As she basks in the aftermath of her thrilling unification victory against Mary McGee, Chantelle Cameron tells Boxing Social’s Luke G. Williams she is already focused on further glory…

The day after her rousing WBC and IBF super-lightweight unification victory against Mary McGee at the O2 Arena in London didn’t quite go to plan for Chantelle Cameron.

Travel chaos on the British rail network – engendered by fallen trees on the line and a later collision between two trains near Salisbury – left the hard-hitting ‘Il Capo’ stranded in Milton Keynes and relying on her dad to come and collect her to give her a lift back home to Northampton.   

“I made it in the end!” she laughs as we catch up on Tuesday afternoon. “What a nightmare journey! Everything was messed up, there was a big backlog of trains backed up. But I made it back to Northampton at about 7.30pm. At least I got home! Bless my dad, he was exhausted, I felt so bad!”   

However, it is clear that not even the vagaries of the British transport system can dampen Cameron’s mood. She possesses an ebullient personality most of the time, but today there is even more sparkle in her voice than usual as she reflects on a brilliant points victory (via unanimous scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 99-92) against the incredibly tough but ultimately outclassed McGee.   

“What a fight it was!” says Cameron – now 30 years old and 15-0 (8 KOs) as a pro. “But it takes two to tango – so massive credit to Mary. You can’t have those kind of fights on your own – you need your opponent to do it with you. I think I boxed well but as always there are improvements to make. I’ve already watched the fight back and seen areas for improvement and that’s what I’ll be doing and working on.”

Cameron admits she was shocked by just how tough McGee was. “Yeah, I was surprised by her fitness. I thought she was going to empty the tank [early on] but the last two or three rounds she came out even stronger. I was shocked and impressed by that. All credit to her. After the fight I went into her changing room to give her belt back. You could see she was very disappointed. She’s a true champion – so of course I knew she would be disappointed. I’ve got so much respect for Mary.”

At several points during the fight, fans noticed that Cameron and McGee were exchanging words as well as punches in the ring. “Yeah, we were having a bit of back and forth,” Cameron admits. “She’d say: ‘you missed’ and I’d say: ‘you’ve got a weak punch’ or whatever. Just a few little bibs and bobs here and there.”

All in all, Cameron assesses the fight as the highlight of her career so far. “It was the best experience of my life,” she says. “Honestly, it was the best night I’ve ever had. I know in boxing people often say a lot of things they don’t mean or back up, but if I say something then I one hundred per cent mean it – and I’ve always said I want to be in a fight where I have to grit down and bite down on my gum-shield. I’ve been saying that for ages.

“That’s what I enjoy. That’s what I do in the gym. I absolutely love it. That’s what I thrive on – having a real fight. I’ve been waiting for it for my whole career and against Mary McGee I finally got the opportunity to show people what I can do. Now I think I’ve got respect from other people too because I’ve shown I’m tough. I want to be entertaining. I want people to watch me and not just think of me as a woman boxer but as a boxer and an entertaining one at that.”

Cameron feels she earned respect from the boxing world with her win over McGee. Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Cameron also reserves special words of praise for promoter Eddie Hearn, who elevated her and McGee to main event status after Dillian Whyte withdrew from his planned headline contest against Otto Wallin.

“I’m just grateful that Eddie Hearn let me and Mary headline,” she explains. “He really could have pulled the show, I thought he was going to pull the show [at one point], but he allowed me and Mary to have a showcase. It was the best opportunity and I took it with both hands. I really made the most of it.”

Now Cameron has a ‘four-belt’ unification showdown to look forward to against the winner of the forthcoming WBA and WBO 140lbs showdown between Kali Reis and Jessica Camara.

“I’ll be at that fight,” Cameron says. “I’m edging towards a Kali win, but Camara is a very good pro so you never know. It’s a very good fight. Even though I’m edging towards Kali, Camara could cause an upset. I saw Kali at my fight and said hello. I think she’s a great fighter and a nice person. There was no back and forth. Even though we might be going to box each other there’s no need to have any bad feeling. I respect all my opponents.

“To win all four belts would mean everything to me. When you become undisputed you’ve ticked every box and won every belt. It means all the hard work and dedication you’ve put into the sport has been worth it. You’ve reached the pinnacle.”