In the highly anticipated rematch of undisputed champions, revenge was sweet for Ireland’s beloved daughter, Katie Taylor.
In front of an electric crowd in Dublin, Taylor of Bray, Ireland (23-1, 6 KOs) won an all-action fight by majority decision over Chantelle Cameron of Northampton, England (18-1, 8 KOs).
Taylor is now the new unified super lightweight champion, adding to her status as the unified lightweight world champion.
As the judges' scores of 98-92, 96-94, and 95-95 were read and the victory announced, an elated Taylor let out a roar. Her mother jumped into the ring to embrace her daughter upon the hard-won victory.
“Two-weight undisputed champion, that sounds very nice,” said Taylor, who thanked her Dublin fans.
“That was the longest six months of my life waiting for this rematch. I’m so glad I got to do this with my home crowd. This is my real homecoming tonight,” declared Taylor.
Determined Champion Digs Down To Win
Taylor and Cameron both approached the rematch differently than their first fight in May. Taylor declined the appearances and interviews other than her clear obligations.
She focused strictly on fight preparation, which was difficult given the homecoming celebration in Dublin for Taylor’s first professional fight at home.
Cameron carried more confidence and swagger into Saturday’s event after her majority decision victory over Taylor in May, the Irishwoman’s first pro career loss.
What hadn’t changed were the factors affecting the outcome of the first bout. Cameron is the naturally bigger and stronger woman in the ring. Taylor brings the highest level skills to the table.
Her sharp jab and ring generalship kept her in the optimal position against her opponent.
But it was also clear Taylor trained as hard as she ever has in a long, accomplished career. At age 37, her legs were stronger and her speed sharper than in the first bout.
She was focused and relentless, willing to trade punches with Cameron to the final bell.
The fight’s narrative could have taken a sharp turn in the first round. Cameron came out with guns blazing, with an aggressive offense.
She appeared to score a knockdown of Taylor. But referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. of Puerto Rico ruled it a slip. Replays proved him wrong.
Taylor’s foot was lifting off the canvas when the punch landed, leaving her off balance when the knockdown punch landed. Had the knockdown been scored, the fight’s outcome would have narrowed to a single point but still edged for Taylor.
Look at the knockdown for yourself.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) November 25, 2023
Despite the knockdown, Taylor’s legs looked strong despite all the mileage on them at age 37. Cameron successfully kept Taylor on the back foot, fighting in the clinch and leaning on her to tire Taylor out.
Power Meets Speed, Pressure Meets Ring Generalship
Cameron was feeling her power, swinging without hesitation. Taylor didn’t back off. She had the edge in speed, and her jab snapped Cameron’s head back, stopping her progress forward.
With both women leaning in aggressively, head clashes were inevitable. A gash opened on the left side of Cameron’s forehead. Ramirez had the ringside physician look at it before the fourth round, and fortunately, the fight continued.
It was a bloody mess, but running down the side of Cameron’s face and not affecting her vision. Credit to her corner for keeping it under control.
Cameron’s aggression won her round in the first half of the fight. It didn’t deter Taylor, who refused to back down.
She worked to stay in the center ring, stay mobile, and keep her head offline as she fired back against Cameron.
The action never stopped, thrilling the Dublin fans, who cheered on their fighter and roared with every punch Taylor landed. Cameron could feel the fight slipping away and knew she needed to win the final rounds.
So did Taylor in the close competitive fight. Taylor’s trainer, Ross Enamait told her, “You have six minutes to change your life!”
Taylor momentarily appeared to tire early in the ninth round, but this is where a champion digs down and finds something more. In the final round, both women slugged it out. Cameron launched right hooks to take it out of the judges’ hands.
Taylor could have maintained distance, but she stood and traded with Cameron, fueled by the crowd's roars.
Win or lose, it was a demonstration of greatness by both women.
Taylor: ‘Today you see the real me'
“Whoever wrote me off don’t know me very well,” said Taylor after her victory. “The last fight, you see the worst of me and the best of Cameron. Today, you see the real me, and no one can beat me.”
An elated Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing called it the single greatest night he’d experienced in boxing. “They wrote her off. She wasn’t prepared to let these guys down tonight. She is one of the biggest legends to ever come out of this country. You should be so proud of her. She deserves everything.”
Trilogy Fight Ahead in 2024: Croke Park or Bust
The question on everyone’s mind at the conclusion of the fight: would there now be a trilogy fight? Before anyone could ask Taylor the question, she made her wishes clear.
“Let’s get the trilogy at Croke Park!” said Taylor. Croke Park is Dublin’s Gaelic soccer stadium, built in 2005, which seats 82,500 people.
Hearn is on board. “For everybody out there, for the Irish government, Croke Park has to happen. She’s done everything for this sport, everything for this country. You deserve it all.”
Taylor called Cameron a “phenomenal fighter, a phenomenal champion. She deserves everything as well. She’s a legend herself. Two legends in the ring for the trilogy, it will be a women’s first.”
After the adrenaline rush of her victory, Taylor might want to reconsider the trilogy. She is now a two-division undisputed world champion, perhaps the greatest women's boxer in history. She can walk away now with her single loss avenged, a sure lock for the International Boxing Hall of Fame and every honor imaginable. But this is not what driven champions do. Expect the possible trilogy fight in the spring or summer next year.
Taylor said she learned from the loss and all her career losses. “You’re only a failure if you give up. Never give up. The whole world was praying for me this week, I’m so grateful.”
Cameron Taylor 2 Co-Main: Cully Gets Back On Winning Track
Lightweight prospect Gary Cully of Naas, Ireland (17-1, 10 KOs) pulled out a majority decision over Reece Mould of Doncaster, England (18-2, 6 KOs) to recapture his regional title and put his promising career back on track after his first loss on the Taylor vs. Cameron undercard in May. Scores were 97-93 and 96-93 for Cully, and 97-93 for Mould.
Mould took control and won the early rounds, moving Cully back and buzzing him in the fourth. But Cully got his feet under him and began moving forward with more aggression, swinging the close rounds in his favor through the second half.
“I’m back, baby, and it feels good,” said Cully. “Reese is a tough cookie… There was lots of pressure on me tonight. That’s why I’m in the game… I perform best under the pressure.”
“I thought Gary just edged the fight, but it could have gone either way,” said promoter Eddie Hearn, who admitted Cully’s career was on the line, and he didn’t have to take a 50-50 fight.
Carty Nearly Spoils the Party
Heavyweight Thomas Carty of Dublin (7-0, 6 KOs) and Dan Garber of Yorkshire, England (5-2, 1 KO) threatened to be another Stevenson vs. De Los Santos stink bomb with little action through seven rounds of their eight-round bout. Fortunately, Carty finally got the distance right and hit Garber with a left and right hook combination blast to score the TKO win.
The Dublin heavyweight prospect remains undefeated and defends his British Celtic Heavyweight title.
Donovan Rolls Over Ball
Paddy Donovan of Limerick, Ireland (12-0, 9 KO) continues to impress with a solid fourth-round TKO victory over Danny Ball of England (13-2-1, 6 KOs). Ball gave a good accounting of himself, but Donovan’s work rate and power were too much for Ball to withstand for long. His corner threw in the towel to limit the damage coming at him from Donovan.
It’s still a bit early to tell whether the Irish welterweight can make a mark at the top of this competitive division, but he’s heading in the right direction.
Nicolson Scores First Stoppage Win
Skye Nicolson of Australia (9-0, 1 KO) finally won her first pro bout by stoppage when the corner team of Lucy Wildheart of Sweden (10-3, 4 KOs) threw in the towel in the ninth round, the first time Wildheart had been stopped in her professional career.
The southpaw Nicolson has abandoned plans to fight in the Paris 2024 Olympics, focusing on her pro game. It shows in the improvements in her footwork and her punch rate.
Nicolson may never be a power puncher, but she can improve her ability to pressure opponents and land cleanly. Nicolson retains her WBC Interim World Featherweight title.