Katie Taylor anticipates epic, classic fight against Chantelle Cameron
“Obviously I’m aware of the challenge ahead of me,” said Irish star Katie Taylor.
Taylor was speaking ahead of her May 20 Saturday bout with Chantelle Cameron in Dublin, her long-awaited homecoming at Dublin’s 3Arena, in a fight that matches the undisputed lightweight champion with the undisputed super-lightweight champion.
“She [Cameron] has a big engine, I am prepared for that,” Taylor added. “She’s big and strong, I’m prepared for that as well. But I also have a big engine. I’m strong as well and I wouldn’t say I fear her but I am aware of the challenge ahead of me and I’m ready for whatever comes my way on fight night.”
Taylor has been preparing, as ever, in Connecticut with trainer Ross Enamait, and flew back to Ireland over the weekend for her first Fight Week at home since turning professional in 2016.
Taylor is no stranger to the big occasion having boxed at two Olympics and shared one of the events of 2022 with Amanda Serrano in Madison Square Garden, but even she is unlikely to have seen what faces her this week.
As the deep clouds of organised crime in boxing and Ireland partially clear – in an important week for the sport that sees Michael Conlan fight for a world title in Belfast a week later – the welcome that Taylor is likely to be afforded could set crowd decibel level records. Even-tempered as ever, Taylor is focusing on what happens in the ring and it has been that way since sights were adjusted from Serrano to Cameron.
“Things have been pretty much the same for me,” Taylor said, of the change of opponents. “I think it’s been probably psychologically better for me because I don’t have to worry about making weight, I can eat what I want and just focus on the actual fight. I feel very comfortable at this weight. I feel strong at this weight as well. Chantelle is probably a bit bigger than me, but not too much.”
The fight, and the homecoming, has captured the imagination. Taylor is the Canelo of Ireland, the biggest star in Irish sport. Even her contemporaries are amazed at exactly how significant Brand Taylor is. Conor McGregor is involved in Saturday’s show, with his alcoholic beverages among the event’s sponsors and, of course, he had tried to help Eddie Hearn navigate the homecoming towards Croke Park.
That venue is one of the places left on Taylor’s bucket list, and she would also like to experience the thrill of the fight in Las Vegas before she retires, but there is no looking beyond Cameron.
“I guess I just want to be involved in the biggest fights possible, whatever fight that is, I’ll take it fight by fight,” the 36-yearold said. “My main focus right now is Chantelle Cameron. After that, we’ll probably revisit the Amanda Serrano rematch, I’m not too sure what else after that but we’ll have to take it fight by fight. I want to be involved in fights fans are genuinely interested in and be excited about. I definitely haven’t given up on it [Croke Park]. I guess we will see. Those details are out of my control but I would absolutely relish the opportunity to fight in Croke Park.”
Of course, Taylor has been boxing for a long time. Twenty-two pro fights, two Olympic games, she is aware that she is nearer the end of her journey inside the ropes than outside of them. But that seems to give her added motivation of wanting to make the fights and the moments count. There might not be many left, but she wants them to mean something.
“I feel quite good right now,” she said, when asked how much longer she might box on for. “I just take it fight by fight to be quite honest. I know myself I can’t do this forever, so I just take it fight by fight. I want to be involved in the biggest fights possible. I’m still so passionate about my sport, I don’t feel like I’m slowing down any time now. We will see what happens in the coming fights but right now I feel absolutely fantastic.”
Some of that might be pre-fight talk, feeling in the best shape ever, as every fighter says they do before a big fight but one thing Taylor admits is that having to wait for this homecoming has stirred her emotions. It is something she has always wanted, and now it is finally here. Fight weeks might be a matter of going through the motions, but surely in the back of her mind, she will know this time is different, it’s special and it will mean that little bit more.
“I think I’m always going to be prepared for that in fight weeks,” she said. “It’s always a busy week anyway, but I just take things in my stride and I just take it day by day and don’t too overwhelmed by what’s going on. I have a focus and that focus is actually on the fight. It’s May 20 and that’s all I’m really concerned about. I’m going to enjoy fight week. I’m going to enjoy the occasion and I’m not thinking too much about distractions outside.”
But it is not just the event fans are excited for, or the occasion, but the sporting contest that sees two of the best women in boxing meet one another in a bout where the outcome is likely to be in the balance until the scorecards are read out after a breathless encounter. And there are plenty of experts tipping Jamie Moore-trained Cameron to cause a shock, which is added fuel to the Taylor fire.
“I guess I do love proving people wrong as well,” Taylor said. “When some people are betting against you… It was the same with the Amanda Serrano fight. A lot of people had her as the favourite and I love the fact that I came through and I proved those people wrong and I have the chance to do that again on fight night… I feel like it’s going to be the greatest night of my career so far.”
She also thinks it could top the Serrano night not just as a emotion-soaked night but as a fight.
“Yeah, I think it has the potential to beat that, for sure,” she continued, excitedly. “It has all the makings of an amazing fight. It has all the makings of a Fight of the Year contender. She [Cameron]’s busy. She’s exciting to watch. She’s got a big fan base herself, so this has all the makings of an epic fight. I don’t like being involved in too many of those fights. I hope I make it a bit easier on myself this time round, but definitely it does have the makings of an epic, classic fight.”