Katie Taylor secured a stunning revenge win over Chantelle Cameron to become a two-weight undisputed world champion in Dublin.
It was a brilliant display and an astonishing result, all under remarkable pressure.
Taylor remained the undisputed champion down at lightweight but she suffered a first professional defeat when Cameron outpointed her in May. Cameron had won that on a majority decision but after a dominant display from the Englishwoman.
Cameron’s victory over Taylor in the first fight was a major blow to the Irish star, emotionally and professionally.
As well as being a clash between two undisputed champions (although Taylor’s 135lb titles weren’t on the line as it, like this bout, was fought at super-lightweight), their first fight was Taylor’s first professional bout in Ireland.
But rather than the celebratory homecoming that it was expected to be, Northampton’s Cameron tore up the script and secured a memorable victory for herself instead.
Taylor elected to face all her demons when she went straight into this rematch with Cameron for the the WBO, WBA, WBC and IBF super-lightweight titles, even returning to the same venue as the first fight, the 3Arena in Dublin.
At 37 years of age, after such a long and glittering career, this rematch looked like it was a step too far for Taylor.
But it proved to be Taylor’s most extraordinary performance yet.
The Irish star started quickly and sharply, moving round Cameron but staying in the centre of the ring and clipping the Englishwoman with hooks.
Taylor tottered down to the canvas after Cameron pushed a jab in. The referee ruled that a slip though and did not give it as a knockdown.
Cameron took encouragement from that still, coming on strongly, but Taylor boxed smartly. Using her speed – of hand, foot and thought – she contained Cameron.
Even as Cameron tried to trap her challenger in a corner, Taylor met her with a stern backhand. She launched flurries off the back foot, letting accurate straight shots strike Cameron’s chin.
A clash of heads opened a nasty cut on Cameron’s forehead. But it never dissuaded her. She stormed forward, working heavy punches into her rival.
She cranked up her output and in the second half of the bout Taylor had to stand her ground and fight back furiously.
Taylor showed her tremendous heart in the end, as well as her skill and presence of mind. Refusing to wilt she went toe to toe with her only professional conqueror.
It was a gruelling and always enthralling battle.
One judge had them level at 95-95. The other two scored for Taylor, 98-92 and 96-94.
“Two-weight undisputed champion, that sounds very nice,” Taylor beamed afterwards.
Katie Taylor was famous for her London 2012 Olympic gold medal triumph, for unifying the lightweight professional world championships and having great fights with Delfine Persoon and Natasha Jonas.
The high point of her professional career previously was her epic victory over Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden in New York.
But this win, under these circumstances, surely tops that.
“That was the longest six months of my life waiting for this rematch,” Taylor said.
“This was my real homecoming tonight.”
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