Amanda Serrano sets up Katie Taylor rematch in Dublin with win over Erika Cruz

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Amanda Serrano’s rematch with Katie Taylor was confirmed after she became undisputed featherweight world champion with a unanimous points win over Erika Cruz in New York on Saturday.

The three judges scored the fight 98-92 98-92 97-93 in Serrano’s favour.

Ireland’s Taylor, who beat Serrano on points last April, joined the Puerto Rican in the ring to say the rematch would take place on 20 May in Dublin.

“This is more than a dream come true,” said lightweight champion Taylor.

“My debut in Ireland against Amanda Serrano, ‘The Real Deal’ Amanda Serrano. This is incredible. The last fight was epic, and I expect nothing less for the next one.”

Taylor is undisputed champion in the lightweight division, while 34-year-old seven-weight champion Serrano became the first Puerto Rican fighter to unify all the belts in a division.

Also on the Madison Square Garden card, American Alycia Baumgardner became undisputed champion in the super-featherweight division.

The 28-year-old continued her meteoric rise with victory over France’s Elhem Mekhaled.

Baumgardner twice knocked down the challenger before being awarded the victory 99-89, 99-89, 98-90 on points.

It is the first time two new undisputed champions have been crowned in a single night in the four-belt era.

Serrano too strong for Cruz
Serrano went into the contest as a strong favourite in her 47th professional fight, and 17th with a world title on the line.

But Cruz’s aggressive style made things difficult for her early on before she settled into what proved to be an intense encounter with the pair constantly throwing punches.

Cruz suffered a cut to her head in the third round after an accidental clash and despite the fear the fight could be stopped, she continued to fight hard.

Serrano came close to knocking down her opponent in the sixth round, but Cruz held on before suffering her first loss in almost seven years.

“Erika was a Mexican champion, she worked hard, that’s what we trained for,” said Serrano. “I didn’t expect anything less than what she gave me this night.

“They sent me back to basics and I was listening to my corner who asked me to go 1-2, which worked.”

Katie Taylor Amanda Serrano in the ring at Madison Square Garden following the Puerto Rican’s victory over Erika Cruz
Katie Taylor (left) joined Amanda Serrano in the ring following the Puerto Rican’s victory over Erika Cruz
Much of the talk before the fight had been about the rematch between Serrano and Taylor with the Irishwoman ringside on Saturday.

The 2012 Olympic champion beat Serrano by a split points decision when they met in the first women’s bout to headline a boxing card at Madison Square Garden last April.

Their rematch is scheduled to take place at Dublin’s 3Arena after negotiations between the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and promoters Matchroom to stage it at Croke Park fell through over “security costs”.

But on Friday, Irish mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor offered to provide £500,000 to pay for the security bill.

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