Delfine Persoon was the most aggressive, rugged opponent Katie Taylor encountered in any of her 15 professional fights.
Taylor expects Persoon to approach their rematch Saturday night the same way she performed in their first fight 14 months ago. It is up to Taylor, however, to make adjustments, remain committed to boxing and resist the temptation to brawl with her strong, experienced opponent in their second 10-round lightweight championship match.
Ireland’s Taylor realizes that is the smartest strategy she can employ to convincingly beat Persoon in their second fight. The 34-year-old Taylor (15-0, 6 KOs) won their first bout by majority decision, but Belgium’s Persoon (44-2, 18 KOs) gave the 2012 Olympic gold medalist her most difficult fight as a pro and deserved to win, according to some fans and reporters.
“It is definitely a very, very awkward style,” Taylor said of Persoon during a virtual press conference Tuesday. “It’s a style that’s probably hard to look good against at times as well, but I am prepared for this. I’ve gotten the best sparring over these last few months. Yeah, I just think I probably have to be a bit smarter this time around, be a bit more disciplined.”
Judges Allen Nace and John Poturaj scored their closely contested, fantastic fight for Taylor by the same score, 96-94. Judge Don Trella scored their fight even (95-95), but Taylor still was crowned women’s boxing undisputed lightweight champion on the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. undercard in June 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Taylor’s narrow win notwithstanding, CompuBox credited Persoon with landing 13 more punches overall (116-of-586 to 103-of-410). CompuBox counted more power punches for Taylor (93-of-320 to 83-of-360) and more jabs for Persoon (33-of-226 to 10-of-90).
Even though she won, Taylor trained to make their 10-round rematch easier on her.
“I guess the first fight I got dragged into a fight a bit too much,” Taylor said. “And it’s probably in my character a bit too much that I love to fight, I love to stand there and fight. But sometimes it’s not the smartest option, so I think I just have to be a bit more disciplined and use my boxing brain a bit more in this fight.”
Taylor will defend her IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 135-pound championships versus Persoon on the Dillian Whyte-Alexander Povetkin undercard at Matchroom Boxing’s headquarters in Brentwood, England.
Sky Sports Box Office will air their rematch and the remainder of the five-fight card in the United Kingdom (7 p.m. BST; £19.95). DAZN will stream it in the United States (2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT).
“The last fight obviously was very, very exciting, but probably a bit too exciting for my liking,” Taylor said. “I wanna clear any doubts on Saturday night. I definitely have to be a bit smarter and a bit more disciplined, as I said before. But I have been preparing for this kind of fight. I’ve been training hard over these last few months, and I’m very, very excited about the fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.