Katie Taylor soaked in the ambiance as she easily made weight for her long overdue homecoming affair.
The legendary two-division and reigning undisputed lightweight champion saluted the crowd after her announced weight of 139.7 pounds—a career heaviest—during Friday’s weigh-in at The Round Room at the Mansion House in Dublin. Undisputed junior welterweight champion Chantelle Cameron was also 139.7 pounds as she puts all of her divisional hardware at stake in their DAZN main event Saturday evening at a sold-out 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
The event marks the first-ever meeting between unbeaten, reigning undisputed champions—a fitting footnote for Taylor’s first pro fight in her home country.
The 36-year-old Bray native is credited with the surge in popularity for women in boxing dating back to her personal campaign to have this side of the sport featured in the Summer Olympics. Her efforts proved successful ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, where Taylor (22-0, 6KOs) claimed a Gold medal at lightweight for Ireland. A failed bid in 2016 Rio marked the end of her incredible amateur career before she turned pro later that year.
Her pro run has been even more impactful. Taylor and three-division champ and two-time Olympic Gold medalist Claressa Shields are often thanked by their counterparts for significantly raising the pay scale and profile for female boxers around the world. It’s more so reflected for Taylor, a three-time and reigning RTE (Raidio Teilifis Eireann) Sportsperson of the Year who has done everything for beloved Ireland except fight at home.
That changes on Saturday.
Taylor previously held the WBO junior welterweight title in her lone other bout above lightweight, which came in a November 2019 win over Christina Linardatou in Manchester, England.
Cameron (17-0, 8KOs) will attempt her fifth overall title defense and her first as undisputed champion.
The unbeaten 32-year-old from Northampton, England won her first major title in October 2020 and has steadily added to her title reign. Cameron defended her WBC and IBF titles and added the WBA and WBO belts after a ten-round win over Jessica McCaskill, the undisputed welterweight champ who dropped back down to 140 for their full unification clash last November 5 in Abu Dhabi.
No fight was scheduled for the pound-for-pound entrant when Taylor called her by name to put her championship at stake for this weekend. Cameron immediately jumped in to replace Amanda Serrano (44-2-1, 30KOs), who was not fully recovered from a lingering injury and was unable to move forward with their highly anticipated rematch.
Taylor edged Serrano in their 2022 Fight of the Year awards winner last April 30 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The second of two title fights on the show pits defending WBA junior middleweight titlist Terri Harper versus former longtime undisputed welterweight champion and pound-for-pound queen Cecilia Braekhus.
Harper (13-1-1, 6KOs)—a former WBC junior lightweight titlist—was 150.8 pounds for just her third career fight at or near the 154-pound junior middleweight limit. The 26-year-old from Denaby Main, Yorkshire attempts the first defense of the title she won in a ten-round decision over Hannah Rankin last September. Harper was 1.2 pounds lighter on Friday than her career heaviest 152 pounds in her title win over Rankin.
Braekhus (37-2, 9KOs) was a career heaviest 153.3 pounds in a bid to become a two-division champ. The legendary 41-year-old from Bergen, Norway by way of Cartagena, Colombia made 25 overall defenses of at least two welterweight titles—a record for all women in boxing—before back-to-back defeats to Jessica McCaskll in 2020 and 2021. She has won an eight-round decision over Marisa Joana Portillo last December in her 154-pound debut.
DAZN Main Undercard, 2:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. local time
Gary Cully (16-0, 10KOs), Naas, Ireland, 137 ¼ pounds vs. Jose Felix (39-6-1, 30KOs), Los Mochis, Mexico, 137.2 pounds—10 rounds, lightweight
Dennis Hogan (31-4-1, 7KOs), Kildare, Ireland, 153.3 pounds vs. James ‘JJ’ Metcalf (24-2, 15KOs), Liverpool, 153 ¾ pounds—12 rounds, junior middleweight
DAZN/Matchroom Boxing You Tube ‘Before The Bell’ Prelims, 12:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. local
Caoimhin Agyarko (12-0, 7KOs), Belfast via London, 159.8 pounds vs. Grant Dennis (18-4, 3KOs), Chatham, Kent, 159.3 pounds—10 rounds, middleweight
Thomas Carty (5-0, 4KOs), Dublin, 258.6 pounds vs. Jay McFarlane (14-7,5 KOs), Glasgow, Scotland, 283.7 pounds—8 rounds, heavyweight
Paddy Donovan (10-0, 7KOs), Limerick, Ireland, 148 ½ pounds vs. Sam O’Maison (17-4-1, 7KOs), Sheffield, 149.3 pounds—-8 rounds, welterweight
Maisey Rose Courtney (2-0, 0KOs), London, 112.1 pounds vs. Kate Radomska (3-1, 0KOs), Waterford, Ireland 109.7 pounds—6 rounds, flyweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox