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Taylor vows she won't be a dummy

'I need to box smarter' says Katie ahead of her Persoon rematch

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Katie Taylor will needs to use her boxing skills to avoid another brawl with Belgium’s Define Persoon

Katie Taylor will needs to use her boxing skills to avoid another brawl with Belgium’s Define Persoon

SPORTSFILE

Katie Taylor will needs to use her boxing skills to avoid another brawl with Belgium’s Define Persoon

"It could go either way…"

These are the words of those at ringside who, having witnessed a fight full of aggression, brutality and spite, still can't tell the winner from the loser.

"It could go either way…"

The words that can haunt a fighter who, battered, bruised and cut, has given everything in a fight they believe they've won.

But while spectators, in the arena or watching their screens, can't decide, it's the three judges at ringside whose job it is to assess the action and score each round accordingly.

And so it was in Madison Square Garden in June of last year when, after years of shadow-boxing, Delfine Persoon, the Belgium fighter who held the WBC lightweight world title since 2014, met Katie Taylor.

After ten torrid rounds of blistering non-stop action, pundits and punters were unsure or in disagreement.

"It could go either way."

With faces swollen and muscles aching, the fighters waited. Also on the line that night were Taylor's haul of world titles. Belts earned from the WBA, the IBF and the WBO.

The scores came in 95-95, 96-94 and 96-94. The Bray woman won by majority decision.

Persoon was incandescent.

"Everyone knows that is a shame," she protested. "I said that if I did not win by KO the judges would never give me the victory. And that's exactly what happened."

Tomorrow night, with both women intent on setting the record straight, the pair fight again.

In the eyes of many experienced pro boxers, the judges gave the wrong decision.

Carl Froch believed Taylor lost. "She got outworked and hit by far too many shots," he said.

Amanda Serrano, who's been avoiding fighting Taylor, said, "Hats off to Persoon, I honestly thought she won."

Carl Frampton declared the result "a disgraceful decision."

Although they won't be surrounded by full-blooded noisy fight fans at Matchroom's improvised arena in the Hearn family's spacious Brentwood garden tomorrow night, neither Taylor nor Persoon will be immune to the pressures of expectation when they meet.

In her Zoom-powered press conference on Tuesday, Katie admitted: "The first fight was too close for my liking. It's been hanging over my head for the last year."

Both fighters know the stakes are high.

Persoon (44-2, 18 KOs), with a rough-house display of relentless turbo-charged intimidation, gave the Irish stylist the fight of her life.

Let's just say, Katie knew she'd been in a brawl.

"I should have finished before the limit," complained Person. "I was very close to getting there in the last round."

Taylor is having none of it.

"Regardless of what Delfine, or anyone else, says, I'm the undisputed champion," she says. "I'll do my talking in the ring."

Skilful

A keen student of the game, Katie will know what she has to do to win.

While Taylor is undoubtedly the more skilful boxer, Persoon's smothering onslaughts make her a tricky opponent.

The busier fighter, Persoon threw 586 punches in the first fight, 116 of which landed.

Katie made her punches count. 93 of the 103 shots she stuck on her opponent were power shots.

"I definitely need to box smarter," says Katie. "I'm looking forward to putting on a more dominant performance and shutting up everyone that has criticised me over the last year."

Will feisty Taylor be able to avoid getting dragged into the Belgian policewoman's take-no-prisoners style of fight?

Fighters' careers are often defined by their rivalries.

Taylor-Persoon II should be one for the history books.