Irish star Katie Taylor aims to win a world title on Saturday when she fights on the Anthony Joshua undercard, but will she do it? Betfair's boxing analyst Frankie Monkhouse puts you in the picture...
All the talk in the build-up to Saturday night's boxing at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff will be about Anthony Joshua, fans looking to predict which round the all-conquering Londoner will knock Carlos Takam out in. But there's a healthy undercard, including the latest chapter of a fascinating Katie Taylor story.
The unbeaten 31-year-old takes a massive step up in class when facing experienced Argentinian Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA world title. Is she ready? Will the most-popular female fighter from Ireland step up and deliver? The markets think so, pricing her as a tight favourite, but there's plenty of value around for punters willing to work for it.
Taylor hasn't put a foot wrong so far
Taylor goes into her seventh paid contest with a perfect record - six wins from six starts, four of those coming inside the distance. The former amateur star wasted no time moving into the professional ranks, cutting down useful opponent Karina Kopinska in her 2016 debut, the fight lasting just three rounds.
A fluke? Don't even think about it. She followed that with a points verdict vs Viviane Obenauf next time out, an opponent who went in having won nine of her 10 bouts. Since then the darling of Bray has done nothing but progress, and was last seen launching herself towards major titles with a third-round win over American Jasmine Clarkson in front of a bumper audience in Brooklyn, a bill topped by Mikey Garcia vs Adrian Broner.
Rubbing shoulders with the sport's biggest names, and beating more experienced fighters, it was obvious Katie was ready to be pushed on. She realises a lifelong dream when fighting for a world title, and it's a gamble that'll pay off, according to the market. There's 1/33 on the sportsbook about another Taylor win - 1.04 through the exchange. Two of her last three wins have come inside-the-distance. A hattrick of KOs is 4/9 jolly in the method of victory market, top price on the sportsbook, 2/1 says she'll score on points.
Champion not giving up her crown without a fight
Anahi Esther Sanchez won the vacant WBA world title last time out, bashing Cecilia Sofia Mena in six rounds to clinch the strap. The 26-year-old from Buenos Aires must be given the credit she deserves for both the win and the manner in which she achieved it that night in Argentina, halting an opponent with a record of 10 wins, one defeat and a draw.
That was her 17th career victory, and ninth by way of KO/TKO, having got rid of Maria Carina Brito the start before, taking care of business in the first round. A 47% KO average, having claimed each of her last three wins without the need for the judges, a repeat can't be taken lightly, and there's 18/1 (sportsbook) she ruins the party by stopping Taylor. Now, it's a big price, but wouldn't that send out a message to the rest of the game?
She's far from untouchable however, having won only three of her last five. Beaten in Helsinki by Eva Wahlstrom on points, she was KO'd in four by Maiva Hamadouche over in France back in May. Keep that in mind. The visitor is 25.00 to win by any method, or 33/1 (sportsbook) for a points nod. Attractive prices, but not for me.
Team Taylor play it smart
Anahi Esther Sanchez arrives as the champion, but we know she's anything but bulletproof, and Team Taylor have obviously seen enough in her previous work to view this as a perfect opportunity to get their girl winning major titles. They wouldn't have her here otherwise.
It'll be a tactical fight in the early rounds, KT eager to avoid the power of her opponent. With the champion bringing 13 bouts more experience, as well as her fighter's pride to hang onto the belt at all costs, the value here looks to be Taylor on points.