Daily Digest: Katie Taylor named world’s best pound-for-pound female fighter

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In today’s news: ESPN names Katie Taylor the world’s best pound-for-pound female fighter, more dates for the ongoing FA Cup contest are revealed, and London Irish announce they will set up a Premier 15s team.


Katie Taylor named world’s best female fighter

Ireland’s Katie Taylor has been named the world’s best female fighter but all three of the organisations who compile rankings. Ring Magazine and BoxRec already had Taylor at number one, but she has now leapfrogged America’s Claressa Shields to take ESPN’s top spot.

The 34-year-old Taylor is the current undisputed lightweight champion. She achieved an impressive unanimous decision victory over Natasha Jonas at the beginning of the month.

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Remaining FA Cup dates confirmed

The dates for the remaining rounds of the 2020-21 Women’s FA Cup have been announced. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final have been pushed into next season due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the footballing calendar.

Quarter-final clashes are scheduled to be played on September 29th, with the semi-finals on October 31st. It will be a wintry FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on December 5th.

The Final will also coincide with the 100th anniversary of the FA’s decision to ban women’s football.

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London Irish announce creation of women’s team

Premiership club London Irish has announced it intends to have a women’s team in the Premier 15s in 2023.

The Premier 15s is currently a 10-team competition. There is no relegation or promotion, with the RFU opening a bidding process for teams to enter the league every three years.

London Irish plan to work with St Mary's University in Twickenham and have named England's 2014 World Cup-winning assistant coach Graham Smith as women’s head of performance.


Fans allowed into Premier 15s Final

In more exciting news for rugby fans, up to 3,276 fans will be able to attend this month’s Premier 15s Final at Gloucester's Kingsholm. This was confirmed after it was revealed coronavirus restrictions in England on May 17th. The Final is scheduled for May 30th.

It is still unknown who will contest the Final – two-time winners Saracens host Loughborough Lightning in the semi-finals on May 22nd, with Harlequins set to take on Wasps.

BT Sport will also broadcast the semi-finals and Final.

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Players announced for Vitality Roses programme

Twenty-four netball players have been selected for the Vitality Roses programme. The squad will be used during the 2021-22 international season, which culminates just before the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Of those chosen, 17 play in the Netball Superleague in the UK, including Serena Guthrie, Jade Clarke and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis. The remaining seven ply their trade in either Australia or New Zealand, including Helen Housby and Joanne Harten.

England are currently third in the netball world rankings, behind Australia in first and New Zealand in second.

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