Amanda Serrano added to her enormous collection of world title belts as she unified the WBC, WBO and IBF (plus the IBO) featherweight titles with a wide unanimous decision over Sarah Mahfoud on the Joyce-Parker card in Manchester.
If Serrano’s fight with Katie Taylor earlier this year was a big deal for women’s boxing, it also turned Serrano into something of a worldwide star. Hence, she could turn up in England in the chief support to a heavyweight pay-per-view fight, with promoter Frank Warren, who admits to never having been a huge fan of women’s boxing, calling her appearance “a coup”.
The performance lacked fireworks, though, as Serrano, a seven-weight world champion, pushed forward and dominated, but never really hurt Mahfoud. Indeed, Mahfoud finished the better as her confidence and ambition rose.
Still, it was not nearly enough to win the decision. Victor Loughlin had it 99-92, which seemed wide, but Steve Gray and Michael Alexander both had it closer, 97-93.
“She was tough,” Serrano said. “I know she trained hard. She knew who she was up against and she gave me a fight.”
Serrano said that she wanted to face WBA featherweight champion Erika Cruz Hernandez before facing Taylor again.
“I want the last piece of the puzzle to become undisputed and then the rematch with Katie Taylor,” she said. “What better story than undisputed v undisputed, it will add to both of our legacies.”
Mahfoud, who was defending the IBF title, looked tentative in the opening round as Serrano walked forward at cut off the ring behind her right jab.
When Serrano began opening up in the second round, Mahfoud looked like she couldn’t cope, particularly when Serrano started throwing shots to the body. The Danish boxer was also cut high on her head from a clash of heads.
Mahfoud’s reverse gear meant she found it difficult to get in range when throwing, as the majority of her punches petered out before they had reached Serrano. She had some success with a right hook in the third, but Serrano was well on top, landing her jab and then coming in low and firing a southpaw left over the top.
The pattern continued in the fourth and fifth rounds and, although Mahfoud tried to hold her feet more, she could not stop Serrano coming forward.
Mahfoud had a better sixth, as she had more success picking Serrano off, but the New Yorker was back in charge in the seventh and eighth rounds, although Mahfoud came back well in the ninth round as Serrano’s output slowed again and had a good tenth too, as she beat Serrano to the punch.
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.