Katie Taylor is prepared to move from a long-craved showdown onto a long-desired rematch.
The unbeaten lineal lightweight champion from Bray, Ireland remains on course to defend her crown on August 22, though very likely no longer against record-setting seven-division titlist Amanda Serrano (38-1-1, 28KOs). Instead, a rematch with Belgium’s Delfine Persoon (44-2, 18KOs) has emerged as the likely scenario for a card scheduled to take place on the property of Matchroom Boxing headquarters in Brentwood, Essex, England.
“I like the Delfine Persoon fight,” Eddie Hearn, Taylor’s promoter and managing director of Matchroom Boxing revealed during a recent interview with IFL TV. “We’ve made three offers to Delfine Persoon. It’s close, it’s close.”
The bout would come more than 14 months after the two collided in their four-belt unification last June at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Taylor (15-0, 6KOs) roared out to an early start before having to fend off a strong second half surge from Persoon to claim a 10-round majority decision. The verdict was met with mixed reaction, with several experts believing Persoon deserved the nod.
All told, it resulted in Taylor making the seventh defense of at least one lightweight title (WBA) which she’s held since 2017. For Persoon, it was the end of a lengthy WBC title reign spanning nine successful defenses in more than five years—and with both participants eager to run it back.
That day of arrival now appears within reach.
“It’s a much bigger fight because of the controversy from the first fight,” insists Hearn. “Katie wants to take that fight because there is doubt in some people’s mind that she won that fight. So now, it’s a fight like all these fights in the world that deserves sold-out crowds in an arena. But we don’t live in that world anymore. If you’re a fighter, if you care about legacy and achievement, you have to adapt to this environment. You have to go for it.”
Hanging overhead is a long overdue mandatory defense of her WBA title versus Miriam Gutierrez (13-0, 5KOs), an unbeaten interim lightweight titlist Madrid, Spain. Gilbertico Mendoza, president of the WBA has deemed showdowns with Serrano and Persoon as acceptable alternatives to Taylor honoring her mandatory title defense obligations.
“Katie don’t want to wait. She’s been ordered by the WBA, she hasn’t made a mandatory since she won the title—it’s been unification after unification,” points out Hearn. “She wants Persoon, she wants Serrano, she wants Braekhus, she wants Cyborg. I’m not saying she’s done after that, but that’s what motivates her.
“Katie Taylor is a legacy fight. When you look at the world, the only thing I can guarantee Katie Taylor if we can get Persoon over the line is, we can do it now. Can we do it in October or November? I don’t know. But I know we’ve got a slot in August. I think she’ll be up for it.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox