Delfine Persoon gets rematch for lightweight title


Flemish boxing pro Delfine Persoon will meet Ireland’s Katie Taylor in the ring again following last year’s controversial bout

It’s on

Flemish boxer Delfine Persoon has been given a second chance to become WBC’s undisputed lightweight champion of the world following a controversial defeat to Ireland’s Katie Taylor last year.

The original fight, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, was awarded to Taylor on points. It was only Persoon’s second defeat in 45 professional bouts, and many observers considered the verdict unfair.

Persoon (pictured) was a 10-time WBC champion until Taylor took the title from her last year. The West Fleming said she had been robbed, and Belgium’s boxing union filed an official complaint.

Persoon always said she wasn’t expecting a rematch, but it was announced this week that the pair will meet again on 22 August in England for the unified lightweight title. “That means there’s not much time to prepare, but it should be fine,” Persoon, 35, said. “I have maintained my condition and, as always, I’ll go for the victory. I know her now, and I know what I have to work on. And then I have to hope the jury will make an honest judgment, not like in New York.”

New training centre

Shortly before the announcement, Persoon’s manager and coach, Filiep Tampere, was reported as saying there would be no deal because of disagreements over the contract. However, at the last minute, the two parties reached an agreement.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, there will be no crowds at the fight, which is one of a series of matches taking place throughout August on the grounds of promoter Eddie Hearn’s mansion in Essex.

“I’ve been looking forward to a rematch ever since the first fight, and I’m delighted it’s been made,” said Taylor, 34, who currently holds the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine lightweight world titles. “It was definitely very close the first time around, but I felt I deserved the win, and I intend to leave no doubts in the rematch.”

Meanwhile, Persoon and her team want to launch a boxing training centre at an old farm in her hometown of Gits, a district of Hooglede in West Flanders. “We have already bought the land and received a subsidy from Sport Vlaanderen for the project,” she said. “The municipality is also supporting us in setting it up. The intention is that there will be a boxing complex here by next summer.”

Photo ©Kurt Desplenter/BELGA