Sunday 18 August 2019

'Totally disrespectful' - Delfine Persoon's manager blasts Katie Taylor's team over hotel row

Katie Taylor, left, and Delfine Persoon, in the company of promoter Eddie Hearn, following a press conference at Madison Square Garden ahead of their IBO, WBA, WBC & WBO unification bout in New York, USA. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Katie Taylor, left, and Delfine Persoon, in the company of promoter Eddie Hearn, following a press conference at Madison Square Garden ahead of their IBO, WBA, WBC & WBO unification bout in New York, USA. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

A pre-fight spat has erupted between the Taylor and Persoon camps over hotel accommodation ahead of their world title fight on Saturday night.

The Persoon entourage had to move to a new hotel after it was discovered that both boxers were staying in the Renaissance Hotel, which is within walking distance of Madison Square Garden, where the showdown takes place.

Following their arrival from Belgium on Sunday, the small Persoon team stayed in the Renaissance Hotel but had to move to a different hotel in the last 72 hours.

It is customary for rival boxers to be billeted in separate hotels prior to a world title fight. Matchroom spokesman Anthony Leaver confirmed that the two fighters were originally booked to stay in the Renaissance Hotel.

"When this came to light we moved Delfine and her team to a bigger and better hotel where Eddie Hearn (the managing director of Matchroom) is staying. Delfine had no problem with the move. There was no question of us disrespecting anybody," he said.

However, Delfine's manager and trainer Filiep Tampere claimed in an interview with the Belgian press that the Taylor camp had insisted that they move.

He described the move as 'totally disrespectful' and claimed it was 'psychological warfare' considering the Taylor camp knew the Belgian had been staying in that hotel for quite some time.

Katie Taylor's manager Brian Peters said there was a clause in their contract with Matchroom, which stipulated that she stay in a different hotel than Persoon.

"This is common practice in all world championship fights," he said.

"We didn't know whether she was staying in the Renaissance Hotel because so many of the fighters and trainers involved in the show meet in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel. Our understanding is that she was moved to a bigger and better hotel.

"It is also important to state that Katie knows nothing about this issue. She is in good form. We have the height of respect for Delfine and we have repeatedly said this since the fight was announced. We believe this will be Kate's toughest fight so far.

"Katie is showing the male fighters how it should be done. She is prepared to take all the tough fights."

Persoon's manager Tampere was particularly annoyed that his boxer was asked to move given that she is rated higher – third and fourth respectively – in the pound for pound rankings by Box Rec.

"It doesn't bother my fighter. It will stimulate her on Saturday. The more they are against her, the greater the hunger will be. This is like a dog that you are harassing with a stick – she is ready to bite," suggested Tampere.

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