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02nd Jun 2019

Tearful Delfine Persoon gives first interview since controversial Taylor defeat

Patrick McCarry


“It could have been so beautiful.”

Despite landing 116 punches to Katie Taylor’s 103, boxing courageously and finishing like a freight train, Delfine Persoon had to stand in the middle of the ring and watch as her WBO belt was presented to her opponent.

The Belgian lost her first professional fight in 10 years, when she was controversially outpointed in a spit decision, and left the arena in tears.

Katie Taylor’s smart, slick start and a strong showing in the penultimate round was just about enough and she became the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. However, with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn telling Taylor he had the fight as a draw, the Bray native may push for an immediate rematch.

Seeing Persoon and Taylor back in the ring by August or September would be a great spectacle ad it could well be a main event fight.

(Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile)

Right now, though, 34-year-old Persoon will have to lick her wounds and console herself with the fact that she left it all out there. In an interview with Björn Soenens of Belgian outlet Sporza, Persoon reflected on the biggest night of her boxing career.

Asked if she agreed with those – such as Carl Froch – that felt she was robbed, Persoon responded:

“If you look at the social media it is. My trainer and myself are also of that opinion. At home we will take another look at the camp. And then we can analyse whether we have really been robbed. Now I think it is not [the time].”

The dethroned WBO champ blamed herself for allowing Taylor to grab and grapple her, late in the piece, when she was seeking a knock-out. On that 10th round, when she swarmed Taylor, Persoon reflected:

“I have put her in trouble more than once, but each time she grabbed me. It’s like my trainer says: I have been boxing more on character than with my head. When I step back, I finish them. It could have been so beautiful.”

At was at this point of the interview that a sobbing Persoon had to pause as she tried to compose herself. She does not believe Matchroom – Taylor’s promoters – will agree to a rematch.

“That’s certainly allowed, but I don’t think Taylor wants to take that risk…  She will not give me another chance. Too bad.”

As she reflected on even before a punch was thrown, she is up against a world-famous boxer and a mighty promotional machine.

Persoon’s best chance of a rematch is in the coming days and weeks. It is not in her nature but she must raise a clamour or risk being left behind.