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Katie Taylor set for surprise rematch versus rival Persoon in Eddie Hearn's garden

A sequel to their June 2019 classic at Madison Square Garden, during which Taylor emerged as a controversial winner, is in the works.

The Irish and Belgian greats waged war in New York last summer.
The Irish and Belgian greats waged war in New York last summer.
Image: Tom Hogan/INPHO

Updated Jul 7th 2020, 8:20 PM

FROM MADISON SQUARE Garden to Matchroom Square Garden: Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon are edging closer to a rematch of their 2019 undisputed lightweight title classic.

If finalised as expected, the bout will take place in the garden of promoter Eddie Hearn’s mansion in Brentwood, Essex, during the final instalment of Matchroom Boxing’s Fight Camp series on 22 August.

Four Fight Camp cards will take place at the same behind-closed-doors venue over consecutive weekends next month, with the 22 August Sky Sports Box Office showpiece — already confirmed to include Taylor versus a to-be-confirmed opponent — headlined by a rescheduled heavyweight clash between Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin. The preceding three Fight Camp bills, two of which include significant fights for Taylor’s Irish compatriots James Tennyson and Eric Donovan, will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in a non-pay-per-view capacity.

katie-taylor-is-announced-as-the-winner Taylor celebrates and Persoon protests the decision. Source: Tom Hogan/INPHO

Taylor and Persoon moved the needle for women’s professional boxing with an all-action classic in New York last June, the Bray woman emerging on the right side of a contentious majority decision to claim all the marbles, including Persoon’s WBC belt, at 135 pounds.

The fallout from their memorable contest was drastic, with Persoon crying foul and many in the wider boxing world believing her grievances to be justified.

The machine-like Belgian [44-2, 18KOs], a policewoman in her native West Flanders, subsequently parked her professional boxing career in pursuit of a longheld Olympic dream, reverting to amateur status and seeking qualification for Tokyo 2020. Persoon 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 postponed.

Taylor [15-0, 6KOs], meanwhile, moved up to 140 pounds and became a two-weight world champion in the paid ranks when she bested Christina Linardatou at the Manchester Arena last November.

katie-taylor-in-action-with-christina-linardatou Taylor lands a right hand on Linardatou during their 140-pound title bout last winter. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The recently-turned 34-year-old was subsequently set to finally meet in the middle with Puerto Rican archnemesis Amanda Serrano on 2 May as chief support to Whyte-Povetkin at the same English venue, but the whole event was twice pushed back as Covid-19 swept the UK and the world generally.

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While the aforementioned heavyweights will at last clash at Hearn’s improvised home venue on 22 August, the promoter’s attempt to reschedule the long-awaited showdown between Taylor and Serrano for the same night and place went up in flames amid publicly aired contractual and legal disputes on Serrano’s side.

Anticipating as much, the Matchroom promoter simultaneously reached out to Persoon and her husband-trainer-manager Filiep Tampere last month with a view to instead staging an eagerly sought-after sequel between the Belgian and the Irish icon on the latter’s new August fight date.

Three formal offers have been made to Team Persoon since, the latest of which is understood to have been accepted in principle. It’s expected that the bout will be dragged over the line with less than seven weeks until first bell of what will be Taylor’s first defence of her undisputed title, a mantle hotly disputed by Persoon among others.

katie-taylor-and-delfine-persoon Taylor lands a right hand on Persoon. Source: Tom Hogan/INPHO

While the protagonists’ respective purses will likely not be disclosed even should the fight take place, The42 understands Taylor was 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 be somewhere in the $300,000-$400,000 (€266,000-€354,000) ballpark, all told.

Taking into account the lack of gate revenue for their closed-to-the-public prospective re-run, Taylor’s and Persoon’s purses would likely not be quite as sizeable come August but the Bray woman may still wind up earning women’s boxing’s first ever seven-figure cheque, while Persoon could pocket upwards of $200,000 (€177,000) provided she signs on the dotted line.

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 should the rematch be confirmed.

First published today at 18.27

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