At the end of the 10th and final round, Mikaela Mayer most certainly felt like a champion.
The only thing that was missing was the official passing of the torch.
“I want to know where’s my belt,” Mayer asked in an interview with ESPN’s Mark Kriegel moments after soundly oupointing previously unbeaten Ewa Brodnicka (19-1, 2KOs) to claim a 130-pound title this past Saturday in Las Vegas. “I need to get my belt.”
COVID protocol disallows sanctioning bodies, or any other parties not deemed essential personnel, on site for current boxing events in the state of Nevada. As such, nobody thought to bring Brodnicka’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) title out of the locker room, nor to present the belt to Mayer following her landslide victory in their ESPN-televised bout.
Nevertheless, the 2016 U.S. Olympian from Colorado Springs by way of Los Angeles is now among the junior lightweight division’s four major title claimants. The immediate goal for Mayer (14-0, 5KOs) is to narrow down the list all the way to one if she gets her way.
The other tilists are England’s Terri Harper (10-0-1, 5KOs; WBC), France’s Maiva Hamadouche (21-1, 17KOs; WBA) and South Korea’s Hyun Mi Choi (17-0-1, 4KOs; IBF).
Hamadouche and Choi were on course for a unification bout prior to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and still hopeful of one day rescheduling that clash.
Mayer was originally gunning for the WBC title back when she was the number one contender for previous title claimant Eva Wahlstrom. Harper was able to get to her first, claiming a 10-round decision and the title in their entertaining clash this past February. She has since defended in a 10-round draw with countrywoman and 2012 Great Britain Olympian Natasha Jonas this past August in one of the best fights of 2020.
A natural rivalry has since been formed between Harper—who faces unbeaten Katharina Thanderz (13-0, 2KOs) on November 14 in London—and Mayer, which would only make sense for the pair to make a head-on collision their first order of business in the New Year.
“I definitely want to unify this division,” insists Mayer. “I don’t want to wait around for years. I want to unify right away. Terri Harper said I had to go get a belt. Eddie Hearn said I had to go get a belt.
“I have the WBO belt now. So, let’s make that fight happen. I want Terri Harper next.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox