Katie Taylor produced a career-best performance to avenge her only professional defeat, beating Chantelle Cameron by majority decision to capture the undisputed world junior welterweight title Saturday in Dublin, Ireland.
With the victory, Taylor joins Claressa Shields as the only female boxers to become undisputed champion in two weight classes. She also is undisputed in the lightweight division.
In front of a frenzied crowd at the 3Arena, Taylor (23-1, 6 KOs) was much improved from the last time she fought Cameron (18-1, 8 KOs) at the same venue six months ago, fighting with greater intensity and speed.
Taylor said she had never felt more motivated pre-fight, and consequently beat Cameron with her punch output, slick shot selection and energy. She earned scores of 98-92, 96-94 and 95-95 to win Cameron's WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO junior welterweight belts.
Outpointed by Cameron in May, when she was denied a fairytale outcome in her first professional fight in her native Ireland, Taylor was given a scare by her English rival in the first round Saturday when she was put on the canvas. But no count was given, and Taylor went on to dominate the next few rounds and put the agony of the past six months behind her.
"That was the longest six months of my life," Taylor said in the ring afterward. "This was my real homecoming tonight. Whoever wrote me off don't know me very well. Don't ever doubt me. Tonight you saw the real me, and no one can beat me like that.
"You learn most from your failures. That's where your growth comes from. Never give up."
Katie Taylor, right, joined Claressa Shields as the only female boxers to become undisputed champion in two weight classes. Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Saturday's victory extinguishes talk about Taylor being ready for retirement at age 37 and should be enough to move her up from No. 3 in the pound-for-pound rankings.
Taylor moves on to a potential rematch with Amanda Serrano or a trilogy fight with Cameron, possibly at an outdoor stadium in Dublin, in the spring or summer next year.
"Let's get the trilogy at Croke Park," Taylor said about the Dublin outdoor venue, which has a capacity of more than 82,000.
"Chantelle is a phenomenal fighter and champion, and to have a trilogy would be great."
PunchesCameronTaylorTotal landed8389Total thrown255288Percent33%31%Jabs landed2615Jabs thrown10888Percent24%17%Power landed5774Power thrown147200Percent39%37%-- Courtesy of CompuBox
In their first fight, Cameron defeated Taylor by majority decision (96-94, 96-94, 95-95) to retain her undisputed junior welterweight titles at the same Dublin indoor venue. Cameron outpunched Taylor that day, but it was a different story in the rematch. Crucially, Cameron could not gain control through her jab.
Cameron, 32, from Northampton in England, who trains in Manchester, made a sharp start, immediately landing her jab, including one that appeared to cause a legitimate knockdown of Taylor. However, referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. did not issue a count, ruling it a slip.
Taylor, who is from Bray in Ireland but trains for most of the year in Connecticut, responded well, landing some quick clusters of punches in the second round. She continued the high intensity of her punch rate in the third round. Cameron suffered a gaping cut on the forehead from a clash of heads in the third, and by the end of the fourth round Taylor looked to be in control.
Taylor was too quick for Cameron with her attacks, and this time around she sustained the pressure. Cameron's jab, after a promising start in the first round, began to fall short, which allowed Cameron to land left hands.
When Cameron did attack, Taylor responded with punches of her own, but in the seventh round both were equally brilliant amid some furious exchanges. Neither took a backward step in the seventh, and in the eighth the fight shifted to being fought at close range, with a lot of holding. Cameron landed a right uppercut on the inside, but Taylor responded with a left hand late in the eighth.
Taylor looked increasingly tired as she tried to repel Cameron in the ninth round, as the champion sensed she needed a big finish.
An exhausted Taylor did not look as though she had much left in the last round, while Cameron finished the fight with blood smeared across most of her face from the wound on her forehead.
Nicolson stays in contention for Serrano
On the undercard, Skye Nicolson (9-0, 1 KO) kept in contention for a shot at undisputed world featherweight champion Amanda Serrano in 2024 after claiming her first professional win inside the distance. The Australian boxer defended her WBC interim featherweight title after opponent Lucy Wildheart's corner threw in the towel in Round 9 of their 10-round bout.
Nicolson, 28, from Queensland, was too smart and quick with her punches, which left Wildheart (10-3, 4 KOs) bleeding heavily from her nose in the ninth round. It was a sensible stoppage from Wildheart's corner, and a classy performance from Nicolson, who turned professional after competing at the last Olympics as an amateur.