Katie Taylor takes fuel from the doubters and serves up an epic: ‘It’s great to prove people wrong’

Taylor earned a majority decision over Chantelle Cameron who beat her in the 3Arena in May, with talk already turning to a third fight

The mood music from Katie Taylor, the first undisputed Irish world champion at two weight divisions, was “Why did anyone doubt me?” Piqued, the question from her camp was how anyone could have, after 9,000 fans shook Dublin’s 3Arena as Taylor majestically reclaimed her place as queen bee in the lightweight division, adding the super lightweight belts to the lightweight straps she already had.

After her majority decision win over Chantelle Cameron on Saturday night, the tag “best pound for pound female boxer in the world” was also being freely thrown around.

It was a night of blood, action and drama, a head-over-heels kind of fight of non-stop collisions and action, the two top ranked super lightweights confident they could both win and who knew only one way forward over 10 concussive rounds of boxing – an open wound on Cameron’s forehead from an early accidental head clash adding to a warrior theme on the night.

For the 37-year-old Taylor, it was a moment of redemption after losing to Cameron in May at the same venue. But also a point of reclamation. The powerbase in women’s boxing has returned to Bray along with all of the lightweight and super light belts worth winning.


There were so many flash points that sometimes it was difficult to say who was ahead, although Taylor, with her cleaner scoring and her firing of combinations, was more eye-catching to Cameron’s steady and nerveless forward march to close the ring and draw Taylor into a punching game.

That, at least, is how is how the judges saw it. One scored the contest a 95-95 draw, the other two siding with Taylor 96-94, 98-92.

“It definitely feels like the greatest night of my career so far,” said Taylor, who has now had three fights, against Amanda Serrano in Madison Square Garden and two against Cameron in the 3Arena, where her purse has been seven figures.

“I think it was the longest six months of waiting for this rematch. I’d just go to bed thinking about this rematch. Just the pressure over the last few months as well, everybody writing me off . . . I can’t believe so many people were writing me off, to be honest.”

It was that doubt from outside of her camp that she sensed, and which crept in after the first deflating defeat by Cameron, that spurred her on to use it as an accelerant, train harder and come up with a bespoke way to beat the 32-year-old. The English woman from Northampton landed an average of eight of 26 punches per round and three of 11 jabs per round after returning 14 of 57 and three of 23 respectively in their first meeting.

Taylor smothered Cameron’s offence by coming forward while throwing punches and tying her up on the inside. It worked. She outscored her opponent on accuracy and volume.

“Coming off a loss, I went the extra mile in training, I put my body through torture for this rematch,” said Taylor. “We knew we were going to be well prepared coming into this but definitely people writing me off, I was nearly half offended that people were actually writing me off so much. It’s great to prove people wrong – and I’m back on top again.”

In the euphoria, promoter Eddie Hearn again clamoured for a third bout between the two in Croke Park. However, cost estimates to stage the event in the Dublin stadium had previously been restrictive with Hearn renewing his appeal to the Irish collective, including Government bodies, to make it happen. His pitch was if Croke Park could be available for the same cost as other stadiums around the world, “the trilogy” could happen.

“I have got to be careful, don’t want to upset anyone in the process, so maybe Brian [Peters, manager], the local, can come in and have these friendly chats with people,” said Hearn. “But I feel like everyone has to put the pressure on, from the country to politicians to the sport.

“We don’t want a free stadium. All we are saying is could we just make it there or thereabouts at Wembley, or Millennium Stadium or Dallas Cowboys.”

Next summer the trilogy certainly, Croke Park maybe.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times