A developing social media rivalry between Terri Harper and Mikaela Mayer has taken an interesting plot twist, one that can potentially ruin plans for a title unification fight.
BoxingScene.com has learned that a mandatory title fight has officially been ordered between Mayer and reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight titlist Ewa Brodnicka. The news tip comes just hours after Matchroom Boxing—Harper’s promoter—announced its signing of Brodnicka to a promotional agreement on Thursday.
Whatever plans were in store for the unbeaten titlist from Poland will now have to include at least a conversation with Mayer and her team.
“Please be advised the parties have ten (10) days upon issuance of this notice to negotiate and reach an agreement for the WBO Female. Jr. Lightweight Mandatory Championship Contest between WBO Female Champion Ms. Ewa Brodnicka and Ms. Mikaela [Mayer],” Luis Batista-Salas, chairman of the WBO Championship Committee notified both parties on Thursday via official company letter, a copy of which BoxingScene.com has obtained. “If an accord is not reached within the timeframe set forth herein, a Purse Bid will be ordered pursuant with the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.”
Official letters were submitted to Eddie Hearn, managing director of Matchroom Boxing and on behalf of Team Brodnicka and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, whose Top Rank company has promoted Mayer since her pro debut.
Brodnicka (19-0, 2KOs) has held the WBO 130-pound title since claiming an interim version following a 10-round shutout win over Irma Balijagic Adler in May 2017. An upgrade to WBO “World” champion came shortly thereafter, having since lodged five successful defenses, all in her native Poland where the entirety of her seven-year career has taken place.
Mayer (13-0, 5KOs) recently celebrated her three-year anniversary as a pro. The 2016 U.S. Olympian and current rising junior lightweight is coming off of a dominant 10-round win over Helen Joseph this past July in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout marked the first-ever female contest to headline a boxing event live on ESPN’s flagship network (past instances occurring on ESPN2).
The bout was preceded—and since followed—by Mayer’s very vocal push for Top Rank to secure a title fight. The 30-year old Los Angeles native—who now resides in Colorado Springs—currently enjoys the distinction of serving as the top contender for two major titles.
Mayer emerged to the number-one spot in the World Boxing Council (WBC) 130-pound rankings and was angling for a shot at the WBC 130-pound title then held by Eva Wahlstrom. She instead was forced to watch Harper (10-0, 5KOs) jump the line from her number-15 spot and secure the fight ahead of her thanks to a generous purse offering posted by Hearn.
Harper outpointed Wahlstrom to win the title this past February in Sheffield, England. The wildly popular Brit is due to make her first title defense, facing 2012 Great Britain Olympian and current contender Natasha Jonas (9-1, 7KOs) this Friday at Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex, England.
With the announced signing of Brodnicka, the clear intention was to match her with the winner of Harper-Jonas in a title unification bout later this year. Those plans could be stalled if a deal can’t be reached with the WBO’s latest order.
Should the two sides fail to reach an agreement—whether in the form of step aside or simply entering a head-on collision—the matter will be subject to a purse bid hearing by mid-month.
“The minimum acceptable bid for the WBO Female Championship Contests is $10,000 (Ten Thousand Dollars),” notes Batista-Salas. “Any of these parties involved may request a purse bid procedure at any time during the negotiation process.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox