Katie Taylor’s unification of the lightweight division was marred by controversy following her majority decision win over Belgian Delfine Persoon at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
The Bray woman defeated Persoon by a razor-thin margin to claim the WBA, IBF, WBO, and WBC straps. Two scores of 96-94 tipped the bout in her favour, the third judge calling a draw at 95 points apiece.
Persoon was so enraged that she dashed out of the ring in tears, her trainer waving his hand in disagreement to the sold-out New York crowd.
“There has to be a winner and a loser, and I definitely feel like I did enough to win the fight,” said a battered and bruised Taylor in the post-fight press conference – her right eye swelled shut, a clash of heads requiring stitches above her forehead.
“She came on very strong in the end, but I felt I did enough at the start of the fight to win the fight.”
For Taylor’s camp there was never any doubt about the result.
"I had no doubt she won it," said manager Brian Peters in the post-fight press conference, insisting he reassured Taylor before the official announcement came in.
“I thought she won [rounds] one, two, three, four, five, round nine, and even potentially one of the others. It was definitely 6-4, 7-3 in my eyes.”
There were plenty who disagreed. Taylor's arch nemesis and next potential opponent Amanda Serrano taking to Twitter saying: "I was totally rooting for Katie Taylor because that's my fight to win but hats off to Persoon I honestly thought she won."
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's coverage, former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton declared the result a "disgraceful decision", insisting Persoon won the fight "by miles".
Promoter Eddie Hearn called it a draw, before going on to say that Taylor would give Persoon a rematch if the result was any way in doubt.
Persoon will point to throwing 586 punches to Taylor’s 410, landing 116 of those to her opponent’s 103. She was unorthodox, awkward and game, attacking with abandon and throwing Taylor off her game plan.
“I probably just stood there with her a bit too much, but that’s the way it goes; that’s my personality, that’s my nature; I do love a good tear-up,” remarked the new champion.
In the cold light of day the better fighter doesn’t always come away with the win – its points on the scorecards which matter.
Taylor landed 93 “power shots” to Persoon’s 83, and was more accurate overall – for that Taylor probably just edged it, certainly doing enough not to lose.
Both women contributed to a magnificent spectacle, a fight of the ages and another major step forward for women’s boxing on a global stage.
Taylor was far from her scintillating best. On a night when Andy Ruiz Jnr shocked the world taking the scalp of Anthony Joshua to become unified heavyweight champion, Taylor showed she can win ugly – the sign of a great champion.