Forget Wallin & Whyte – Cameron vs. McGee is a Great Fight
By Ian Aldous
On October 20th, just ten days prior to their heavyweight battle of considerable significance, Dillian Whyte vs. Otto Wallin was not postponed but cancelled. Citing a shoulder injury, Whyte pulled out of the fight, and Matchroom was forced to fill a sizeable void that the main event left.
Thus, the evening’s scheduled co-main event was elevated to the prestigious position of headlining at the O2. Part of Matchroom’s ‘Road To Undisputed’ tournament. It pits reigning WBC super-lightweight champion, Chantelle Cameron (14-0), against the IBF’s defending champion, Mary McGee (27-3), in a blockbuster unified world title fight that will also crown the inaugural Ring Magazine champion at 140-pounds.
Make no mistake, this is a fight of great magnitude – it’s just a shame that the circumstances surrounding Whyte’s withdrawal have overshadowed that. Unfortunately, after that announcement, such is to be expected nowadays, a furore erupted on social media lambasting the card without its original heavyweight attraction. The undercard may well be lacking in star power, but for boxing fans to dismiss a WBC, IBF & Ring Magazine world title main event is, simply put, an overreaction.
Is that a sign that the female fight game still doesn’t quite garner the respect it should? Or, is it more that fans are looking for ammunition to discredit Eddie Hearn and DAZN’s ‘Game. Changed’ moniker? Whatever the reason for Whyte’s absence – this fight is a huge deal for one of Britain’s very best talents.
Chantelle Cameron was a longtime amateur standout who turned pro in 2017, and took less than a year to capture the IBO lightweight world crown. Two successful defences followed, but the big opportunities passed her by during her time under the McGuigans. She held the IBO strap whilst Katie Taylor was collecting the rest of the belts in the 135-pound division. In 2019, under the guidance of MTK Global, Cameron won an eliminator for the WBC’s title, in an attempt to force a fight with Taylor which didn’t come to fruition.
Last year, prior to winning the WBC super-lightweight belt, she told me, “I prefer being at 135-pounds, but I have to go where the title is. I’m not counting out 135-pounds. I’d still go down there to fight as well. I want to win them belts and be undisputed champion. Katie’s holding on to them at the moment, but I wouldn’t rule out lightweight.”
“People talk about me fighting Katie Taylor a lot,” Cameron explained to me last year. “Everybody wants to fight Katie. Katie wants to be in as big of a fight as possible and I’m still growing my profile, so I don’t think she’s really looking at me as an option, at the moment. I’ve just got to win these world titles and put myself on that pedestal where I’ll be included in the big fights.”
Before Delfine Persoon was officially announced as Katie Taylor’s opponent for their epic rematch at Matchroom’s summer 2020 Fight Camp PPV, the clamour on social media for Chantelle Cameron to go one-on-one with Taylor was clear to see.
“I was quite shocked by the number of people that were actually mentioning my name. I don’t think she’s too keen on fighting me anyway (laughs).”
After our interview, Cameron captured the WBC world title with a thoroughly comprehensive whitewash decision against the overmatched Adriana Dos Santos.
Now, the 30-year-old from Northampton is on the verge of achieving greatness. Just two wins away from ‘Undisputed’ status, Mary McGee stands in her way this Saturday night. The American is 27-3 and brings a 7-fight win streak as well as the IBF title. Despite not having competed since February 2020, McGee turned pro a staggering TWELVE years before Cameron. However, since McGee’s last bout, ‘Il Capo’ has remained active, winning and defending her world title.
It’s an intriguing championship clash with a lot on the line. Kali Reis and Jessica Camara complete the semi-finals of the 140-pound tournament on November 19thin their IBO, WBA & vacant WBO world title fight. Expect the winners to meet early next year.
Women’s boxing is still growing and clearly doesn’t have the depth of talent that the men’s game possesses, but it’s improving swiftly and warrants its position headlining at the O2 this Saturday night, such is the magnitude of the fight.
Elsewhere on the card, heavyweight entertainer Alen Babic takes on Eric Molina; Craig Richards returns to action after his spirited 175-pound world title loss to Dmitry Bivol as he faces Marek Matyja; super-bantamweight prospect Ellie Scotney continues her pro-education, and Youssef Khoumari battles Jorge David Castaneda for a WBC regional super-featherweight belt. Johnny Fisher, Jordan Thompson, John Hedges and Thomas Carty will all look to remain undefeated.
Speaking of Johnny Fisher, the 3-0 heavyweight from Romford bravely put himself forward as a replacement for Whyte. He has reportedly sold over 1300 tickets and was willing to fight Otto Wallin in an eight-rounder. In a Twitter post, he said: “I’m not saying this for praise or publicity. I will 100% fight Otto Wallin for the same money I’m already getting for fighting Terrero. I want this show to go ahead and I don’t want to let my supporters down. @EddieHearn let’s go. He who dares wins.”
You can catch all of the action live on DAZN.