Katie Taylor spent most of 2020 preparing for what many claimed would have been the biggest fight in the history of women’s boxing.
That hard work instead gets invested in a rematch to what was easily the toughest fight of her career.
Not a moment has been wasted in training camp ahead of Taylor’s forthcoming sequel versus Belgium’s Delfine Persoon (44-2, 18KOs), which takes place August 22 on the outdoor property of Matchroom Boxing headquarters in Brentwood, Essex, England. The date was once reserved for a superfight with Amanda Serrano (37-1-1, 27KOs), a bout that has been in development for nearly two years but which ultimately fell apart after being assigned three different fight dates.
Instead, it’s onto settling up old business.
“I’m very grateful. Obviously the last few months I’ve been training hard for a huge fight with Serrano,” Ireland’s Taylor (15-0, 6KOs) noted during a virtual press conference on Matchroom Boxing’s social media channel to promote the event. “Obviously, that fight fell through and the only fight that made sense was the Persoon rematch.
“The last fight was a huge fight. It was very close and is a fight that is deserving of a rematch. This is a fight that I’ve been looking forward to since that first fight. It’s the biggest fight in women’s boxing right now.”
The rematch versus Persoon comes nearly 15 months after Taylor claimed a 10-round decision in their four-belt lightweight championship thriller last June at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Debate emerged as to whether Taylor deserved the nod in what was one of the best fights of 2019, an argument that the two-time Olympian and 2012 Olympic Gold medalist sought to immediately remedy.
“This is a fight I wanted straight away, really, after the first fight,” Taylor insisted. “I only want to be involved in big fights. I love the big fights, I love this challenge. This is the reason I’m in the sport of boxing at the end of the day. You can’t miss out on these opportunities.
“This is a huge fight. This is what I was made for, this is what I waited for. This is a fight I’ve always wanted.”
The fight that Taylor would instead get was the opportunity to become a two-division titlist. It came five months later, in a 10-round win over Christina Linardatou last November in Manchester, England, claiming a 140-pound title in the process.
Taylor has since ditched the belt, instead focusing on defending her lineal lightweight championship and lofty pound-for-pound status. It was to have come versus Brooklyn’s Serrano until there reached a point where it was no longer going to happen, leaving her team to look to Persoon to fill the void.
“I think both fights are huge fights. I won’t say I’m any more motivated for this fight. I’m ready for this fight,” notes Taylor. “We’ve been preparing since January for a big, big fight.
“These are the big fights that I was born, for that I was made for.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox