|Venue: Matchroom Boxing Fight Camp Date: Saturday, 22 August BBC coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app|
Delfine Persoon says she is surprised Katie Taylor has taken on the “risk” of their highly anticipated rematch for all four world lightweight titles.
Ireland’s Taylor won their initial bout in 2019, and Belgium’s Persoon left the arena crying after what her team and some pundits felt was a harsh decision.
Persoon – a police officer – says she has “nothing to lose” on Saturday.
“If she loses I don’t know how it will be for her in her career of boxing,” Persoon, 35, told BBC Sport.
“For her it’s a bigger risk than me. We didn’t think she would take this risk.
“For me it’s not about money. I am going to use the money to build a new boxing gym where we live but it’s not about money.
“I have money from my job so there’s no problem. The honour is important for me rather than the money. If you said I had to box for free and win, I’d say no problem.”
BBC Sport boxing commentator Mike Costello described Taylor’s first fight with Persoon as “the best women’s fight I’ve seen from ringside” but added the result left “a blemish” for some on the champion’s record.
Taylor’s win meant she secured all four of the women’s world titles at 135lbs but the exciting nature of the fight and controversy about the result meant talk of a rematch was intense.
And the postponement of the champion’s bout against Amanda Serrano in May created a window of opportunity for a second meeting, in which Persoon hopes to put the upset of their first bout behind her.
“The first days after the fight you think it was possible to be the first boxer from Belgium to write history for our country,” she added.
“After a few days you go back to work and life goes back. Everybody comes up and says ‘for us you won this fight’.
“There are moments where you’re on Facebook and people show it back to you and you think about it again. There are a lot of things in life where you need a bit of luck also.”
Taylor looking to be ‘smarter’ and ‘more disciplined’
Taylor, 34, has emerged as the face of women’s boxing globally and can move to 16 wins from 16 fights with victory in a bout which will be broadcast by BBC Radio 5 Live.
The Bray fighter says she hopes to box rather than being drawn into a fight, and that her performance level will be much improved from their first meeting.
“It wasn’t my best performance and that is what I want to clear up on Saturday,” Taylor told the 5 Live Boxing Podcast.
“I’d love to clear any doubt on Saturday and win more convincingly.
“I want to go in and produce a smarter performance. It’s in my character too much to stand there and fight. I hope to be a bit more disciplined.
“She has a big engine. I have to be smart and clever and that’s the way to beat her.”
‘A re-run of the greatest’ and predictions…
BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce:
Redemption, glory, justice, failure, heartbreak, I think we will get elements of all of those on Saturday.
For me, it is the greatest women’s fight of all time that we saw at Madison Square Garden last year. We thought Taylor had surrendered her titles and not taken Persoon’s title on the night. We never believed we would see a rematch. It’s fantastic. It is stand alone brilliant.
At some point they will have the fight they had last year and I will be stunned if we don’t go the whole 10 rounds and it’s not a tight decision. I think Taylor wins.
BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello:
I think we might see something if not different but more consistent from Taylor. I think she will be more pin-point this time. I think it will be competitive all the way but that she wins more emphatically than last time.
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