Katie Taylor defeated Amanda Serrano in women’s boxing biggest event at Madison Square Garden to retain her lightweight crown.
The undisputed Irish champion won by split decision after going 10 rounds with the Puerto Rican boxer during the first women’s bout to headline New York’s MSG.
Taylor, who stretched her unbeaten professional record to 21-0, and Serrano put on a show-stopping performance equal to the occasion.
The win did not come easy for her though as she stumbled in the middle rounds after an auspicious beginning.
The Irishwoman kept the fight on the outside to begin with before deciding to stand and trade in the fourth and fifth against a boxer renowned for her strength.
She almost paid dearly for the decision as Serrao, a nine-time champion in seven weight categories connected.
Her legs were still wobbling well into the sixth round, but she managed to dig deep and went back to the basics on the outside, picking off the challenger and scoring with simple combinations.
After some difficult rounds, she was back in the contest again.
With the final bell approaching Katie Taylor emptied the tank in the last round punching maniacally and by the end of it all, she had done enough to convince the judges that her hand was the one that deserved to be raised after an epic encounter.
The judge’s final scorecards read 96/94 to Serrano, 97/93 to Taylor, and 96/93 to Taylor.
The meeting between the two best pound-for-pound boxers will surely usher in a new era for the sport.
The famed boxing venue had played host to luminaries such as Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier but had never seen two women headline before, and the event set the Big Apple buzzing to its core.
Promoter Matchroom Boxing said the fight attracted more media applications than Briton Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight fights at Wembley against Wladimir Klitschko and against Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
With the Empire State Building lit up in the colors of the Irish and Puerto Rican flags, Taylor secured the seven-figure purse and seemed ready for more with Eddie Hearn ready to oblige.
“Let’s do it again, Amanda!” she declared.