Katie Taylor has beaten Delfine Persoon to create history and become the undisputed lightweight world champion.
The Irish boxer controversially beat her Belgian opponent via majority decision after a war of attrition at Madison Square Garden.
It was the toughest fight of Taylor’s professional career against Persoon, who proved to be an extremely aggressive and uncomfortable opponent.
Two judges scored the bout 96-94 in Taylor’s favour, with the third judge scoring it a 95-95 draw.
Persoon left the ring in tears, and many commentators claimed the Belgian was the deserved victor, but Taylor was convinced she had “done enough” to maintain her unbeaten record and claim all four belts.
“Yeah, I definitely felt like I done enough, especially early on,” the Wicklow native said.
“That’s my nature I stand there and fight too much.
“I probably should have been more disciplined.
“I knew it was going to be that kind of fight, she’s a great, great champion.”
Katie was the better fighter in the early rounds, but Persoon enjoyed a strong second half of the world title clash.
Persoon, wearing black and red with yellow trim, made her way to the ring first.
Taylor, clad in purple and black with gold trim, then made a tranquil ring walk accompanied by U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.
The Olympic gold medallist received a rapturous applause from the fans inside Madison Square Garden, with chants of ‘Ole, Ole, Ole’ ringing around the arena before the first bell.
Katie wore golden gloves over her lightning hands, and fired off some quick flurries in the opening round against the awkward Belgian.
Persoon enjoyed success in the second round, closing off the ring and landing some solid punches in what was one of Taylor’s more difficult rounds in the professional ranks.
— Ronan Mullen (@RonanReigns) June 2, 2019
The third round was scrappy and physical, but Persoon ended the round with a cut under one eye.
The Belgian police woman continued to make things very uncomfortable for Taylor in the fourth with her rough and tumble style, and a clash of heads resulted in a cut on the Bray fighter’s scalp.
The two fought toe-to-toe in the fifth, with Taylor backing against the ropes and beckoning Persoon forward, with both fighters landing some big shots.
Taylor, sporting a cut on her nose, asserted slightly more control over the bout in the sixth, but there wasn’t much between them in the seventh.
Persoon’s left eye was extremely swollen when she took respite on her stool after the seventh, but she caught Taylor with some big shots in the eighth.
The 34-year-old Belgian received a warning early in the ninth, and Taylor then landed her best punch of the fight after refusing to touch gloves with Persoon.
Once again, they traded blows in the middle of the ring.
The crowd rose to their feet as the atmosphere rose up another level before the tenth and final round, with the fight still very much in the balance.
The final two minutes proved to be a dogfight, with both fighters showing incredible bravery as they slugged it out in the ring in the final seconds.
After a nervous wait, the judges opted for Taylor.
What a fight.
What an achievement.
What a fighter.
David is the editor of The Season Ticket.
He is a qualified journalist, and a long-suffering Meath and Liverpool supporter.