WBC Lightweight Champion Delfine Persoon Chasing Katie Taylor
By Phil Woolever
After her most recent fight a few weeks ago (UD 8 over Monica Gentil), WBC Lightweight Champion Delfine Persoon told her fans and the press in Belgium that she would be fighting Ireland’s Katie Taylor, the WBA titlist, in April.
“I will soon defend my title against the Irish girl,” Persoon told local media. “I once boxed for a world title for free. Katie has already boxed for an amount in six figures. When I think of that it’s more like, not in a million years.”
In reality, that fight was far from a done deal.
While Persoon has reportedly been calling Taylor out for many months now, it appears any optimal options may be getting less and less likely in the near future. Taylor already has an April fight booked.
There are a lot of potentially excellent fights to be made in women’s boxing right now. One of the best could indeed be a unification bout between battle- proven champion Persoon (40-1, 16 KOs) and rising star Taylor (8-0, 4 KOs).
Persoon is not only the face of women’s boxing in Belgium, but probably the face of boxing in general there. She is credited with a huge increase of women coming to the gym, whether for combat sports or general fitness.
If she really wants a good payday, the very low-profile Persoon needs to do a lot more to get on the international radar. Persoon may be one of the very best female fighters on the planet, but she has a relatively tiny recognition factor.
Ratings vs Clout
Persoon is an elite boxer with a respectable fan base in Belgium, but that’s dwarfed by the box-office or broadcast clout Taylor brings to the table. Sky Sports or Showtime probably aren’t going to add Persoon to their calendar any time soon.
Unless that is, she’s fighting Taylor in what could actually be the biggest fight in the current Irish landscape. If Taylor – Persoon does get beyond the wishful stage, it will almost certainly take place in Ireland, the UK or USA. Taylor has impressive status with Matchroom Boxing, the game’s top promotional force, and they will be calling the shots.
If Persoon really appreciates the financial opportunity Taylor presents, Persoon should already be doing everything she can to make the fight. A couple more bouts and Taylor will have a much better chance at an important victory.
Both fighters might still be improving, but Taylor certainly is and there’s a likelihood Persoon has already peaked or plateaued.
Taylor is coming off a “5 star” opponent in Jessica McCaskill. Persoon’s last opponent had just over 5 wins.
Still, Persoon seems like a fitness fanatic who spends most waking hours doing extreme conditioning when she’s not working in the police force. If she can make it a war of attrition she could give Taylor all sorts of problems.
Taylor’s next bout is scheduled for April 28th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. IBF titlist Victoria Noelia Bustos of Argentina, 18-4, is the opponent.
Bustos is a veteran of 8 world title matches, going 6-2 in them. It’s noteworthy that two of Bustos’ overall losses were to highly respectable Erica Anabella Farias, who lost a 2014 brawl to Persoon in which both women got point deductions for fouling.
Team Taylor deserves respect for taking another risky fight that’s likely to be the type of battle that keeps the current bandwagon for women’s boxing growing.
Here’s an interesting statistic : Persoon, a top pound for pound performer, has a higher points rating on the comprehensive boxrec.com global scale than Taylor and Bustos combined.
Meanwhile, what’s next for Persoon remains to be seen. She currently has no fight scheduled.
The cliché about passing time highly favors the rapidly improving Taylor. If Persoon doesn’t get Katie soon, she might never get her at all or have little chance when she does.
Hopefully for Persoon and her fans, she’s planning on making a big move quickly. That should include a ticket to New York for April, and pursuing conversations with promoters like Dmitriy Salita or Lou DiBella.
Right now, the momentum is all Taylor’s. It will only get harder for Persoon to catch up, and by the time she does it will probably be too late.