving end of some stunning right-left combos from the Bray Bomber.
The 2012 Olympic champion upped the tempo again in the next two rounds and had too much for Wahlstrom, who couldn’t muster a meaningful response to the silky skills on show from the Irish world champion.
Despite a brave rally in the eighth, Wahlstrom needed treatment to a cut following a clash of heads and was caught all too easily due to the speed, agility and power of Taylor.
But she showed terrific guts to make it through to the judges, despite being outclassed from the first bell to the last.
Taylor was given every round by the judges, taking all three 100-90 and was delighted to end Wahlstrom’s three-year grip on the WBC belt.
She said: « What an experience. It was a privilege to box here. I thought I boxed very smartly. With the crowd here behind me, it was just so special.
« Obviously I would’ve loved the stoppage, but with the two-minute rounds they’re tough to get.
« But I’m so happy tonight. I’ve a lot of respect for Eva and she’s a great person. It was an honour to share a ring with her. »
Taylor also retained her IBF and WBA world titles with the stunning win.