Cameron beats Taylor in showdown of boxing champions

·2-min read

Katie Taylor's long-awaited Irish homecoming has ended in her first professional loss after England's Chantelle Cameron won the showdown of undisputed and undefeated boxing champions by majority decision.

Taylor, whose lightweight belts weren't on the line, fell to a 22-1 win-loss record after the judges scored the fight 96-94 96-94, and 95-95 in front of a stunned capacity crowd at Dublin's 3Arena.

The 2012 Olympic gold medalist had never fought professionally in Ireland. Taylor suffered her first defeat at any level since being eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.

"It's not how I wanted my homecoming to go," Taylor said in the ring. "It was a tough battle, a grueling 10 rounds like I expected it to be. I just came up short tonight."

Cameron, who was inspired by Taylor to turn pro, remained the undisputed super-lightweight champion.

The English fighter entered the ring first even though her belts were at stake, and seemed unfazed by the fervent home fans.

"Best woman boxer there is and I turned up for the occasion," said Cameron, sporting bruises on her forehead and right cheek.

Once the bell rang, Cameron stalked Taylor and stayed aggressive the whole way. She used body shots to exhaust Taylor and jabs to outwork her.

In the sixth, they went toe to toe in the middle of the ring. Taylor fought hard, using combinations to counter Cameron's greater weight and strength.

Cameron was pressuring enough by the eighth to make Taylor look in need of a knockout.

But amid chants of "Katie, Katie!" Cameron kept her off with uppercuts. At the end of a contest which met the hype, both fighters jumped on their trainers' shoulders and raised their arms.

Taylor has a rematch clause, and Cameron expects it to be in England.

The 32-year-old Cameron improved to 18-0 in what is instantly a career highlight for the heavy puncher, who hadn't planned to turn professional until she saw the success of Taylor and Claressa Shields.

Taylor last fought in Ireland as an amateur more than seven years ago.

There had been no elite-level boxing events in Ireland since gunmen opened fire during a weigh-in at a Dublin hotel in February 2016. Authorities say the shooting was part of a feud between two drug trafficking gangs.