Sarah Mahfoud is unbothered by the general lack of attention paid to her part in this weekend’s unification bout.
Most of the focus has been placed on Amanda Serrano, the record-setting seven division titlist who faces Denmark’s Mahfoud this Saturday on BT Sport Box Office in the U.K. and ESPN+ in the U.S. from AO Arena in Manchester, England. The ratio of coverage heavily in favor of the Brooklyn-bred, Puerto Rican southpaw is understandable, as Serrano is coming off an historic fight with Ireland’s Katie Taylor and has long served as boxing royalty.
Chief among Serrano’s longtime admirers is the fellow featherweight titleholder she will be facing this weekend. So much, that Mahfoud doesn’t mind taking a backseat during the buildup to their anticipated showdown.
“I don’t see it that way. I got this belt. I’ve earned it. This is a great opportunity for me to step on the big stage,” Mahfoud noted of her long-desired clash with Serrano. “I really respect Amanda and I look forward to standing in front of her in the ring.
“I’ve wanted this fight for a long time. Of course, Amanda is a great fighter, a great boxer I’ve looked up to. To be able to stand in the ring with her is a big honor to me and a big opportunity to me.”
Mahfoud (11-0, 3KOs) risks her IBF featherweight title, while Serrano (42-2-1, 30KOs) returns to her optimal weight where she puts her WBC/WBO/IBO belts on the line in Saturday’s co-feature.
The 32-year-old Mahfoud—who hails from Hillerod, Denmark— claimed the interim IBF featherweight title in a ten-round win over Brenda Karen Carabajal in February 2020. Her reign was upgraded to full title status when previous claimant Jennifer Han opted to not return to the weight division after giving birth to her second child.
In her most recent contest, Mahfoud outpointed Nina Meinke over ten rounds on April 21 in Copenhagen. The fight took place nine days before Serrano’s epic clash with Taylor, her second straight at lightweight. Serrano came dangerously close to winning the undisputed 135-pound championship, dropping a disputed split decision in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The decision to return to featherweight was revealed by Serrano barely an hour after the fight, confirming her plan during the post-fight press conference. She was originally due to face Carabajal on an August 6 Showtime Pay-Per-View card that was canceled after losing its main event.
Mahfoud immediately became available once Serrano and the Most Valuable Promotions team—headed by Jake Paul and Nakisa Bidarian—went on the hunt for a new fight date. Terms were reached for the unification bout, where the winner will be just one belt shy of claiming undisputed featherweight championship status.
Despite the battle of top featherweights, the oddsmakers lean heavily in favor of Serrano who is as much as a -2100 favorite according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Mahfoud is listed as a +1000 underdog by the same betting site, and as much as +1300 according to the latest odds posted by FanDuel.
Just as she’s fine with Serrano commanding the pre-fight spotlight, Mahfoud is fine with the underdog role as she is confident of leaving England with more titles than when she first arrived.
“We have a plan. We’ve prepared for this, seeing how Amanda fights,” noted Mahfoud. “I believe I have a good chance.”
Serrano-Mahfoud serves as the co-feature to the Joe Joyce-Joseph Parker interim WBO heavyweight title fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox