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Eddie Hearn says Katie Taylor’s Croke Park fight needs ‘help’ from GAA and politicians

It is understood Matchroom and Croke Park are currently locked in negotiations to rent the stadium for the fight.

Katie Taylor during the weigh-in, at Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden, ahead of her undisputed lightweight championship fight with Amanda Serrano earlier this year. Photo: Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrickIndependent.ie

Katie Taylor’s homecoming fight in Dublin could take place in the stadium other than Croke Park according to Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn.

Though doubling down on his commitment that Ireland will host Katie’s next fight in April-May 2023 he suggested Matchroom need what he described as ‘help’ from the Irish Government and the GAA in order to make the dream home-coming in Croke Park a reality.

Speaking to IFV TV Hearn said: “Our focus is a million percent on going to Croke Park.

"We do need (the GAA’s) support and we need the Irish government’s support as well. Not in terms of allowing it to happen but it’s very expensive to go into Croke Park and put a fight on.

“We have opportunities in Ireland with different stadiums, for me, Croke Park is the one, it’s historic. But we can go in the rugby stadium (Aviva) or other places.

“Again for me, Croke Park is where it should happen, but we need help. There have been a lot of conversation going back as far as last year.

“It’s an expensive place and we believe we’ll fill it. But we’re got to make it right numbers-wise for Katie and Amanda (Serrano) and hopefully we’ll be there.”

It is understood Matchroom and Croke Park are currently locked in negotiations to rent the stadium for the fight.

His comments are probably designed to achieve the best deal Matchroom can squeeze out of the GAA.

They have staged stadium fights in both Wembley and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, so they are well aware of the prevailing rate for the hire of major outdoor venues.

Given Dublin’s chequered history as a venue for professional boxing hiring Croke Park with a capacity of 80,000 represents a huge financial gamble by Matchroom even if Katie Taylor is the star attraction.

Her capacity to put bums on seat is completely untested in Ireland. Furthermore, if Amanda Serrano cannot be persuaded to come to Dublin for a rematch then turning a profit on the show becomes more problematic.

The Aviva Stadium has a capacity of just over 51,000 which makes it easier to fill and cheaper to rent than Croke Park.

It will host the Challenge Cup and Champions Cup finals on the weekend of May 19/20 next year but otherwise is free of fixtures during May.

While the GAA fixtures calendar has yet to be finalised for 2023 it is not envisaged there will be any major GAA games at Croke Park in May.

Hearn was speaking in Cleveland, Ohio where Matchroom are hosting a professional show on Saturday night which features the professional debut of Brazilian Olympic silver medallist Beatriz Ferreira.

The former World amateur champion was beaten by Ireland’s Kellie Harrington in the lightweight Olympic final in Tokyo last year.

She has since turned professional – though she will continue to box in the amateur ranks until after the Paris Olympics – and is being managed by Brian Peters who has guided the career of Katie Taylor since 2016.

Interestingly the fight will be over six, three minute rounds – rather than the normal two minutes for women’s pro fights.

She takes on fellow Brazilian Taynna Cardoso who has a 5-0 pro record. Ferreira’s pro debut has generated huge interest in the Brazilian media with TV crews travelling to Cleveland for the fight.

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