Katie Taylor has dismissed suggestions she had been avoiding a fight with Chantelle Cameron – her opponent on May 20.
The undisputed lightweight champion, 36, will move to super lightweight to challenge Cameron, the undisputed champion, at Dublin’s 3Arena after injury forced Amanda Serrano to withdraw from their scheduled rematch.
Taylor’s age and the 31-year-old Cameron’s relative youth and natural size advantage potentially makes Cameron the most dangerous opponent of Taylor’s glittering career, but after having twice fought Delfine Persoon and agreed to a rematch with Serrano, who threatened to stop her in April 2022, Taylor insisted she was relishing the prospect of fighting Cameron as much as the fact she will finally be fighting at home.
The Olympic gold medallist will fight in Ireland for the first time as a professional, and she said: “I don’t understand people are saying I didn’t want this fight. One thing that has marked my career is I always wanted the hardest fights.
“My first defence was against [Jessica] McCaskill, my Madison Square Garden [debut] was against [Delfine] Persoon who dominated the lightweight division for years. There's Serrano who is a seven-weight world champion, not to mention all the other fights along the way.
“This is my big homecoming show and I have the chance to make history to become a two-weight undisputed world champion. It’ll be the biggest night of my career.
“It’s incredible that after 22 fights I’m finally making my homecoming fight. Big time boxing is finally coming back to Ireland.
“I am nearly pinching myself that this is happening. In Ireland, our people love this noble sport. For a very small nation we are very, very good at it.
“So it’s amazing to bring big time boxing back here. I have an amazing opportunity to make more history and this is another major milestone for female boxing. I can’t wait to step in there in front of my home crowd.”
Cameron, who unified all four world titles by also beating Jessica McCaskill, in November in her most recent fight, spoke of the element of “fear" with which she will be entering May’s fight. She also described Taylor as the world’s finest female fighter, at a time when increasingly the consensus is that that status belongs to Claressa Shields.
“Obviously there’s a little bit of fear," she said. "I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t. I’m hungry, motivated and when the bell goes it’ll be just me and Katie. I have to do my job to get the win.
“I’m just buzzing to be in the position. I have to say all thanks to Katie because women’s boxing is flying. If it weren't for Katie and Claressa Shields, none of us would be in this position. This is my career and my legacy. I’m coming to win and I’m also so glad to be part of the event as well.
“Katie is pound for pound the best women’s boxer there is. For me to have that challenge and to box her and get the win, I’ll be able to walk away from boxing one day and know I took out the best there is. What an achievement it would be. I’ve become undisputed and that was the goal. Now the goal is take out the best there is
“I have the strength and power. Katie is going to be my toughest fight, there’s no point saying otherwise. This is the hardest fight I’ll probably ever have. That's what excites me and gives me that hunger.