Katie Taylor decides Jennifer Han will keep her crown undisputed
Katie Taylor has won every round by brushing aside Jennifer Han’s challenge to retain her undisputed lightweight world title in Lara-Warrington’s main support at Leeds.
At 35, Taylor needs some big fights, but it’s hard to see where they’ll come from. The fights against Amanda Serrano and Claressa Shields have long been talked about but now seem more distant than ever.
World welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill was ringside in Leeds, presumably hoping for a rematch of their 2017 fight, which Taylor comfortably won. Eddie Hearn also announced a tournament between the four belt holders to find the best super-lightweight. A fight with Taylor will almost certainly be the winner’s payoff.
Han of Texas was a former world featherweight champion. But that luck came out of nowhere for the 38-year-old, who had boxed only once in the past three years, becoming a mother twice during that time.
She made Taylor work for it, but never threatened to get angry. She was knocked down by a left hook in the eighth round, although she complained about slipping. It didn’t change the result. # “I knew in this fight there was no room for complacency,” Taylor said. “Every fight is a tough fight at this level. She was very good at surviving and was cunning at it.
“I am ready to fight anyone, I want to be in the biggest fights possible.”
Taylor didn’t give the American a moment to settle in, forcing her back from the opening bell with her jab and, as Han tried to land counters to the right, Taylor lurked after him, forcing her on the back foot. The more she backed up, however, the more eager Taylor seemed to land, throwing blows way out of reach.
In laps three and four, Taylor was more patient, and it paid off, as she waited for Han to start, then countered with gusts. In the fourth round, she landed a crisp left hook, then tilted Han’s head back with a heavy right.
Han started to come forward more as she attempted an opening, but it suited Taylor who chose her. The American was on the ground in the eighth round after Taylor landed on a left, although she argued, with good reason, that she slipped as referee Mark Lyson took the count.
Taylor advanced in search of a save, but Han was elusive in the ninth and came back to Taylor in the tenth and final lap, but Taylor was too strong and quick for her. When Han landed a shot, Taylor usually came back better.
The real fight would be against Kellie Harrington, who won the same lightweight gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics that Taylor won in London. Once upon a time there were training partners, a moment Harrington remembers, but Taylor does not. But with Harrington indicating this week that she won’t turn pro, such a fight will likely remain in the realm of fantasy.