It hasn’t been the greatest twelve months for Ireland’s elite-level boxers. Katie Taylor, Michael Conlan, and Gary Cully each suffered shock defeats. However, we shouldn’t expect losses to be permanent, and the comeback can often reinvigorate the hunger of those stepping into the squared circle.
Katie Taylor: two huge rematches on the table for the perfect comeback
Last year, Ireland’s boxing champion faced Amanda Serrano in a highly anticipated bout in New York. Despite emerging victorious, it marked the first loss of her career when she was outpointed by Chantelle Cameron last month in Dublin.
Originally, Taylor planned to defend her undisputed lightweight world titles (WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO) against Serrano a few weeks ago. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the Puerto Rican fighter had to withdraw, allowing Cameron to step in.
Taylor moved up a weight division to challenge Cameron for her undisputed super-lightweight belts (WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO). Unfortunately, she suffered a majority decision loss.
Immediately after the fight, Taylor expressed her desire to rematch with Cameron. Luckily, a rematch clause allows her to pursue this option. However, according to Eddie Hearn, discussions are underway to determine the next action.
The possibilities include a direct rematch with Cameron or revisiting the Serrano rematch before facing Cameron again. Hearn stated, “We’re currently in discussions and need to decide soon. Taylor wants to rematch Chantelle Cameron, but there’s also the Amanda Serrano fight to defend her undisputed 135lbs titles. She could face Serrano first and then Cameron or go straight back into the ring with Cameron. The final decision will likely be made by the end of next week.”
Taylor has several options to bounce back from her first loss. The rematch with Cameron seems to be what she is leaning towards. However, the rematch with Serrano in Ireland is the biggest fight to make. There is a great backstory there, Katie beat Amanda’s older sister in Bostin in 2019. Katie and Amanda’s first fight in New York was the fight of the year in 2022, a fight that many thought Amanda won but was a razor-close decision in Katie’s favour. DraftKings Massachusetts is sure to have odds on whomever she might fight next. You can bet the Irish fans in Boston and the world will come out and support Katie as she is one of the most loved professional women boxers in history.
Michael Conlan: accepting losses and reflecting
Going back to the drawing board, and taking time to heal the mind, body, and soul, isn’t a bad call from Michael Conlan.
Following his knockout defeat to Luis Alberto Lopez in the featherweight world title fight at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Michael Conlan, 31, will take some time to assess his career moving forward. Despite initially performing well in the match, the Olympic bronze medallist was dropped and ultimately stopped by Lopez’s powerful uppercut in the fifth round. This loss marks Conlan’s second knockout defeat in his last four fights.
In response to his defeat, Conlan has released a statement expressing his intention to take a break from social media, spend time with his family, and carefully consider his next steps. He also expressed gratitude towards the fans in Belfast for their incredible support.
Gary Cully: demanding a rematch with Jose Felix
In most cases, the perfect bounce-back position for boxers following a loss is to rematch the opponent that defeated them. And Gary Cully is taking inspiration from Taylor’s book by displaying his desire for a rematch with the man who shocked Dublin.
The Kildare boxer was taken aback and halted by the cunning and strong Mexican, Jose Felix Jr., on the significant Matchroom event. Cully and his team believe that he can recover from this loss, and it is evident that he is determined to correct the situation immediately.
Although his promoter, Eddie Hearn, continues to support Cully’s quest for a world championship, he has mentioned the possibility of a small rebuilding phase and some warm-up fights. However, Sarto’s son desires an immediate rematch.
According to speculation, Cully has requested a rematch with Felix Jr, and if Felix Jr agrees, it will likely take place in November. Cully is determined to participate in the rematch, as it would allow him to avenge his sole career loss. This decision is bold considering the outcome of their previous encounter. Still, Cully firmly believes that he can defeat Felix Jr, who previously engaged in a fierce battle against Tyrone McKenna. It appears that Cully’s coach, Pete Taylor, views this rematch as a means to regain momentum and pursue success without deviating too much from their original path.