UNDISPUTED: Ring Magazine belt to be on the line for Katie Taylor v Delfine Persoon


The undisputed lightweight title between Ireland’s Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon was formally announced this afternoon with the addition of one more belt.

The Wicklow lightweight holds the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts, while Belgian Persoon [43(18)-1(1)] has held the WBC title for almost half a decade and they will look to crown an undisputed champion in one of the chief support bouts on the Anthony Joshua v Jarrell Miller undercard at the Madison Square Garden Arena in New York on Saturday June 1st.

READ: Delfine Persoon signs contract for Katie Taylor clash

This information has been known since yesterday afternoon when Persoon held a press conference in Belgium where she finally signed the contract to fight Taylor – and now the Bray boxer’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has revealed that the Ring Magazine belt will also be on the line in the Big Apple.

It will be just the second time that the ‘Bible of Boxing’ will award the honourary title for a woman’s fight. The first was just last weekend when Claressa Shields dominated Christina Hammer to become undisputed middleweight champion.

Additionally, last year, undisputed welterweight queen and potential future Taylor opponent was awarded the Ring Magazine ‘#1 Pound-for-Pound’ title belt – a recognition not related to one championship fight in particular.

The fight will be shown seven weeks’ time will be shown live on the DAZN app and on this side of the world on pay-per-view via Sky Box Office.

Sky Sports Head of Boxing and unabashed Taylor fanatic said that “we’re delighted that Katie Taylor’s undisputed world title fight has been added to the Anthony Joshua bill, an historic night for Katie on the same evening as the excitement surrounding AJ’s US debut at the iconic Madison Square Garden.”

“We’ve been there every step of the way since Katie’s professional debut and now she attempts to unify all four world lightweight titles, cementing her status as one of finest pound-for-pound fighters in the world.”

“Delfine Persoon has a very proud record herself and Taylor might have to produce a career-best performance on the biggest night of her exciting career.”

The addition of the Ring Magazine belt is a momentous one, especially considering that Lineal titles (the woman who beat the woman who beat the woman and so on) have not yet really been established in women’s boxing.

Usually, fights for the red-white-and-blue belt require the fighters to be ranked highly – more on that in a second – in the magazine’s rankings. However, Ring Magazine are yet to begin listing women’s rankings.

While it is an iconic belt, its reputation has taken a hit in recent years.

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Controversy erupted in 2012 as a change to the magazine’s editorial policy widened the criteria of what qualifies as a Ring Magazine title. This came following the sale of the magazine to Golden Boy Promotions.

Previously, when Ring’s titles were vacant, a new lineage would only begin when the #1 and #2 ranked fighters (by Ring) fought. This rule was then adjusted so that a fight between the magazine’s #1 or #2 against either the #3, #4, or #5 could also see the vacant Ring title awarded and this dilution was not appreciated by many.

All of this, however, is rather moot at the minute for Taylor and the addition of the famous belt is another encouraging step for both her and for women’s boxing.

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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