Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Katie Taylor got what she always wanted, a big fight in Ireland

Katie Taylor (above) will fight for the first time as a professional in her home country of Ireland when she challenges Chantelle Cameron for her undisputed super lightweight championship on Saturday.

For the first time as a professional boxer, Katie Taylor will step out of the 3 Arena in Dublin on Saturday night. Maybe it all hit her then: the enormity of what she had done for boxing in Ireland and for women’s boxing in general.

Knowing Taylor, it probably won’t show on her face, but there’s probably a glint. Since turning professional, Taylor has wanted to return to Ireland to fight and allow fans in her birthplace, where she is a huge star, to see her compete as a champion. But it didn’t seem like it for years.

At age 15, Taylor fought in the first sanctioned women’s amateur bout in Ireland. Now, at the age of 36, after hundreds of amateur fights and 22 professional fights, he will return to action in one of the biggest professional fights the country has ever seen. Taylor, the Undisputed Lightweight Champion, will take on Chantel Cameron for Cameron’s Undisputed Super Lightweight Championship in one of the biggest matches of the year.

“It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time,” Taylor said. “I expressed my desire to fight for years [en] Home in Ireland. And since all the fights were in the UK or the US, I guess I just got frustrated thinking it wasn’t going to happen.

“But now that we are here, we are preparing for a great fight and I am very grateful.”

Taylor has longed for this moment since 2016, when she turned professional after the Olympics and left Ireland to train and eventually live full-time in the United States. The United States became his temporary home (he had bought a place in rural Connecticut), but returning to Ireland to fight was a constant dissension, with the occasional mention of Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, over the years.

There have been obstacles and concerns. In 2016, a shootout at a weigh-in before a scheduled WBO European title fight in Dublin killed one man, leading to the cancellation of the fight and changing the tenure of boxing shows in the country. Although this did not have the same level of impact and was not something that would deter Taylor from fighting in his home country, in 2018, a fatal shooting at Bray Boxing Club, where Taylor’s father Peter was a trainer, made national headlines.. Taylor’s father was injured in the shooting.

None of it had anything to do with Katie directly, and she declined to discuss any of the incidents when asked by ESPN, but this is the first major fight in the country. It was slow, but the momentum built up for Taylor in the end to fight in Ireland.

After Taylor defeated Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden the previous year, several members of Serrano’s team said they would have a rematch in Ireland; Serrano was the initial opponent before withdrawing due to an arm injury.

Katie Taylor (left) defended her Undisputed Lightweight Championship by defeating Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden in New York in April. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

They tried to secure Croke Park for Taylor-Serrano 2 (Irish MMA star Conor McGregor also offered to help with costs) and talk reached the highest levels of government in February. Ultimately, the fight was booked at the smaller 3Arena.

Taylor’s mother, Bridget, said, “It felt a little surreal, to be honest.” “And I think my stomach did some jitters and I was like, ‘Okay, this is happening.'”

Cameron stepped in to make sure Taylor got the kind of fight he wanted. A fight his fellow Irishmen want to see: The cheapest tickets on the secondary market go for more than $550, with some going as high as $1,700, according to Ticketmaster.

Taylor’s brother Peter said, “He didn’t seem interested in fighting for the sake of fighting. You know what I mean.” “The fight had to represent progress for him, and that’s just his personality.

“I think she’s always looking for progress, so I think she was worried for a few days. She knew she wanted someone good. She wanted a big name.”

Cameron understood the environment he would be running into. She understood that it would be she who would keep her title, not Taylor. But Cameron also sees it as Taylor having all the pressure on her despite being the champion because it’s Taylor’s homecoming. This is an event that has taken him many years in the making.

That’s fine with Cameron. She may also play Killjoy as a champion as well, acknowledging Taylor’s importance to sport and boxing in Ireland.

“If it wasn’t for Katie, I wouldn’t be in this role because of what she has done for women’s boxing,” Cameron said. “She’s been amazing and she should have fought homecoming a long time ago because she deserved it.”

Katie Taylor (left) moves up in weight to challenge Chantel Cameron for her undisputed super lightweight title. Damian Eagers / PA Images via Getty Images

With Cameron moving on and saving the fight, Taylor was once again able to continue with one of her goals: training. Despite the absence of the venue, everything has remained the same till now. Still he trained in Connecticut. Their manager, Brian Peters, has handled all ticket requests and Tomas Rohn has handled their requests from the media. In Dublin, he’s doing his best to treat it like it’s a fight in America or England, far from where he grew up.

During the week of the fight, her team and her mother have already worked to isolate Taylor from family and friends who want to compete for her attention. Time with her would come later, when she lived in Bray.

It is the first world title fight in the country since 2011, when Guillermo Rigondeaux knocked out Willie Casey in the first round to win the interim WBA super bantamweight title. When was the last time an Irish fighter won a world title fight in the country? Bernard Dunn knocked out Ricardo Córdoba at 3 Arena, later called The O2.

One of the undercard fights? Taylor defeated Kerry Barry 27–3 in an amateur lightweight bout. Will Taylor remember what happened on Saturday night? Probably not. But it’s her past intertwined with her present and somehow aligning with her entire thought process: her career is as much about “the next generation of fighters” as it is about herself.

This fight is everything for him, but the approach is the same as it has been in every fight before it. train. fight. Get. What will happen next?

“It’s absolutely huge for me,” Taylor said. “It’s what I really wanted.

“We are bringing boxing to Ireland in a big way for the first time in a long time.”

ESPN UK boxing reporter Nick Parkinson contributed to this story.

Nation World News Desk
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