Mikaela Mayer could not be more thrilled to have landed the biggest fight to be made in her weight division before outgrowing it altogether.
Just don’t expect the unified IBF/WBO junior lightweight champ to hold her tongue when it comes to referencing WBC/IBO titlist Alycia 'The Bomb' Baumgardner (12-1, 7KOs).
“Big thanks to Top Rank for making Alycia Baumgardner an offer she couldn’t run from,” Mayer quipped shortly after confirmation of the blockbuster three-belt unification bout.
Additional details are forthcoming on the WBC/IBF/WBO unification bout, which will likely take place late summer or early fall. BoxingScene.com has confirmed that the fight will air on an ESPN platform in the U.S. and on Sky Sports in the U.K., and has also learned that both fighters will make by far their biggest paydays to date.
“I am so honored that we are able to bring this fight to you in a timely fashion,” noted Mayer. “This is a fight I’ve been pushing for since Baumgardner beat Terri Harper about six months ago.
Mayer (17-0, 5KOs) has held the WBO belt since a dominant ten-round victory over then-unbeaten and long-reigning champ Ewa Brodnicka in October 2020. Three defenses have followed, including her unanimous decision win over Maiva Hamadouche in their sensational IBF/WBO unification bout last November which was recognized by BoxingScene.com as the 2021 Female Fight of the Year.
At the time, Mayer was already in pursuit of a showdown with Terri Harper who was unbeaten and the reigning WBC titlist at the time. That changed eight days after Mayer-Hamadouche, when Baumgardner upset the apple cart with a one-punch, fourth-round knockout of Harper last November 13 on the road in Sheffield, England. The win earned Detroit’s Baumgardner the WBC title and the 2021 BoxingScene.com Female Knockout of the Year award.
A new rivalry was born soon thereafter, with Mayer and Baumgardner regularly trading insults and expletives. The sense for months was that Baumgardner would be steered towards a title unification bout with long-reigning WBA beltholder Hyun Mi Choi, as both are with Matchroom Boxing.
Mayer has been with Top Rank since turning pro one year after representing the U.S. in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and renewed her promotional contract earlier this year. It came with the optimism of big fights on the horizon, though with the minor concern that she would finish her time at junior lightweight without another unification bout coming to fruition.
That changed in the past couple of weeks, perhaps no small coincidence on the heels of the epic clash between undisputed lightweight queen Katie Taylor (20-0, 6KOs) and seven-division champion Amanda Serrano (42-2-1, 30KOs). The leading Fight of the Year contender—male or female—headlined an April 30 DAZN show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, with Mayer and Baumgardner seated just four rows from each other and among the 19,187 in attendance for the historic event.
From there came a more aggressive push to make this fight ahead of Baumgardner-Choi. The development leaves Mayer with her second unification bout in a three fight span and alleviates the fear of leaving unfinished business at junior lightweight by the time her body would have demanded a move up in weight.
“It’s not the fight she wanted,” Mayer insisted. “She wanted to push it back, she wanted to make me wait. But that’s not what women’s boxing needs. It’s not what the fans deserve, it’s not what the fans want. So, I can’t wait to bring this fight to you guys.
“Mayer versus Baumgardner, can’t wait to defend my belts and take hers while I’m at it.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox