A star’s path

Tanille Taylor gets yet another magazine feature

The next Mayweather?

Tanille Taylor’s distinctive dyed hair heralds the swaggering entrance of one of boxing’s next potential stars. The young woman, who is not one for the spotlight in any matter, simply nods to the coaches, and goes about her usual routine, warming up alone and in silence.

Aloof, the fighter that has been anointed by the media as one of the great American hopes, doesn’t communicate with members of the gym around her, nor, it has to be said, this writer, even though she knows I am in the gym to watch her specifically. Her team will come by shortly, wooing me with new merchandise and regaling me with stories of Tanille’s upbringing, but it is all a bit contrived, a bit of a cover-up. Maybe she is just too focused on the tasks at hand to speak to me. That’s what an optimist would believe.

A few days prior, Taylor had been announced, with great fanfare, that she has been signed as an official Adidas athlete. The sporting brand has been dipping its toe in the boxing world (notably with a fellow Featherweight in Virani MacVicar) and this was a major endorsement. ‘The Prodigy’ will carry the flag for a major company for now. Certainly Taylor said all the right things in the press conference, and with the media machine that surrounds the young superstar, she is becoming a big brand in and of herself.


Taylor is easily digestible in the social media age. She doesn’t pretend to be someone that she isn’t. She makes no secret that she’s in this for the money, but instead of pushing people away, that level of honesty has struck a nerve. With a well-run social media team (Tanille’s fights are often short enough that their highlights make good Tik Toks), she has built a fanbase by being so different from most other fighters. She’s a prizefighter. A call back to a different age.

Her success in the ring has only helped with her branding. 8-0, 5 victories by knockout, many of them of the thunderous variety. At times, she seems to almost toy with her opponents, such is the level of ability in the ring. Boxing insiders don’t talk about if she’s a future world champion, but how long she may reign as the p4p best in women’s boxing. This is, still, a woman that is on the fringes of the top 10 of the Featherweight division and being brought along quite slowly by a cautious management team that has invested quite a lot in her.

Despite the hype, people wonder that Tanille’s disinterest with the sport itself will eventually be her downfall. But when this writer watches her hit the pads with such conviction and speed that most middleweights couldn’t manage, you wonder if there’s anything stopping her at all.

So however it ends, it will no doubt be a fascinating journey. There does not seem to be a future where ‘The Prodigy’ ends up mediocre, it will either be a spectacular success or a spectacular failure. There is no in between.

The Replacement

Three weeks before Tanille’s scheduled fight

Spencer: Tanille, Hey, we have some unfortunate news…

Tanille: Ugh, what is it?

Spencer: Your opponent, Amy Rucker just reported an injury. She’s are out of the fight.


Tanille: “So I still get paid?”

Spencer: “You get paid when you fight. So, no.”

Tanille: “So, give me someone else to fight.”

Spencer: “Well, we have one option. Sonia Fox. She is the American champion in this division.”

Tanille: “She ranked?”

Spencer: “No. She’s basically an unknown.”

Tanille: “Fine, I don’t care. I want to get paid. I’ll fight whoever you can find. The local dry cleaner if you have to.”

Spencer: “I don’t think the commission would sanction that.”

Tanille stares wordlessly at the DAZN executive.

Spencer: “Okay, well if you want to fight Sonia, I can make that happen. Since it’s a lesser match I’ll have make it a 8 round fight instead of 10.”

Tanille: “Does that change how much I get paid?”

Spencer: “No.”


Tanille: “That’s perfect. Same pay for less work.”

Spencer: “But making it 8 rounds also means it doesn’t qualify to be an American title fight.”

Tanille: “Should I care about that?”

Spencer: “You don’t want the American title?”

Tanille: “Does it earn me more money?”

Spencer: “Well, the opposite actually, as you have to pay sectioning fees for your title fights to the organizing body.”

Tanille: “That’s dumb. I can buy an American title belt and call myself champion if I want. Just get someone in the ring with me so I get paid. Okay?”

Spencer: “Always a pleasure, Ms. Taylor.”

Putting the fire out – the Sonia Fox story

Sonia Fox, Featherweight champion of the United States of America, woke up to the sound of the fire alarm. That wasn’t much of a surprise, for the active duty firefighter from Mississippi.

An hour later, after yet another false alarm, Sonia was back in the fire hall barracks. This time, she couldn’t go back to sleep, like so many of her compatriots, so she found her quiet piece of solitude, a place she had personally repurposed from an underused closet. Just her, the heavy bag, and the sound of her hitting the bag. The perfect stress release.

Sonia hadn’t particularly wanted to be a firefighter. It was a good job and she liked it, but she had thought that she would be able to make ends meet as a professional boxer. She had been a good amateur, winning the American title in her weight class twice. A local promoter had convinced her that fighting for free was silly, when you could fight for a real, if small amount of money. The promise was simple, start slow, build a name for herself and then get a real contract.

It started off ominously, when she broke her hand in the first match of her career, making her corner stop the fight after three rounds. It had been the right decision, but it had rankled to lose her first pro fight. She avenged that loss a few months later and then reeled off four straight wins, making her record, 5-1. Sonia had been convinced to take a big step up in class, only to be brought back to earth by Steffi Slater in a one-sided decision loss.

Frustrated by the lack of progress, Sonia and her promoter had targeted the American title, figuring that winning that it would without a doubt lead to a bigger names and bigger purses. In her eighth fight as a pro, she became United States champion, upsetting her heavily favoured opponent, and leaving her senseless against the ropes as the referee stopped the action.

She and her promoter had scheduled a first defence of her American title in the state capital of Jackson, figuring that she would be able to draw a crowd, and with her purse being a percentage of the live gate, she would finally get a real payday, one that would allow her to quit her day job.

A paltry crowd of 122 people saw her beat Toni Dragulic by stoppage in Round 7. By the time she had paid her expenses for the fight (insurance, training camp, sanctioning fees), she had actually lost money. That had been the end of her relationship with her last promoter.

Even more frustrating than the terrible crowd was the fact that no local media had even showed up to report on the card. The American champion was unloved, and unseen, even in her hometown.

An opportunity presents itself

The phone rang at the home of Sonia Fox. It was her promoter, Steven Howard.

Sonia: “I almost don’t want to ask why you are calling. I just worked a 24-hour shift. I’m not really in the mood.”

Steven: “Okay. I’ll do the short pitch. TV fight on DAZN against Tanille Taylor. You interested or not?”

Sonia: “You mean that girl they’ve been hyping forever? The one that just announced a sponsorship with Adidas? The ‘next one’ of American boxing. The next Mayweather? That one?”


Steven: “I’ve touched a nerve, I see.”

Sonia: “Not your fault, but don’t you see the issue? She’s good, probably, but she has this big media machine around her, and I can barely get my name into the papers. She fights handpicked opponents on big televised cards, while I have to travel across the country and sometimes across the continent to find a half decent fight.”

Steven: “I keep telling you, your story doesn’t sell anymore. Everyone used to love the ‘All-American Girl’ story. Now there are so many of those, it’s impossible to be noticed. It doesn’t help that you aren’t from a traditional boxing market. It is what it is Sonia. But you beat Tanille Taylor, you are the next big thing, not her. One problem though – this is a short notice fight. It’s in three weeks.”

Sonia: “Three weeks! I won’t have time for a proper camp at all. I won’t even be able to get all that time off of work!”

Steven: “I never said it was fair.”

Sonia: “It’s just so typical. Would Tanille Taylor ever take a short notice fight? No! She’s the golden child.”

Steven: “You can turn down the fight. No one is holding a gun to your head.  There will always be other fights.”


Sonia: “I’m not going to get another chance like this, though, am I? I have to take it, right? Plus, you know, I might actually earn some money from this fight for once. And we know the boxing media will be there. When I win, they’ll finally have to pay attention to me.”

Steven: “So, I’ll tell them that you accept?”

Sonia: “Send me the financial details, but yes. I want that flame haired girl in the ring in front of me.”

Sonia thinks: It’s my time. I put in the time. Now it’ll be my spotlight.

Next post

Basic HTML to style comments


  1. This is very fascinating, hard work versus hard talent. Someone who chose the money over a championship fight versus someone who struggles to make enough. That 3 week window will definitely be the key factor though. If Tanille was preparing already for a different opponent, she probably has the edge due to more training time on her part. However, Sonia being determined for attention can play a part as well and we’ve seen how underdogs can take it to the favorites. This is a rare time where it seems that an American champion is up against a way more popular American opponent.

    • There’s a big contrast here. The prodigy is the type of fighter who has been blessed by talent, and only sees a way to use that talent to make money. Fair enough – thats everyone’s goal in the fight game, but few pursue it so obviously as Tanille.

      Taking a fight on late notice is quite difficult for the fighter who takes the fight – yes Tanille could have been preparing for a different opponent, but she’s still sharp, still in the middle of camp, and has the ability to adjust. Sonia has to start from scratch.

      The American champion enters this fight unknown and truly and underdog. Its the opportunity that she’s clearly wanted, though given in a way she doesn’t prefer.

  2. Hmm Sonia seems like an interesting opponent, and from what it sounds like she’s a tough and skilled fighter, so I’m looking forward to see what she can do.
    I feel she needs some attention in the boxing world so people can know who she is.

    Ah and then there’s Tanille….the fighter who just does boxing cause she’s just magically good at it and only for the money…seriously how many times has she asked about money and being paid in this fight?!
    She’s just another Kayleigh, so that’s two figured I’d like to see her knocked out at this point.

    All Tanille is is hype facing easy ass opponent and never a real challenge, so I hope Sonia is the one to give her a good challenge (hopefully beating her ass) and knocking her out, let’s see if all the money in the world can motivate the so called prodigy 😒

    • Sonia’s got an interesting story – she’s a champion but she’s gone fully under the radar. She gets a chance to prove herself against a fighter that is very tough.

      Tanille is a talent, but her attitude is hardly an ideal one. Still, that talent was enough to steamroll even decent fighters like Emma. It’s not easy to be in the ring with someone like her.

      Tanille loves money and she knows that to make more money she needs to keep winning. We’ll see if Sonia can stand in her path.

      • Yeah but it doesn’t stop the fact that she hasn’t had a real challenge to begin with, I know Emma is skilled and pretty tough but she’s not on that level. Sonia sounds like a better challenge for Tanille, don’t get me wrong I love Emma and I still hope she becomes Canadian champion soon 🙂 but I don’t think she was ready for Tanille at the time.

  3. Tanille’s thoughts when she had that photo shoot: “Look at my gloves. They’re paying me to wear them!”


    That’s quite the spin on the “silver spoon” versus the humble background. Tanille has physical beauty, a marketing operation and business sense while Sonia’s American belt doesn’t pay. It seems that she lacks her opponent’s assets. Her reaction about fairness is telling, especially since she gets that short notice so typical of undercard fights.

    Tanille: “That’s perfect. Same pay for less work.”

    That’s the Tanille I know 😆

    What makes me the most curious about this matchup is seeing how Sonia fights. Is she the under-privileged one she says she is, or was she simply overlooked because no one saw her having the same potential?

    We know that Tanille has ability. When she starts throwing hands your way, there is little time to react and it means you have to be a solid boxer to just avoid being slaughtered. Unless, of course, her opponents were picked precisely because they’d get stuffed.

    How can Sonia deal with those hands when they start coming for her?

    • I think Tanille walks around all day with the prices of things in her eyes. She knows the value of everything.

      Tanille’s the talent with the media machine behind her, while the American champion toils in relative obscurity, working part time as a firefighter to make ends meet.

      It’s not fair, that Tanille has all these advantages, a media machine, not being thrown into a fight on short notice, sponsorships, etc. but that is the reality. Some people have the silver spoon as you put it, though not in the traditional sense.

      Tanille’s ability is unquestioned. We have yet to see her in a fight where those white gloves don’t cause major damage. She was able to absolutely flatten Emma in a short fight and while Emma’s not great, she’s no slouch either. There’s talent there. Sonia will need to realize that while Tanille is a bit of a media darling, she’s also still a great boxer. She cannot be taken for granted.

Comments are now closed.