The Wicklow lightweight holds the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts and will get the chance to add the WBC strap after long-reigning green beltholder Delfine Persoon [43(18)-1(1)] today finally signed for the fight.
At a press conference in Belgium this afternoon, Persoon would sign a contract for the fight which had been long-mooted for the Anthony Joshua v Jarrell Miller undercard at the Madison Square Garden Arena in New York on Saturday June 1st.
Taylor’s team of manager Brian Peters and promoter Eddie Hearn have been in talks with Persoon for some time now, with negotiations having been rather fraught.
Right before Christmas Taylor [13(6)-0] and Peters would slam the Flemish fighter for her lack of willingness to fight.
Persoon would reveal that her team had offered $100,000 for Taylor to have the fight in Belgium but this offer, plus subsequent bids of $130,000 and $170,000, were waved away for the Irishwoman who was already earning more for lesser fights on the DAZN platform.
The big Belgian, who is a police officer in Brugge, was not keen on fighting on a Matchroom bill but would note that a Joshua chief support slot in New York would be agreeable and when an April Wembley date versus Dillian Whyte fell through to allow a Big Apple brawl with Miller, things looked encouraging.
There were still plenty of roadblocks to jump, however, both inside and outside of the ring, and now, finally, the contract has been signed and the undisputed fight looks to be on.
Both boxers had fights to come through in the interim – and both put on dominant performances last month, Taylor stopping WBO champ Rose Volante in nine rounds in Boston and Persoon forcing strong mandatory challenger Melissa St Vil to retire on her stool after six in Belgium.
34-year-old Persoon also had to be cleared by Flemish anti-doping authorities following an infraction last October. Here, the champion was unable to give a urine sample and, after a number of hours and with work scheduled, Persoon had to leave the tester.
The authorities accepted this story and cleared Persoon, who has subsequently passed three tests as well as fighting twice, last Thursday.
It should be noted that nobody from Taylor’s side have publically acknowledged Persoon’s signing but, considering that they were the ones pushing for the fight, it can be assumed that there will be Matchroom confirmation soon.
Katie Taylor v Delfine Persoon for the undisputed lightweight championship not yet a done deal despite Persoon’s presser in Belgium ‘confirming’ the fight and the subsequent reports in Belgian and Irish media. Nearly there, though. pic.twitter.com/U24cNCvzw3
— Gavan Casey (@GavanCasey) April 15, 2019
The fight in just under seven weeks’ time will be shown live on the DAZN app and on this side of the world through Sky Box Office.
It will be just Persoon’s second time fighting outside of her native Belgium, the previous being a successful versus Nicole Boss in Switzerland back in 2015. In all, the Flanders fighter has made nine defences of the green belt since defeating Erica Anabella Farias back in 2014. Previously she held the IBF title and the European belt and, ever since Taylor’s debut, has always been seen as the Bray boxer’s main current competition in the division.
Taylor turned pro in 2016 after her glittering 18-major gold-winning amateur career ended with a disastrous Rio Olympic campaign. Signing with Hearn’s Matchroom, she looked reinvigorated and raced to world title honours within a year and has subsequently added another two major belts.
In recent times the East Coast of the United States has been home for Taylor in more ways than one. The 32-year-old has been training under Ross Enamait in Vernon, Connecticut, and has been fighting in the area more and more as Hearn looks to establish her as the female fighting face of DAZN.
There are a number of major bouts planned, from mouthy Puerto Rican seven-weight champ Amanda Serrano to undisputed welterweight queen Cecilia Braekhus but the long-reigning Persoon truly represents the first real super fight of Taylor’s pro career.