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Katie Taylor outshines Amanda Serrano in an instant classic

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Kate Taylor showed immense courage and recovery powers as she maintained her status as the undisputed lightweight champion with a split decision win Amanda Serrano in an instant classic.

The first women’s competition to make headlines in New York Madison Square Garden justified the hype with Serrano, a nine-time world champion in seven weight classes, pulverizing Taylor in the middle rounds.

Taylor was in danger of being stopped but used all her experience to adapt and her movement and accuracy came to the fore in the final rounds, eventually leading to her hand being raised.

She received nods from two judges with 97-93 and 96-93 points, with a third flop for her Puerto Rican opponent 96-94 and the close and intriguing nature of the fight will lead to calls for a rematch.

It was the toughest test of Taylor’s career, but she extended her unbeaten record to 21 wins from as many fights and kept her WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO Title for an outstanding performance.

Taylor, a six-time world amateur champion and London 2012 Olympic gold medalist, has achieved so much, but giving Serrano her second loss in 45 fights is certainly her finest hour.

This has been billed as the greatest women’s showdown of all time at the famous venue of March 1971’s ‘fight of the century’ between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.

Taylor turned away all comers to get the upper hand at 135 pounds, but she’s underwhelmed at previous shows and at 35 there was suspicion and fear among some observers that she was down the slide.

Despite competing as champion, she was a slight underdog against Serrano, a fearsome puncher who has won world titles in every division between super flyweight (115 lbs) and super lightweight (140 lbs).

It was no surprise, then, that 33-year-old Serrano tried to pressure the action from the start, using her left-handed stance to land big left loops that seemed to surprise Taylor and stiffen her legs.

Taylor seemed to challenge Serrano up front and that played into the hands of the challenger, who landed the cleaner and more notable shots in the first few rounds, even when the Irish fighter countered well.

A fight that was already riveting took an even more exciting turn in the fifth round when Serrano took the initiative, supporting Taylor, who was bloodied from a previous accidental heads-to-head clash, going into a corner and vicious right and left to head and body knocked off .

Serrano drew more blood from Taylor’s nose as meaty hooks found their mark, with Taylor pressing and holding to stop the onslaught while the frenetic pace continued in the sixth. Taylor’s punches seemed to have little effect on Serrano and she shook Taylor’s head back a few times.

But while Taylor appeared distraught and unsteady on several occasions, she refused to buckle in an electric atmosphere, somehow forcing herself to keep going when her rival seemed to be tiring.

Serrano may have beaten herself in the previous two-minute rounds, and feeling the urgency, Taylor rallied in rounds seven and eight, confusing her opponent with her movement.

Serrano swung in the fresh air and was tagged in ninth, bleeding himself as counterattacks and Taylor’s right cross landed time and time again before the two went toe-to-toe in a final round that saw neither retreat.

Both fighters were injured, Serrano first, then Taylor, but they kept rushing forward until the final bell rang, barely audible over the cacophony of noise after a particular fight by the year contender.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/katie-taylor-amanda-serrano-madison-square-garden-new-york-wbo-b2069266.html Katie Taylor outshines Amanda Serrano in an instant classic

Ashley

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