Ireland's Katie Taylor regained her undisputed lightweight world championship title with a split decision win over Puerto Rican Amanda Serrano on Saturday in a historic epic fight at iconic Madison Square Garden. Notably, this was the first women's bout to be held at an iconic venue in New York. Brooklyn-based Serrano thrashed Taylor in the fifth round, but Taylor held her nerve but bounced back as the pair went neck-to-neck over the final games as she remained unbeaten after 21 professional bouts.
"She is a fabulous fighter, a great, great person. After winning the game, I knew that I had to be in trenches at some stages and dig deep to win the fight," Taylor said. The unified featherweight world champion, Serrano, has 42 prior victories, including 30 knockouts. Despite stepping up two weight divisions to face Taylor, Serrano was more instrumental in the middle rounds and outplayed the Irishwoman in the fifth.
Blood was oozing from Taylor's nose by the end of the sixth, but Serrano failed to press the home advantage, and the Irishwoman regrouped to land the more telling shots in the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds. The 10th and final round brought the best out of both as both the fighters were going for blows after blows until the final bell when Canadian referee Michael Griffin gathered them in, and both the fighters exchanged a hug. Judge Benoit Roussel scored it 96-94 for Serrano, but judge Guido Cavalleri saw it 96-93 for Taylor, and Glenn Feldman scored it 97-93 for the champion.
"Women can sell! Women can fight! We put on a great show here," said Serrano. Taylor's stellar professional career followed a phenomenal amateur career that included Olympic gold in London in 2012. Serrano suffered only her second loss and her first in a decade, having won 28 straight bouts since the defeat to Farida Wallberg in April 2012. The prospects are that she could get another shot at Taylor with a lucrative rematch tempting both fighters.