Amanda Serrano has spent much of her historic career fighting to open doors for all women to thrive in the sport.
Saturday’s featherweight unification bout with unbeaten Sarah Mahfoud comes with a new cause, one that touches a personal level among her team.
“I really want to say something that’s important to me. I’m dedicating this fight to all the women in Iran who are fighting for their rights and fighting for their lives,” Serrano stated after Friday’s weigh-in. “I’m with you, and I’m dedicating this fight to all you beautiful women.”
Serrano (42-2-1, 30KOs) echoed the sentiments of Jake Paul (5-0, 4KOs), co-founder of Most Valuable Promotions as the team stands tall with the women who’ve sparked a revolution in Iran.
Massive demonstrations have taken place in the past week, as Iranian women have launched an anti-hijab protest in reaction to the death of Mahsa Amini, who died while in police custody after being arrested by morality police. Amini was arrested by morality police in Tehran for alleged violation of the nation’s strict dress code, specifically not wearing her headscarf in public.
Women in Iran have since rallied, burning their hijabs in protest. At least seven demonstrators have been killed, as well as a security force official.
The issue touches Serrano and the MVP team, headed by brilliant businessman Nakisa Bidarian who was born in Iran. His family left the country during his infancy at the start of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. They returned back when Bidarian was three years old before leaving again and—after relocating several times—eventually making their way to the U.S.
Serrano signed with MVP last September, the first established boxer to be represented by the upstart outfit. The move has been transformational for her already legendary career, which has included title wins in a female record seven weight divisions, including three separate tours as a featherweight titlist.
The Brooklyn-bred, Puerto Rican southpaw—who turns 34 in October—saw her fame soar to new heights in her most recent outing. Serrano came up just short in a split decision defeat to undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor (21-0, 6KOs) in their epic pound-for-pound showdown on April 30 in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden. The involvement of Paul and Bidarian in her career allowed Serrano to collect her first seven-figure payday, earning more than triple what she would have cleared had she gone through with the same fight in 2020.
Serrano now returns to her optimal weight, as she aims to add the IBF featherweight belt to her WBC/WBO/IBO collection when she faces Denmark’s Mahfoud (11-0, 3KOs). Their unification bout takes place Saturday on BT Sport Box Office in the U.K. and ESPN+ in the U.S. from AO Arena in Manchester, England.
A win will put Serrano within one more belt of becoming the first-ever Puerto Rican—male or female—to claim undisputed championship status. While it’s a personal goal, it’s also part of a bigger picture.
“Being the first undisputed champion coming out of my island of Puerto Rico is one of my goals,” noted Serrano. “I want to keep continuing to open the doors for women in boxing. It was really hard for me in the beginning. Now we’re getting bigger and better opportunities. I’m glad to live it, experience it and open the doors for these girls.”
Serrano-Mahfoud serves as the co-feature to the Joe Joyce-Joseph Parker interim WBO heavyweight title fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox