Mary Hannigan: Katie Taylor is one of a kind, that woman

She remains one of our biggest sporting names despite being tucked behind a paywall, making her stardom all the more remarkable

Feeling sad all over again about Katie Taylor’s professional career being locked firmly behind a paywall for the last seven years is, of course, akin to barking at the moon. It might help release the frustration a small bit, but it’ll get you nowhere, the moon tending to remain unmoved in the face of yapping.

Still, you couldn’t but think, yet again, what a real pity it has been that she’s remained largely hidden from view since turning pro, except for those willing to stump up a fee to see her do her thing.

Because on Saturday night she showed that, at 37, she’s still a warrior like few others. Forget Black Friday, the €20-ish that it cost to watch her rematch with Chantelle Cameron felt like the mother, father, aunty and uncle of all bargains. Epic. Taylor, as it proved, remained unmoved in the face of all that yapping about her career being done and dusted.

The word “watch” is, though, used loosely enough here. As is the usual on this particular couch when it comes to pugilistic matters, this bout was monitored from behind a wall of cushions, another layer of them added each time DAZN commentator Mike Costello’s voice went up several octaves. Not least when Cameron suffered that cut to her head. Too much information, Mike.


This is, it should be added, a gender neutral queasiness, whether it’s lads or lasses having seven bells knocked out of them, it’s never comfortable viewing, even if you can’t but be in awe of the courage. All the while thinking, “there must be easier ways to earn a living”.

On the undercard on Saturday was the bout between Naas man Gary Cully and England’s Reece Mould. They pummelled each other for nine rounds and then hugged warmly before pummelling each other for one more. As long as this couch lives, it will never understand boxers’ forgiving nature.

In the build-up to Taylor’s fight, DAZN brought us some footage of her life outside the ring, one clip showing her kayaking robustly on a lake, leading you to conclude that even in her down time she does everything robustly.

In the absence of Tony Bellew, who’s currently munching Emu testicles in Australia – before you call the police, he’s a contestant on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, his greatest challenge in Australia not to step on fellow camp-mate Frankie Dettori – Andy Lee and Barry Jones were on punditry duty.

Andy was nervous for Taylor, Barry was just buzzing, the atmosphere in the arena of the electric kind. “Introducing the challenger, she fights out of the red corner….,” the MC hollered, this, we’re assuming, the first time our lass had to endure the indignity of being introduced first and as the challenger.

And then she won.

Yes, that’s quite a curtailed bout report, but it’s hard to provide details when you have a layer of cushions in front of your eyes.

When they were opened, there was Taylor weighed down by belts, her Ma doing a jig in the ring while the crowd nigh on lifted the roof off the place.

“Whoever wrote me off obviously doesn’t know me very well…don’t ever doubt me,” she said to DAZN’s Jamie Ward. You always sense she’s uncomfortable with this class of talk, but knows she has to play the game. And why not, if it all helps her reap the rewards that she deserves, so that she can spend her retirement doing nothing but kayaking robustly, go for it. She owes boxing nothing, it owes her loads.

Standing there battered, bruised and bloodied, her chat with Jamie was hardly a minute old when he asked, “how about a trilogy?” If she’d decked him there and then, he couldn’t have complained. But such is that world, there’s always the next thing, you’re not permitted to savour what you’ve just done.

Costello, though, put it all in context. “Think about it,” he said. “22 years ago Katie fought in the first female sanctioned bout in this country over at the National Stadium…who could have said on that day that it would grow in to this? It is just beyond remarkable.”

It is, too. That she remains one of our biggest – the biggest? – sporting names despite being tucked behind that paywall makes her stardom all the more remarkable. One of a kind, that woman.