Katie Taylor is finally fighting at home. The undisputed lightweight champion will look to claim the same status at super lightweight when she challenges Taylor in Dublin on Saturday night.
This weekend’s show from the Irish capital marks a high moment for sport in the country. Not only does the nation welcome back its hero, other young Irish warriors get the chance to fight at home after a difficult time for boxing in Ireland. A gangland murder, which took place at the Regency hotel in Dublin 7 years ago, led to boxing shows being ripped away from the fight loving country.
ProBox TV spoke exclusively with former world champion, now manager and trainer, Andy Lee to discuss Ireland’s return to boxing.
Boxing events have sprung back to life in The Republic of Ireland over the past two months. Waterford, Galway and Dublin have seen the likes of Jason Quigley and Kieran Molloy headline in front of their own people. However, Katie Taylor’s homecoming marks a return to the big-time, a fighter the whole country is in full support of.
“You can’t help but like her because of the person and the fighter she is.” Lee explained. “If she was a gimmick, she wouldn’t get the respect from the male fighters. But all the lads, me included, we look up to Katie. What she has done in the game, how she fights and her technical ability. We need big fighters like Katie headlining these cards, we have Gary Cully coming up behind her, Paddy [Donovan] will be topping cards soon, there is a big fight in Belfast next week with Michael Conlan. We just need big stars and people will go out and watch them.”
Ireland’s history is entwined with the sport. This week has every Irish man, woman and child all talking about Dublin’s return to boxing.
“When you hear an Irish crowd there is nothing like it.” Lee continued. “There are no by-partisan crowds, like in Wales or Manchester maybe. Wait until you hear Katie walk out. It’s going to be phenomenal, when the DAZN executives see that and the fans see that, they will want more of it.”
The amateur Irish system regularly sees packed out crowds easily hitting four-figures. The goal now is to replicate that in the professional game.
“In England there is more of a pathway.” Lee said. “There are lots of English promoters, but there is no real Irish promoter right now. We are relying on English prompters coming to Ireland, we need a good homegrown promoter really. When Brian Peters was running shows years ago it was phenomenal. There is an audience here in Ireland. I would love to take Paddy Donovan back to Limerick to fight like I did. We are building them up.”
The upcoming clash with Taylor and Cameron is certainly not a full gone conclusion. Taylor moves up a weight class to take on another talented undefeated fighter, a fight that took just a day to make.
“It’s going to be a tough fight for Katie.” Lee added. “It will be very hard, but Katie will win a tight fight. Cameron is very hard and a great fighter and very aggressive. But, Katie has all the ability and the heart to win. She’s a champion and always finds a way to win. I’m backing Katie to win the fight.”