BN Preview: Only revenge will do for Katie Taylor

By Declan Taylor IN KATIE TAYLOR’S Hall of Fame career, there is one box left unchecked: exacting revenge in an immediate rematch. But having suffered the first defeat of her career six months ago, when Chantelle Cameron claimed a majority decision victory at the 3Arena in Dublin, Taylor has the chance to right the wrong on Saturday night. It was not the homecoming that Taylor, fighting back in Ireland as a professional for the first time, had in mind. She was ultimately outhustled by Cameron, who never really looked in any danger of defeat back in May. Indeed, Cameron’s has to be one of the very best wins by any active female fighter today against a genuine icon of the sport. Taylor had, of course, stepped up from her position as undisputed lightweight champion to face Cameron at 140lbs and perhaps the weight was a factor. For this rematch, however, Cameron had called for the fight to take place at lightweight so she had a chance to win all four 135lb belts. But in the end it was agreed for the pair to meet again as super-lightweights, where Cameron’s titles are once again on the line. As opposed to their initial encounter, Cameron is a clear favourite with the oddsmakers and it is easy to see why. In May, one judge had it 95-95 while the other two both scored the Englishwoman a 96-94 victor, handing her the slenderest of victories. But, although it was a close, competitive fight, it was not quite as close as those scores suggest. Now, six months on, Cameron arrives back in Dublin full of confidence and fully aware of what she needs to do to win. Taylor, now 37, will have to upset the odds and produce something extraordinary if she wants her revenge. Thankfully for her, Taylor’s boxing life has been full of the extraordinary. “Resurrection is in my DNA,” has been her quote of choice in the build-up to this fight but there are many people who believe her chances in this fight are dead and buried. “You do always learn from your losses more so than your wins,” Taylor said. “I don’t think my preparation was great. Everybody could see that I wasn’t myself on the night so I’m just grateful that I have another chance to rectify this really. Not every fighter has their chance of a rematch but I have a chance to make things right.” Cameron, meanwhile, is fully aware Taylor could be better in their second clash but she is adamant she will be too. “I am sick of watching the first fight back because I made so many mistakes,” Cameron said. “Some bits of it I watch and cringe. I know I have more gears to go through.” The champ from Northampton had set a fast pace, banked early rounds and established what proved to be an insurmountable lead. Taylor worked her way back into the fight and that will have irked Cameron, 32, somewhat. What all of this means is the stage is set beautifully for a fight even better than the first. The stakes are even higher six months on and Taylor’s redemption arc is primed for a flourish. But, given how the first fight played out and how unlikely a stoppage for 22-1 (6) Taylor is, it is very difficult not to pick a Cameron unanimous decision after 10 hard, entertaining rounds once again. Last time: Chantelle Cameron and Katie Taylor trade blows (Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing) Taylor is not the only home favourite on the hunt for redemption on Saturday night as entertaining southpaw lightweight Gary Cully comes again after his disaster at the 3Arena last time around. The Taylor-Cameron I card was supposed to be the 27-year-old’s opportunity to secure a statement win after a five-fight knockout hot streak. But the dream opportunity in front of his own people turned into a nightmare when Jose Felix, a Mexican man with 30 knockouts, failed to read the script. Instead, Jose Felix stayed tight early on and grasped his opportunity to strike in the third, dropping Cully three times before the towel came in. That defeat was the prelude to a complete overhaul for the Naas man, who has since upped sticks and moved to Liverpool, where he is now trained by Joe McNally and Declan O’Rourke. His first fight of that alliance is on Saturday as he faces Reece Mould over 10. “This isn’t about a celebration or a party like last time was supposed to be,” said Cully. “This is personal for me to get back to where I need to be and I’m looking to put in a big performance on November 25.” Mould, meanwhile, has rebuilt steadily since his crushing knockout defeat to Leigh Wood for the British featherweight title in February 2021. Mould had hurt Wood that night but was eventually stopped inside nine in the Wembley Arena bubble. He has since boxed and won five times, all on points, but Cully will be the biggest puncher he has faced since that night against Wood. If he can avoid that power for the first few rounds, there is a route for him to outbox his way to victory but the Irishman by stoppage in the second half of the fight is the pick here. There is also a step-up fight for Andy Lee-trained southpaw Paddy Donovan, who boxes over 10 rounds for the first time. The 24-year-old from Limerick is one of the hottest prospects in world boxing but his career has been stop-start. Like Cully and Taylor, this is his first fight since featuring on the initial show back in May, when he stopped Sam O’Maison in the sixth of their eight-rounder. This time around, Donovan faces former British title challenger and current English welterweight champion Danny Ball. The 27-year-old from the west Midlands is a good operator but was stopped in six by Ekow Essuman while he drew with Kaisee Benjamin back in 2019. He might have his moments in this fight but Donovan should have more than enough to win clearly on points here. Someone else who looks well set for a decision victory is undefeated Skye Nicoloson, who is 8-0 as a pro but is yet to secure a stoppage win. It is unlikely to come here against tough Lucy Wildheart, who is boxing for the first time since she stepped in at late notice to face Mikaela Mayer at the Copper Box in April. Considering how little notice she had, Wildheart boxed well that night but was still soundly beaten on all three cards. Nicolson, meanwhile, has designs on world titles at featherweight and should add to her burgeoning reputation as the one to watch in the division with her ninth points win in her fourth 10-rounder. In the evening’s other 10-round fight, undefeated John Cooney faces Liam Gaynor for the vacant Celtic super-featherweight title while Zelfa Barrett and Costin Ion fight in the same division in an eight-rounder. The only heavyweight action of the night comes in the form of an eight-rounder between undefeated Dublin southpaw Thomas Carty and Yorkshire’s 5-1 Dan Garber. There is also an outing for hot prospect Emmet Brennan who, in only his second professional fight, faces Jamie Morrissey over eight. The Verdict – Could we be about to witness the last fight of the great Taylor’s career?

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