Delfine Persoon will once again appear in supporting capacity to a Floyd Mayweather exhibition match.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the former lightweight champion—now campaigning at junior lightweight—will return to the ring on November 13 at Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Belgium’s Persoon will face Germany's Ikram Kerwat in a scheduled ten-round junior lightweight contest.
Headlining the show, Mayweather fights in his third exhibition of 2022 and fifth since officially calling it a career more than five years ago as he faces YouTube personality Deji Olutanji.
Persoon (47-3, 19KOs) enters the fight riding a three-fight win streak, the most recent coming in supporting capacity to Mayweather’s previous ring appearance on May 21 in Abu Dhabi. The show was originally due to take place in Dubai, only to undergo several changes—and a near cancellation—following the untimely passing of UAE president Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the day before the originally scheduled May 14 event.
A last-minute scramble saw the card change dates and locations, as Persoon and her opponent, Elhem Mekhaled, both returned home and then boarded a plane to head back to the Middle East. The exhausting travel reaped its benefits, at least for the fans as their fiercely contested ten-round slugfest easily stole the show. Persoon prevailed by unanimous decision to position herself as mandatory contender to both the WBC and WBA junior lightweight titles.
The expectation is for Persoon to be ordered as the next challenger to long-reigning WBA 130-pound tltlist Hyun Mi Choi (19-0-1, 5KOs), who has justifiably drawn harsh criticism for milking her title reign. The unbeaten two-division titleholder enters another soft title defense when she faces Canada’s Vanessa Bradford (6-3-2, 0KOs) on October 19 in her hometown of Seoul, South Korea.
Persoon has not fought for a title since coming up just short in her August 2020 rematch with undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor. Persoon dropped a ten-round decision just 14 months after ending her lengthy WBC lightweight title reign to the Irish superstar who fully unified the lightweight division in a June 2019 majority decision win at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The expectation of Persoon—arguably the best female fighter in the world to not presently hold a major title—is to either next face Choi or the winner of the highly anticipated Mikaela Mayer-Alycia Baumgardner lineal/WBC/IBF/WBO junior lightweight championship this Saturday in London.
Kerwat (11-3, 5KOs) hopes to disrupt those plans but will be a longshot to do so. The 38-year old Tunisia-born boxer who now fights out of Frankfurt, Germany is just 2-2 in her last four starts, though is coming off a win which came March 26 at the very venue that will host her showdown with Persoon.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox