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Delfine Persoon falls at first Olympic qualifying hurdle

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Delfine Persoon’s Olympic dream has been put on hold.

The former WBC world champion was knocked out of the European Olympic qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 at the Copper Box Arena in London today.

The experienced fighter Katie Taylor defeated to become undisputed lightweight champion of the world last Summer had parked her pursuit of a Taylor rematch in favour of following an Olympic dream.

However, if Persoon is to qualify she will have to do so via the world qualification tournament later in the year after she was defeated in London today.

The Belgian lightweight dropped a split decision to Nikoleta Pita of Greece on Day 1 of the qualifiers. 

Pita won the first two rounds of the preliminary round fight, and Persoon claimed the third meaning the Greek fighter moves one step closer to a place on the plan to Tokyo.

The result means we won’t see a Harrington versus Persoon clash this week. However, lightweight remains possibly the strongest of division in the tournament and Harrington will have to produce two big wins to qualify.

The double World medallist has a bye into the Last 16 where she will probably face Pole Aneta Rygielska – a silver medallist at light welter in last year’s Euros. Then it would be an intriguing Olympic decider versus IBF super-featherweight world champion Maiva Hamadouche. Lose to the French KO artist and it would be would be into the box-off mix for Harrington.

No Irish were in action in London today. Team Ireland’s qualifying journey begins tomorrow with Christina Desmond, Kiril Afanasev, George Bates and Emmet Brennan all in action.


Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: