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Chantelle Cameron v Katie Taylor: English fighter stuns Taylor in Dublin to retain undisputed crown

Chantelle Cameron celebrates victory
Chantelle Cameron remains undefeated, with 18 wins in 18 fights

England’s Chantelle Cameron delivered the first professional defeat of Katie Taylor’s career to retain her undisputed light-welterweight crown in Dublin.

Taylor’s homecoming was seven years in the making, but the undisputed lightweight champion could not deliver the dream result for her supporters as she lost out on majority decision.

Cameron’s class shone through in a relentlessly paced contest, with one judge scoring it a 95-95 draw.

The other two scorecards read 96-94 to 32-year-old Cameron, who extends her undefeated record to 18 wins.

“If I’m honest I wasn’t expecting the decision to go my way,” Cameron told BBC Radio 5 Live after her win.

“I’m over the moon it went my way and the right woman got her arm raised.”

Taylor, 36, suffered her first loss since crashing out of Rio Olympics in 2016 and her first defeat in 22 pro fights while Cameron staked her claim as one of the world’s best by beating the sport’s biggest female star.

As Cameron was embraced by her team when the results were read out, Taylor dropped her arm, visibly distraught at seeing her long-awaited homecoming end in defeat.

The scorecards deflated the partisan crowd, but promoter Eddie Hearn quickly raised spirits again by revealing there would be an immediate rematch in the autumn in Dublin.

Cameron said she expected to be treated as the champion in their next fight.

“I need to speak to my team because everything was in Katie’s favour in this fight,” she said.

Taylor, who grew up just a 30-minute drive from the 3Arena, was humble in defeat.

“I was expecting a gruelling fight and that’s what it was,” she said.

“I obviously came up short. I always love a challenge and I’m looking forward to the rematch.

“This isn’t how I wanted the homecoming to go but I’m grateful that this event could sell out in a couple of minutes.”

Taylor’s ring walk reception lives up to hype

Katie Taylor makes her ring walk
Taylor had never fought at home as a pro

In a career brimming full of incredible achievements, Taylor’s homecoming will surely go down as one of her most memorable nights, if not her most accomplished performances.

Pro boxing in Ireland has been on its knees since a gangland shooting at a weigh-in at the Regency hotel in 2016 effectively ended big time boxing in the country.

It was only fitting that potentially Ireland’s greatest ever boxer was the one to bring it back.

Taylor waited her entire pro career, 22 fights, to fight at home again and was competing as the challenger for the first time in four years.

Cameron had not been afforded any of the trappings of the champion in fight week, her name second on the posters and the Northampton fighter was the first to make her ring walk, breaking from tradition.

Many had wondered whether the occasion would overawe Cameron, but she cut a relaxed figure as ‘Three Little Birds’ rang out during her ring walk.

The first glimpse of Taylor promoted the noise to reach a new level. Cameron, shadow boxing and sharing jokes with her team, turned her back on Taylor’s entrance as her challenger finally appeared.

Dressed in gold and black like Cameron, Taylor enjoyed an unusually long ring walk, singing as she slowly made her way to the ring.

She stopped at the ropes to take one last look at the feverish crowd before entering the ring.

Cameron produces career-best performance

Chantelle Cameron punches Katie Taylor
Cameron never slowed down over 10 fast-paced rounds

Cameron had vowed to swarm Taylor from the off and she made good on that promise in the opening round, piling the pressure on her opponent and rarely firing single punches.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist was fighting on the backfoot, trying to deliver counters as Cameron continued to push the pace brilliantly.

Cameron was light on her feet as the aggressor, but the crowd roared whenever Taylor’s renowned accuracy shone through.

The home favourite landed a right-left combination at her trademark lightning speed in the second to huge roars, but those moments of success were fleeting.

Cameron came out quickly in the second, producing a lovely combination on the backfoot as Taylor moved in.

Taylor was able to respond moments later and was trying to push Cameron back with straight hands, but could not stop the champion pouring forward.

The partisan crowd would erupt with every punch Taylor landed, no matter how glancing. UFC star Conor McGregor was among those going hoarse at ringside urging Taylor on.

Cameron remained dominant, however, and Taylor’s hair began to fall out of her plaits as she tried her best to time power-counters.

But Taylor needed to move at a relentless pace to avoid Cameron.

Cameron regularly mixed up head and body shots, and was in control of the contest at the mid-way point.

But Taylor’s heart is well-documented, she has dug deep in fights before and come out on top.

Searching for that spark, Taylor stood in the centre of the ring in the sixth with Cameron, content to box up close, targeting Cameron’s head at speed.

But as she would do throughout the entire fight, Cameron responded with her own heavy shots and never appeared troubled.

The Briton then enjoyed a stellar seventh round, landing a right hand in the opening seconds and more heavy punches to the body of Taylor.

Into the eighth, and the crowd urged Taylor to stand and fight with Cameron, which she did, before having to eat a sharp uppercut from the champion.

The eighth bell arrived with both women swinging from the hips.

Chantelle Cameron celebrates victory
Cameron was an underdog fighting Taylor in Dublin

The penultimate round saw Taylor desperately trying to wrestle control, but Cameron expertly rode the storm, landing when she could with some smart boxing.

The two went toe-to-toe again moments later, both lowering their heads, but once again Cameron appeared to come off the better in exchanges and strolled back to her corner confidently for the final instructions.

The fight’s pace barely slowed throughout and Taylor sensing she needed a big finish, began to step forward first in the final round, punching in threes and fours.

Cameron tagged her challenger with short rights as the crowd began to chant ‘Katie, Katie’ trying to encourage their fighter, but a last-gasp knockdown never seemed likely as Cameron reached the finish line with ease.

Apprehension filled the arena as both fighters’ teams celebrated.

There were several nervous minutes for Cameron and her corner as they awaited the results.

They would have been forgiven for fearing the worst when the first scorecard was announced as a draw, but there was to be no hometown controversy as Cameron was confirmed a deserved winner.

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