Brooklyn, New York’s lightweight contender Melissa “Little Miss Tyson” St. Vil (11-3-4, 1 KO) will challenge Belgian Delfine Persoon (42-1, 17 KOs) for the WBC World Female Lightweight Championship, tonight at the XPO XXL in Kortrijk, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. Persoon, who hasn’t lost since 2010, will be making her ninth title defense.
The Haitian-American St. Vil debuted in 2007 and quickly showed promise, defeating Jennifer Han, who currently holds the IBF featherweight title, in her third pro bout. She has been a road warrior for her entire career, always willing to travel to her opponent’s backyard, while fighting abroad in New Zealand, China, Haiti and Finland.
It was in Auckland, New Zealand, where St. Vil captured the WBC Silver Female Super Featherweight Title in April 2016, defeating Baby Nansen, then traveling to Chengdu, China, to defend that belt against Katy Wilson Castillo three month later.
Facing Finland’s 21-0 Eva Wahlstrom in Helsinki in April 2018, for the WBC World Female Super Featherweight title, St. Vil suffered a controversial defeat in her first world title challenge. Despite outworking the hometown favorite over 10 rounds, St. Vil lost a close, majority decision on scores of 97-93, 96-94 and 95-95.
In round seven, a left hook-straight right combination clearly floored the champion, however, the referee ruled the knockdown as a slip.
St. Vil has fought on enemy turf so often that it was only in her last fight that she made her hometown debut, winning a shutout eight-round decision against previously unbeaten Mayra Hernandez, on September 29, 2018, at Brooklyn’s Kings Theater, as part of a DiBella Entertainment Broadway Boxing event.
“Melissa St. Vil is a tremendous fighter who should already be a world champion and deserved the victory in Finland,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment.
“She is never hesitant to travel to an opponent’s hometown and will be doing so again tonight in Belgium. Persoon is a long-reigning champion, but I anticipate Mel’s relentless pressure and aggression making it a very difficult fight for Delfine.”
“I’ve been in this position before. The difference now is that I have a solid team behind me,” said St. Vil. “I have Lou DiBella as my promoter, my manager Brian Cohen, and Rafael Vazquez and Jenaro Díaz as my trainers. I would like to thank my teammate Kali Reis for making the trip to Belgium to support me.
I’ve always been a very hard worker and, on Saturday night, my hard work is going to pay off. To all of the up-and-coming women boxers out there, follow your dreams no matter how bumpy the road gets. Keep fighting to achieve your dream and eventually you will succeed.”
“I’m very proud of Melissa. She always puts one-thousand percent into everything she does and takes no shortcuts,” said St. Vil’s manager Brian Cohen. “Unlike other boxers that never fight out of their hometown, Mel goes into the lion’s den.
“She is the true definition of a boxer. Mel has more testicular fortitude than some male boxers. I know we are the underdogs in this fight and that talks have started for Persoon to face Katie Taylor. As long as the judges and referee give Mel a fair shake, I believe she will be victorious on Saturday night.”