Katie Taylor Edges Delfine Persoon In Bruising Battle in NY

Katie Taylor Edges Delfine Persoon In A Disputed Decision


By David A. Avila

Undisputed may be a misnomer as Katie Taylor won by majority decision over Delfine Persoon in a bruising and brawling 10 round slugfest to win all of the major lightweight world titles on Saturday.

The decision was debatable.

Ireland’s Taylor (14-0, 6 KOs) escaped with the IBF, WBO, WBA titles along with Persoon’s (43-2, 18 KOs) WBC lightweight title at Madison Square Garden and the 20,000 fans that expected a party. Instead, the largely British crowd got a rumble in New York City.

For most fans not accustomed to watching Taylor face equal competition it seemed odd. Persoon with her awkward charges looked out of her element in the first round and she tried to gauge her distance. But the fleet movement of Ireland’s champion kept Persoon punching at air – not for long.

While Taylor flurried with speedy combinations Persoon wailed away with rights and left uppercuts. A few landed and that seemed to surprise Taylor not accustomed to receiving counters. Persoon closed the second round with a three-punch combination followed by a four-punch combination. The fight was on.

Boxing and touching seemed to be the formula best suited for Taylor but the continual pressure by Persoon made it exhausting for the Irish fighter. Whenever Taylor maintained distance she retained control of the fight. In close it was Persoon’s fight.

From the fourth round until the seventh round the fight went back and forth with Taylor using her speedy flurries and check left hooks with success and Persoon taking the blows and countering with long rights and left uppercuts. Distance favored Taylor while inside fighting gave Persoon opportunities.

In the seventh round Taylor opened up with a lead right then followed with speedy combinations. It looked to be her best round in a while but then Persoon connected with a strong right that shook the Irish fighter. Persoon followed up with more blows and when the bell sounded it was tough to score. It remained the closest round.

Persoon followed up with a strong attack in the eighth round and Taylor fought back. A three-punch blast by the Belgian fighter put Taylor reeling back and trying to find her footing against the constant attack of Persoon. Taylor landed a one-two at the end of the round but Persoon was dominant for most of the round.

The ninth round saw Taylor resume to using touch punches and moving out of the way. But regardless of the flurries Persoon resumed her stalking mode. The fast start by Ireland’s favorite fighter helped her regain some control and it was a pivotal round in stopping the Belgian fighter’s momentum.

In Taylor’s corner her trainer warned that the fight was in question. She was urged to go for broke.

Persoon was like a monster from a horror movie with her swollen eye and persistent advances. In the 10th the tireless fighter looked fresh despite enduring nine prior rounds of brawling exchanges with Taylor. Though the Irish fighter tried hard to match Persoon’s intensity, a few blows connected and Taylor’s energy waned. A four-punch Persoon combination was followed by a six-punch combination and Taylor looked ready to go. But the former Olympian gutted out the blows and stayed upright. When the bell rang Persoon seemed disappointed that she could not put Taylor down.

The Belgian fighter seemed confident she had won the fight. But the judge’s scores proved different. One judge saw it a draw 95-95, while two others scored it 96-94 for Taylor by majority decision. ThePrizefighters.com saw it 96-94 for Persoon. But one round could have gone to Taylor.

Persoon wagged her finger to indicate the decision was wrong.

“It was a very close fight. I felt like I won the earlier rounds and she came on strong at the end,” said Taylor. “She is very, very strong.”

Still, it was an eye-catching performance by both champions and worthy of a rematch. But there are plans for Taylor to face New York’s Amanda Serrano the owner of seven division titles including the lightweight strap.

One thing is certain; the lightweight division is definitely in dispute. And that is very good for women’s prizefighting.


(Photo by Ed Mulholland/DAZN)