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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Robert Hynes

Katie Taylor preparing to make more history in 2023 after one of the biggest years of her career

This past year will undoubtedly go down as one of the biggest in Katie Taylor's incredible career.

Ten years on from her Olympic gold medal win, the Bray native made more history by fighting in the first female contest to headline an event at the historic Madison Square Garden in New York.

The event couldn't have got a better fight to go with the occasion as Taylor and Amanda Serrano went toe to toe and exchanged shot after shot for ten exhilarating rounds.

READ MORE: Claressa Shields sends message to Katie Taylor as she beats her to awards

Taylor looked to be in trouble towards the end of the fifth, but she showed incredible character and resilience to bounce back and go on to win via split-decision.

Following the contest, the attention of Taylor, her manager Brian Peters and promoter Eddie Hearn instantly switched to finally securing the undisputed lightweight champion her dream homecoming fight at Croke Park.

It is something that the Bray Bomber has been linked with for a long time, but following that epic MSG fight, there was real hope and optimism that she would finally get her wish before the end of 2022.

That wasn't to be as Serrano opted to go back to 126lbs in an attempt to become undisputed at featherweight, something she looks set to achieve early next year.

Instead of GAA Headquarters, Taylor found herself headlining a show at the 12,500 capacity Wembley Arena in London, located right outside Wembley Stadium in October.

She outclassed the relatively unknown Karen Elizabeth Carabajal, a mandatory challenger from Argentina, over ten rounds to win via unanimous decision.

Katie Taylor v Karen Elizabeth Carabajal (Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing)

And just like in New York months earlier, the post-fight talk immediately focussed heavily on one thing: Croke Park.

Speaking in the ring, Hearn promised: “It’s time to return to Ireland now, whoever it is, wherever it is, Ireland has to be next for Katie Taylor.

“She deserves it more than anyone, she’s boxed all over the world, the Irish fans are incredible and they travel everywhere.

“It’s time to give Ireland a sporting event they will never forget, and that’s the return of their hero Katie Taylor."

Talks have been ongoing in recent weeks between Taylor's team, Serrano and Jake Paul's Most Valuable Promotions, who promote the Puerto Rican, and there is hope that a deal can be reached soon to secure a Dublin date for next April or May.

A Croke Park event involving Taylor would be seen as one of the biggest ever sporting events to be staged in the country and would be incredibly difficult to top in the future.

The legendary Muhammad Ali headlined the last boxing event to take place at the famous venue when he defeated Al 'Blue' Lewis over 50 years ago and a Taylor fight is expected to leave an incredible legacy for young girls and boys across the country and beyond.

Katie Taylor and Eddie Hearn (Matthew Pover Matchroom Boxing)

It will also be a huge opportunity for a host of other Irish boxing stars to make names for themselves, with the likes of Gary Cully, Caoimhin Agyarko and Thomas Carthy all named by Hearn as possible fighters to compete on the undercard.

There are potential all-Irish bouts too, with IBO world super welterweight champion Dennis Hogan open to facing Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan, while Jason Quigley could take on Luke Keeler.

Winning at Croke Park to take her professional record to 23-0 would be seen by many as the perfect time for Taylor to call time on her career and hang up her gloves.

But Taylor, who turns 37 next July, has no plans on retiring yet and pointed to other fighters of similar ages who are still going strong when asked how long she can go on for prior to that win over Carabajal.

She said: "You definitely can't go on forever. I feel very, very good right now, very fresh. Looking at the whole of boxing right now - Terence Crawford … Oleksandr Usyk … Vasiliy Lomachenko - these guys are all of a similar age so I don't understand why everyone keeps asking me about retirement but I feel good."

What exactly will come next for Taylor after the Serrano rematch is anyone's guess, but victory could see her go on to face England's Chantelle Cameron, who could offer the Bray native an opportunity to become a two-weight undisputed champion after she defeated Jessica McCaskill to win all the belts at 140lbs last month.

Taylor has also stated her desire to fight in Las Vegas and a crossover bout against MMA legend Cris Cyborg would be seen as the ideal contest to be staged in Sin City.

Cyborg has recorded two wins since making her professional boxing debut back in September and a fight with Taylor was one of the main motivations for the Brazilian crossing over from MMA, where she is Bellator's featherweight champion.

But first and foremost let's get Taylor at Croke Park and worry about everything else after that. 2022 might have been one of the most significant years in the undisputed lightweight champion's career, but 2023 looks set to be even bigger and better.


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