Cecilia Braekhus envisions Katie Taylor’s rematch with Delfine Persoon unfolding similarly to their first fight.
Ireland’s Taylor beat Belgium’s Persoon by majority decision in their 10-round lightweight title unification fight in June 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Their closely contested slugfest seemingly could’ve gone either way, yet two judges scored it for Taylor and one had it even (96-94, 96-94, 95-95).
That’s just the type of back-and-forth fight Braekhus expects August 22, when Taylor and Persoon are set to meet again on the grounds of Matchroom Boxing’s headquarters in Brentwood, England.
“I think it will be a very hard fight,” Braekhus told BoxingScene.com. “I think Taylor will edge it because I think she was surprised by Persoon and the power she has the first time. This time, she will be better prepared and do the adjustments. I think Taylor will take it.”
The 34-year-old Taylor (15-0, 6 KOs) was supposed to face seven-division champion Amanda Serrano (38-1-1, 28 KOs) on August 22, three months after they were first scheduled to box in Manchester, England. Once Brooklyn’s Serrano, 31, turned down the Taylor fight on its proposed rescheduled date, Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, put together a rematch with the 35-year-old Persoon (44-2, 18 KOs).
“Persoon is a brilliant fighter,” Braekhus said. “She’s strong, so I don’t wanna take anything away from her. Did she surprise Katie Taylor with her strength and her stamina? Yeah, a little bit – definitely.”
Taylor and Persoon will fight for Taylor’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 135-pound titles.
If Norway’s Braekhus (36-0, 9 KOs) conquers Chicago’s Jessica McCaskill (8-2, 3 KOs) on Saturday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the long-reigning, 38-year-old welterweight champion likely will fight Taylor next if Taylor tops Persoon a second time. Those two fights are viewed by Hearn and Braekhus’ handlers as an unofficial four-fighter tournament, but Braekhus declined to discuss possibly battling Taylor at a catch weight between welterweight and lightweight.
“I think it’s bad luck to start thinking that far ahead,” Braekhus said. “Right now, I’m just thinking about [fighting McCaskill].”
Braekhus will defend her IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC and WBO welterweight titles versus McCaskill. If she succeeds Saturday night, Braekhus’ 26th consecutive defenses of her WBA and WBC belts would break Joe Louis’ longstanding record of 25 straight title defenses in the same weight class.
DAZN will stream the Braekhus-McCaskill match and the Taylor-Persoon rematch in the United States. Braekhus-McCaskill is the headliner of a five-bout card from a makeshift, outdoor venue in downtown Tulsa (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
Taylor-Persoon II will be part of the Dillian Whyte-Alexander Povetkin undercard a week from Saturday night. Sky Sports Box Office will televise Whyte-Povetkin and the Taylor-Persoon rematch on pay-per-view in the UK.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.