Delfine Persoon, the Flemish police officer turned boxing champion, has lost her latest attempt to wrest four titles from the hands of Ireland’s Katie Taylor, on a points decision after ten rounds.
On the advice of her corner, Persoon (35) came out blazing, immediately putting Taylor, one year her junior, on the defensive. But as the fight went on Persoon’s accuracy could not match Taylor’s, and she seemed to become dispirited rather than fatigued.
After ten rounds it was up to the judges to decide, and they unanimously went for Taylor: 96-94, 96-94 and 98-93.
Taylor remains undefeated after 16 fights, with six victories by a knockout. Persoon has had 47 bouts, and was defeated three times – twice by Taylor.
The two met for the first time in June 2019, in Madison Square Garden in New York, where Persoon was defending her WBC title. That fight also went to the judges, and Taylor surprised many by winning 95-95, 96-94 and 96-94.
On that occasion, Persoon vowed she would regain her title, as well as take the three other titles Taylor holds. This time, she seemed to resign herself to the verdict of the judges.
“I respect Taylor’s victory,” she commented after the fight. “I didn’t have the strength to really hurt her. I wanted to, I went for it, but I couldn’t do any damage. And technically Katie is good. You really have to hurt her or you can’t win against her. I respect this defeat, I have no problem with this.”
Interviewed by Sky Sports, she said, “I think I broke my nose in round two. It wasn’t easy to box eight more rounds like that. In March I only weighed 57kg. So I ate and ate and ate to recover [my weight], but I couldn’t really do it. The super featherweights are more my category. But again: I have no excuses today. My full respect for Katie.”
The BBC commented, “The grace with which Persoon accepted the defeat was perhaps surprising given how close some of the rounds were in a bout which lived up to all expectations.”
“You can’t relax against Delfine because she attacks all the time, it was such a tough fight and we’ve had two amazing fights for women’s boxing but it was more convincing this time,” Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live.
Boxing expert Freddy De Kerpel gave his own verdict.
“From her comments I can hear that she is tired of boxing. She gives in too easily to defeat. The fire has gone out.”