Mikaela Mayer demanded this opportunity and ultimately persisted.
The unbeaten junior lightweight earned her first major title, soundly outpointing Ewa Brodnicka over 10 rounds Saturday evening at The Bubble at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Judge Steve Weisfeld scored the contest 99-89, while judges Lisa Giampa and Dave ‘Not Carl’ Moretti had it 100-88 in favor of Mayer.
The belt was there to be won for Mayer, as Brodnick was forced to vacate on Friday after failing on two attempts to get down to the 130-pound limit. The 36-year old from Warsaw weighed 130.9 pounds on the first try, coming back an hour later but not even in cutting off her braids and stripping down could she get any lower than 130.1 pounds.
Mayer still carried the mentality of a hungry challenger looking to take the belt from her opponent. The 2016 U.S. Olympian worked past Brodnicka’s soft jab to connect early and often with purposeful right hands. The Los Angeles native—who now lives and trains in Colorado Springs–mixed up her attack, scoring with straight rights up top while also working Brodnick’s body repeatedly in rounds two and three.
Brodnicka enjoyed by far her best round in the 4th, beating Mayer to the punch during an exchange at center ring where she connected with a straight left. The unbeaten Polish native constantly circled the ring—true to her fighting style—and forcing Mayer to come to her.
Mayer cut off the ring well in round five, working her jab and following up with left hooks and right uppercuts. Brodnicka enjoyed counterpunching success but was also issued a final warning for excessive holding, a tribute to Mayer’s superior infighting skills.
The threat clearly didn’t take, as Brodnicka just doesn’t know how to fight any other way. The first of two point deductions came in round six, as Mayer’s effectively cutting off the ring prompted Brodnicka to clinch whenever her challenger worked her way inside.
As much took place in round seven, this time with referee Celestino Ruiz emphatically demanding that she cease doing so or else be subject to disqualification. Brodnicka adapted, only to the point of letting her hands go after tying up Mayer anytime during inside exchanges.
Mayer landed perhaps her best punch of the fight in round eight, connecting with a left hook which clearly buzzed Brodnicka. A knockdown did not come of the sequence but it signified the dominance exhibited by the American who was well within reach of her first world title.
Mayer continued to control the real estate in round nine, fighting through clinches to work her jab. Brodnicka enjoyed a brief moment of success, slipping past a Mayer left to connect with a straight right hand.
Brodnicka picked up the pace in the 10th and final round, though well behind on the scorecards and with Mayer able to slip or confidently absorb all of the incoming shots. Mayer returned fire, connecting with left hooks and overhand rights though was made to work every step of the way in an otherwise dominant performance.
Mayer improves—in every sense of the word—to 14-0 (5KOs), along with picking up her first major title. The win came on the 77th birthday of her boxing lifelong trainer Al Mitchell, serving as additional motivation to earn the best victory of her young career to date.
Brodnicka’s U.S. debut ends in despair, suffering her first career defeat in falling to 19-1 (2KOs).
The bout served as the chief support of Japan’s Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16KOs), who attempts to defend his unified bantamweight titles versus Australia’s Jason Moloney (21-1, 18KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox