NEW YORK – The irony in hailing Katie Taylor among the greatest athletes to ever come out of Ireland is the fact that she has yet to fight in her homeland.

It was a circumstance that Taylor begrudgingly accepted throughout her pro career, though significant steps have already taken place to help turn a once-unthinkable dream into reality.

“Of course, to fight in Ireland would be something very special for me,” Taylor told “Hopefully it's something that can happen at some point in the future.”

The future can come a lot sooner than expected, although some work remains ahead to get to that point. Taylor’s most recent win and everything that the event represented has helped create the most recent nudge in that direction.

Talks of the fighting pride of Bray, Ireland fighting in her home country surrounded her most recent win more so than at any other point since Taylor turned pro in November 2016. It was a focal point of the post-fight press conference after Taylor (21-0, 6KOs) escaped with a split-decision win over Puerto Rican superstar Amanda Serrano (42-2-1, 30KOs) to defend her undisputed lightweight championship in their Fight of the Year-level battle at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The first-ever female fight to headline at the famed arena drew a sellout crowd of 19,187, a large portion of which was in support of Taylor while fighting a subway ride away from Serrano’s Bushwick, Brooklyn hometown. The history created from the event alone—never mind delivering one of the best fights to ever take place at MSG—was yet another chapter in a life spent by Taylor raising the bar for women in boxing, dating back to her pretending to be a boy named Kay just to participate as a preteen at a time when women’s boxing was illegal in Ireland.

Boxing in her homeland was slowed to a crawl in the months prior to Taylor’s second Olympic tour. A shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin during a weigh-in preceding a February 2016 show organized by Daniel Kinahan co-founded managerial conglomerate MGM (later MTK Global, which has officially disbanded effective Sunday) marked the beginning of the end for boxing in the Republic of Ireland.

The large portion of Taylor’s pro career has taken place in England, mixed in with select bouts in the U.S. and proving to be a huge draw in both markets. Being able to fight at home has become more of a realistic conversation in the wake of sanctions placed against Kinahan and several other members and businesses linked by the U.S. Department of Treasury as having direct ties to the identified Kinahan Organized Crime Group (KOCG).

Fallout has been swift, including the disbanding of MTK Global due to many in the industry refusing to do business with a company still believed to have ties to its co-founder. The fear of MTK fighters making their way to a Taylor-headlined card in Ireland was among the reasons that Irish authorities would not allow such an event to take place. Investigations remain ongoing in identifying and removing any links between Kinahan and the sport, which leaves a Taylor homecoming limited to discussion for now—but still progress compared to where the conversation was even a month ago.

“I would be devastated if she didn’t fight in Ireland at some point in her career,” Eddie Hearn, Taylor’s career-long promoter, told “I think it’s too early to say how everything is going to play out. But it’s always been a focus of ours.

“If there’s a way to do it, we will get it done.”

For the first time in more than six years government officials in Dublin are receptive to accommodating such a request.

A statement by Councilman Nial Ring on Monday to Dublin radio station 98FM acknowledged Taylor’s influence as “an inspiration for young girls to take up boxing, and sport in general. This isn't a case of a concert, this is a welcome home and a tribute to Katie for the success she's had and the absolute joy she's brought to the Irish nation.

“So, I think it's different circumstances".

A leading candidate to land such a homecoming is Dublin's Croke Park, the third largest stadium in all of Europe and barely an hour from Taylor's hometown of Bray. The venue attendance record was established more than sixty years ago, with 90,556 flocking to witness the 1961 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. 

The impact of Taylor-Serrano has been felt throughout and well beyond the sport. Talks of a rematch taking place in Ireland was casually discussed by both boxers during the post-fight press conference. Serrano expressed her willingness to face Taylor again anywhere in the world, including Dublin.

The return of the nation's most celebrated athlete could threaten that mark and somehow surpass the historic moment that was achieved in New York City.

“We all want to see the best versus the best. A rematch would be absolutely phenomenal,” noted Taylor. “If it was in Dublin, we could sell out Croke Park. I’d say 90,000 people. That would be unbelievable.

“We saw something special here. Imagine fighting in front of eighty- or ninety-thousand people in Croke Park. Absolutely, that can happen.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox