Why WBC Champ Chantelle Cameron’s U.S. Debut Matters, Eyes Katie Taylor In Future
Seemingly every big name in the sport of women’s boxing is at or around Chantelle Cameron’s (13-0, 7 KOs), weight class, and the 30-year-old from Northampton, England, will look to make her first defense of her WBC super lightweight world title against Melissa Hernandez (23-7-3 7 KOs), Saturday, May 29 at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, live worldwide on DAZN.
Needless to say, fighting in Las Vegas is a dream come true for her, let alone making her first world title defense in the fight capital of the world.
“When you see people boxing in Vegas, you just think, they’re doing alright for themselves,” said Cameron about making her debut in Las Vegas. “I never thought I would’ve been of them boxers who’d box in Vegas, and I am really excited, and I think Americans will love my style.”
Cameron originally trained by Shane McGuigan, but now trained by Jamie Moore, who has coached Jack Catterall, Rocky Fielding, Tommy Coyle, Carl Frampton, and Martin Murray, will look to go to the next level with this bout as fighters such as Katie Taylor, Jessica McCaskill, Natasha Jonas, Shannon Courtenay, Terri Harper, and Mikaela Mayer all are at or near her weight class, and could make for entertaining and profitable fights.
As a pro, Cameron has gone 80 rounds over the course of her 13 fights in which she has stayed unbeaten, and has an impressive 53% KO ratio, which is among the best in women’s boxing which is traditionally not known for big power punchers.
Cameron is the great unknown seemingly, a hidden gem that is getting polished with the Matchroom/DAZN partnership looking to herself in a slew of big fights, but still, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered at the highest level, as with most fighters who are only 13 fights into their career.
Cameron in her last bout picked the vacant WBC strap with a dominant win over 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Ariana dos Santos Araujo in October – but her first title defense upon her could be a doozy as she faces Hernandez, a known spoiler, with loads of experience.
“…we busted our asses for so long so to finally be on these huge cards, and to get paid a little a bit more, because [when I started] our purses weren’t even enough to pay our rent,” said Hernandez. “Now we have women building empires off [boxing], it is amazing to be here.”
For those unfamiliar with Melissa Hernandez, she has beaten two high-level fighters, but made a career out of taking fights on late notice, as Hernandez, now 41-years-old, may have the record of a hard-luck fighter, but with wins over Selina Barrios, the sister to world champion, Mario Barrios, and Jelena Mrdjenovich, in which Hernandez won a world title from, Hernandez is not to be taken lightly. In fact, her win over Jelena Mrdjenovich saw her win the WBC super featherweight world title.
This is also the first time Hernandez will fight at 140 lbs as the heaviest she has fought in her career is 138 1/2 lbs in 2016 against Laya McCarter.
Cameron is everything that is marketable from looking great to a good interview as well as aggressive action-orientated-style that could lead to some interesting future bouts. Cameron’s first WBC super lightweight world title defense fight will give us a clearer look at what her ceiling or perceived ceiling as a fighter is.
“I don’t talk much, I let my hands do the talking,” said Cameron on Thursday’s media day. “I can’t wait to get in there, and down to the action.”
Hernandez has nearly three times the ring experience of Cameron with 233 rounds over 33 professional bouts, and is coming off a career reviving win over Selina Barrios in April of 2019. Hernandez had been quoted as being not keen on the postponement of the bout, which was supposed to take place in March, as Hernandez has raised questions around Cameron’s injury, that forced her out of that bout.
“To clear things up, about the whole banter that went on between us, it was something that was taken out of context, by someone clout-cashing,” said Hernandez when asked about her not believing if the injuries to Cameron were valid. “At the end of the day, she is safe, that is what matters to me – the fight is happening, and I am happy I had that extra time to train because she is a badass. So I am just here to prove I am a little bit more of a badass.”
The obvious fight down the road for Cameron is Katie Taylor, the tour-de-force fighter who has taken over Europe and helped grow women’s boxing. Taylor defeated Cameron in the 2011 European Union Women’s Championships in the finals by a score of 28-10.
“Not going to look past Melissa, she is a former world champion, but I am the better fighter, said Cameron the current women’s WBC super lightweight world. “I have a long journey ahead of me, and I am not stopping here.”
The future of Cameron’s career will be begin to be charted on this Saturday, as Cameron faces Hernandez on the Devin Haney (25-0 15 KOs) vs. ruler Jorge Linares (47-5 29 KOs) card.