Pound for Pound Top 12 in Women’s Boxing and More News
By David A. Avila
Women’s prizefighting took off in 2021. Many big fights took place and many former top-rated Pound for Pound tumbled out of the list and were replaced. Welcome to the new list of 2022. This is my personal list.
My ratings are based simply on who would beat who if they were all the same weight. It is not based on popularity or who looked better in their last fight. I also do not use computerized data to evaluate a fighter’s opposition. My rating is based solely on what I know and see in the fight game and by evaluating talent.
After 36 years in evaluating boxing talent, I humbly think I have figured it out. Of course, nobody is perfect.
Here are the fighters I consider the best in female boxing pound for pound:
Pound for Pound Top 12
- Claressa Shields USA (11-0) – Shields fought Canada’s Marie Eve Dicaire a year ago and soundly defeated the talented super welterweight titlist. That win gave Shields the undisputed super welterweight championship. It was the second time Shields had conquered an entire division. She had previously unified the middleweight division. A showdown with Savannah Marshall seems eminent this year. Shields has spectacular overall talent never seen before in boxing. She continues to learn.
- Katie Taylor Ireland (20-0) – Ireland’s Katie Taylor must be credited with keeping the public eye on women’s prizefighting. Taylor fought three times in 2021 and eased by each of her opponents. What is extraordinary about Taylor has been the ability to continue adding elements to her weaponry and adapting to different fighting styles. Taylor has been undisputed lightweight champion since 2019 and could be headed with a lucrative showdown against Amanda Serrano.
- Amanda Serrano USA (42-1-1) – Brooklyn’s Amanda Serrano might be the most dangerous female on the planet. The year 2021 saw Serrano break down fellow Pound for Pound fighter Daniela Bermudez, then bully Mexico’s Yamileth Mercado for 10 rounds in a decisive win. Finally, Serrano moved up to lightweight and battered Spain’s Miriam Gutierrez to prove she can handle the opposition at 135 pounds. It was a year that saw her perform in front of large crowds who fully appreciate her explosive talent. Serrano looks to be headed for a showdown with Ireland’s Katie Taylor this Spring or Summer.
- Jessica McCaskill USA (11-2) – Chicago’s McCaskill soundly proved her first win over the respected Cecilia Braekhus was no fluke and defeated the Norwegian queen more convincingly in the rematch. McCaskill followed that win with a battering of Kandi Wyatt in Las Vegas this past December. It left many spellbound by her savagery inside the boxing ring. McCaskill could give anybody trouble at any weight class. Few can handle her attacking style. Only a few are willing to meet McCaskill.
- Layla McCarter USA (44-13-5) – Only hardcore boxing fans know McCarter, but she can probably beat almost everyone on this list. Now 42, how much of her physical abilities remain? She fought once in Dubai in 2021 but was forced to fight a light heavyweight. McCarter stopped the much bigger and taller Georgian fighter by technical knockout. Few can equal her ability to manage and control a fight. McCarter has not lost since 2007. She belongs on this list until someone proves otherwise. A match with anyone on this list would be worth watching.
- Seniesa Estrada USA (22-0) – The speedy fighter known as “Super Bad” from East L.A. picked up two world titles in 2021. First, she defeated longtime champ Anabel Ortiz of Mexico for the minimumweight WBA title. Then she out-battled Japan’s Tsunami Tenkai by decision for the light flyweight WBO title. Estrada capped off the year with a sensational knockout win of Guatemala’s Maria Santizo. Those three wins convinced this publication to vote her Fighter of the Year in 2021. Crowds love her attacking style wherever she fights.
- Naoko Fujioka Japan (19-2-1) – The five-division world titlist Fujioka was voted Japan’s greatest female fighter. Last July, in Los Angeles, her dream came true to fight in front of American audiences when she defeated Sulem Urbina by majority decision in a close match. Now the Tokyo-based fighter is headed to a showdown with America’s Marlen Esparza to unify the flyweight titles sometime in the Spring. It pits two contrasting styles against each other for the WBC and WBA flyweight titles.
- Mikaela Mayer USA (16-0) – The Southern California fighter engaged in what most publications considered the Fight of the Year when she clashed with France’s Maiva Hamadouche in Las Vegas. The tall blonde American fighter showed off her ability to fight inside or out with a spectacular display for 10 rounds against super tough Hamadouche. The win by Mayer proved she belongs on this list. She also defeated Argentina’s Erica Farias earlier in the year. Mayer now holds the WBO and IBF super featherweight titles and will meet either WBA titlist Hyun Mi Choi or WBC titlist Alycia Baumgardner this year.
- Chantelle Cameron UK (15-0) – The British fighter stepped up the competition in 2021 and cruised by with wins over dangerous veteran Melissa Hernandez and then a solid win over America’s Mary McGee to add the IBF super lightweight title to the WBC title she already owns. A showdown against Kali Reis for undisputed super lightweight championship will take place this year. Cameron has all the ingredients necessary to provide a spectacular fight with Reis.
- Daniela Bermudez Argentina (29-4-3) – Though Bermudez lost in her only fight in 2021, there’s no shame losing to the great Amanda Serrano. Before losing this past March, the super bantamweight champion had not suffered a defeat in seven years. Don’t expect her to lose any more unless she meets Serrano again.
- Dina Thorslund Denmark (17-0) – The blonde Danish bantamweight Thorslund can do it all. She plowed through two consecutive Mexican fighters including a sensational knockout win via body shot of former champion Zulina Munoz. Expect a showdown with Mexico’s Yulihan Luna who holds the WBC bantamweight title this year. Unification is in the air. Thorslund recently signed with an American promoter.
- Lourdes Juarez Mexico (33-2) – After living in the shadow of her sister the great Mariana “Barby” Juarez, the fighter known as “Little Lulu” broke out when given the opportunity to fight for the super flyweight world title two years ago. Juarez gave two clinics in 2021 on how to box with combinations and angles with solid wins over Diana Fernandez and Luz Aguilar. Little sister can truly fight.
Alycia Baumgardner, Savannah Marshall, Kali Reis, Yulihan Luna, Terri Harper, Tsunami Tenkai, Cecilia Braekhus, Evelyn Bermudez, Yokasta Valle, Franchon Crews-Dezurn, Jamie Mitchell, Kim Clavel, Maiva Hamadouche, Delfine Persoon, Yesica Bopp
More fight news
Romina Sosa (2-0-4) and Carolina Ferrari (2-0-2) fought to a draw after four rounds on Saturday Jan. 15. The flyweight fight was held in Buenos Aires.
Gabriela Fundora (5-0) defeated Nataly Delgado (8-5-1) by unanimous decision after eight rounds on Friday Jan. 14. The flyweight title fight took place at Panama City.
On Friday Jan. 21, super featherweights Lizette Lopez (0-0) and Neveah Martinez (0-0) meet four rounds at Sacramento, California.
On Saturday Jan 22, lightweights Abril Anguiano (0-0) and Maria Limon Garcia (0-0) meet four rounds at Fort Worth, Texas.