Taylor raises her arm after a humdinger versus Persoon at MSG in June 2019. Tom Hogan/INPHO
this time it's personal

'I intend to leave no doubt' - Taylor and Persoon confirmed for rematch of controversial 2019 classic

The Irish icon and Belgian great will meet again in an eagerly anticipated repeat-or-revenge clash on 22 August.

LAST UPDATE | 9 Jul 2020

UNDISPUTED LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION Katie Taylor and her great Belgian rival Delfine Persoon will meet in the middle again on 22 August in the garden of Eddie Hearn’s mansion in Brentwood, Essex, just over a year after their memorable first encounter.

Taylor [15-0, 6KOs] will defend her WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine 135-pound titles, as well as the WBC strap of which she relieved Persoon [44-2, 18KOs] at Madison Square Garden, New York, last June.

In that back-and-forth classic, Taylor edged her long-reigning fellow champion on a controversial majority decision of the narrowest-possible margins (96-9 x2, 95-95).

The eagerly anticipated sequel will take place as part of the final instalment of Hearn and Matchroom’s Fight Camp series, and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office in Ireland and the UK as chief support to Dillian Whyte’s rescheduled heavyweight encounter with Alexander Povetkin.

katie-taylor-is-announced-as-the-winner Persoon protests the decision while Taylor celebrates last June. Tom Hogan / INPHO Tom Hogan / INPHO / INPHO

The fallout from Taylor and Persoon’s original clash was loud and long-lasting, Persoon crying foul at the judges’ verdict having won the hearts of thousands of fans worldwide who believed there to be legitimate cause for her protestations.

With a rematch not immediately forthcoming at the time, Persoon parked her professional boxing career in pursuit of a longheld Olympic dream, reverting to amateur status and seeking qualification for Tokyo 2020. She fought in the European qualification leg in London in March, losing her opening bout before the tournament was curtailed amid the onset of Covid-19. She had been carrying an injury to her left arm and was due to bid again for a place in Tokyo at the ‘world’ qualifiers in Paris in May, which were subsequently also postponed.

Taylor [15-0, 6KOs], meanwhile, moved up to light-welterweight (140 pounds) and became a two-division world champion as a professional when she bested tough Greek Christina Linardatou at the Manchester Arena last November.

Four months after that encounter, Taylor signed to finally square off with Puerto Rican archnemesis Amanda Serrano on 2 May in a bout which would have acted as chief support to Whyte-Povetkin at the same English venue. The entire event was twice pushed back, however, as Covid-19 swept the UK.

It was a fortnight ago scheduled again concretely for Hearn’s makeshift home venue on 22 August, but Serrano explosively withdrew from a long-awaited legacy fight with Taylor amid a very public feud with the Essex-based promoter.

As a since-vindicated contingency plan, Hearn reached out to Persoon and her husband/trainer-manager Filiep Tampere, the Belgians’ Olympic plans on hold with Toyko and its preceding qualifiers rescheduled due to the pandemic.

katie-taylor-and-delfine-persoon Taylor and Persoon trade at MSG. Tom Hogan / INPHO Tom Hogan / INPHO / INPHO

Following three weeks of negotiations, three formal offers and a last-minute hitch as late as Thursday morning, Taylor-Persoon II is now officially over the line.

“With Amanda Serrano not taking the fight, I wanted the biggest fight possible in August, and I think a second Persoon fight is one that everyone wants to see,” said the Bray woman.

“I’ve been looking forward to a rematch ever since the first fight and I’m delighted it’s been made. It was definitely very close first time around, but I felt I deserved the win and I intend to leave no doubts in the rematch.”

Added challenger Persoon: “I am ready to get the victory following the injustice last June in New York. Not by words, but in the ring… I am ready!”

“Wow. What a fight – what a night,” said promoter Hearn.

To be honest, I can’t quite believe this fight has been made. I can’t give enough credit to Katie and Delfine for agreeing to do it again.

“Since their epic fight-of-the-year contender at Madison Square Garden last year, everyone has wanted to see this once again and now we have it. I’m very proud to stage this fight, especially at such a critical time for our sport. Along with Whyte vs Povetkin, 22 August will be one not to forget.”

eddie-hearn Eddie Hearn will literally host the August rematch. Matchroom Boxing / Dave Thompson/INPHO Matchroom Boxing / Dave Thompson/INPHO / Dave Thompson/INPHO

While the protagonists’ respective purses will likely not be disclosed, The42 understands Taylor had been set to earn a maximum of $1.5million (€1.33m), including a portion of UK pay-per-view revenue, for the originally scheduled Serrano fight, while Serrano’s pay was due to have been in the region of $300,000-$400,000 (€266,000-€354,000).

Taking into account the lack of gate revenue for their closed-to-the-public rematch, Taylor’s and Persoon’s purses will likely not be quite as sizeable next month but the Bray woman will in all probability still wind up earning women’s boxing’s first ever seven-figure cheque. Persoon, meanwhile, should pocket upwards of her $200,000 (€177,000) fee for the first fight.

The Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) have already been in contact with both camps at the behest of Taylor’s team, and blood and urine testing will take place at random intervals between now and post-fight.

Taylor-Persoon II will take place on the final of four Fight Camp bills due to take place in Hearn’s garden over consecutive weekends next month. The preceding three Matchroom shows will include significant fights for Taylor’s Irish compatriots James Tennyson and Eric Donovan, and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in a non-pay-per-view capacity.

- Updated with comments from Katie Taylor, Delfine Persoon and Eddie Hearn at 17:39

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey predict their first-choice Ireland XVs for the next World Cup, while Bernard and Murray also give their assessments of Connacht’s two recent southern-hemisphere recruits:

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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