The 3Arena, Katie Taylor, & Roy Keane: Why Ariel Helwani Has Such An Affinity For Ireland

The 3Arena, Katie Taylor, & Roy Keane: Why Ariel Helwani Has Such An Affinity For Ireland

Gary Connaughton By Gary Connaughton

A quick browse through Ariel Helwani's Twitter feed will tell you that he has quite a fondness for Ireland.

The revered combat sports TV presenter, podcaster, and pundit has long expressed his love for the people of this country, even if the time he has actually spent on these shores is limited. His only previous experience in Dublin came back in 2014, when he was present at the 3 Arena for Conor McGregor's UFC Irish debut.

The broadcaster has spent the last near decade attempting to find another atmosphere that rivalled that one. This weekend could well be the time he finally gets one, with the same venue set to host the bout between Katie Taylor and Chantelle Cameron.

Speaking to Balls, Ariel Helwani explained why it will be such an honour for him to see the Bray woman take to the ring in her home country.

I feel like I've been chasing that dragon, trying to find an atmosphere like that one (in the McGregor fight).

I've often said that the Irish fans are the pound-for-pound in the world and I think this environment is going to be just as good if not better, just because of what Katie means to the people, how long it took for her to get here, because of what she represents...

I love it here so much. I've only been here once, it was in 2014 for Conor McGregor's first UFC fight. This place is very special, the people have been very kind to me, and this feels a lot like that fight week. It's been great.

For such a historical moment and historic event, one so meaningful to the country and people here, it's legitimately an honour for me to be here.

You can be certain that the 3Arena will be absolutely hopping on Saturday. Few fans are able to light up a venue like the Irish, with Katie Taylor probably the most popular athlete in this country.

The fact that they have had to wait so long to see her make her professional bow on home soil will only add to the occasion.


Helwani himself has been waiting a number of years to make his own return to Ireland, but that hasn't stopped him developing an even greater love for what the nation has to offer. That includes our own Roy Keane, who he admits is someone he has grown to enjoy in his role as a pundit.

I love how genuine and warm Irish people are. I have a good friend Petesy Carroll, who has introduced me to a lot of the culture.

There's just something very authentic about the Irish, their sayings, their programming on TV is very unique and wholesome. I just really enjoy it a lot.

They have always been so welcoming to me, so kind. My memories here are great and I hope to have many more.

Some might say I'm an adopted son...

[Roy Keane] is pundit I know. He's very controversial at times and very outspoken. I enjoy people like that, so I have no issue with him.

I know he's a little polarising here, but I say go on Roy Keane.

That is certainly a podcast pairing that we would enjoy listening to.

As for the fight itself, it may not be the foregone conclusion that many more casual Taylor fans might consider it to be. Not only is Chantelle Cameron an undisputed world champion in her own right, but the Irishwoman will also be moving up in weight class for this fight.


The Brit will have a considerable size advantage over Taylor. She is expected to attempt to turn this into somewhat of a brawl as a result, something Taylor would be wise to avoid if possible.

Regardless of the outcome on the night, Helwani expects it to be a special occasion.

I think it's going to emotional, spine-tingling, goosebumps inducing. I think it's going to be incredible...

I think it's going to be very close, I think it's going to go the distance. Because I'm working for DAZN I don't want to pick a winner. People know how I feel about Katie.

I can't say enough about the courage to take this fight. She could have fought anyone, she didn't have to to take this fight, but she chased it. It's unbelievable to me.

I don't think there's going to be a stoppage. I think it's going to go the distance and it's going to be great. It's ten two minute rounds so it's going to fly by, as all women's bouts typically do.

They're both going to bring it and rise to the occasion.

It will certainly be a night to remember in Dublin.

Here's hoping it's the first of many professional victories for Katie Taylor on home soil.

SEE ALSO: Judging By Pre-Fight Hype, Katie Taylor Is Fulfilling Her Hope To Inspire The Next Generation



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