Chantelle Cameron, who faces Katie Taylor at Dublin's 3Arena on 20 May. PA
Chantelle Cameron

'She WhatsApped me out of the blue' - English stars plotting Taylor's Dublin downfall

Natasha Jonas has already contacted Chantelle Cameron with tips as to how to become the first British boxer ever to beat Katie Taylor.

CHANTELLE CAMERON WAS at home in the bath, fresh off a training camp in Manchester, when her phone starting hopping.

“Everyone was sending me this post from Katie and I was a bit shocked,” says the Northampton native.

The post in question, published by Katie Taylor to Instagram, read as follows: “Let’s get it done @EddieHearn, this homecoming has waited long enough! @3arenadublin is available so let’s give Ireland a night to remember on May 20th. Let’s go @chancam91, happy to move up in weight for the opportunity to become a two weight Undisputed champ.”

Cameron had barely finished her bath by the time she responded to Taylor’s uncharacteristic call-out.

“There was no hesitation. I want to fight the best and I want to end my career in boxing with the chance of saying I boxed the best and the best is Katie Taylor. This is my own legacy and making my career how I want it to go. It was a no-brainer.”

Within days, both fighters had put pen to paper on an undisputed-versus-undisputed showdown at Dublin’s 3Arena. Croke Park aside, this was the only way Taylor could top her April 2022 Madison Square Garden classic with Amanda Serrano, who had pulled out of a rematch scheduled for Dublin citing injury.

The Irish icon [22-0, 6KOs] will move up to 140 pounds from 135 and walk to the ring first in her maiden outing as a professional in her own country, the challenger on home soil.

Cameron [17-0, 8KOs] will defend her light-welterweight crown in front of a feral, mostly Irish crowd — a reality which she admitted at the top-table portion of Monday’s press conference that does slightly spook her.

The 31-year-old is confident that she’ll get a fair crack of the whip if the fight goes to points, however, and her admiration for Taylor is such that she feels it right — even as the defending champion in this equation — that she crosses the Irish Sea to face her sport’s poster-girl in this long-mooted superfight.

katie-taylor-eddie-hearn-and-chantelle-cameron Katie Taylor and Chantelle Cameron face off. Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

“At the end of the day, I’m showing I’m a proper fighter because I’m putting everything on the line,” Cameron says. “I could have had a defence, an easy fight, but Katie deserves this homecoming anyway and the fact it will be such a good fight, I am glad to be a part of it.

“95% are going to be there for Katie and I am going into a hostile situation but it’s only me and Katie in that ring fighting. I will have tunnel vision and do what I have trained to do.

I respect Katie, I’m not going to start trash-talking her. She has been a role model to myself as well but, at the end of the day, I am coming here to beat her and create my own legacy. But there is no trash talk or rubbish to come with it. The fight sells itself.

Cameron’s trainer, Jamie Moore, adds of the Irish icon: “Take Katie out of the equation for one second. We wouldn’t be sat here for a huge fight for a woman boxer if it wasn’t for Katie Taylor — and Eddie [Hearn] taking her on board and creating this legacy for her.

“Now bring her back into the equation, not only are we involved in such a big fight because of Katie but we are involved in a fight with Katie. She has that big a stature in the sport that, regardless of who is holding the world titles, she is always going to be the figure.”

Of his own boxer, however, Moore adds: “I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that, regardless of who she fights around her weight division, she beats her. That’s how much faith I have in Chantelle’s ability. That has nothing to do with Katie, it’s just my confidence in Chantelle.”

He says that among Cameron’s greater assets are her abilities “to force her size and strength, and she is really good on the inside”.

“Katie is obviously going to try and keep her long and on the outside, and Chantelle will have to close that gap and get on the inside. That’s where the battle will be won and lost.

“You’re not going to out-box Katie,” the English trainer adds.

Her skillset is phenomenal. For me to tell Chantelle to go in and outbox her would be crazy tactics, so we have to make her fight where she doesn’t want to fight. We have seen some people have some success but not enough to beat her.

jamie-moore Chantelle Cameron's trainer, Jamie Moore. Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

Throughout the conversation, the English corner evince a mixture of reverence towards Taylor and a kind of chilling confidence that they will emerge victorious on 20 May.

Moore, for example, is ardent in his belief that Taylor beat Delfine Persoon when they first met in New York in June 2019, an opinion with which he’d probably find himself in the minority.

Cameron, meanwhile, flat-out dismisses suggestions that Taylor had avoided her until this juncture of their respective careers, quite humbly suggesting that, instead, there were simply bigger fights out there for Taylor which brought with them higher rewards, whatever the risk.

She speaks of being “starstruck” when she met the vastly more experienced Taylor as an amateur in the semi-finals of the 2011 EU Championships, “especially as I was so new to boxing and I had Savannah Marshall and Nicola Adams basically telling me she is God in boxing!” Cameron laughs. “It was a privilege so early in my amateur career.”

Taylor won handily against the relative novice Cameron that day 12 years ago and, during a separate chat on Monday, the Irishwoman spoke with pride at the fact that she remains undefeated against British fighters throughout the entirety of her boxing career.

Intriguingly, her highest-profile British rival, Natasha Jonas of Liverpool who has come the closest of her peers in both the unpaid and paid ranks, has already made contact with Cameron and shared ideas as to how she can bring an end to Taylor’s rule over Britain.

“She actually WhatsApped me yesterday out of the blue,” Cameron smiles.

““Can’t tell you what [tips she gave]… All sorts…”

katie-taylor-after-the-fight-with-natasha-jonas Taylor and Natasha Jonas after their 2021 thriller. Matchroom Boxing / Dave Thompson/INPHO Matchroom Boxing / Dave Thompson/INPHO / Dave Thompson/INPHO

And it is at this point at which the softly spoken Cameron sounds somewhat chilling in her conviction once more. Asked how confident she is that she can come to Dublin and spoil the long-awaited party, she replies instantly: “100%.”

Asked to what extent the prospect of beating Taylor motivates her compared to past contests on her road to the undisputed title at 140 pounds, she says matter-of-factly: “It’s what gets me up in the morning.”

Later, she softens slightly again when it’s asked of her how her life might change in the event that she’s successful in inflicting a first professional defeat upon Taylor in eight weeks’ time.

“That is hard to answer,” Cameron smiles. “For me I just love boxing and I love fighting.

“To beat Katie Taylor — pound for pound the best — that is enough for me. Whatever happens after that happens but for me, it’s going to be my own legacy: doing something that no one has done.”

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