Minister 'willing to engage' in bid to secure Katie Taylor's Croke Park bout

Considerable hurdles need clearing, both in Ireland and in the USA, if Bray's world champion is to meet Amanda Serrano at GAA HQ later in 2022
Minister 'willing to engage' in bid to secure Katie Taylor's Croke Park bout

Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano, Madison Square Garden, New York 

Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers has welcomed the possibility of Katie Taylor facing Amanda Serrano in Croke Park later this year.

And the Dublin West TD added that the government would be agreeable to playing a possible role in making the super fight happen.

Taylor and Serrano broke all manner of records last Saturday with their world title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York and talk quickly turned to the pair going at it again with the Irish capital featuring prominently as a possible venue in the post-fight chat.

Considerable hurdles need clearing for that to happen.

The Irish weather leaves a very narrow window for any open-air stadium show to take place here and the timing of it will also be affected by the needs of the streaming network DAZN who would foot most of the bill and want a slot that suits a prime time audience in the USA.

The other major issue is the prohibitive cost of insuring professional bouts in Ireland since the fatal shooting in 2016 at a weigh-in at the Regency Hotel but a fight of this nature and magnitude should certainly focus minds as to possible solutions.

“I want to congratulate Katie for another phenomenal success at the weekend,” said the Minister. “She’s one of our best athletes and a leading light in women’s sport. We absolutely support her and hope she can fight in Ireland.

“Obviously there are a number of factors dependent on that happening, insurance being one. Certainly my door will be open and I’m willing to engage in trying to make that happen. It would be phenomenal to see Katie fight in Ireland and in Croke Park if possible. Irish people want to see that happen.

“There are the broader complications, as we know, that have affected the hosting of fights over the past six years. But if it is possible - and there are other specialists who will obviously have input into that - I would love the Irish public to be able to see Katie fight at home. We’ve all followed her story over the years and she’s still at the pinnacle of success and it would be great to see her fight her.”

The Minister was speaking at the announcement of Sport Ireland’s latest high-performance funding package which will see the body invest over €40m in the area throughout the three-year Olympic cycle up to the Paris Games in 2024.

Multi-annual funding, which was high on Irish Olympic sport’s wishlist for years, has now been adopted which will give NGBs and athletes greater financial stability and security over a longer period of time. Boxing, however, remains both the greatest achiever and the biggest headache.

Though Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport, the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) remains mired in controversy and riven by internal feuds with high-performance director Bernard Dunne finally walking away from his post this week.

Wider governance issues are also playing havoc with the sport, at all levels, and with one result being the fact that the IABA’s high-performance funding for 2022 has yet to be confirmed by Sport Ireland. That was worth €770,000 in 2021 alone. Sport Ireland has also published an extensive 258-page Tokyo Review document which paints an utterly damning picture of a high-performance unit that continues to excel in spite of the utter mess that is the wider association.

Among the findings it found that a High-Performance Advisory Committee had been established but not done any work; there has been no collaboration between elected officials and professional staff; members without the required expertise; and even a feeling in some parts that the high-performance unit would be better off as an independent entity.

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