Ireland must come together and grant Katie Taylor her one wish – a homecoming fight to cap her legendary career
KATIE Taylor has repeatedly and consistently delivered on the world stage for a decade now.
None more so than in the frenzied atmosphere of Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. In a fight for the ages, she defied the odds to deliver a stunning victory against an equally courageous opponent.
She is one of Ireland’s most recognisable and respected citizens.
She has rarely asked for anything in return – bar one thing – an opportunity to fight as a professional boxer in her native country.
It is now up to Ireland to deliver.
Last night I was privileged to be in Madison Square Garden to witness one of the greatest ever victories achieved by an Irish sportsperson on a foreign field.
She sweated blood and sweat to cement her position as the best pound-for-pound female fighter in the world and arguably the greatest-ever female boxer. In one hundred years’ time, she will still be still talked about.
The world, never mind Ireland, will never see the likes of her again. Regardless of where her career goes from here, her legacy – which is very important to her – is assured.
After 20 years’ involvement in a cruel and woefully under-regulated business/sport, the wisest decision she could make now is to walk away.
She has nothing left to prove and has earned enough money to enable her to live comfortably for the rest of her life.
But boxing is the only thing she knows and realistically she is unlikely to hang up her gloves just yet.
So, given that she will continue to box professionally, we as a nation ought to grant her wish for a fight in Ireland. Even Jake Paul wants to bring Amanda Serrano to Dublin for a rematch.
Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn and Katie’s manager Brian Peters have done a superb job in guiding her to summit of the sport.
Hearn has taken a personal interest in her career. And she has delivered exactly what she promised she would do when she first met the multi-millionaire in his Essex office in 2016.
Though he mostly stays in the background, except for being in her corner on fight nights, Brian Peters has played a blinder as well.
But they now need to grasp the nettle and stage a fight in Ireland, regardless of whether they go for broke and book an open-air venue like Croke Park, the Aviva or the RDS, or opt for the less risky option of the Point or the Bord Gais Theatre.
It is no longer feasible to argue that links between Daniel Kinahan and professional boxing and the existence of MTK create a security risk for a Katie Taylor fight in Dublin. MTK has officially gone out of existence and Daniel Kinahan is being targeted by the US Treasury.
Granted, there may still be an issue around the cost of securing public liability insurance cover, but Matchroom is not short of funds.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has a grá for boxing as his late father was involved in the sport in Cork.
Surely it is not beyond the powers of government to resolve the insurance issue if it proves such an obstacle to staging the fight.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Croke Park’s hosting a fight featuring the greatest male boxer ever Muhammad Ali.
How appropriate it would be if the greatest female fighter in the world, Katie Taylor, got an opportunity to fight there this summer? She deserves nothing less.
Future generations will curse us if this opportunity is lost.
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