Katie Taylor v Amanda Serrano: Taylor holds onto lightweight world title with split win

Katie Taylor
There was a crowd of 19,187 at Madison Square Garden in New York – the first time a female fighter has rocked the venue

Katie Taylor passed Amanda Serrano in points with a decisive win in an instant classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Irishwoman has kept her undisputed lightweight title in a fight brimming with action, heart and excellence.

Two of the three judges witnessed it for Taylor in a match that lived up to all predictions and all hopes.

Taylor received a two-card ruling, with margins of 97-93 and 96-93, with a referee scoring Serrano 96-94.

‘Look what we just did’

This is the first time two women have topped the famous venue, and after the first battle smashed all expectations, an even bigger rematch is certain to take place, with Dublin’s Croke Park mentioned as one potential locations.

“Absolutely possible. We have to do it again,” Taylor said after the results were available.

“It was an absolute fight that lasted 10 rounds. I’m so grateful to be in this position and sell out Madison Square Garden. Look what we just did.

“I used to say that when you think of Madison Square Garden, you think of Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier, but now people think of Katie Taylor v Amanda Serrano. I knew I was going to have to dig deep and down the trenches.

“I have the heart as well as the skills. I know I will be able to make it through.

“She’s an extraordinary warrior. A wonderful, wonderful person. What a privilege it is to fight her again.”

On one such night of women’s boxing, two of their greatest servants delivered. Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn could talk about a big game but he could never envision selling out Madison Square Garden, 19,187 tickets to be exact, with Taylor.

The build has been dominated by the magnitude of the event but Taylor and Serrano’s performances represent the purest element of women’s boxing’s astonishing rise. It was the talent of the boxers and Taylor’s unwavering will that brought women’s boxing out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

An all-out brawl

The fight quickly took shape in the first four rounds, with Serrano being the aggressor as the southern landing and Taylor looking for a quick counterattack.

Serrano will move up close and fire off big hits, while Taylor gladly lets the challenger move ahead of her, thanks to her famous volume feedback at a glance.

The dangerous tactic from Taylor seemed to work as she landed some clean shots, but then into the fifth inning.

Amanda Serrano
Serrano got Taylor in trouble in both the 4th and 5th rounds

Serrano cornered Taylor against a rope and fired crisp bullets, which connected to Taylor’s head and drained of blood. With the umpire watching closely, an unsettled Taylor pushed forward in response and attempted to take the game out of the corner.

Taylor may have swung, but this is only the second time in her stellar career with a single punch that didn’t hit the floor. The first was at the same venue as Delphine Person in 2019 when Taylor was lucky to keep her title. Three years have passed, Taylor is not stable on the foundation of MSG, but has excellently passed the round.

However, she encountered more fire in the fifth round, when Serrano was able to swing his legs when needed, leaving Taylor repeatedly injured with heavy hooks. Once again, the Irish woman withstood the onslaught and appeared to rediscover her legs in season seven.

Taylor could control the showdown in the middle of the ring if she kept moving and in the end it looked like Serrano had let go of the accelerator. After her slowest round, Serrano hit the field again in the eighth round, eager to re-establish herself.

Serrano assisted Taylor in a corner but this time the defending champion turned away from danger, drawing lessons for her from previous exchanges.

In the final two innings and Taylor still hadn’t injured Serrano but that soon changed. The ninth round saw Taylor take control of some sort but it was short-lived. The final round is a back-and-forth match. Serrano occasionally rotated from the hip while Taylor responded with painful counter-attacks.

There’s blood on Serrano’s face now. But the Puerto Rican tennis player refused to back down and punches flew from all directions. The final 10 seconds are a remarkable feat of strength and cardio for two women.

Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor has now won all 21 professional fights

Taylor injured Serrano but was then broken by a powerful kick. Both women were unsteadily swaying and swaying when the last bell rang.

The tension was almost indescribable as both teams stood in the center of the ring waiting to hear the results. Taylor was lucky enough to hold onto her title three years ago, and it’s been a thrilling wait under the bright lights of MSG.

Taylor overcame it in a fight where the truth was so close, and Serrano’s victory could have been missed in moments of her slowing down.

Opinions will differ as to who will win the fight and the debate is likely to be fierce until the two champions enter the ring once again.

Loud noise on a night like no other in Madison Square Garden

Boxing has seen many nights like this, but never for two female boxers. Inside the MSG, the noise was shrill. ‘The Fields of Athenry’ rang out moments before the boxers entered the detour.

The Puerto Rican fans were not to be missed, either, having put on a strong show of their national anthem before it was the Irish’s turn to claim their belts.

Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor turns pro after winning gold at 2012 Olympics in London

It was difficult to pick the winner out of two groups of fans even if there was one in the final round. The support was feverish, loud and constant. Serrano’s entrance was filled with emotion for a boxer who has spent most of his career in the cold.

The seven-time champion grinned as she walked away, accompanied only by her promoter Jake Paul.

Taylor is usually very eager to race into the ring, capturing every moment as she enters. Her promoter was Eddie Hearn, her trainer Ross Enamait and her right-hand man Brian Peters followed her. Enait, who coached Taylor throughout her professional career, is often an underrated man but couldn’t help but beam when his boxer took one last look.

David Diamante’s introduction to both women was met with warm applause. With 19,187 men and women concentrated in the arena, every punch is cheered like a knockout. The noise rose and fell, but never fell below the shrill level.

The wall rattled as relentlessly as the noise in the ring. Who wants to see female boxing? Everyone, it seems.

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