Germany’s Nina Meinke takes on the challenge of a lifetime when she squares off with Puerto Rican superstar Amanda Serrano for the women’s IBF, WBA and WBO featherweight titles Saturday in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Meinke, a 30-year-old southpaw, has seen a lot on her way to facing Serrano. She took on Katie Taylor in just her sixth pro outing in 2017, losing via a seventh-round stoppage.

Meinke (18-3, 4 KOs) claimed the European title 18 months later, making one successful defense. She unsuccessfully challenged for Sarah Mafoud’s IBF featherweight title two years ago in Denmark, but Meinke has since notched six successive victories ahead of tonight’s Serrano matchup.

“My sixth pro fight, with Katie Taylor at Wembley Stadium, was obviously right at the beginning of my career,” Meinke told “She’s an unbelievable boxer and is one of my idols. I’ve got so much respect for her.  

“That was a long time ago. I’m a totally different boxer now. We have changed and mixed the styles. I’ve got a lot more experience now, too – I’ve done a lot of rounds. It was the first time I fought 10 two-minute rounds, against Katie. Unluckily, I got a cut and it had to be stopped in the seventh round. Never mind, you have to keep going.”

Meinke’s journey has been a winding one. The Berlin native found herself on British soil during her teenage years, which dramatically influenced her career today.

“Yeah, good old Scarborough,” Meinke said in a native English accent. “When I was 16, I moved over there and did my A-levels [exams] at Scarborough sixth-form college. I started boxing while I was there, with Westway ABC. I first started boxing at 12 years old back in Germany – I had a few amateur fights then. But I really found the love for boxing when I was in England. I’m still in touch with my old coaches, bless them.

“I loved the boxing in England, but then my A-levels were finished, so I went back to Germany and I got into the German national team. Then I broke my hand and decided to go back to England, Tamworth, of all places. I started working in a scrapyard near Birmingham for about seven months. Then I found another boxing club, and I got into boxing again. I just can’t stop, it is my passion. And then I decided I was going to stop working, go back to Germany and turn pro in 2016. 

“We’ve had our ups and downs, but here we are. I’m in Puerto Rico ready to face Amanda Serrano.”

Meinke’s potentially defining moment may push her to new distances: up to 12 rounds at three minutes apiece, the men’s standard – which Serrano pushed for in this fight.

“With the hard training that I have gone through, I think I will be the best version of myself,” Meinke said. “I’ve never trained as hard as this. I’ve prepared very well for this fight. We never really know what is going to happen in the ring, but I know I’m ready.”