Lightweight champion Katie Taylor continuing quest to unify titles

After Katie Taylor was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics, she turned pro with one goal -- not only to win a world title, but to unify belts.

Ireland's Taylor, an Olympic gold medalist in 2012, accomplished the first part of her goal in October when he she handily outpointed Anahi Esther Sanchez to win a vacant lightweight world title. Now it's on to the next item on the to-do list.

Taylor will have a chance to earn her second strap when she fights Victoria Bustos to unify two of the 135-pound belts on April 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The fight was announced last week and Taylor appeared at a news conference in New York on Tuesday to discuss it.

"Last year was huge for me, but it was only the start and I believe that 2018 will be even bigger," Taylor said. "Unifying the lightweight division was a goal of mine from Day 1 in the pros and I want to have all the belts by the end of the year."

Taylor was on hand at the news conference put on by Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn to kick off the promotion for the HBO card, which is headlined by former middleweight world titlist Daniel Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs), of Brooklyn, taking on Polish contender Maciej Sulecki (26-0, 10 KOs). It also includes a heavyweight title eliminator between Brooklyn's Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) and France's Johann Duhaupas (37-4, 24 KOs), a former world title challenger.

Although Taylor's bout with Bustos is not scheduled to air on the HBO telecast -- though Hearn and HBO Sports executive vice president Peter Nelson are talking about it possibly being added -- Taylor is nonetheless looking forward to her chance to win another belt.

"I'm so excited to be fighting in the Barclays Center again," said Taylor, who won a fight there in July in her final bout before winning her world title. "It's a huge fight for me against a great opponent, one of the longest-reigning champions. But I'm training hard already and I know I can deliver a big performance and put on the fight of the night."

Taylor (8-0, 4 KOs), who trains regularly in Connecticut, made her first defense in London on Dec. 13 with a one-sided decision against Chicago's Jessica McCaskill. Bustos (18-4, 0 KOs), 29, who will be fighting outside of her home country of Argentina for the first time, has held her title since 2013 and has defended it five times. She was not at the news conference.

Hearn signed Taylor, one of the most decorated female amateur boxers ever, out of the Olympics with the belief that she would quickly find her place in exactly this kind of high-stakes world title fight.

"Katie won it all as an amateur and she's ready to dominate as a pro," Hearn said. "Katie has taught me that it's not about women's boxing -- it's about boxing. Katie is the best female fighter on the planet -- no question. The Irish will be out in force and do not miss watching this girl fight. She's incredible."