Katie Taylor was determined to fight at home and versus a fellow undisputed champion.
Both of those goals remain firmly intact.
A long overdue homecoming for Taylor will come in the form of a dangerous challenge versus fully unified junior welterweight queen Chantelle Cameron. Both sides agreed to terms earlier in the week for a mouthwatering showdown that will take place May 20 at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
The fight was officially confirmed by Matchroom Boxing chairman Eddie Hearn during Saturday’s DAZN show from M&S Bank Arena in Llverpool. Taylor and Cameron are both promoted by Matchroom. Taylor will enter the ring as the challenger, while Cameron will make her first defense as undisputed champion and four overall defenses of at least one title.
Taylor—who hails from nearby Bray, Ireland—was previously prepared to face Amanda Serrano (44-2-1, 30KOs) in a highly anticipated rematch to their super fight last April 30 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Brooklyn’s Serrano was forced to withdraw upon doctor’s orders for mandatory rest to heal pre-existing injuries in lieu of a quick turnaround. The Puerto Rican southpaw became her island’s first four-belt undisputed champion following a ten-round win over Mexico City’s Erika Cruz to fully unify the featherweight division on February 4 at MSG Theater.
Serrano was joined in the ring by Taylor immediately after her win to announce their blockbuster rematch.
However, Serrano’s forced withdrawal instead prompted talks of postponing their rematch until later this year.
Taylor (22-0, 6KOs) was eager to return to the ring in lieu of going that long between fights. The Irish superstar—who turns 37 in July—registered her fourteenth overall title defense in a ten-round points win over Argentina’s Karen Elizabeth Carabajal last October 29 at OVO Arena Wembley, in London. The same venue hosted Taylor’s November 2016 pro debut.
Fifteen of her 22 pro bouts have taken place in the UK, and the other seven in the U.S. She has yet to fight in Ireland despite serving as the nation’s most celebrated athlete, though a pathway was created last year to build toward her long overdue homecoming.
Once it was learned that the Serrano rematch was on hold, Taylor sought the most dangerous realistic option as an alternative.
"Once Serrano pulled out this was the natural fight to make,” said Taylor. “It's two undefeated, reigning Undisputed World Champions going up against each other and I believe that's the first time that's ever happened in the modern era of the sport.
“People have been talking about this fight for a long time now so I'm delighted it's happening and I'm looking forward to becoming a two-weight Undisputed Champion in Dublin on May 20."
The feeling was more than mutual.
“I’m no stranger to boxing away from home now and to be going into Katie’s backyard for her homecoming is massive," noted Cameron. I’m glad to be a part of history again like I was in Abu Dhabi. I k"now what I will be up against and that I am the underdog but I relish that. The fight will be electric. We both are experienced, we are both game and we are both are coming to win.
“To successfully defend my belts against Taylor will be the icing on the cake for me. To become undisputed and then defend them against the pound-for-pound best in women’s boxing will really mark my place in women’s boxing and create my own legacy.”
Taylor enters the ring as a two-time Olympian, 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and a two-division champ as a pro. She has held at least one lightweight title since October 2017, when she outpointed WBA lightweight titlist Anahi Sanchez in just her seventh pro fight. Taylor fully unified the lightweight division with separate wins over IBF titlist Victoria Bustos, WBO titleholder Rose Volante and long-reigning WBC champ Delfine Persoon in June 2019.
A one-stop trip to junior welterweight saw Taylor dethrone WBO 140-pound titlist Christina Linardatou in November 2019 before she returned to the lightweight division. Seven defenses of her undisputed crown have followed as she now seeks to join Claressa Shields as the only female boxers ever to fully unify two weight divisions.
Cameron (17-0, 8KOs) rapidly rose to champion and pound-for-pound status through less than six years as a pro.
The 31-year-old from Northampton, England—aptly nicknamed ‘Il Capo’—claimed her first major title in a ten-round shutout win over Adrian dos Santos Araujo in their October 2020 vacant WBC junior welterweight title fight.
Four successful defenses have followed for Cameron, who is also promoted by Matchroom Boxing.
The run includes a ten-round nod over IBF titlist Mary McGee in their October 2021 unification bout. The final step toward undisputed status came in a competitive but clear decision win over undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill, who dropped down in weight for their championship last November 5 in Abu Dhabi.
Cameron was previously ordered to face Linardatou in an ordered mandatory title defense. Linardatou abandoned talks to instead face former unified 130-pound champ Mikaela Mayer in a lightweight non-title fight on April 15 at Copper Box Arena. The development left Cameron with a voluntary defense and with a burning desire to fill the void left behind by Serrano, particularly once Taylor was vocal about making the fight.
To the credit of Matchroom Boxing, the response was to appease the wishes of both boxers.
“It was quite unusual for Katie to call out a fighter,” noted Hearn, who took immediate action. “We know behind the scenes, she’ll fight anybody. There’s always that perception that Chantelle Cameron was a tough fight. I always said when Chantelle Cameron racked up the belts, she would be the frontrunner. That’s exactly what happened. She’s undisputed at 140 pounds. It’s a tremendous fight. Katie Taylor, looking at that Amanda Serrano injury, said she wants to fight on that May 20 date. [DAZN] already came back and said we need strength, May particularly. That was a big fight on the schedule and that needs to be replaced.”
It has now been replaced with the best possible alternative.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (6)