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Katie Taylor's return to the ring confirmed for August 22 - but opponent still not known

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Katie Taylor will fight on August 22, but it is doubtful if Amanda Serrano will be her opponent

Katie Taylor will fight on August 22, but it is doubtful if Amanda Serrano will be her opponent

SPORTSFILE

Katie Taylor will fight on August 22, but it is doubtful if Amanda Serrano will be her opponent

Katie Taylor will finally return to the ring on August 22 but the search for an opponent continues.

The unbeaten Bray-born world champion was due to meet Amanda Serrano in what was being hailed as the biggest showdown in the history of women’s professional boxing.

But it looks increasingly unlikely that the Puerto Rican-born nine-belt seven-weight World champion will be journeying across the Atlantic this summer.

Eddie Hearn's Matchroom organisation formally announced the launch of their Fight Camp programme which features four shows on successive weekends beginning on August 1 in a specially-constructed outdoor arena in Hearn's Essex estate.

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Together with a heavyweight showdown between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin, the long-awaited Taylor/Serrano clash was to co-feature on the final show on August 22.

Significantly, Matchroom were unable to name an opponent for Taylor in the official press release. They merely stated that Taylor would defend her undisputed lightweight world titles.

Serrano had originally signed a contract to fight the Bray pugilist on May 2 in Manchester Arena. But this was postponed in early April due to the Covid-19 lockdown. It was then provisionally pencilled in for July 2 but this date fell by the wayside as well.

The latest the crux arose when Hearn sought a 15 per cent reduction in the fight purse for both boxers because there would be no box office revenue. The Taylor camp agreed but Serrano rejected the proposal.

Hearn subsequently changed his mind and agreed to pay both fighters their original purse but it is understood that by then Serrano had signed a deal to do a reality TV show in the US.

In a radio interview in the US, Serrano's promoter Lou DiBella indicated that despite assertions by Hearn that the fight was going ahead as scheduled he didn't envisage this happening.

The situation is complicated by the possibility that the UK could ban US passport holders flying into the country because of the Covid-19 crisis.

Hearn has also made contact with Filiep Tampere, manager of Delfine Persoon, the former lightweight champion who lost on a controversial points decision after an epic battle against Taylor a year ago in Madison Square Garden.

Negotiation has opened for Delfine to replace Serrano for the August 22 clash but Tampere dismissed Hearn's initial offer of €150,000 purse for the Belgian fighter.

But right now there is a better chance of Taylor v Persoon II taking place on August 25 than Taylor v Serrano.

However, the latter fight could still happen later in the year or in 2021 if the Brooklyn-based boxer wants to earn by far the biggest pay cheque – believed to be in the region of €300,000 – of her career.

Meanwhile, there was good news in the announcement for Athy professional Eric Donovan who finally gets an opportunity on a major promotion.

He is pencilled in to fight on August 14 while Belfast's James Tennyson will challenge for the British lightweight title on August 1.

Online Editors