Katie Taylor And Shakur Stevenson Shine On An Incredible Night Of Boxing In The USA

The biggest fight in women's boxing history more than lived up to its hype at Madison Square Garden
13:54, 01 May 2022

From the biggest women’s fight of all time in New York to a sublime performance from Shakur Stevenson in Las Vegas, here are the biggest stories from the boxing ring this weekend. 

Katie Taylor Edges Amanda Serrano In Instant Classic - Rematch In Dublin?

The biggest fight in women’s boxing history more than lived up to expectations as Katie Taylor edged out Amanda Serrano on the scorecards in an absolute barnstormer at Madison Square Garden to retain her status as undisputed lightweight champion.

The Bray Bomber, a slight betting underdog against the seven-weight world champion, extended her unbeaten record to 21 wins from 21 fights in a contest for the ages. Taylor won on cards of 96-93 and 97-93, with the third judge scoring it 96-94 for Serrano.

In front of a roaring MSG crowd, Taylor showed off her technical superiority over Serrano, beating the Puerto Rican to the punch with neater footwork and quicker hands, and controlled the distance between the two deftly. Serrano brought power to the table however, and had the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist in serious trouble in the fifth round, landing big rights and lefts to the head and body.

Serrano continued to push, rocking Taylor’s head back on a couple of occasions in the sixth but Taylor refused to buckle and rallied back between rounds seven and nine before the pair finished off proceedings with an exceptional toe-to-toe firefight in the final stanza. 

A rematch looks almost certain at this point and Taylor suggested they do it again in Dublin. Speaking at the post-fight press conference, Taylor said: "You know everyone was saying coming into this fight that it was the biggest fight in women's boxing history, but I think it actually exceeded everything people were talking about.

"This weekend and even walking down to the ring today just looking at a packed stadium, unbelievable stuff. This was absolutely a special, special moment.

"The best night of my career for sure. I wasn't sure anything could reach my Olympic gold medal moment, but tonight was absolutely the best moment of my career.

"A re-match would be absolutely phenomenal, and if it was in Dublin we could sell-out Croke Park I'd say, 90,000 people. That would be unbelievable.”

Shakur Stevenson Outclasses Oscar Valdez To Unify At 130lbs

More than 2,500 miles away from New York’s incredible action, WBO super featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson put on a masterclass of his own, snatching Oscar Valdez’s WBC strap with a superb unanimous decision win in Las Vegas. 

ShakurStevensonjpg

The Rio 2016 silver medallist took a while to gain momentum, with the first five rounds fairly evenly matched between himself and the previously unbeaten Mexican, but Stevenson turned up the heat after dropping Valdez with a lightning quick counter to the temple. The American went into cruise control from then onwards, easing to scores of 117-110, 118-109, and 118-109 from the judges. After the fight, Stevenson got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, rapper Young Lyric, who said yes. The cherry on top of a wonderful night for the highly-talented 24-year-old. Is he pound-for-pound worthy now? 

Elsewhere in Nevada, middleweight Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of Muhammad Ali, improved to 5-0 (4), stopping Alejandro Ibarra in just 2 minutes 50 seconds. Another U.S Olympic silver medalist, Keyshawn Davis, impressed in his lightweight contest with Esteban Sanchez, putting on a boxing clinic to stop the Mexican in six and stretch his record to 5-0 (4). 

Liam Smith Cancels Retirement Plans With Stoppage Win Over Jessie Vargas 

Liverpool super-welterweight Liam Smith put in another impressive performance on the Taylor/Serrano undercard in New York, breaking down former two-weight world champion Jessie Vargas in ten rounds.

Vargas, making his debut in the division, started brightly, landing some decent shots in the opening two rounds, but Smith, who said he would retire if he lost to Vargas, stayed sturdy and picked up the pace from the third round, taking complete control from the fight onwards. The end came in the tenth, with Vargas unable to resist any further, when referee Steve Willis halted the fight 41 seconds in. 

Franchon Crews-Dezurn Becomes Undisputed Super-Middleweight Champion

Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano wasn’t the only incredible female contest at MSG on Saturday night, as Franchon Crews-Dezurn outpointed Elin Cederroos via a 10-round unanimous decision to unify the super-middleweight division.

Though America’s Crew-Dezurn was a clear winner, earning scores of 99-91, 99-91 and 97-93 from the judges, the fight itself was an all-out war with both women landing and receiving some big shots along the way. 

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom
Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Crew-Dezurn called out three-weight world champion Claressa Shields in the aftermath of her win. The pair fought back in 2016 in what was both their pro debut, with Shields scoring a unanimous decision win. 

Gal Yafai Moves To 2-0 On American Debut

Gal Yafai impressed on his American debut, completely dominating to stop Miguel Cartagena inside two rounds. The Tokyo 2020 flyweight gold medalist was relentless from the opening bell, rocking the Philadelphian repeatedly in the first round, before snapping his head back with a huge uppercut in the next. Cartagena fell to the canvas twice in the second, but both were ruled as slips. Following the one-way nature of the fight, the American’s team did the right thing and pulled their man out of the fight prior to the third. 

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