Katie Taylor goes head to head with Delfine Persoon in an effort to unify the women’s lightweight division.
The eagerly anticipated bout is scheduled for the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title fight against Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden on June 1.
Taylor, the Irish boxing superstar, is ranked as the number-one female boxer on the planet, pound-for-pound, and is well regarded for her prowess inside the ropes.
A national hero in Ireland, the Wicklow native won an Olympic gold at London 2012 and is regarded as one of the greatest female amateurs of all time.
The buzz around Taylor has been consistently growing since she turned pro back on November 26, 2016, at the Wembley Arena in London.
That night, Taylor stopped Karina Kopinska inside three rounds to make her first foray into the pro ranks a successful one. Less than a year later, Taylor beat Anahi Sanchez in Cardiff, Wales, to
pick up the vacant WBA female lightweight strap.
She added the IBF title in April 2018 and is now looking to more than double her belt count against Persoon. In addition to all four belts on the line, The Ring title will also be up for grabs.
Persoon, who is 44-0, will be tasked with stopping a fighter many believe to be the very best in the female ranks.
The Belgian has only ever fought once outside of her own country and will be making her US debut, unlike Taylor, who has fought six times in the States.
Can she prevent Taylor from clearing up and take the shine away from Joshua’s title defense against Ruiz Jr. on the night?
As you can see, Taylor is the runaway favorite in this bout.
At odds of -1800, the Irishwoman is seen as far too strong for the challenge of her Belgian opponent, Persoon.
Now, Persoon is far from a weak opponent, so this says a lot about the strength of Taylor more than anything. Persoon is the incumbent WBC titlist and has defended her strap a total of nine
times, stopping five of her challengers.
This is, without question, Taylor’s toughest fight to date. Now, this may not be reflected in the odds, of course, but Persoon is not someone who is just going to lie down and accept defeat.
Persoon’s last defeat came at the hands of Zelda Tekin in 2010, so she won’t want to find herself in that losing column for the second time.
This fight is very interesting from a betting perspective. There will undoubtedly be many who see value in Persoon’s odds.
Can she win this fight?
Why Back Persoon?
Well, I think the main reason why some will be considering backing Persoon is that she is currently +850 with Bovada to win against Taylor.
There won’t be a lot of boxing betting enthusiasts who will have the same knowledge of female boxing as they do of the male variety, so, naturally, most will be opting for the bigger name in
The Irish champion tends to attract quite a lot of betting activity — at least for female boxing — on patriotic grounds and the size of her profile. Of course, it also helps that she is a
fantastic fighter with an excellent skillset.
At the same time, Persoon’s odds seem very high for a dominant champion. She might not have excelled in the amateur ranks like Taylor or fought around the world in the likes of Madison Square
Garden, the O2 Arena in London, or the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but she is a seasoned pro with proven knockout power.
Persoon has 14 world title fights to her name with 18 knockouts in 43 wins in the sport. Taylor has admitted that Persoon is her trickiest challenge to date, too.
Now, I will be the first to admit that I don’t follow women’s boxing anywhere near the level I do the male divisions, but even I know who Persoon is.
While I am not yet saying I believe Persoon can win, those odds might be a good enough reason to think about having a punt on her.
Why Back Taylor?
Why back the fighter many believe to be the best in the women’s game?
The answer is quite simple — Katie Taylor is an incredible fighter. She is gifted with excellent hands, great footwork, an excellent defense, and formidable power.
Before turning professional, Taylor was one of the most successful female fighters in the history of the sport. Even as an amateur, the native of Bray, Wicklow — located outside of Dublin — was a
household name in her own country.
Having signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, Taylor’s notoriety has spread all across the globe. Her early promise was fulfilled with her capturing of two of the lightweight division’s
titles, and the general consensus is that she will continue to grow.
Backing Katie Taylor to beat Delfine Persoon will get you odds of -1800, which, admittedly, are pretty paltry.
For most boxing bettors, these odds are not enough to warrant risking their money on. Yes, Taylor is that good and has peerless talent in the division, but she will have to work very hard to
outbox the crafty Persoon.
Given her talent, Taylor should do just that.
Taylor’s Quality vs. Persoon’s Experience
You could make the argument for quality over quantity, but there is a lot that you can learn from 44 professional fights.
Persoon will certainly have picked up some invaluable experience throughout the course of those bouts, but on the other hand, she will have not come across a fighter as good as Taylor is.
There is a lot to admire about Delfine Persoon’s style. She is a classic boxer who knows how to close the distance and when to throw the right shot. She has garnered a lot of success throughout
her career because of her ability to read and fight.
Make no mistake — she has power, too.
That said, you can have all the skills and space in the world against weaker opposition and look better than you are. When faced with a fighter that has an arguably better skillset, the
opportunities to exploit are often a hell of a lot less frequent.
This is the problem for Persoon against Taylor. She will find it very difficult to control the fight when under the type of pressure that the Irish fighter can impose on her.
We will likely see Persoon opt for a counterpunching strategy, meaning she will need to draw the shots out of Taylor before she can fire back. The problem with this style against Taylor is that,
if it is unsuccessful, could only allow her to find her rhythm and push forward with little respect for her power.
Taylor Wins This Fight
Technically, there is no better fighter in the female ranks than Katie Taylor.
The transition from amateur to professional can often be something that many fighters find hard to deal with, but Taylor has really come into her own since moving to the pros.
In addition to excellent conditioning and some fantastic fundamentals, Taylor also has that x-factor that makes her stand out. She has power in both hands and is capable of knocking Persoon out
in this fight.
Before she even thinks about stopping the fight, Taylor will first have to make Persoon respect that power. She will need to show the Belgian that there are consequences if she moves forward and
lay down a consistent tempo with her jab to create chances for power punches.
I believe Taylor will shun any temptation to show off and get flashy under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. She will know only too well the dangers that her experienced opponent can
pose to her if she loses focus.
This could make for a slower start for Taylor as she tries to figure out Persoon’s patterns in order to take advantage of these from the second or third onwards.
If you are betting on Katie Taylor to beat Delfine Persoon, I believe you will win that bet. However, at odds of -1800, it might not be the best opportunity of your life to make money.
Katie Taylor is a big name with a big game.
On June 1, the Irish phenom will entertain fans at the prestigious Madison Square Garden in New York and should do enough to beat her challenger, Delfine Persoon.
If Taylor wins, she will be embraced in her home country as an even greater hero and enhance her reputation around the world in the process.
This fight is, of course, on the undercard of Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. You can check out my betting preview for that fight here.