'This is the pinnacle of boxing' - Mutual respect shown as Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon come face-to-face in New York
Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon came face to face for the first time ahead of their world title fight in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
At the pre-fight press conference, the three-belt world lightweight champion and the Belgian Police inspector, who holds the WBC belt in the division, showed a mutual respect for each other which underlines their respective personalities.
Taylor again reiterated her deep-seated ambition to become an undisputed world champion.
"From the moment I turned professional I wanted to become the undisputed championship. This was always my goal.
"I nearly pinch myself when I realise I am getting this opportunity in the Mecca of professional boxing Madison Square Garden in a few days' time.
"Delfine Persoon is a fantastic champion and this is exactly what boxing needs: champion v champion, the best v the best. It's not just what women's boxing needs, it's what boxing needs.
"I had have a really tough training camp for this fight over the last few months and we were both here to make history for our nations and it should make for a very exciting fight.
"This is by far the biggest night of my career, this is the pinnacle of boxing to be aiming for the five belts. This is exactly what every fighter dreams of. I understand the magnitude of the the fight and I can't wait for it," said Taylor.
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Persoon pointed out that boxing is not a major sport in Belgium, but this was an opportunity to put the sport on the map in her native country. Her amateur career had only lasted a year because there was no national team in the country at the time.
As a result she missed out on an opportunity to box in both the Olympic Games and the amateur world championships.
"Katie Taylor is an Olympic champion. I never got a chance to box at the Olympics but now I get the chance to fight and hopefully defeat an Olympic champion and being able to fight an Olympic champion is very important to me.
"I can also become the first Belgian boxer to become an undisputed champion. Boxing is my passion and I have prepared for the last two months for this fight. My trainer spent two years looking for this fight. We thought we would never get this opportunity. But now I will go for it.
The two fighters are due in the ring in Madison Square Garden at 1.30am (Irish time) on Sunday morning according to promoter Eddie Hearn. The live will be shown live on Sky Box Office.