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Katie Taylor unifies lightweight division with controversial win over Delfine Persoon

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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In an all-out war Ireland’s Katie Taylor 14-0 (6) handed Belgium’s Delfine Persoon 43-2 (18) her first loss in more than eight years to add the WBC lightweight title to her IBF, WBA and WBO championships at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

Fighting on the undercard of Anthony Joshua versus Andy Ruiz Jr, the 32-year-old Taylor took the victory by 10-round majority decision with scores of 95-95, 96-94 and 96-94.

In a close fight that saw both boxers have their moments, it was widely felt that Persoon, 34, deserved to get the nod as she showed her experience and guile to control the action at critical times in the fight. She returned to her dressing room in a flood of tears after the decision was announced.

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Undefeated since her second year as a pro, Persoon held the WBC belt for five years and successfully defending the title nine times during that period.

Olympic gold medallist Taylor, who was having her eighth world title bout since turning professional in 2016, praised Persoon after the fight but said she felt she deserved to win.

“I definitely felt like I had done enough, especially early on. I stood there and fought too much and I should have been more disciplined but I showed great heart,” said the newly-crowned undisputed lightweight champion.

“I definitely did enough to win, it was a very, very close fight. She was a great, great champion.”

Taylor boxed well in the early rounds but was drawn into a slugfest in the mid-rounds of the fight. Persoon got the better of many of the exchanges but paid for her efforts with a massive over her left eye the size of a golf ball. After a strong 10th round to close out the contest, many felt Persoon had done enough to secure a close but clear-cut points decision.

With a dearth of opponents able to compete at this level, pundits are already calling for a rematch in what could well be an enduring rivalry in women’s boxing.

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