After one of the most enthralling boxing contests in history, Katie Taylor has retained her status as undisputed lightweight world champion.
Madison Square Garden has hosted one of boxing’s most enthralling contests, with Ireland’s Katie Taylor retaining her status as undisputed lightweight world champion after a split decision victory over Puerto Rico’s Amanda Serrano on Sunday morning AEST.
The 10-round bout has already been touted as the best boxing match of the year, marking a significant moment in the history of women’s boxing.
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Taylor and Serrano were the first women to headline a card at the famous New York venue in its 140-year history — tickets were sold out in the second-fastest time for any boxing event at Madison Square Garden.
The 19,187 raucous spectators were treated to a genuine spectacle, with Taylor and Serrano attacking each other from all angles throughout the 20-minute contest.
Serrano seemingly got the upper hand in the fifth round after Taylor copped a flurry of vicious blows to the head, leaving her bleeding and dazed on the ropes.
But the Irish champion persevered, returning serve in the sixth round with a masterclass in well-directed counter punching.
The final moments were just as frantic — with blood flowing from their faces, Taylor and Serrano traded a series of wild blows in the 10th round, but neither could deliver the decisive punch.
According to CompuBoxSerrano landed 173 shots while Taylor managed 147 — but the judging panel awarded the victory to Taylor via split decision, with the three officials scoring the fight 96-93, 97-93, 94-96.
Madison Square Garden erupted when the final decision was announced — Taylor raised her arms in the air as her team celebrated the triumph around her.
“Look at what we’ve just done,” Taylor proclaimed after the win.
“Sold out Madison Square Garden, the biggest fight in female boxing history.
“What a win, what a night.
“I knew going into it I was going to be in the trenches at some stage.
“She’s a phenomenal fighter, a great, great person, and I had the heart and the skill and I knew I was going to be able to come through.”
Taylor’s professional record improves to 21-0 — she has successfully defended the lightweight titles 13 times since winning the WBA belt in 2017.
Meanwhile, Serrano’s 28-fight undefeated streak comes to an end, with his professional record moving to 42-2-1.
“We put on a hell of a show,” she said.
“Katie is a great champion. She’s undefeated and undisputed. I’m truly honored to share the ring.
“Women can sell, women can fight and women can put on a hell of a show.”
World reacts to ‘one of the best fights ever’
British sports promoter Eddie Hearn said after the bout: “Tonight we were making history for the biggest fight in women’s boxing.
“But tonight they made history with one of the greatest fights in the history of Madison Square Garden.
“Two women changed the game but also provided one of the fights for the ages.”
YouTube phenom Jake Paul, who served as Serrano’s promoter, continued: “That was incredible, both women fought their hearts out. Everyone’s a winner here tonight.”
Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia tweeted: “I just witnessed one of the best fights ever.”
Irish UFC superstar Conor McGregor posted: “Katie Taylor The Greatest! Absolutely amazing boxing! Take a bow ladies! What a reply!”
Hollywood icon Dwayne Johnson tweeted: “What a monumental, defining and historic night in boxing. Long overdue, but inspiring to see.”
Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron posted: “About f***ing time! It only took 140 years to get 2 female fighters to headline MSG, but Katie Taylor & Amanda Serrano did the damn thing. You ladies inspire the hell out of me & women everywhere.”
American boxer Errol Spence dubbed it “fight of the year” on Twitter.
Earlier on the undercard at Madison Square Garden, Australian boxer Skye Nicolson defeated Shanecqua Paisley Davis via unanimous decision to remain undefeated after three professional fights.