Katie Taylor was prepared to enter one rematch for her first pro fight in her home country.
That plan appears to be back in play for her next fight in Ireland, though in a different kind of sequel.
The legendary boxing figure from Bray, Ireland was forced to accept her first defeat, as England’s Chantelle Cameron prevailed by majority decision to defend her junior welterweight championship. Their ten-round thriller marked Taylor’s long overdue homecoming this past Saturday at 3Arena in Dublin. The event saw a change in opponent and weight as the Irish superstar moved back up to 140 in a bid to become a two-division undisputed champion.
That dream still remains intact.
“Congratulations to Chantelle on a fantastic performance,” the always humble Taylor stated during her DAZN post-fight interview. “Thank you for the opportunity to fight for your belts. I look forward to the rematch.”
Judge Raul Caiz Jr. (95-95) had it even through ten rounds, overruled by judges Craig Metcalfe (96-94) and Patrick Morley (96-94) for the visiting Cameron (18-0, 8KOs) who defended her undisputed junior welterweight championship.
Eddie Hearn, who runs Matchroom Boxing and promotes both boxers, confirmed that he would immediately get to work on that event.
“I think the result was fair but it was so close,” noted Hearn. “There is, of course, a rematch clause. We’ll be doing the fight again here in Dublin. We’re going to speak to the team. [Saturday night] deserves and belongs to Chantelle Cameron. She takes her position in boxing royalty. We give her the respect.
“Katie Taylor remains the undisputed champion at 135 pounds. She can campaign there but I know there will only be one thing on Katie’s mind and that’s the rematch with Chantelle Cameron which we will see next.”
Taylor (22-1, 6KOs) was originally due to face seven-division and reigning undisputed featherweight champion Amanda Serrano (44-2-1, 30KOs) in a rematch to their all-time classic last April 30 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Taylor defended her undisputed lightweight championship with a ten-round split decision victory in the 2022 Fight of the Year which proved to be a smash hit at the box office.
Serrano initially did her part to preserve the rematch after a hard-fought ten-round win over Mexico City’s Erika Cruz to fully unify the featherweight division on February 4 at MSG’s Hulu Theater. The incredible clash remains a top candidate for 2023 Fight of the Year but came at a cost.
Taylor immediately joined Serrano in the ring after the fight to formally announce their rematch which was due to take place this Saturday. However, Serrano was unable to fully heal from a lingering injury which forced her to withdraw from the event.
Eager to keep alive her homecoming plans, Taylor took the bold step to call out the naturally bigger Cameron who immediately responded to the challenge. Cameron risked it all to fight on the road in front of a partisan and passionate pro-Taylor crowd, while Taylor returned to 140—right around her walkaround weight—for the first time since a November 2019 win over Christina Linardatou to claim the WBO junior welterweight title.
Cameron proved one risk too bold for Taylor, an Olympic Gold medalist, multi-time Irish Sportsperson of the Year and who still reigns as undisputed lightweight champion. For all that she has given to the sport—bringing women’s boxing to the Olympics beginning in 2012 and forever raising the pay scale for women boxers in the pro game—the only thing she couldn’t yet deliver was a win on home soil.
She is not giving up on that.
“It was obviously a very, very close fight,” acknowledged Taylor, who was previously a perfect 16-0 in title fights. “It’s not how I wanted my homecoming to go. But I’m so grateful for the support regardless.
“It was a tough bout, a grueling ten rounds like I expected it to be. I guess I just came up short tonight. I look forward to next time facing her.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox