By David Charlesworth, PA
Katie Taylor is relishing the “biggest night” of her illustrious career, hoping to make a triumphant homecoming and become a two-weight undisputed world champion by beating Chantelle Cameron.
The fighter has reigned supreme as the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight champion since mid-2019 and is now moving up to light-welterweight to challenge for Cameron’s four belts at the 3Arena.
Added significance comes from this being her first professional fight on home soil – major boxing shows have not occurred in Ireland since a deadly shooting at a weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in May 2016.
Taylor made her debut in the paid ranks six months later and has gone on to win all 22 fights, six inside the distance, but the 36-year-old faces arguably her toughest test in Britain’s Cameron.
“I’m so proud to be here and represent this great nation and I’m going to give it my all and become a two-weight undisputed champion,” said Taylor at Friday’s weigh-in ahead of the weekend showdown.
“It will absolutely be the biggest night of my career so far.”
Despite being the challenger, it was Taylor who made her way to the stage second in front of a partisan crowd singing her name, greeted by two violinists performing the Irish folk song ‘Drunken Sailor’.
She weighed in first, however, with both Taylor and and fellow undefeated fighter Cameron coming in at 139.7lbs, below the 140lbs limit.
“This is absolutely incredible, seeing the crowd here, thank you so much for all the support,” added Taylor.
“To bring big-time boxing back to this great nation, this is a nation who loves our sport, loves our boxing. I cannot wait to get a hold of those belts.”
Taylor was initially slated to face Amanda Serrano on Saturday night in a rerun of their epic contest at Madison Square Garden in April last year – the first women’s bout to headline the famed venue.
Taylor won that affair by wafer-thin split decision after withstanding some punishment in the middle rounds and hoped to entice Serrano to Croke Park, only for security cost issues to scupper the dream.
Serrano’s injury then led to Taylor, somewhat uncharacteristically, taking to social media to call out Northampton fighter Cameron, who gleefully stepped into the breach.
Cameron, who will have height and reach advantages over Taylor, has not been unduly tested in her 17 wins, eight inside the distance, and has seemed unfazed by all the hysteria surrounding her opponent.
“Cool heads in a hot kitchen, it’s just down to business,” said Cameron, who claimed all four major world titles last November by beating Jessica McCaskill.
“I’ll bring everything I’ve got.”
On the undercard, Doncaster fighter Terri Harper makes the first defence of her WBA light-middleweight title defence against former undisputed world welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus.
Harper tipped the scales at 150.8lbs, while Braekhaus weighed in at 153.3lbs.