One venue and a choice from two top-tier opponents.
Promoter Eddie Hearn cannot—and refuses to—envision any other scenario that’s next for Katie Taylor than to headline at Croke Park. The famed Dublin venue was eyed for her long overdue homecoming earlier this year but costs instead drove both DAZN-aired headliners versus Chantelle Cameron to the 9,000-seat 3Arena in May and again this past Saturday.
Taylor (23-1, 6KOs) avenged her lone career defeat with a ten-round, majority decision win over England’s Cameron (18-1, 8KOs) in their terrific rematch to win the undisputed junior welterweight championship. The atmosphere for the event arguably surpassed—and at the bare minimum, rivaled—the electricity that came from Taylor’s win over Amanda Serrano last April 30 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The goal now is to create something even more iconic for Taylor’s next adventure.
“If we’re going to Croke Park next—and we’re doing everything we can to—Chantelle Cameron is the pick for the trilogy,” Hearn said during the post-fight press conference following Taylor’s revenge-fueled victory. “It’s really only Chantelle or Amanda Serrano. They’re the two megafights out there that Croke Park wants.
“If those fighters want that opportunity and want those paydays and the chance at a legacy that Katie can deliver, absolutely we’d love to.”
Cameron outpointed Taylor over ten rounds to defend her undisputed crown on May 20 at 3Arena. The event was sold as Taylor’s long overdue homecoming, having never boxed professionally in her native Ireland.
Despite the first loss of her career, Taylor retained her fully unified lightweight championship which was not at stake that night or for the rematch given the higher weight. The win over Cameron on Saturday saw Taylor become just the sport’s third boxer—Claressa Shields and Terence Crawford are the others—to become a two-division undisputed champion in the four-belt era.
The goal for the 37-year-old from Bray—less than an hour from Dublin—remains the same: continuing to raise the bar for women in boxing. The goal for Matchroom Boxing is to provide a backdrop befitting her events.
“Everyone has to put the pressure on, from the country to politicians to the sport,” insisted Hearn. “We can make a financial case for tourism of why an event like this would be huge for this country. But… if they can’t understand the compassionate side of giving this event and this night to their greatest ever athlete, then I don’t know what we’re doing. We’re not even asking for favors. All we’re asking for is for the costs to be in line with the biggest stadiums in the world where we hold boxing.
“We don’t want a free stadium, though if they want to give us one, it’d be marvelous. But all we’re saying is, can it be thereabouts of Wembley, or Millennium Stadium (in Cardiff, Wales) or Dallas Cowboys (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas)? Shouldn’t we just all try to work together?
You saw what this was [Saturday] and that was just 9,000. The difference at Croke Park is, we can make it more accessible to be people. We have to hit numbers on a gate. The tickets were expensive [for the rematch]. Not everybody can go. When you have €30 tickets or cheaper, that’s the appeal. It’s great to drive a big gate at 3Arena. To see how those people come out at Croke Park would be an unbelievable moment.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox