Taylor vs Serrano: An Important Moment In History

Taylor vs Serrano: An Important Moment In History

By Lucy MacDonald

After coming head-to-head for the first time over in New York last week, Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano flew to London for a second-round press conference in the UK ahead of their history-making super fight at Madison Square Garden on 30th April.   

It was reported shortly after the New York press conference that this fight officially ranks as the second-highest pre-sale boxing event in Madison Square Garden history. The magnitude of this event was exemplified even by the venue in which the UK press conference was staged. The success of women’s boxing continues to grow. This is no longer women’s boxing, this is just boxing.   

The fight for undisputed lightweight world champion status is to be co-promoted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and Jake Paul of Most Valuable Promotions (MVP).   

Jake Paul, a professional boxer himself, in his new role as ‘Promotor Paul’ admitted “I want to bring more to this sport than I took from it.” Serrano signed with MVP after she fought on the undercard of Paul’s most recent victory against former MMA fighter, Tyron Woodley, where he produced an impressive knockout.  

‘The Problem Child,’ as his alias has him known, is proving less of a problem and more of a blessing as he delivers a new demographic to the world of boxing. Clearly delighted to be co-promoting alongside Eddie Hearn, and with obvious admiration for the achievements of Katie Taylor, Paul declared “obviously, it’s going to be a great fight, but I believe in Amanda.”   

Where co-promotions can often be tarnished by bitter relationships, this partnership illustrates respect and unity as both men share a similar aim. “Jake is fresh, and I am fresh enough – just – where we genuinely want the best for the fighters and we genuinely want to work together to make this as big as possible,” said Hearn.    

There has been a lot of mixed feelings regarding 24-year-old Paul’s involvement in the world of boxing, but boxing fans cannot deny his positive impact as he uses his immense social media following to advance the interest in this major fight, and his contribution to making this bout finally happen.     

“I am a woman for equality.” Serrano began her part in the press conference by focusing upon the future of women’s boxing. “I want to continue to open the doors for the new generation coming into the sport.”  

Three-minute rounds is currently a very live topic in women’s boxing. The financial benefit for the female contestants of extending rounds by one minute and the fact that they train just as hard as the men, are the two main catalysts of this popular proposition.   

“This is all about equality, we should make the change right now. So, Katie, are you up for it? Twelve three-minute rounds, let’s do it like the men.”  

Taylor responded to Serrano’s proposal – “I don’t think that will make a huge difference; the event is already iconic the way it is. “Perceptions have changed already; boxing is boxing regardless.”   

‘The Real Deal’ believes this would be a “change for the future” and was keen to be the first to put three-minute rounds into action. Fans took to social media, following the proposal from Serrano, to convey that they believe twelve three-minute rounds would favour her in this match-up, being the cause of Taylor declining the request.   

The attention in the room turned to Taylor as she acknowledged “I am expecting the toughest fight of my career and I am preparing for that.”  

“I don’t think anyone has ever asked the question, does Katie have what it takes to go to ‘that’ place when the fight is in the trenches? That question has been answered. I am not sure if Amanda has answered that question yet and I think her legacy will depend on the answer to that question. I guess we’ll find out on April 30th.”   

Hearn turned the question immediately back to Serrano and asked her that very same question, did she believe she has what it takes to go to ‘that’ place when the fight goes to the trenches? The challenger replied, “I have everything.”  

With an outstanding record of 42-1-1, it feels almost degrading to refer to Serrano as ‘the challenger’ in this major fight. The 33-year-old is a dangerous fighter and most certainly Taylor’s biggest competition yet. A seven-weight world champion herself, the Puerto Rican spoke calmly and oozed confidence as she addressed the UK media. Unbeaten and undisputed champion, Taylor, who never turns up with the intention of ‘winning’ a press conference, but whose energy certainly does not denote any self-doubt, assures her skills will prevail.   

To highlight the success and growth of the women in this sport, four of the UK’s biggest talents took to the microphone on the 42nd floor of the outstanding Leadenhall Building in London to discuss their upcoming bouts and ambitions prior to the main press conference. The addition of the initial female-fighting speakers depicts the progress of women’s boxing in recent years and the importance of this moment in history.   

First to tell their tale was former WBC world super-featherweight champion, Terri Harper.  After hopes to become undisputed in the division, Harper suffered a loss to Alycia Baumgardner in Sheffield back in November which saw the WBC world super-featherweight title disappear to America. After much deliberation between Harper and her coach, Doncaster’s Stefy Bull, the 25-year-old made the decision to call time on her career at 130lb and has moved up to contend at lightweight. ‘Belter’ has her first bout at 135lb as chief support on a stacked Matchroom Boxing card to be hosted in Nottingham on 12th March, with Leigh Wood vs Michael Conlan headlining the event. Harper will be fighting America’s Heather Hardy, a former opponent of Amanda Serrano.   

“I am glad I am back in the gym, back doing what I do best, obviously up at a higher weight, but I am excited to get back out there. That defeat does not define me. I am excited to get back in with a great opponent, show everyone that I am back and really put my mark and stamp on the lightweight division,” Harper told Eddie Hearn.  

Chantelle Cameron was the only current world champion at the table. Cameron headlined a show herself in October at the O2 Arena in London, beating Mary McGee over ten rounds to become unified. The WBC and IBF world super-lightweight champion does not currently have a defence of her titles lined up but does hope to fight this coming April.  She will have her eye on the winner of Taylor vs Serrano, perhaps with a super fight with the winner before the end of 2022 –  

“Yeah, I definitely want to go over to watch it. I think it’s going to be history, so, I want to be there. I’ll have my eyes on that one.”  

Someone with a fascinating background is the very likeable Australian, Skye Nicolson, who looks to make her debut at featherweight in a six-round contest against Bree Howling in San Diego on 5th March. Nicolson had a very successful career in the unpaid ranks and is leaping head-first into the fire with Howling, a tough opponent who is unbeaten with a 3-0 record.

“I am here to make a statement early, give me who you’ve got.”  

The talented southpaw relocated to the UK to take her career to the next level.  

“My boxing is improving dramatically. I am taking on the whole experience, away from family, away from friends, out of my comfort zone and just fully focused on boxing.”  

Shannon Courtenay arrived to discuss her plans for the future. ‘The Baby Face Assassin’ went toe-to-toe with Jamie Mitchell in November at Liverpool’s Echo Arena where, unfortunately, she was not defending her WBA world bantamweight title due to being stripped of the same after weighing in 2.5lb over the weight limit the day prior. Courtenay’s plan for the future begins with redemption.   

“That is all I care about right now. I want to just beat Jamie, get my world title back and then, after that, whoever wins out of Bridges and Roman, I’ll have them as well. I want to unify the division before Christmas,” said Courtenay, as she has aims to dethrone the winner of Ebanie Bridges vs Maria Roman for the IBF world bantamweight title once regaining her WBA world bantamweight champion status.    

There is an undeniable excitement surrounding women’s boxing right now. It continues to gain public interest, deliver competitive fights, and come April 30th, the question “who is the women’s pound for pound number one?” will officially retrieve an answer.   

Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

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