Delfine Persoon is back in the winner’s circle—and eager to avenge her most recent defeat. The former lightweight titlist dropped down one division for her latest ring adventure, picking up an interim junior lightweight title after decisively outpointing Helen Joseph over 10 rounds Monday evening in West Flanders, Belgium.
Scores were 97-93 twice and 98-92 in favor of Persoon, who returned for the first time since a hard-fought points loss to Ireland’s Katie Taylor in their undisputed lightweight championship this past June.
The aforementioned defeat represented the lone trip to the United States for Persoon, who returned to familiar surroundings in her home region, although in a new weight division. Having weighed 130 pounds for her unification clash with Taylor at lightweight, it only made sense to dip one division south in search of new glory.
Monday’s bout didn’t necessarily enhance her claims of being a pound-for-pound threat, but was enough to fend off the challenge of Joseph, a Nigeria-born title challenger now based in Connecticut who moved up well in weight as her best career work has come at bantamweight.
Persoon’s infighting was a major difference in the contest, slipping power shots and connecting with straight rights from the conventional stance and the occasional left when switching to southpaw. The local favorite was traditionally aggressive in the early rounds, throwing mostly arm punches and often missing the target against the bob-and-weave style of Joseph. It was enough to trump her challenger, whose own offensive output was at times cleaner but just not active enough to make an impact on the scorecards.
It’s not the best-laid plan when fighting on the road, although Joseph was able to find a home for her right hand in the middle rounds. Persoon was able to absorb the shots and effectively slip counter left hooks while alternating between defensive stances.
As she did midway through the contest, Jospeh remained composed and was able to adapt, forcing Persoon backwards for much of round eight while connecting to the body. The visiting boxer was warned for leading with her head, but only momentarily disrupting her rhythm in what was otherwise her best round of the fight to that point.
Joseph snaps a six-fight unbeaten skid in falling to 17-4-2 (10KOs). All but one career loss has come with some form of a major title at stake.
Far more important to Persoon than her latest win, is keeping alive hopes of a rematch with Taylor. The full-time cop and former lightweight titlist—who turns 35 in January—advances to 44-2 (18KOs) and has been hot after a sequel from the moment Taylor’s arm was raised in victory in their Fight of the Year-level slugfest in New York City. Taylor is on the record in eying a rematch with Persoon and a first fight with fellow pound-for-pound entrant Amanda Serrano on her to-do list for 2020.
If nothing else, Persoon plead her best case to keep alive such plans.
Monday’s bout streamed live on Belgian platform Focus-WTV.be.