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02nd Jun 2019

Tony Bellew defends Katie Taylor after Carl Froch tirade

Patrick McCarry

“You can’t say robbery. That’s a bit of a strong word.”

Katie Taylor is the undisputed lightweight champion of the world but there are many out there disputing that title.

The Bray native won the WBO belt off Belgium’s Delfine Persoon to add to the three she has collected over the past 18 months. The 2012 Olympic gold medallist has stepped up from amateur to professional without missing a beat and will now look to defend all those titles and cement her legacy.

Taylor had the better of the opening rounds but, as the fight progressed, Persoon’s willingness to stalk after her and eat some punches on the way began to pay off. Many watching the fight felt Taylor needed to win the final round.

All three judges gave Taylor the ninth round but judge Don Trella, who scored the fight a 95-95 draw, had Persoon winning the 10th. Trella’s assessment as the match being a draw was closer to the money while the other two judges awarded Taylor the win, 96-94.

As the dust settled and the rest of the card moved on, at Madison Square Garden, Sky Sports’ panel of Johnny Nelson, Tony Bellew and Carl Froch debated the result.

Bellew believed Taylor had the ‘faster hands and better combinations’ and felt that her better start, over those first six rounds, were crucial in her split decision victory.

“Katie got tired,” he said, “Persoon won the second half of the fight very well but, for me, Katie Taylor won the first half very well.”

Three-time world champion Carl Froch was emphatic in his belief that the Belgian should have had her hand raised. Froch commented:

“Katie was under relentless pressure from Persoon, from round one to round 10. She got hit with too many shots.

“[Taylor] got dragged into a dog-fight and, for me, she lost that fight. Persoon was robbed of victory this evening. She did enough to get the victory.”

Mention of one fighter being “robbed” of a win drew an immediate response from Bellew, who argued that Froch had picked too strong a word. In fairness to Froch, he relented somewhat by saying it was a close fight before he called for an immediate rematch.

As for Bellew, he had something to say to anyone wringing their hands over the result:

“Just watch the fight! She hasn’t won clearly. This hasn’t been a daylight robbery. It’s been a close fight.”

Some strong opinions on a night of high drama at MSG.