KATIE Taylor's world title rematch with Amanda Serrano at Croke Park has been counted out.
The Irish News understands that the costs of hosting the eagerly-awaited rumble for the undisputed lightweight title at GAA Headquarters, or at any Dublin stadium, have proven too high for promoter Eddie Hearn.
It is understood that the cost of providing security for the fight in addition to those associated with stadium hire, logistics and production have scuppered what would be a cross-over global boxing event in the city.
Taylor and Serrano locked horns in a spell-binding, all-action clash at boxing Mecca Madison Square Garden in April last year which Taylor won on split decision.
A rematch was expected at Croke Park but, almost a year on, momentum has stalled and Serrano has dropped down to featherweight and is scheduled to face Erika Cruz Hernandez at ‘The Garden’ on Saturday night.
Undisputed women’s lightweight champion Taylor has never fought on home soil as a professional and DAZN boss Hearn insisted late last year that his focus was “a million per cent on going to Croke Park”.
However, he warned that the cost of staging the open air event was prohibitive.
It is understood that, without wishing to be an obstacle in the way of the event, An Garda Siochana had serious and genuine concerns over crowd safety. Professional boxing in the Republic has been in limbo since masked gunmen ran amok at a weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in Dublin in February 2016. One man died and two were injured in the gangland-style hit.
A professional bill was held at the National Stadium late last year but a stadium show would obviously be a different proposition for the Garda Síochána who remain wary of the threat of further violence.
With Dublin shut down, fight fans have become accustomed to heading north in large numbers for bills in Belfast. Fighters from the Republic appearing on small hall shows at the Europa Hotel and the Girdwood Community Hub brought large travelling support with them.
A SLICK mover and a spiteful hitter when he lets his fast hands go, Conor Quinn gets an opportunity to showcase his undoubted talent when he headlines at the Europa Hotel on Saturday night (live on TG4).
Quinn takes on Manchester brawler Stephen Maguire over eight rounds at the top of the bill that includes his stablemates at Dee Walsh’s Gleann Gym – Colm Murphy, Owen O’Neill and Gerard Hughes. Also on the undercard is the BUI Celtic Light-Heavyweight title showdown between Kerry’s ‘Kingdom Warrior’ Kevin Cronin (5-0) and Limerick’s Jamie Morrissey (4-0).
Maguire fought at the Europa last year and is a game battler who will go on the attack and look to win on Saturday night. Quinn should have far too much for him but he expects a test from the Englishman.
“He’s a tough lad, he comes to win and he’ll give me a good night’s work,” said Quinn.
“I want someone who is going to come forward and come at me rather than run away from me. So it gives me the opportunity to land better punches and see better openings.”
Quinn will campaign at flyweight but is at super-fly for Saturday night and that decision is based purely on the lack of available opponents at eight stone. It can often be hard to get opponents at lighter weights so Quinn has had to be flexible to get this fight and the experience that comes with it.
“There are a couple of flyweights England but they’re the same as myself – they’re up-and-coming and looking to look after their record a wee bit,” he explained.
“There’s not that many looking to fight in and around the weight.”
After his long-awaited comeback fight ended in a draw, Quinn finished off last year in style. First there was a demolition job on Mikey Young and then a slick shut-out points win over Stephen Jackson on the Michael Conlan undercard at the SSE Arena in December.
“I’m eager to impress this time because I’ve had two good performances in-a-row there and this is my first time headlined a show,” he said.
“Mark (Dunlop) has given me this opportunity at an early stage of my career and it’s exciting. It’s something different and I’m looking forward to it and I want to go out and impress and show everybody that I can keep putting up these good performances in every time I fight.
“It’s a compliment to even be considered to headline a show at this stage and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but I thought it would have come a wee bit later down the line. It’s brilliant because, as things go on and the shows get bigger and the opponents get tougher, you have that experience behind you and it stands by you.”
Small hall shows may not have the glamour of the arena fight nights but they don’t lack for atmosphere or drama. Last year MHD Promotions ran a series of terrific Belfast shows which, like Saturday’s, were broadcast live on TG4.
“I always set myself short-term goals and last year I got to fight at the SSE Arena, now I’m headlining and I would love to be on one of the big TV shows in England just to get that experience,” said Quinn.
“But I love the Europa, it’s the sort of atmosphere I thrive on because the crowd is close to the ring and it’s noisy and they want to see good, tough fights and that seems to bring the best out of everybody.
“It makes the opponents give a bit more which always makes for a good fight so I’m hoping Stephen Maguire brings his best too and we can meet in the middle and I’ll get a great win.”
Europa Hotel bill
Super-flyweight: Conor Quinn (4-0-1) v Stephen Maguire
Vacant Boxing Union of Ireland BUI Celtic Light-Heavyweight title: Kevin Cronin (5-0) v Jamie Morrissey (4-0)
Featherweight: Colm Murphy (6-0) v John Spencer
Welterweight: Owen O'Neill (10-0) v Josh Cook
Lightweight: David Ryan (1-0) v Marek Laskowski (9-17-2)
Super-bantamweight: Gerard Hughes (1-0) v Sean Jackson (0-4)
Tickets available from the boxers or www.eventbrite.com
REFEREE and judge David Irving received a glowing commendations from the WBC for his performance at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.
The Belfast official was one of three judges at ringside for the WBC International light-heavyweight title fight between Karol Itauma and Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna - Maderna won by knockout - on the bill headlined by Artur Beterbiev and Anthony Yarde
“Your professional attitude has been greatly appreciated,” wrote WBC Vice-President Mauro Betti of the experienced former professional fighter’s performance on Saturday night.
“I would like to inform our President (Mauricio Sulaimán) that your performance before, during and after the bout was first class. I hope there will be another chance soon (for you) in a WBC boxing show.”