Class gesture from Delfine Persoon to Katie Taylor after tense face-off
The talking is done. The seats have been sold. The appetite has been whetted.
At Madison Square Garden, in the early hours of Sunday morning (Irish time), Katie Taylor will fight for the WBC lightweight belt that is currently in the possession of Belgian star Delfine Persoon.
The Bray native, who is seeking to become the undisputed world champion, went straight from her fight against Rose Volante into a training camp for the Persoon fight. As soon as she had recorded her first professional win, she told the world she was there for all the marbles.
She has collected three belts and just needs one more to complete the set.
"These are the fights I've always wanted," she told us after her weigh-in and face-off with Persoon. "Pressure is a privilege."
"These are the fights I've always wanted"
Katie Taylor geared up and ready to become undisputed 💪💪pic.twitter.com/DzP8GOOeKO
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 1, 2019
Both Taylor and Persoon made weight and looked mightily focused as they posed for photos and took in the cheers and calls from the crowd.
Persoon's height advantage was clear to see and both fighters held a stare for about 15 seconds as their names and titles were read aloud.
At the conclusion, with promoter Eddie Hearn about to step in, Taylor gave Persoon the slightest of nods. She responded with a bow before the pair shook hands and Persoon bowed again.
There has been little malice between the protagonists in the lead-up to this fight, but both have set their stall out that they will do all the must to have their arm raised in victory on the night.
Persoon has told reporters that, given the partisan crowd expected to be at MSG for the fight, she may have to knock Taylor out to get the win.
Fighting words, of course, but really nice to see the clear respect both Taylor and Persoon have for each other.
It was reminiscent of Conor McGregor's bow of respect to Jose Aldo, which surprised Dana White, after their UFC 194 face-off.
When the talking is done, true competitors often do give these small moments of respect before everything is flung on the line.
Here is the full weigh-in and face-off between the combatants:
The fight is expected to take place around 3am (GMT) on Sunday.