Firuza Sharipova has an impressive enough record of 14-1 with eight knockouts but she has never been someone in the conversation as a real threat to Taylor and certainly not at the level of potential Katie conquerors such as Amando Serrano.
If half the job of a modern professional boxer is to sell their fight then Sharipova has already impressed, with her pre-match interviews
and soundbites adding an extra dimension to a bout which many viewed as a routine title defence against the WBA’s mandatory challenger.
Ochigava has history with Taylor, losing to her in the 2012 Olympic final in London but also getting the better of the Bray boxer in 2010.
Sharapova has enlisted the Russian as a trainer in the build-up to her fight with Taylor, hoping that her experience against the champion can give her an edge.
“Sofya has helped me to prepare for this fight,” claimed Sharipova. “No one else knows how to fight Taylor like Sofya Ochigava.
“Therefore, not only I, Firuza Sharipova, will be in the ring against Taylor, but the intelligence of Sofya Ochigava, who has prepared me very well for this fight, will be with me.
“Sofya has been in my camp from the very beginning, has passed on all her knowledge to me and has done her best to help me defeat Katie Taylor.”
Sharipova does appear to be putting a lot of weight into that defeat for Taylor 11 years ago, perhaps ignoring the fact that the Irish woman would go on to beat Ochigava for World Championship and Olympic gold two years later.
“I heard she was being a bit vocal for the past few weeks, but she seemed quite respectful up there. It is what it is,” Taylor said rather dismissively at their pre-bout press conference.