The peak
Fight announcement

Ring Kings, the American subsidiary of Final Bell Boxing, announces that no mountain is high enough. Taylor Grant will defend her Lightweight world championship against Julia Rose.

The match, scheduled for 12 rounds of three minutes each, will take place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, in the United States. The referee in charge of the action will be Akane Watanabe, from Munich, to enforce unified rules.

This fight will be broadcast as free-to-air by Star Sports 2 in North America and everywhere else as a stream for a one-time fee through the Box TV app.

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“Peppermint” Taylor Grant is one of the most fantastic boxers of her generation. Aged 28, she has compiled a record of 22 wins, one defeat with 14 victories coming by way of knockout. The New Orleans native most recently stopped Sophie Schumann to gain the Lightweight title.

Never did I doubt that Julia would say yes to a good challenge. We’re made from the same fabric. Two women who are ready to leave everything in the ring. I’m not leaving the belt to her in there, though. I’m walking back out as the champion as she tries to recover her senses after tasting my greatness.
Taylor Grant

Julia “Padded Cell” Rose hails from Phoenix, Arizona. Aged 26, her record stands at 9 wins, 2 defeats and three wins coming by way of knockout. Known for her “never die” approach to boxing, she is currently ranked as number 8 in the Lightweight division.

I come in as the underdog and I don’t care because this is MY chance. Taylor is in for the shock of a lifetime! She tried to handpick another American as her challenger and she will get burned!
Julia Rose

The matchmaking had Taylor knowing she could draw anyone from the talent pool. She needed a “keep busy” title defense before the rematch with Sophie Schumann, and she left no stone unturned when dealing with Anita Martin, CEO at Ring Kings.

Taylor: “Please. Not Leyla Abdul. I’m sure you saw her get crushed by Zohana Patel. She’s washed up. The opponent can’t be too easy.”

Anita: “That means Leonie von Hammerstein and Lia Gandhi are out. Super talented, but still green. Elsie Nadege is a good fit, but she’s dangerous.”

Taylor: “A good option, but let’s see who else is available. Got any American to offer?”

Anita: “Julia Rose is one, and she’s a wild card. She’s big for a Lightweight, so she can easily make the jump. She’s as hard as nails. Might take you to the final bell.”

Taylor: “An All-American showdown in Vegas! Let’s do it!”

Going Native

In New York City, coach Sam Romero selects a high-quality sparring partner in Namid Henderson. The Native American is known for her defensive skills but also for having excellent hands. She’s asked to push the sitting champion to the limit before facing a challenger whose stamina is her most dangerous asset.

While Taylor dominates most of the action, she is made to pay every time she makes a small mistake. Such as here, when she overdoes it with aggression and gets fed a solid portion of gray leather.

Sam: “What have I been telling you since you started working with me? That you can be so damn stupid at times! I won’t stop reminding you because you have a belt! Mind your fucking defense! Just because you’ve got the best skills doesn’t mean you can do anything to anyone.”

Once that session is over, the visitor has a question.

Namid: “Is he always like that?”

Taylor: “Yep. New Yorkers have a big mouth. But look where he brought me. Gotta take it.”

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Fast lane

Julia has her camp in sunny and hot Phoenix, where sparring partners are put to the test. With the knowledge that she’ll get her best purse, coach Nathan Jones manages to attract starlet Lia Gandhi for some lucrative sparring.

The Cheetah, an Olympic gold medalist at Lightweight, is a solid fit since her explosiveness, accuracy and range mirror the opponent’s skills. Dealing with that in camp means that the speed won’t be a surprise ringside, but it’s not an easy process. Lia’s hands seem to magically find Julia’s flesh even when she moves fluidly.

Nathan: “Keep working hard! Vary the moves a little more before trying to get past that long reach. You’ll have to do a lot of that in the fight.”

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Disparity

At the end of the grind, there is promotional work and, finally, going ringside in Las Vegas. This world title fight is the main event of the evening. Taylor can defend a world title in front of her fans at home while Julia gets the biggest opportunity of her career.

Ring announcer: “Introducing first and fighting out of the blue corner. She is wearing blue and she weighed in at 134.2 pounds. She is trained by Nathan Jones at Maverick Boxing in Pheonix, Arizona. Her professional record stands at 9 wins, 2 defeats and three wins coming by way of knockout. The challenger… Julia ‘Padded Cell RRRRRRROOOOOSSSSEEEEEEE!”

Julia Rose introduction

Ring announcer: “Her opponent across the ring is fighting out of the red corner…”

The champ gets some cheers already.

Ring announcer: “She is wearing green and white and she weighed in at 134.8 pounds. She is trained by Sam Romero at Stitches Gym in New York City. Her professional record stands at 22 wins, one defeat with 14 victories coming by way of knockout. She is the REIGNING AND DEFENDING Lightweight champion of the world… ‘Peppermint’ Taylor GRRRRRRRANNNNTTTTTTTT!”

This time, the crowd erupts. It’s a moment the champ has dreamed of.

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Rocky and Apollo

The Star Sports 2 crew goes for the side by side comparison.

Jim: “The skill sets in this ring remind us of the classic Rocky vs. Apollo matchup. The defending champ has every advantage but one, which is durability.”

Warren: “Which is sometimes the one that makes a difference in boxing, especially if the one who carries the belt doesn’t take her challenger too seriously. Julia Rose embraced her role as the underdog, and she’s got nothing to lose. Taylor Grant is the favourite but she still has a job to do.”

Jim: “By taking nothing for grant-ed.”

Taylor Grant Julia Rose side by side

 Akane Watanabe gives her final instructions before the girls go back to their corners. Moments later…

Akane: “BOX!”

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Taylor Grant Julia Rose rounds 1-3
Taylor Grant
Taylor Grant
The reigning Lightweight world champion is a wealthy black woman who has the fastest hands in the division. Explosive, full of charm and cheeky attitude.