Katie Taylor says win in New York would be the ‘pinnacle’
Bray boxer reckons “this is by far the biggest night of my career,” ahead of Persoon bout
Irish boxer Katie Taylor hits a tennis ball during a workout at Brookfield Place in New York. Photo: TImothy A. Clare/Getty Images
Katie Taylor believes she will surpass even her remarkably decorated amateur career with victory on Saturday over Delfine Persoon that would make her the undisputed world lightweight champion.
The 32-year-old fights Belgium’s Persoon, the WBC champion, for not only all four lightweight titles but the respected Ring Magazine title at Madison Square Garden in New York.
As an outstanding amateur she won five world titles, six European titles and Olympic gold with Ireland at London 2012, but even amid such success and the way she has already won three professional world titles it is only by holding all four that she will believe she has reached the “pinnacle” of her sport.
Taylor has perhaps already proven herself the finest female fighter in the world, and at a time when women’s boxing is earning greater recognition, and she said: “This is by far the biggest night of my career; the pinnacle of boxing. To have all five belts is exactly what every fighter dreams of.
“I understand how big this fight is, the magnitude of this event, and I can’t wait; this is why I box. I’m ready to make history.
“The minute I turned professional I wanted to become undisputed champion; I have to pinch myself I’m here, and at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden.
“(Persoon’s) a fantastic champion so this is the best versus the best. This is not just what women’s boxing needs, but what boxing needs. I’m definitely expecting the toughest test of my career; we’re both here to make history for our nations so it’s going to make for an exciting fight.
“The support I’ve had over the last few years has been incredible. They’re all behind me (in Ireland); I hope I make them proud at home.”
Persoon, 34, has long been considered Taylor’s greatest threat, even if the Belgian boxing scene has deprived her of the opportunities with which Taylor has excelled.
The winner on Saturday will become only the seventh fighter of the four-belt era to become an undisputed world champion, and the third woman, and Persoon said: “Boxing isn’t recognised in Belgium, so I’m the first from Belgium who can make history.
“It’s very exciting; I can set the sport (on the map). That’s my passion; I want to do everything. We thought we’d never get the chance of this fight, but we’ve got it.
“I expect a tough fight. She has a lot more amateur experience; I could only do a year as an amateur because there was no national team in Belgium, so I couldn’t go to championships or Olympic Games. Katie’s Olympic champion.
“If I can defeat the Olympic champion it’ll be after I couldn’t go to the Olympics. Competing with an Olympic champion is very important, and now I’ve got the chance.”