Mikaela Mayer Dominant in Return to So Cal
By Tarrah Zael
COSTA MESA, Ca. – Mikaela Mayer retained her junior lightweight titles and showed the boxing world with class that women boxing is more than relevant after her dominant win over Jennifer Han at The Hangar in Orange County, California on Saturday night.
Headlining the night, Mayer (17-0, 5 KO) of Los Angeles, California faced tough and durable fighter Jennifer Han (18-5-1, 1 KO) of El Paso, Texas in a 10-round junior lightweight battle and showed just how good she is now.
Mayer is one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighters and her first decision would have been to fight either fellow champions Alycia Baumgardner or Hyun Mi Choi and unify in her weight class. “That was my first choice. They’re not quite ready to step up to that, so we had to look at another direction” she said.
“We wanted to fight someone who is strong and proven. We don’t want any easy fights” says Mayer about her decision to call Han to face her. But overlooking Han was never in the playbook. Mayer trained hard for her opponent as she knows Han has her own history in the fight game for many years, it is in her blood.
“I’ve been in boxing for over 20 years. I’ve worked my entire life for these kinds of opportunities. I didn’t think I’d be headlining on ESPN” said Han prior to the match.
At the start of the bell, we saw Han move around the ring with a bounce in her step as Mayer, the calmer and taller fighter stayed on her game. Han connected her jabs on Mayer and the two women clashed inside the ring. Mayer stayed behind her jab and connected hard shots to Hans body. A cut over Mayer’s left eye ended round one.
By round two, we saw the women get tangled up again as Mayer set herself up to stay behind her jab as Han responded with hard hooks to the chin. A good exchange from the women at the end of the round had Han confident.
In round three, Mayer came from her corner amped up and ready to go at it again with her opponent. Han continued to move around the ring, which is exactly what Mayer expected and trained for with her trainer Al Mitchell. “Her movement is what she does best and it throws you off. I had to throw her off and stay behind the jab” said Mayer after her win.
The beginning rounds were great from the start, both women clashed and landed punches on each other and fighting their own fight. But it was the shift of energy and performance in the fourth round that showed who was going to be the deciding winner should the fight continue all ten rounds. A swift right hand from Mayer on Han’s nose made it bleed and a cut over Han’s right eye really showcased the damage and power Mayer is able to deliver. Before the final bell ended round four, the look in Han’s face and wobbly body seemed as if she was going to be knocked out if only Mayer had continued the punishment.
As the rounds continued, Mayer primarily dominated the fight by walking Han down and following her against the ropes, delivering hard jabs and combinations. Mayer connected many right hands, jab/ hook combos but Han remained in the fight and didn’t look to give up anytime soon. Han looked to be well-prepared for this fight, not only from her strong boxing experience but with her will and endurance to stay in the fight with her counter.
“I wanted to get the stoppage. I feel like I hurt her in the eighth round, almost finished her. This is another reason why I’m advocating for three-minute rounds”, Mayer says.
In the final rounds Han was mainly on the receiving end of the punches as Mayer had many to give. Hard hooks and jabs to the chin of Han had her leaning more than Mayer would have wanted to. Han did connect some hooks to the chin of Mayer but a response from Mayer sent Han back on her feet in her attempt to stay away from Mayer’s power.
The 10th and final round ended with Mayer’s motivation to finish the fight with a knockout and Han just trying to survive the round until the final bell.
Mayer landed 192 of 578 punches and Han landed 63 of 384 throughout the fight. This was Mayer’s first fight in her home state as a champion, she defended her undefeated record for the unanimous decision win. The judges scored the bout 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91.
If Mayer’s hope to unify the super featherweight belts may not be in her path at the moment, her hope to move up in weight and fight the winner of Amanda Serrano and Katie Taylor on April 30th would be her next hope.
“I want to go undisputed at 130. Baumgardner and Choi, I’ve been calling them out. I want that fight, but if they’re not going to give me that fight in a timely fashion, I’m game to go up and challenge the winner of Serrano versus Katie Taylor”, Mayer made her final statement very clear in the ring post win.
(Photo by Al Applerose)