IT is just over 20 years since a young Katie Taylor shared the ring with Alanna Nihell (then Alanna Audley Murphy) in what was the first sanctioned women's boxing bout in Ireland.

That Halloween night would prove the first step on a journey that would not only transform the life of Taylor, but women's boxing that two decades later is very much in the mainstream.

Taylor would go onto enjoy remarkable success boxing as an amateur as a six-time European and five-time World champion with an Olympic gold thrown in for good measure.

That success has rolled into her professional career with the 35-year-old the undisputed world lightweight champion (and two-weight having previously won the WBO light -welterweight title in 2019) and this Saturday, the number 20 comes back into play as she puts all five (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine) belts on the line in her 20th professional outing against Kazakhstan's Firuza Sharipova at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, live on DAZN.

The challenger has been bullish in the build-up, posting on her Instagram that she will knock Taylor out and shock the boxing world, but the Irishwoman is never one to to get into verbal sparing and insists she will give her answer once the opening bell sounds.

"I don't take too much notice of what the opponents are saying," she said.

"I had no idea that's what she was saying, but I just keep sky head down as per usual and don't need any other help.

"My preparations are always spot on and when I step into the ring I always expect to dig deep and go wherever I need to go in the fight.

"I'm not one for speaking before a fight. I just get my work done in training and do my talking in the ring."

With a super fight against seven-weight champion Amanda Serrano a very real prospect next spring, there is always the danger of taking one's eye off the ball.

Taylor refuses to buy into that and has approached this mandatory defence like any other and insists she will worry about what is next once Saturday's mission is complete.

"I never find it hard to get motivated for these mandatories because I understand these girls are coming for all my belts," she stressed.

"You see the best of these opponents every time they step into the ring with me and you also see fighters having a flat performance and fail to hold onto their belts, so I can never get complacent even though there is so much noise around other fights.

"My focus is completely on the fight ahead and once this is over, we can start speaking about big fights."

Sharipova has lost just once in 15 professional contests and that came on her debut against Russia's Sofya Ochigava who Taylor defeated in the 2012 Olympic final.

The Kazakh has won some fringe belts, but doesn't seem to have that marquee win on her run of 14-straight wins and is very much in the deep end on Saturday night who believes her best performances are still to come.

"I'm expecting the best of her and a tough fight as usual, but I expect to win and come out with a dominant victory and I hope that's the case," she predicts.

"I'm preparing well for it and looking forward to just performing at my best and seeing what happens on the night.

"You are always looking at ways to raise it and improve. I am working on things in sparring that will be very important for future fights as well, as every fighter has to.

"I'm looking forward to the next few years as I think they are going to be my best in the ring."

Taylor with her WBO, WBA, Ring Magazine, WBC and IBF title belts

Taylor with her WBO, WBA, Ring Magazine, WBC and IBF title belts

Having been at the forefront of women's boxing as an amateur and professional for the past 15 years, some have begun to question whether the best years may be behind her and not in front as she insists.

Perhaps it requires a huge name like Serrano to fully get the juices flowing and mandatories against fighters who, on paper, are not on her level can result in professional rather than exceptional performances.

It would be a huge shock should she lose her title on Saturday and with some big nights still ahead, the Bray woman is in no mood to let them slip.

"I'm aware I can't do this forever, but I don't feel like I'm slowing down and still feel I have a few years left in me and plenty of big fights," she insists.

"I just take it one fight at a time but feel like so many people over the last couple of years have been speaking of my retirement. I'm not thinking about retirement right now, but I guess everyone else is.

"I don't feel like I'm slowing down; I feel very fresh and feel like I have plenty of years left in me. I just want to be the best I can be and want to continue to leave a legacy behind me."