Make choosing a winner easy – just back Katie Taylor to take the bout! In her recent fight against Belgian Delfine Persoon, she put the world lightweight belts and The Ring Magazine title on the line. This was the second fight with the scrappy fighter from Belgium and Taylor once and for all proved herself the undefeated, undisputed champion.
Katie Taylor is something of an Irish Wonder Woman. She took this fight with a unanimous decision from the judges – and not by a small margin. One judge marked her 98-93 and the other 96-94. It was a bout filled with crazy action. When she was offered this rematch, Taylor wasn’t shy of saying yes. It was to be a blockbuster – and an early doors fight on a pay-per-view event. Persoon is a brutal battler but she certainly met her match – as she was slugged again and again by Taylor. It seemed like neither fighter wanted to take a backward step in the ring and the atmosphere of attrition could be felt at ringside.
What makes Katie Taylor the winner in such a match-up? Well, the answer to this question helps us to understand why she is a wonder woman in the ring. You see, where Persoon looked to bully and harangue through brute force, Taylor was much smarter. Rather than just go headlong into a punch-fest, Taylor looked to circle and keep her counsel until the right time to pick a combination.
The strategy Taylor wanted to apply was clear from the start. She was going to use her footwork, her jab and left hook to apply pressure. She did this from the first bell until the last. She also countered wisely. Persoon sometimes came in for a clumsy brute force attack that left her vulnerable – and Taylor never missed an opportunity to dent the confidence of the other woman. In short, as she is in most of the bouts she is in, Taylor was a better boxer.
Unlike in the last bout when Persoon was loud in her protests about the decision, this time she was quiet and accepting that she had been bested.
While Taylor carried away an armful of belts, we have to ask if she did enough to call herself the greatest of all time. Claressa Shields likes to call herself the GOAT of women’s boxing – having won world titles in three divisions. She is also the current undisputed middleweight world champion.
Yet, Taylor puts up a strong battle for a place at the very top of the world of women’s boxing. She is an Olympic gold medalist, holds titles in two weight classes and is the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. She presents tough competition for Shields – but many still put her number 2 even after the decision against Persoon. There is a thought that after her next match-up – against Gutierrez – Taylor could make another challenge for the top spot. She is after all on a record of 16 – 0 with 6 KOs – not bad for a lightweight!
The Real Katie Taylor
All this makes Taylor sound like a fighting machine. However, when you meet her, the story is much more complex. She is strong in her faith and will often be found in deep prayer. The family will all join hands together before a fight and pray that she gets her work done. Sometimes you will see this hard woman of Ireland crying, such is the power of these prayers, which are led by her mother. This religion is her true faith and a much more powerful northern star in her life than boxing.
Rarely is a sportsperson one-dimensional and Katie Taylor is no different. There are three pillars in her life: religion, boxing and her family. She may be the undisputed champion and a gold medalists – but she is foremost a good daughter to her mother Bridget. She comes from the small coastal town of Bray, near Dublin and is often flanked by her brothers Lee and Peter and her sister Sarah. They even followed her to the first fight with Persoon in New York.
Eddie Hearn may have made Katie Taylor the biggest star in boxing – and in doing so helped women’s boxing punch higher than it has ever done before – but Taylor fights for her family and her country more than the plaudits.
So who is Katie Taylor?
Is she the smart, strategic boxer who refused to back down when Persoon tried to bully her? Yes, she is. She is a courageous and skillful boxer who used her head to win the decision. Is she the greatest of all time in women’s boxing – not quite yet – but you have to believe that if she keeps going like this she will be one day. Yet, more than all this she is a young Irish family woman who has a deep faith.