Alycia Baumgardner believes that she and Mikaela Mayer will cross paths at some down the road and possibly in another weight division.
For now, she chooses to remain on course for the journey she has always mapped out for herself.
That next step—if Baumgardner gets her way—will be a showdown with WBA junior lightweight titlist Hyun Mi Choi (19-0-1, 5KOs), who holds the only other major title in the division. Baumgardner (13-1, 7KOs) owns the rest of the hardware, claiming the lineal, IBF and WBO belts while defending her WBC strap following a ten-round, split decision victory over Mayer (17-1, 5KOs) on Saturday at The O2 in London.
Calls came for a rematch, including from Mayer who insists that she deserved to win and feels Baumgardner owes her a shot. Her adversary respectfully disagrees.
“She doesn’t deserve a rematch. For me, I want Choi next,” Baumgardner clarified during the post-fight press conference. “This is what I planned on. This is what we talked about and this is what I plan to do.”
Plans were once in place for Baumgardner and Choi to meet prior to facing Mayer for the undisputed crown. Talks didn’t progress as planned, leaving Baumgardner and Mayer to meet once fight earlier than expected. Most were fine with hailing the winner as the division’s true champion, given Choi’s lack of desire to face relevant opposition as proven in previously stalled talks to unify with both Mayer and Baumgardner.
Choi will next defend her WBA 130-pound title against Canada’s Vanessa Bradford on Wednesday in Seoul.
Bradford (6-3-2, 0KOs) has emerged as an unlikely challenger—unfortunately a common theme among Choi’s lengthy but unimpressive resume—as she has lost to both Baumgardner and Mayer prior to both winning major titles. In fact, Baumgardner outpointed her over eight rounds just three months prior to traveling to her one-punch, fourth-round knockout of unbeaten Terri Harper to win the WBC crown last November 13 in Sheffield, England.
Pre-fight talk heading into last weekend’s unification bout revealed Mayer’s plan to eventually move up to lightweight. The 2016 U.S. Olympian hoped to remain at 130 long enough to fully unify the division before moving up, though that plan was obviously dependent on a win over Baumgardner and then next facing Choi.
The buildup to Baumgardner-Mayer—including the five-week postponement forced in-country due to the timing of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing—coupled with the competitive nature of their ten-round fight understandably leaves people wanting more. Baumgardner is fine with satisfying that demand when the time is right and she’s achieved the last of her goals at junior lightweight.
“I’m a fighter at heart,” noted Baumgardner. “I know that she wants to move up to 135. I eventually want to move up to 135 as well. I guess we’ll be chasing each other. But I would like to fight her again.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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