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Boxing legend Katie Taylor deserves ‘big’ homecoming celebration after huge win

Boxing hero Katie Taylor deserves a ticker-tape homecoming to celebrate her world title victory, according to councilors and a referee who is central to the champ’s career.

Sadie Duffy was the boxing referee in charge of Katie’s first ever official all-women’s fight in Dublin in 2001 – some 21 years before Saturday night’s historic all-women’s fight in New York.

World champ Katie won the biggest ever fight in women’s boxing history on Saturday when she beat Puerto Rico’s Amanda Serrano for the first ever headline bout by two women at Madison Square Garden.

Readmore: Katie Taylor says Madison Square Garden victory topped Olympic gold medal win

Sadie told the Irish Mirror that Katie’s rise from that first fight in 2001 in Dublin to super stardom in New York means the queen of world boxing has to have a homecoming celebration.

Katie’s fans in her hometown of Bray in Co Wicklow are also hoping to throw the homecoming party in the seaside town with local councillors congratulating her on the historic success

Cllr Rory O’Connor wants a homecoming celebration and said: “I would like to congratulate Katie on her great win.

“She is a true inspiration for the town of Bray and all of Ireland.

“Her reputation as a true sportswoman will live forever and I believe will carry on inspiring the younger generation to pick up the sport.”

Sadie told the Irish Mirror: “What Katie has achieved is outstanding, in every sense of the word.

“She has been breaking down barriers since 2001. Her fight in 2001 opened up the sport to young girls and women.

“There is no doubt that it was a ground-breaking event in Irish boxing because that was the first sanctioned female boxing contest.

“That was really the beginning of Katie’s journey.”

Up to that point, Katie had to dress up as a boy so that she could compete in the ring because organized female boxing contests did not exist in Ireland.

Readmore:Heartwarming unseen moment between Katie Taylor and mother Bridget after victory

That all changed on Halloween night in 2001 when Sadie was the ref as Katie beat Belfast girl Alanna Audley Murphy in Dublin.

Sadie added: “Katie definitely deserves a big homecoming in her hometown and I’m sure people will come out in their droves.

“Fans will want to show their appreciation and to honor her, which will be only right.

“I’m sure there will be a party for her when she gets back from the States after spending time with her family before coming back to Ireland.

“You would like to think that there would be some form of homecoming recognition for her.”

Cllr O’Connor said: “Currently there isn’t one set in stone – but I believe there should be.

“Katie’s achievement is amazing and I think people would love to come out to celebrate it with her.

“The last celebration we had for her, which was in 2019, was insanely popular with people of all ages coming out and chanting for Katie.

“The atmosphere was amazing and was definitely an unforgettable moment.

“While I would love a celebration personally, it would be down to Katie’s preference at the end of the day and the council as a whole.”

Cllr O’Connor revealed that the homecoming proposal could be raised at a meeting of Wicklow County Council.

A civic reception was first held for Katie in 2012 following her gold medal at the London Olympics.



Katie Taylor with her grandmother

An estimated 20,000 fans showered with affection, chanting her name as confetti and streamers filled the air.

Another celebratory reception was held for Katie in 2019 when Katie returned home after beating Belgian fighter Delfine Persoon to become the new undisputed lightweight champion of the world.

That bout was also in New York’s Madison Square Garden with all the world’s major belts on the line – but it was not the headline fight.

Hundreds turned out to welcome her home and there have been calls growing since that 2019 homecoming for a statue to be erected in Katie’s honour.

Cllr Aoife Flynn Kennedy said Bray is “bursting with pride and we would acknowledge her in any way that she thought fit herself.”

Katie is currently in the US to recover from the fight after months of grieving training and is expected to fly into Dublin this month.

Readmore: Kellie Harrington congratulates “warrior” Katie Taylor on “absolutely incredible” win

ReadMore: US TV presenter asks why Katie Taylor got into competitive boxing ahead of match against Amanda Serrano

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