Saturday, May 20, 2023 represented a lot of firsts for Katie Taylor. It was the first time in the Irish fighter’s illustrious career that she had fought a professional bout on home soil. Sadly for Taylor — and in this sense, the sports betting sites weren’t wrong with their odds leading up to the fight — it also marked the first time in the Bray native’s pro career that she lost. In a contest full of drama and skilled boxing, Britain’s Chantelle Cameron claimed victory and in the process retained her title as Light-Welterweight Champion.
But that Saturday represented an event that was a long time in the making. At the age of 38 and after almost nine years as a professional boxer, including 21 bouts, Katie Taylor fought for the very first time in her native Ireland. The surrounds were the 3Arena in Dublin, and the partisan crowd cheered wildly as the most famous face in women’s boxing was led to the ring.
A Long Time Coming…
It was a far cry from when Deirdre Gogarty became the first female Irish boxing world title holder in 1997. Back then, women’s boxing was illegal in Ireland, among a host of other countries. Gogarty only ever fought on Irish soil once (in 1991) and was never close to being celebrated in her native country. Indeed, upon her return to Ireland after claiming world title glory, she was met by family and friends and almost no one else.
As for Taylor, she is an Irish sporting phenomenon — that legacy has not been dented by defeat — but it was a chastening evening for the Olympic gold medallist. Cameron handed out Taylor’s first defeat since the 2016 Olympics, and the first of a professional career that has been marked with resounding successes. One judge carded the fight as a draw, while the other two handed out the points 96-94 in Cameron’s favor. In truth, no one could really contest that decision.
As her fame in the sport perhaps demanded, Taylor was the big headliner for the fight. Yet it was Cameron who was the undisputed champion at that weight, defending a perfect record of 18 wins. For those who dug a little deeper, it was clear that Taylor was never going to have it all her own way. The bookmakers had the fight even, and in truth, Cameron outclassed her opponent for large parts of the contest. Cameron now has back-to-back successes over undisputed world champions, and has staked her claim for being arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the female ranks today.
But so much of what happened on Saturday night in Dublin was about Katie Taylor. So what next for Ireland’s premier female sporting star? She is arguably one of the country’s most recognizable faces alongside the likes of Conor McGregor… Well, the good news is it’s not the end of the road. An autumn rematch in Dublin is already being discussed, and that’s just what the boxing public, inside and outside of Ireland, wants to see. Women’s boxing has never been in such a healthy state, and it owes much to these two worthy champion trailblazers.
Who do you want to see Katie fight next? Let us know in the comments below…