Katie Taylor chokes up during interview ahead of homecoming fight
"It's amazing to bring big-time boxing back here."
Katie Taylor was not even legally sanctioned to engage in a women's bout when she first started on her path to becoming a boxing world champion.
Women's boxing was banned in Ireland until 1998 and, three years later, a 15-year-old Taylor fought in the first officially sanctioned women's boxing match on these shores.
22 years on, she is back as an undisputed world champion that could have sold out the 3 Arena capacity 12 times over had she been up against any opponent. Instead, she will take on another world champion, the dangerous Chantelle Cameron.
"I am nearly pinching myself that this is happening," Taylor said at a press conference, promoting the May 20 bout, on Monday. "In Ireland, our people love this noble sport. For a very small nation we are very, very good at it.
"So it's amazing to bring big time boxing back here. I have an amazing opportunity to make more history and this is another major milestone for female boxing. I can't wait to step in there in front of my home crowd.
"It's not just coming back to Ireland with any ordinary fight, it's coming back with two undisputed champions going head to head. This is one of the most exciting fights out there. Once I heard Serrano was out I automatically thought Chantelle was the obvious choice."
Taylor handled each and every media obligation that came her way, on a busy Monday, but the enormity of her homecoming bout only hit home when she spoke to Claire McNamara for RTÉ News.
"It's a huge moment, not just for myself but my family and I'm getting nearly emotional... even... even thinking about it, really."
Choking back the tears, as her eyes glassed over, Taylor needed a moment before continuing with the interview. You can see from the clip below how there was a pause needed as Taylor, tears of joy welling up, took a beat.
Katie Taylor could barely contain her emotions as she prepares for the homecoming fight she's craved for years #RTEsport pic.twitter.com/wmUezHBvA1
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) March 20, 2023
Katie Taylor on making more boxing history
One suspects that a decent opponent, other than Amanda Serrano, was lined up once it became clear a comeback fight in May would not happen at Croke Park.
Katie Taylor is 37 now and Tony Bellew was urging her to hang up her gloves after she defeated Serrano, last year, saying she had already done more than enough in her career. Instead, Taylor is going for boxing history by chasing undisputed belts at a second weight division. After that, it may well be a Croker fight that serves as the curtain closer.
"This fight is happening because I want this fight," she said of the Cameron bout. "We could have went the easy route and actually chose an easier opponent but that is not how I operate. I want the tough challenges, the toughest fights, and now we're here.
"This is my big homecoming show and I have the chance to make history to become a two-weight undisputed world champion. It'll be the biggest night of my career.
"It's incredible that after 22 fights I'm finally making my homecoming fight. Big time boxing is finally coming back to Ireland."