Alycia Baumgardner grabbed a razor-thin split decision over her huge rival Mikaela Mayer to unify the WBC, WBO and IBF, IBO super featherweight titles at the O2 Arena in London.
It was close throughout and in many points it was just who you liked more Mayer was the busier, working well behind her jab, but it was Baumgardner who carried the more power and boxed in flurries.
Two judges – John Latham and Steve Gray – made Baumgardner the winner by 96-95, while Terry O’Connor gave it to Mayer by 97-93.
The crowd booed the verdict and also booed Baumgardner as she was interviewed in the ring, while a furious looking Mayer left before she was interviewed. After the two had shown obvious dislike for each other in the build-up, there were no hugs or congratulations at the final bell as both clearly thought they had done enough.
Both might feel they could have done more, however. At times it sparked into a really good fight but at others they were both cautious, Baumgardner in particular who tended to back off after having success.
It was a cautious opening, Mayer being tentative behind the jab, while Baumgardner moved trying at one point to whip a right over the top.
Baumgardner had the first success in the second round, landing to the body and then whipping two hooks over the top of Mayer’s jab as she walked forward.
Mayer pressed forward in the third but kept her guard high and landed two good rights behind her jab before they exchanged big shots at the end of the round.
And the fourth was a good one for Mayer too, as she forced Baumgardner back with the jab and landed with hard straight rights, one seeming to stagger Baumgardner in her own corner.
Baumgardner responded well at the start of the fifth round, catching Mayer with three sharp rights as she tried to walk forward, but Mayer regrouped behind the jab and finished the round well.
The sixth round was tight, with Mayer fractionally the busier, but after Mayer landed a good right early in the seventh round, Baumgardner fired back with a three-punch combination and seemed to get the better of it when they exchanged rights.
The eighth was another close round, with Mayer having success form range – measuring Baumgardner with one clean right – but Baumgardner seeming to hurt Mayer, who was also cut, with a left hook.
Mayer won the ninth with her jab, although she also landed a big over hand right and a left hook that briefly stopped Baumgardner in her tracks. And while Baumgardner landed to the body late in the round, she was not busy enough.
A really good fight deserved a good final round and got one, although Baumgardner seemed to be the one waiting for things to happen, and they both landed well in the final 30 seconds.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.
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