Katie Taylor now has platform to demonstrate what she stands for, says Ruqsana Begum
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 07/03/17 4:46pm
Katie Taylor's blossoming professional boxing career offers further proof women can fight, Muay Thai world champion Ruqsana Begum says.
Irish sensation and 2012 Olympic gold medallist Taylor dazzled on her third pro outing, stopping Italian lightweight Monica Gentili inside five rounds on the undercard of Tony Bellew's stunning win over David Haye at London's O2 on Saturday.
With Swindon's Kelly Morgan set to fight for the WBC world super-middleweight title, and double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams recently joining Taylor by entering the paid ranks, Begum believes the future is bright for women who can fight.
"Katie is a fantastic fighter and she's so exciting to watch," the British-Bangladeshi fighter told Sky Sports.
"It's amazing what she is doing - and because she is on mainstream TV and fighting at big events - there is a real spotlight on her, allowing more people to see what she is about and what she represents.
"She deserves that platform because she's a great role model and she's phenomenal at what she does.
"Female fighters are now being respected for their talent and their skill, and Katie and the others are paving the way for other women to step into the ring. They bring a different level of enthusiasm, courage and bravery. They're all talented fighters who work and train just as hard as the men."
Begum is a former European gold medallist and became a Muay Thai world champion at 48kg last year after a decade of fighting competitively.
"That really was a dream come true," she added.
"It's been a long journey and I've always had my eyes on the prize and I just kept on going and going till I got it."
The East Londoner's dominant world title win against Finland's Susanna Salmijarvi last April has seen her shortlisted for the prestigious UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year accolade at next week's Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards [BEDSAs].
"I'm ecstatic just to be nominated and at the same time I feel so humbled," said Begum, who is vying for the prize with cricketer Azeem Rafiq and double Paralympic gold medallist Kadeena Cox.
"It's nice to be recognised and I hope I can use my nomination as a tool to inspire others. For me now it's about how I can use what I have achieved to help make a difference to other women's lives and help other females fulfil their dreams."