Undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor retained her titles with a thrilling split decision victory over Amanda Serrano in New York on Saturday evening.
Judge Benoit Russell had Serrano ahead by score of 96-94, while judges Glenn Feldman (97-93) and Guido Cavalleri (96-93) ruled in favour of Taylor after ten electric rounds before a capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Taylor’s advantage in speed showed in the opening two rounds, utilising her movement to counteract the constant pressure of Serrano.
The Puerto Rican landed the more significant blows in round three, finding a home for several solid straight left hands upstairs.
Serrano looked to be closing in on a stoppage victory in round five after badly hurting Taylor, landing at will both to the head and body on the ropes. The Ireland native’s nose became bloodied as Serrano looked to close the show.
After weathering the most challenging round of her professional career, Taylor regrouped and began to land significant counter punches through rounds eight and nine.
Both women threw caution to the wind in the final 30 seconds of their whirlwind bout, trading in the centre of the ring and pleasing the passionate New York crowd.
Taylor advances to 21-0 (6 KOs) following her split decision victory, while Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KOs) suffered her first loss in ten years.
“What a fighter Amanda Serrano is,” Taylor said. “I’m just grateful to be in this position. What a fight! I knew exactly that I’d have to dig deep. She’s a phenomenal fighter. I knew I had the heart and the skill.”
“We put on one hell of a show,” Serrano reflected post-fight. “I’m truly honoured to have shared the ring with Katie. Women can sell, women can fight. I believe [that I won]. I hit her with the harder punches. It is what it is. I came up two divisions to fight the best.”