NEW YORK – The head promoter for the biggest fight in women’s boxing continues to work on a path for its potential successor.
The developing rivalry between junior lightweight titlists Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner has emerged high on the list of must-see unification bouts to be made. Mayer (17-0, 5KOs) is the unified IBF/WBO champ, while Baumgarnder (11-1, 7KOs) holds the WBC belt and the lesser regarded IBO title. There is a desire on Mayer’s part to get the fight done before she outgrows the division.
Baumgardner and her team prefer to first face long-reigning WBA titlist Hyun Mi Choi (19-0-1, 5KOs), where a win would see Baumgardner-Mayer for the undisputed championship. Her team is on board with that plan.
“I think the summertime, we’ll see Baumgardner-Choi,” Eddie Hearn, head of Matchroom Boxing who promotes Baumgardner, informed BoxingSceen.com. “Then the big one with Mayer for all the marbles.”
The pair of junior lightweight titlists will both be in New York City this weekend for the historic showdown between undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor (20-0, 6KOs) and record-setting, seven-division titlist Amanda Serrano (42-1-1, 30KOs). Taylor is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, who is the lead promoter for Saturday’s DAZN event from Madison Square Garden in New York City, the first-ever female fight to headline the iconic venue’s main room.
Taylor-Serrano was years in the making and even scheduled to take place two years ago but has transformed from a blockbuster showdown to a standalone event in and of itself. The same is envisioned of a Mayer-Baumgardner fight, as long as the keep winning in the ring and building the fight beyond the ropes.
Baumgardner and Choi both fight under the Matchroom banner, which makes such a fight easier to make. There is also the theory that such a fight won’t necessarily grow any bigger. A win by Baumgardner—who has held the WBC/IBO title since a fourth-round knockout of unbeaten Terri Harper last November—would certainly increase appeal for what would be an undisputed showdown with Mayer.
“Baumgardner-Mayer is a great fight. They should keep going at it,” insists Hearn. “They hate each other. They keep slagging off each other through social media. Good. Keep going! You’re not really going to get that from Katie and Serrano. They don’t need it. Baumgardner-Mayer has the chance to get there.”
It took nearly two years and assistance from Jake Paul—co-founder of Most Valuable Promotions who signed Brooklyn’s Serrano last September—to bring Taylor-Serrano to where it is today.
“Serrano is getting more than double what she signed up for more than three years ago. The money for Baumgarder-Mayer is nowhere near Taylor-Serrano money but it could be in about a year. So, we’re thinking Baumgardner goes to Choi first. Maybe Mayer goes to lightweight but everything is about timing.
“But I do think that fight—I’m not a fan of the word marinate but that fight is going to get bigger and bigger. Both girls are building their profile. Mayer’s done a good job, she’s headlined on ESPN a couple of times. Baumgardner is new to the party. She’s great. That will be a great fight.”
Both are coming off one-sided wins one week apart earlier this month. Baumgardner made her first title defense in a ten-round shutout of Edith Soledad Matthysse as part of an April 16 DAZN show from Manchester, England, one week after Mayer lodged her third overall title defense and first as a unified champ following a ten-round decision win over former featherweight titlist Jennifer Han this past April 9 on ESPN in Costa Mesa, California.
Choi has not fought since a ninth-round knockout of overmatched title challenger Simone Aparecida da Silva last September in her home country of South Korea. The 31-year-old North Korea-born champ who now lives in Seoul has held at least a version of a major title her entire career, beginning with her winning the vacant WBA featherweight title in her June 2008 pro debut.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox