Wednesday 21 August 2019

Fans will flock to see history-maker Katie Taylor but defeated opponent vows to fight decision

Telling blow: Katie Taylor lands a punch on Belgium’s Delfine Persoon at Madison Square Garden. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Telling blow: Katie Taylor lands a punch on Belgium’s Delfine Persoon at Madison Square Garden. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ian Gaughran and Ian Begley

Ireland's undisputed boxing champion of the world touches down to a hero's welcome this morning, even as her defeated opponent prepared to lodge an official complaint.

Katie Taylor beat Belgium's Delfine Persoon on Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, New York, to become queen of the sport's lightweight division by holding the WBC, IBF, WBO and WBA belts - and only the seventh ever undisputed champion under the 2007 definition.

She was due to arrive home yesterday before a technical difficulty saw her flight cancelled.

Persoon has confirmed she will lodge an official complaint following her defeat.

She said: "I wouldn't want to be like her. Winning that way.

"OK, officially she is the winner, but... rather lose it unjustly than win unjustly."

That will matter little to the crowds at Dublin Airport this morning to welcome the 32-year-old Bray native home after her momentous victory.

A spokesperson for the Department of Sport confirmed that Minister Shane Ross will be there to greet her.

A motion will also be tabled at the first new meeting of Wicklow County Council this Friday to have a statue erected in Taylor's honour, as well as a proposal to have Bray post boxes painted gold to celebrate her achievement.

Cllr Joe Behan, who topped the polls in the recent local elections and was a teacher in Taylor's school, St Fergal's, said: "A reception-style celebration would be great, but the new council doesn't meet for the first time until Friday and that makes things difficult.

"However, there is a great desire to have a statue erected in Katie's honour to celebrate what she has done, both as an amateur and a professional, as an ambassador for Bray."

Newly elected councillor Rory O'Connor will make his own first proposal. "Like after the London Olympics in the home towns of gold medal winners, I will be proposing that post boxes in Bray are painted gold to celebrate Katie's triumphs," he said.

"It wouldn't be a big undertaking but would be a constant reminder of what she has achieved."

Meanwhile, although admitting she does not expect any action to be taken, Persoon says she will study the full fight before lodging a complaint with the New York Athletic Commission.

"Yes, we will file a claim," Persoon told Belgian publisher Sudpresse.

"We were prevented from writing a big and so beautiful page in the history of boxing.

"Everyone has seen and everyone knows that is a shame. But who will remember it again in a few years, reading my record where this championship will appear in the column of my defeats.

"In my eyes, it's not a defeat.

"What we will do now is of course make a complaint. But without much hope because the weight of the Belgian boxing does not weigh heavy."

Irish Independent

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