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OPINION: Katie Taylor’s Road Home Looking Longer Than Ever

“She has got to fight in Ireland” – even Sky Sports presenter Anna Woolhouse seems to think a Katie Taylor homecoming is a good idea.

Woolhouse raised the issue of the Irish sensation actually fighting in Ireland minutes after Taylor stopped Kimberly Connor in the third round to retain her IBF and WBA lightweight world titles on the entertaining Whyte-Parker PPV undercard in London last Saturday night.

Matthew Macklin, the last fighter to bring a Sky show to Dublin, had Irish fight fans dreaming as he regaled ‘roof raising stories’ and predicted a sensational atmosphere if the Bray sensation were to top an Irish show.

However, while Woolhouse, Macklin, and Irish fight fans see the appeal, it seems one of the biggest names in Irish sport is as likely to come home to Ireland as the World Cup is to England.

With promoter Eddie Hearn talking about a ‘global star’ following the impressive win and Taylor [10(5)-0] following this up with praise for the UK fight fans, a Dublin fight night seems as far away as ever.

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Chicago is the next port of call for the fighter desperately chasing all the lightweight belts and some ‘super’ fights. This Cindy Serrano clash is being billed as a massive chance to break America while a unification with either Delfine Persoon (WBC) or Rose Volante (WBO) is the mooted target for December – but it doesn’t seem like Ireland will be the venue for that unification clash, or indeed any major Taylor fight.

While a massive Dublin show hasn’t been officially ruled out, the Irish capital hasn’t been mentioned in quite some time.

A continuous link with Ireland looked on the cards initially. Hearn and the Matchroom machine came to Dublin to announce Taylor would turn over and fight under the Sky banner.

The plan then was for Taylor to fight abroad before a 3Arena homecoming in late 2017.

When this fell through, an April fight night was in the works and seemingly days away from being announced only for that too to be pulled.

Since then, Dublin talk has gone cold and, bar a fleeting mention of a Cork fight night, Eddie Hearn’s plans for Taylor seem to be elsewhere.

The Matchroom boss, who looks after Ryan Burnett and thus has both Irish reigning world champions on his books, no longer feeds the Irish fight fans lines of hope.

It’s a big turnaround and prompts Irish fight fans to wonder why.

It certainly can’t be a fear Taylor lacks ticket selling power. The Wicklow wonder has massive crossover appeal and is not just one of the best known boxers in Ireland, but one of the country’s most famous people.

Indeed, regardless, Hearn has shown with Burnett a willingness to come to Ireland even though neither of the big Belfast shows last year came anywhere close to selling out

There is also genuine love for Taylor and pride in he achievements both amateur and pro. Her manager, Brian Peters, knows what it takes to create interest in fight nights having been behind the brilliant Bernard Dunne era, while a Hearn charm offensive would certainly generate interest and a mini media frenzy.

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Most recently, manager Peters claimed ‘the current climate’ didn’t allow for a Taylor return.

The man who was in Matthew Macklin’s corner for fights against the likes of Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez pointed to insurance costs and other worries to explain why fighting in Dublin wasn’t possible.

However, while costs have increased, small hall operators like Boxing Ireland have been able to put on shows – outfits which certainly don’t hold the financial clout of a company that just announced a billion-dollar deal with streaming company DAZN.

Many have pointed to security issues and fears but, as of yet, there has been no definitive confirmation from any involved party that a boxing show at the 3Arena explicitly can’t take place

Dublin boxing isn’t in its finest place at present, but a clean-cut Taylor fight night is exactly what the city needs at the present stage.  Indeed, it could prompt the boxing climate to change just like the climate itself did in Ireland this year, going from snow in March to prolonged heatwave by early June.

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Another issue that might be deterring Hearn and co is a perceived lack of undercard options.

MTK’s decision to leave the Irish market rules out the likes Jono Carroll, Stephen Ormond, and Luke Keeler, all known to Sky Sports viewers, as well as hot prospects such as Gary Cully and Davey Oliver Joyce.

However, there are still fighters who could hold a show together both in terms of quality and ticket-selling prowess.

Spike O’Sullivan’s future may be Stateside but the Sheffield-based Jason Quigley has Sky Sports links and Mike Perez Niall Kennedy provide options at the blockbuster weights.

Last Man Standing victor Roy Sheehan has both pedigree and profile to generate interest and Ray Moylette is another with a growing reputation, a big following, and is at a stage in his career where he would welcome a bout with a Matchroom name at the weight. The exact same could be said of Eric Donovan while Craig O’Brien didn’t disgrace himself on at the weekend.

Jay Byrne has more Sky appearances than most while Boxing Ireland and Assassin Promotions have also shown the value of the All-Irish fight in recent years and a number of their stable would jump at the chance to entertain on a Sky card.


Hearn obviously believes it’s more lucrative and less hassle to have Taylor on big American and UK cards. However, a big part of Anthony Joshua’s appeal is his pulling power in his home country.

Not to mention, most importantly, the fighter herself.

Katie Taylor may not be one to make demands or sulk, but the Bray boxer no doubt wants to fight in Ireland – shouldn’t this opportunity be provided?


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