Katie Taylor admits Persoon presents “biggest challenge”


Katie Taylor [13(6)-0] admits that Delfine Persoon will pose her biggest challenge yet.

Not just in the pros, where she has been almost flawless to date, but throughout her entire career which saw her hit unparalleled heights in the amateurs.

Taylor takes on WBC lightweight champion Persoon on Saturday June 1st in New York at the Madison Square Garden Arena looking to add the final piece of the undisputed puzzle.

Already possessing the WBO, IBF, and WBA crowns, the big Belgian looks to be Taylor’s hardest pro opponent to date – something the Bray boxer concurs with.

Taylor explained that “Persoon is recognized as one of the best in the world pound for pound and has been the WBC champ now for over five years so it’s the best against the best.”

“This could be the biggest night of my career, really, both amateur and professional. This is just a huge mega fight.”

This is going to be, without a doubt, the biggest challenge of my career and the biggest fight of my career. These are the kind of fights that I want.”

While 34-year-old Persoon [43(18)-1(1)] may lack some of the technical skills of Taylor’s former amateur rivals, the former judoka and full-time police officer brings grit, pro experience, strength, and power to the table – as well as a confidence which only years of dominance can provide.

However, the making of the ‘all the marbles’ match-up has taken a long time, with the Flemish fighter’s team holding out for the biggest and best deal possible.

With this achieved – with Hearn having suggested that it would take “hundreds of thousands” – Taylor is full of relief.

The Wicklow 32-year old noted how “the fight has been talked about for the last year or so, it just hasn’t happened.”

“It’s great that she has finally signed for the fight and I’m delighted that Eddie has been able to make it.”

“When I sat down with Eddie Hearn almost two years ago, I did want to become the undisputed champion and now I have the chance to do it.”

Being undisputed is important for Taylor, as is adding the two most iconic-looking belts in boxing – without even mentioning the boost such a fight gives to women’s boxing as a whole..

“To have this fight, and to be boxing for the WBC belt, the undisputed title, the Ring Magazine title, it’s absolutely huge,” said Taylor who is currently back in Vernon training with coach Ross Enamait.

“When I turned professional my first goal was to win a World title but then my next priority was to become undisputed champion so obviously this fight gives me the opportunity to do that so it’s massive for my career.”

“Women’s boxing is in such great place right now and these are the kind of super fights that will really take it to new heights. Madison Square Garden seems like the perfect setting for a fight of this magnitude.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie