Katie Taylor took a thrilling split decision victory over Amanda Serrano to retain the undisputed lightweight world championship in a stunning brawl at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.
Most important points:
- Katie Taylor retained her undisputed lightweight crown by split decision
- It was the first fight card to feature a women’s match in the history of Madison Square Garden
- On the undercard, Australia’s Skye Nicolson won by unanimous decision
Women’s boxing was the big winner on a historic night that more than lived up to its bill, as two of the sport’s best competed over 10 intense two-minute rounds.
In a final fit that was typical of the match, both women ended the fight swinging wildly, throwing punches as blood poured from their faces as the full crowd of 19,187 roared on.
Taylor, the undefeated Irish champion, scored 96-93 and 97-93 from two ringside judges, while the other judge scored it 96-94 for Serrano.
The crowd, fully invested, nearly took to the roof of New York’s famed boxing mecca when the decision was announced, the thousands of Irish fans exploding as Taylor raised her arms as her team jumped around her in near delirium.
Taylor moves to a professional record of 21-0 and further cemented her place in the Irish sports pantheon of greats, while Serrano suffered her second career defeat to go to 42-2-1.
“Sold out Madison Square Garden, the biggest fight in women’s boxing history.
“What a win, what a night.”
Taylor digs deep, confirms her legacy as a women’s boxing GOAT
Taylor and Serrano, the two best female boxers in the world, were the first women to headline a bill in the legendary venue’s 140-year history — and they didn’t disappoint.
Taylor fought on the outside early on, keeping Serrano at bay and controlling the pace with precise, powerful counter punches through the first three rounds.
However, Serrano came on strong in the fourth, backing Taylor up with some intense pressure and opening a cut over the Irish champion’s right eye.
Taylor chose to take on Serrano in a hellish fifth round that had the crowd on their feet as Serrano landed at will.
The Irish woman was clearly wiggling through a series of stunning shots from the challenger and was left bleeding from her nose as she waddled back to the corner.
“I knew I was going to end up in the trenches at some point,” Taylor said.
“She’s a phenomenal fighter, a great, great person, and I had the heart and the skill and I knew I could get through.”
In adversity, however, champions are etched into legend, and Taylor’s response underscored her class and highlighted why she’s been called the greatest of all time.
Taylor reacted immediately and recovered and made some stunning headshots in an excellent display of counter punches from the sixth, disproving the difficulties she faced on the previous round to dominate the rest of the fight.
The stunning fifth clearly took its toll on Serrano, who slowed her pace of work and paid the price by giving Taylor time to calm herself.
Taylor was more accurate with her timing and, despite sometimes engaging in headhunting, she was precise enough to get enough clear shots to make the decision, with Serrano’s right eye bleeding in the closing stages.
“We put on a great show,” Serrano said.
“Katie is a great champion. She is undefeated and undisputed. I am really honored to share the ring.”
‘One of the greatest fights in Madison Square Garden history’
Tickets to this fight sold out in the second fastest time for any boxing event ever held at Madison Square Garden.
Serrano said the two fighters’ performances in the ring confirmed what everyone already knew.
Most observers clearly agreed.
Men’s lightweight contender Ryan Garcia wrote on Twitter, “I just witnessed one of the best fights ever.”
Former UFC champion Conor McGregor wrote, “Bow down ladies! What a match!”
Errol Spence proclaimed it “Fight of the year so far” and great Oscar de la Hoya said: “Congratulations to women’s boxing”.
Taylor’s promoter Eddie Hearn said it was one of the best fights in boxing history.
“Tonight we made history for the biggest fight in women’s boxing,” Hearn said.
“But tonight they made history with one of the biggest fights in Madison Square Garden history.
“Two women changed the game, but also created one of the battles through the ages.”
Serrano’s promoter Jake Paul compared the fight to the infamous 2002 brutal match between Aturo Gatti and Micky Ward.
“That was incredible, both women fought their hearts out,” said Paul.
On the undercard, Australia’s Skye Nicolson won a unanimous, clear decision over Shanecqua Paisley Davis to go to 3-0.
Nicolson knocked her American opponent to the canvas in the closing seconds of the sixth round, but didn’t have enough time to win the stoppage.
The judges let Nicolson win all six rounds, all three scoring the match 60-53.