Katie Taylor offers some light amid Dublin heartbreak

The Bray fighter’s win over Chantelle Cameron was a positive lift for everyone after a terrible week in Ireland’s capital

Katie Taylor arrived at the press room behind the stage of the 3Arena sometime after midnight, an abrasion running vertically down the right side of her face, a few lesser marks around her cheeks and her tightly braided hair untangling.

She had been in a war and there was a weariness to her voice. In victory, she had left her spleen in the ring, looked emptied and pale after a majority decision over 10 rounds against Chantelle Cameron in perhaps the high watermark fight of her career. Still, Taylor looked remarkably pristine.

Cameron was nowhere to be seen. The cut on her forehead that happened in an accidental clash at the end of the third round and bled throughout the bout, would have required medical attention. It’s likely too Cameron was in no mood to talk as Taylor owned the night, one fraught with danger against a dangerous puncher, who had handed her the first defeat of her professional career last May.

Taylor’s mood was an assembly of feelings – vindication, annoyance, pride, satisfaction and some sense of relief that she gave a capacity 9,000 crowd what they had hoped to see, a champion as they have always seen her, gloriously pouring it out on stage.


Because of what she has become in Irish culture, Taylor’s clutch wins have always come packed with emotion and grandeur. They are operatic victories, defeat a Shakespearian tragedy.

Her personality and any threat to her standing have always tugged on the national psyche, created bouts of national anxiety and the 3Arena was no different as the stadium trembled to the chants of her name. “Katie, Katie, Katie,” they cheered as both boxers flung themselves a brutal head to head.

The combination of the emotion, noise, sense of struggle and even the theatrical paint of blood colouring Cameron and Taylor’s face for seven rounds gave the narrative an epic feel and at 37-years-old to Cameron’s 32, an endgame theme. Taylor would be buried or rise again.

“Obviously, I think everybody watching knew I wasn’t myself for the last fight,” said Taylor. “I definitely felt a lot better going into this fight. I knew it was going to be a lot different. Just stepping into the ring, I knew I was going to be myself tonight and I knew I was going to be able to pull it off. I boxed very, very smart early and I think that’s what won me the fight in the end.”

What clever boxing looked like in Taylor’s rise was landing clean punches and stopping Cameron’s jab. Taylor bombarded her and either pivoted out of reach or in the latter stages tied her up, much to the annoyance of the Cameron corner.

Of the punches thrown Taylor landed a greater percentage in six out of the 10 rounds, Cameron’s strong rounds coming in the sixth and seventh and the ninth. But by then Taylor had prospered and even had her fall to the canvas in the first round not been waved away by the referee as a slip, she would have won the 96-94, 95-95 and outlier 98-92 majority decision.

In the constant exchange between the two and their ability to keep it high tempo, both fighters finished leaning into each other for support and out on their feet, Taylor landing a total of 89 to 83 body shots, 15 jabs to Cameron’s 26 and 74 power punches to Cameron’s 57.

All three judges gave Taylor the second, third and fourth rounds. That was a fight-winning start.

Inevitably the questions turned to what next for Taylor, the owner now of all the respected world titles at 135 and 140 pounds. Promoter Eddie Hearn, never afraid of lighting a fuse, reached for the lighter in his pocket. Croke Park is the cathedral of Ireland’s stadiums and in his mind Taylor’s rightful stage.

“How can you not provide that? I mean, you guys have had a pretty rough week, right?” he asked rhetorically referring to the knife attack in a primary school and public order issues in Dublin city.

“Tonight, you look around and, not being funny, but when we come to this country – not to sound cheesy – the welcome that we receive is unbelievable. It’s the only place I don’t get booed! People stopping me in the car: “EDDIE! UP KATIE TAYLOR! YESSS!”

“And that’s such a great feeling. So, when you saw the things that happened this week and then you see tonight and you see people with passion and holding the flag up and supporting one of their own...Again, if we were asking for money, if we were asking for a free stadium, if we were asking for all of these things...but we’re not. We’re just asking you to let one of your greatest athletes of all time have her night.

“Also, to have a night that will drive unbelievable tourism and financial benefit for the city and the country – more so than a yachting tournament or something else that they’ll support. And I like yachting.”

In a boxing sense Taylor rocked the house after a string of Irish wins before her headline act. Several hours earlier Tokyo 2020 Olympian Emmet Brennan won his bout against Jamie Morrisey, while Dublin’s Tomas Carty beat Dan Garber. The eye-catching Paddy Donovan, trained by Andy Lee, retained his WBA welterweight Continental title. There is a wow factor there, while Gary Cully revived his career with a win over Reece Mould.

But the night belonged to Taylor, who was raised above the ring when her hand went up. Later she was told she had provided some light and uplift. Her reply was authentic and empathetic.

“If that’s the case, I’m very happy with that,” she said. “I was heartbroken to hear about the stabbing of five and six-year-old kids. It’s absolutely cowardly. I can’t even fathom what those families are going through. I’m very happy to be a light in the country at this moment and my heart’s going out to those families. Genuinely.”

Boxing. Life. Drama. The Katie Taylor sequel. Just beginning.