Katie Taylor is a generational talent. Every time she steps into the ring she furthers the cause of women’s boxing as much as her own.
She is idolised in Ireland, an inspiring figure for young girls, demonstrating how boxing is every bit a sport for them as well as the boys.
Having won Olympic gold and a slew of amateur titles Taylor was already a superstar when she turned pro.
Next week at the ‘Matchroom Garden’ she defends her four world lightweight belts in a mouthwatering return with Delfine Persoon.
Their first meeting in June last year had the Madison Square Garden crowd on its feet. A few good judges thought Persoon had edged it.
Taylor landed the cleaner shots, but Persoon is just relentless and kept on coming. It was a difficult fight to score and maybe Taylor’s electric combinations made the greater impression with the judges.
Taylor has not changed much as a pro. She sits down a little more and bobs and weaves a little more but it is her hand speed and quick feet that get her through.
I would like to see her pinch her toes and hit with more authority, but that leaves you open to counters. It’s a balance.
Persoon is an unorthodox fighter but ridiculously tough and fit. I thought Taylor deserved the decision but she was taken aback by how strong Persoon was. She was not expecting a fight as tough as that.
She will be better prepared this time and has to make sure she lands the more telling punches. She is the sharper hitter. She has to make that tell later in the fight when they both get tired.
Persoon wins by grinding opponents down. She does not have the best technique but she throws opponents about and disrupts rhythm.
Taylor must use her skill and jab to win the early rounds. As soon as she lands with a one two she has to roll underneath what comes back and step away.
Persoon will want to force her to fight, make it ugly. Taylor must keep her form and make it neat and tidy. Soon as you lose your shape you are an open target.
On the back of a thrilling fight between Natasha Jonas and Terri Harper last week this will be another great advert for women’s boxing.
Persoon thinks she won the first fight and will want to drive that home. Taylor will want to prove she is still the gold standard in the women’s game.
Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone @McGuigans_Gym @CyclonePromo
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