By Jake Donovan
Amanda Serrano was set to fight on the January 16 undercard of Deontay Wilder's eventual knockout of Artur Szpilka at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, only to learn that her opponent missed her flight from overseas and was unable to attend.
A month's worth of frustration in waiting to get in the ring was taken out on her new opponent, Olivia Gerula, The visiting challenger from Winnipeg, Canada was pummeled into submission at 1:50 of the opening round of their main event Wednesday evening at BB King Blues Bar & Grill in New York City.
On paper, few expected the vacant featherweight title fight to be competitive, an unfortunate constant in women's boxing that has never been granted its just due in the United States. Serrano took the glass half-full approach to the matchup - aside from contending for her third world title was the simple fact that she was able to fight at all.
"Hey, she signed on the dotted line and came to win," Serrano stated on air to Steve Farhood of GFL.tv (GoFightLive!), which streamed the entire show live.
Gerula's bravery was ultmately no match for Serrano's two-fisted punching power. As much was evident from the opening bell, when Serrano - a 27-year old southpaw from Brooklyn by way of Puerto Rico - connected with a right hook that sent her opponent staggering into he ropes.
The referee correctly ruled the sequence a knockdown, as the ropes prevented Gerula from hitting the canvas. The 36-year old challenger beat the count, but never seemed to recover. Serrano wasn't about to give her the chance, unloading with the full arsenal for as long as the bout lasted.
Another right hook upstairs punctuated the fight ending rally, with a series of power shots snapping back the head of Gerula (17-16-2, 3KOs) in forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Serrano sails to 27-1-1 (20KOs), claiming her 13th straight win following an April '12 title fight loss to Frida Wallberg, at the time unbeaten and regarded as one of the best female boxers in the world.
Similar commentary has come of Serrano's recent run, such claims only furthered by her collecting a third major title in as many weight classes. Serrano - whose older sister Cindy is still an active boxer - previously reigned at super featherweight and lightweight.
Next up - if she gets her way - is divisional domination in the form of title unification bouts.
"I would like to unify with the IBF featherweight champion, Jennifer Han next," Serrano said after her latest victory. "After that, I would love to face the winner of the (March 11) fight between Jelena Mrdjenovic and Edith Matthysse (older sister of contender Lucas Matthysse) to go after the WBA title."
If that doesn't pan out, a simple run at history will do.
"If those fights don't materialize, then I can always drop down to (super bantamweight)," Serrano commented. "I can go after a fourth world title and tie up with (Puerto Rico's first - and only - ever four-division world champion) Miguel Cotto."
Shemuel Pagan (7-0, 4KOs) - whose nickname is "The Chosen One" - delivered the first knockout of the evening, stopping Oscar Santana in the 2nd round of their super lightweight contest.
Santana trains out of Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, Calif., but his gym surroundings weren't at all a factor in travelling cross-country to take on the Brooklyn-based southpaw.
The brief and spirited affair came to an end when Pagan connected on a left uppercut to force Santana to pitch face forward into the ropes and then the canvas. Santana (4-4-1, 2KOs) beat the count, but referee Michael Ortega didn't like the look in his eyes, electing to stop the contest at 1:53 of round two.
Pavlo Ishchenko was forced to work every second of every round in claiming a six-round win over Rafael Vazquez. Final scores of 60-54 and 59-55 (twice) were not at all reflective of the in-ring action.
Vazquez (2-4, 0KOs) is well-versed in facing tough competition, as all six career opponents to date have been unbeaten. He handled himself well versus Ishchenko (3-0, 2KO), a highly-touted prospect from Brooklyn by way of Russia who was forced to go the distance - or even past round two - for the first time in his young career.
Jonathan Alonso opened up the webcast with a six-round decision win over Ricardo Maldonado (5-5, 1KO). Scores were 60-54 (twice) and 59-55 in favor of Alonso (8-0, 4KOs), a 25-year old Dominican Republic-born prospect whose pro debut less than two years ago came in this very venue.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox