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The biggest fight in women’s boxing history certainly lived up to its lofty billing at the iconic, electric Madison Square Garden, the first time female fighters had ever headlined at the world’s most famous arena.
It was a display of remarkable courage and sheer resolve from legendary trailblazer Taylor, who started proceedings brightly but looked on the verge of being stopped by the powerful nine-time, seven-division world champion Serrano as she was bruised and bloodied and left clinging on in the punishing middle rounds.
However, she somehow withstood those heavy barrages, regathered her focus and produced a superb comeback to avoid a first career defeat and claim a gruelling split-decision win in an instant Fight of the Year contender, with two judges scoring the 10-round bout 97-93 and 96-93 in her favour, with the other card reading 96-94 for Serrano.
Taylor improved her perfect professional record to 21-0, while an agonising defeat for Serrano was only her second and first in a decade, almost 10 years to the day since she was outpointed by Frida Wallberg in Sweden.
Attentions immediately now turn to a likely lucrative rematch later in 2022, with all parties keen to stage a second fight and Taylor’s promoter Eddie Hearn pushing for a triumphant homecoming for one of Ireland’s greatest sporting heroes at Croke Park in Dublin.
On Saturday’s undercard, Liam Smith produced a superb display in a must-win bout against former two-weight world champion Jessie Vargas, stopping him with a ruthless onslaught in round 10 after a performance full of relentless pressure, power and physicality to collect the WBO Inter-Continental super-welterweight strap.
Franchon Crews-Dezurn, meanwhile, became the undisputed women’s super-middleweight champion of the world with a powerful showing against Sweden’s resilient Elin Cederroos.
Galal Yafai made light work of the experienced Miguel Cartagena, whose corner pulled their fighter out after only two rounds following a thorough beatdown from Britain’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist in only his second professional contest.
Yafai successfully defended his WBC International flyweight belt as he produced a real statement on his US debut at the mecca of boxing.
Earlier, Austin “Ammo” Williams blew away fellow undefeated American middleweight Chordale Booker to claim the vacant WBA Continental Americas belt, while the “Albanian Bear” Reshat Mati cruised to an ill-tempered decision win over Joe Eli Hernandez.
Australia’s Commonwealth Games gold medalist Skye Nicolson moved to 3-0 with a stylish defeat of the vastly overmatched Shanecqua Paisley Davis and Khalil Coe emerged victorious against William Langston in the opening fight of the evening.