Persoon enters new division, may fight for a title in WBSS tournament
On June 3, former IBF and WBC lightweight champion Delfine Persoon (45-3, 18ko) looked to regain her boxing career. She emphatically dominated Russian fighter Elena Gradinar (10-2, 2ko) by unanimous decision. This victory could lead to a championship opportunity in the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
Gradinar suffered a first career-defeat fighting for the IBF Interim featherweight champion against “La Pumita” Brenda Karen Carabajal back in April 2019. She would only fight once in 2020 because of the global pandemic. A victory against the former champion would have been a big career booster.
Persoon is viewed as one of the best women fighters in the world. She totes an impressive resume of names spanning over a twelve-year career. Her first taste of championship gold came by knocking out then-IBF champion Lucia Morelli back in April 2012. She captured the WBC title two years later via unanimous decision over then-undefeated champion Erica Anabella Farias back in 2014.
THE LOSSES THAT ALMOST ENDED A CAREER
Persoon’s reign as the WBC champion lasted five years. Then-unified champion Katie “KT” Taylor claimed the belt to become undisputed back in June 2019. Many inside the boxing community felt the Belgian warrior should have gotten the victory, especially after almost stopping Taylor in the tenth and final round. She filed an appeal over the controversial decision. While not optimistic that the organization would change the results, at the very least Persoon was hoping the WBC would order an immediate rematch.
Things would continue to fall apart as the lady pugilist elected to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. There, she was dealt a devastating blow in losing in the qualifying opening round. Persoon returned to the professional ring in the much-anticipated rematch with now undisputed champion Taylor in August 2020. Taylor silenced the critics with a dominant performance en route to a convincing unanimous decision victory over her rival.
A CHAMPION RE-ENERGIZED WITH NEW OPPORTUNITIES
It was beginning to look as if the former champion’s illustrious fighting career was coming to a close. However, she took some much needed rest away from the sport and has moved down in weight for championship opportunities in the super featherweight division.
Persoon’s time away from the sport served her well as she fought with a new vigor against game challenger Gradinar. By the end of the fight, two judges scored it 100-89 and one saw it 99-89.
Equally important, Persoon’s decision to return at the super featherweight division is a well calculated move and why a victory was so critical in pursuing a championship fight. Recently the WBSS announced a possible tournament including all the divisional champions: WBO champion Mikaela Mayer, WBC champion Terri Harper, WBA ‘Super’ champion Hyun-Mi Choi, and IBF champion Maiva Hamadouche .
Delfine Persoon would undoubtedly jump at the opportunity if invited by the organization to participate in such a historical event.
By: Garrisson Bland