By Jake Donovan
As pound-for-pound entrant Amanda Serrano looks to add to her own record-breaking legacy in women’s boxing, Raja Amasheh remains puzzled as to why her title was made available for the occasion.
Just four months after claiming a vacant 140-pound title, Serrano (35-1-1, 26KOs) has dropped down six weight divisions to now challenge for a 115-pound title. Her quest for a belt in a record-breaking 6th weight division comes Friday evening versus Eva Voraberger.
The two will fight for a title that was stripped from Amasheh, who has spent the past few months healing from injuries sustained in a 10-round title defending win over Linda Lecca last September.
The 36-year old boxer from Germany insists she was always willing to next face Serrano, but firmly believes the deck was stacked against her in order to force a title vacancy.
“When we were first told by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) that the next fight would be versus Amanda Serrano, we were very excited,” Amasheh (22-1-1, 4KOs) told BoxingScene.com through her manager, Dominik Junge. “But her team came in with the argument that as super champion she can challenge anyone in any division.
“I didn’t understand the procedure or had even heard of it but was always willing to fight her in March. I have an inflammation in my left hand which needs to be treated and—according to the WBO’s rules—have six months to next defend my title, which from my last fight (September 14, 2018) would be in March.”
Because Serrano has held a WBO title in more than one weight divisions—in fact, six which is the all-time mark for any female boxer—the 30-year old Brooklyn-based Boricua is entitled to carry Super Champion status into any fight of her choosing, in accordance with Section 14 of the WBO’s rules.
While it’s worth noting that the current set is outdated and specifically speaks to male champions, there remains ambiguous language that entitles a Super Champion to not only challenge any other WBO champion of his/her choosing, but also demand a purse bid split of up to 80/20 in his/her favor.
This clearly caught Amasheh off-guard, considering that someone well outside of her weight division was challenging for her title. Having to live with the very low end of a purse split just didn’t sit right, never mind being told when and where the fight needed to take place.
“We felt very disrespected and betrayed by the WBO’s ruling that Amanda would be entitled to a 75/25 split to fight for my title,” Amasheh said. “Not only that, her manager Jordan Maldonado (who also trains Serrano and her sister/his wife Cindy) insisted that the fight had to take place in January, that they weren’t going to wait for January.
“It was very disappointing because we had such good (talks) with her promoter, Lou DiBella who is great to work with and treated everyone on my team with so much respect. But shortly after we spoke with Mr. DiBella, Amanda’s manager entered the picture, claiming her super champion status, demanding a January fight and talking directly to the WBO to order a purse bid.”
Amasheh and her team were prepared to fight the good fight—out of the ring—as they were armed with the necessary paperwork to request a justified medical exemption. From their end, it seemed the WBO was more interested in helping Serrano rewrite the record books.
“The WBO was not very helpful and did not even answer me when I asked them to clarify this super champ status thing,” Amasheh insists. “As I could not find anything in their own rules explaining that this kind of champ could challenge every weight class anytime. There I was disappointed most, besides the fact that they started the purse bid process without having spoken to my team and respecting the six month time frame.
“It felt like from the beginning that (Serrano and Maldonado) wanted to push me out of the fight, so that they can fight for another vacant title. It’s very disappointing, because Mr. DiBella and also Matchroom Boxing were very professional and respectful. On the other hand, several individuals on Amanda’s team aren’t quite as professional to deal with and they seem to be the ones who got their way. I feel like they stole my title.”
Of the six divisions in which she has claimed a title, Serrano has only dethroned one active champion—traveling to Argentina to win the WBO lightweight strap in a 10-round win over exiting titlist Maria Maderna in Aug. ’14. The victory came three years after a July ‘11 2nd round knockout of Kimberly Connor earned her the vacant IBF 130-pound title, her lone division in which she held a major title other than the WBO brand.
Since her win over Maderna, Serrano has since claimed belts at 126-, 122-, 118- and most recently 140-pounds. To cover that much ground–seven weight divisions (including her 115-pound bid on Friday) in seven years, five of which have come in the past 30 months—fully justifies her place among the best pound-for-pound boxers today, in fact literally defining the phrase.
Even more to look forward to—with a win on Friday—is the road ahead. Serrano recently signed a three-fight deal with DAZN, a pact that includes a high-profile showdown with Ireland’s Katie Taylor, a 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and current lightweight champion.
Amasheh would love nothing more than to somehow factor into those plans. That said, she’s fully prepared to travel in a more productive direction once she’s medically fit to return.
“Next for me is to get healthy again and then to look ahead–there is always something next,” insists Amasheh. “I still hold the WBC super flyweight Diamond belt remain firmly placed in their rankings to fight for their title (currently held by Guadalupe Martinez).”