After a fight week which saw a celebration of all things Katie Taylor, it was Chantelle Cameron whose hand was raised following ten pulsating rounds at Dublin’s 3Arena on Saturday.
The undisputed super-lightweight champion flew out the gates to make the first successful defence of her crown by majority decision among a hostile atmosphere in the Irish capital.
Cameron, despite her status as champion, was made to wait in the ring as Taylor enjoyed her first ring-walk as a professional in her home country among a sea of green, orange and white.
She wasted no time in asserting her authority on the fight however upon the sounding of the opening bell, producing the cleaner work in the first round which culminated with a solid Cameron left hook.
Taylor regrouped in the second as she brought her right hand into play but the first half of the fight no doubt belonged to Cameron whose added size and physicality continued to force Taylor back to the ropes.
The fourth saw her most dominating display yet as she landed several thudding blows while catching the majority of the challenger’s shots on her own arms and gloves.
Taylor predictably fired back, displaying the heart and grit which has played an equal role in her success alongside her unquestionable technical ability, but her shots didn’t seem to be having the same impact on Cameron who for the most part seemed unfazed by what was coming her way.
The latter continued to apply pressure on the front foot, immediately firing back whenever Taylor would break through with shots of her own.
As the final two rounds of the fight approached, Taylor sensed she needed a big finish if she was to get the fairytale ending on her return to Irish soil.
With increased urgency, the London 2012 gold medalist fired right hands through Cameron’s guard, leaving a welt on the latter’s forehead heading into the final rounds.
Taylor finished strong but had left herself with too much work to do given her slow start to the fight, with Cameron running out a close but definitive winner on the scorecards (95-95, 96-94 x2).
While disappointed with her first pro loss, Taylor, who still holds all four belts at lightweight, ensured to give Cameron the credit she deserved post-fight while insisting the pair would meet again in a rematch later in the year.
“Congratulations to Chantelle on a fantastic performance”, Taylor said. “Thank you so much for this opportunity to fight for your belts, [I’m] looking forward to the rematch.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn also confirmed a rematch clause was in place, stating they were planning to stage the second fight back in Dublin later in the year.
Cameron meanwhile is now setting her sights on becoming a two-weight champion after defeating two undisputed champions (Taylor and Jessica McCaskill) in her last two outings.
It remains to be seen if a second fight would take place at 140lbs or if Cameron would move down a weight to face Taylor for her undisputed lightweight crown.
“I’ve defended my belts again against Katie Taylor. I’ll speak to my team and see what’s next for me but I’m stick of fighting for my belts, I wanna go for some more.”
The home crowd were left disappointed earlier in the night as lightweight sensation Gary Cully was handed his first pro defeat in shocking fashion against Mexican Jose Felix.
Cully was eager to impress in front of his Irish crowd but was caught cold by a big overhand right a minute into the third round which sent him to the canvas.
Felix smelled blood and set about the Irishman once the fight restarted, bundling him to the canvas again moments later with more winging hooks against the ropes.
Anxious to impress and right his wrongs, Cully immediately rose to his feet in act of defiance but his legs told a different story with over half of the round still remaining.
Felix boasted 30 wins by knockout heading into the fight and his power was evident for all to see as he continued to land crushing blows to the head.
Despite witnessing the onslaught, the referee inexplicably allowed the fight to continue with punishing shots raining in on the wounded Irish fighter.
Cully’s arms dropped to his side as more punishment was dished out by Felix who landed a huge left hook in the final minute.
Legs wobbled and clinging on for dear life, the referee somehow felt no need to intervene before the towel came from the Cully corner and the fight was finally halted with 23 seconds remaining in the round.
Felix had secured the win of his career so far while Cully, who was so desperate to land a marquee finish on home soil, returns to the drawing board after a harsh learning curve in the Irish capital.
At super-welterweight, James Metcalf continued his rich reign of form with a dominant ten-round display over former world title challenger Dennis Hogan.
The latter was deducted a point in the final round for persistently spitting out the mouthguard while the pressure of Metcalf meant he was a deserving winner on the judge’s scorecards (110-117 (x2), 113-115).
Heavyweight Thomas Carty also floored Jay McFarlane three times before stopping the Scot in the third to claim the Celtic title earlier in the evening.
Featured image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.