Katie Taylor named The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman for November

‘It’s great to prove people wrong – and I’m back on top again. Don’t ever doubt me’

It’s not that Katie Taylor needed any added motivation for her rematch with Chantelle Cameron, she already had mountains of it after losing her first professional fight to the English woman back in May.

But what got to her most was that after that defeat, “everybody was writing me off”. She was, she said, “nearly half-offended”.

But her performance in that first fight had folk worried, a couple of months ahead of her 37th birthday she just wasn’t her old self. But then she set about proving that she was far from done, putting her body through “torture”, as she described it, to have herself in peak condition for the sequel.

“I think it was the longest six months of my life waiting for this rematch,” she said.


Come the end of the fight, in front of a crowd of 9,000 at Dublin’s 3Arena, she hadn’t just beaten Cameron, she’d become the first undisputed Irish world champion at two weight divisions, adding super lightweight belts to the lightweight collection she already owned.

Taylor has had her fair share of epic fights throughout her amateur and professional careers, but this was up there with the most dramatic, the bout, between two boxers showing no end of courage and skill, both brutal and bloody.

A majority decision went Taylor’s way in the end, one judge scoring it a draw, the other two giving it to the Bray woman by a generous 98-92 and a fairer 96-94. It was Cameron’s first defeat in 19 fights, Taylor, fighting above her usual 135lbs, back to winning ways.

Remarkably, it’s a whole 22 years since her first officially sanctioned fight, since when we’ve become accustomed to Taylor producing unforgettable performances in the ring, but few along the way equalled this.

Hardly had she left the ring when there was talk of a ‘Trilogy’, Taylor hoping to fight Cameron again, her dream for the ‘decider’ to take place in Croke Park. We’ll see if that works out.

But she was exultant. “It definitely feels like the greatest night of my career so far,” she said, the “so far” notable. Not done yet.

“It’s great to prove people wrong – and I’m back on top again,” she said. “Don’t ever doubt me.”

Our five-time sportswoman of the year wraps up our monthly awards for 2023, our judges now left with the task of choosing an overall winner. If you have any compassion at all, you’ll spare a thought for them.

Previous Monthly Winners (the awards run from December 2022 to November 2023, inclusive): December: Eilish and Roisin Flanagan (Athletics); January: Rhasidat Adeleke (Athletics); February: Orla Prendergast (Cricket); March: Rachael Blackmore (Horse racing); April: Thammy Nguyen (Weightlifting); May: Lucy Mulhall (Rugby); June: Leona Maguire (Golf); July: Katie McCabe (Soccer); August: Katie-George Dunlevy (Cycling) and Hannah Tyrrell (Gaelic football); September: Ciara Mageean (Athletics) and Siobhan McCrohan (Rowing); October: Mona McSharry (Swimming).

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Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times