By: Sean Crose
Give this to Katie Taylor, the Irish fighter had no interest in facing an easy opponent for her homecoming fight Saturday night in Dublin. Instead the undefeated, undisputed lightweight champion moved up a division to challenge undisputed junior welterweight champion Chantelle Cameron in an ambitious quest to become the reigning queen of two separate weight classes simultaneously.
The first round saw Cameron come forward while Taylor, cool as always, picked her moments to fire at her opponent. The second saw Taylor land effectively on the aggressive defending champion. Cameron proved to be the faster and more active of the two fighters in the third. The high octane fourth was a give and take affair with each woman landing well. Cameron simply outgunned the challenger in the fifth.
Taylor had a far better sixth round, landing in combinations and fighting Cameron up close in the figurative phone booth. Both fighters landed hard through the fast paced seventh. Taylor wound up the eighth landing often and effectively. Getting Taylor onto the ropes in the ninth, Cameron banged away. Taylor was incredibly game, but perhaps not naturally big enough to consistently get the better of the defending champion. The tenth and final round saw Taylor looking sharp, fast and professional. It proved not to be enough. The judges ruled in favor of Cameron by scores of 96-94, 95-95, and 96-94.
“I’m not sure, to be honest,” Taylor said afterward regarding the decision. “I’ll have to look back on the fight. It was obviously a very, very close. It’s not how I wanted my homecoming to go, but I’m just so grateful for all the support regardless.” Taylor asserted that she knew going in the fight would be a brutal affair. “I expected everything that came my way,” she said. “It was a tough battle and a grueling 10 rounds. I just came up short tonight, and I look forward to the next time we face each other.”
Cameron, of course, was ecstatic. “I was petrified,” the victor said of what the judging might look like in her opponent’s homeland. “I’ve seen it before in boxing. I was petrified I wasn’t going to get this decision.” The time for worrying, however, was now over. “Katie’s a great fighter,” Cameron admitted, “pound-for-pound the best women’s boxer there is, and I turned up on the occasion.”
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