Amanda Serrano Wins Undisputed Status, Alycia Baumgardner Wins Too and Other Results
By Lauren Rodriguez
(Photo by Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing)
NEW YORK CITY – Seven-division world titlist Amanda “Real Deal” Serrano led the lady’s night of boxing that included several men’s bouts to a spectacular ending which saw the Puerto Rican fighter defeat Mexico’s Erika “Dinamita” Cruz by decision in a bloody Manhattan war on Saturday.
Serrano became the first Puerto Rican ever to win undisputed status.
Headlining the sold-out event at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu theater, two undisputed main events took the ring in epic battle. With a total of 9 bouts, Saturday’s event showcased 5 female fights.
The Matchroom boxing and DAZN event was attended by a handful of big names in boxing. Exciting the crowds, Claressa Shields (13-0, 2 KO’s), Seniesa Estrada (23-0, 9 KO’s), Mikaela Mayer (17-1, 5 KO’s) and Katie Taylor (22-0, 6 KO’s) were among those present for another historic moment in women’s boxing.
The main event of the night was a 10-round matchup in the featherweight division as Serrano (44-2-1, 30 KO’s) battled for the final belt against WBA titlist Erika Cruz (15-2, 3 Kos) to become undisputed world champion.
Entering through the audience, Serrano had a parade of Puerto Riquenos holding her belts behind her as she entered through the crowd. Sporting the colors of her island, trimmed with black as well as matching colors braided into her hair, Serrano made it clear that her battle was for her as much as her people.
Mexico City’s Cruz (15-2, 3 KO’s) entered the stage in a metallic baby blue trimmed in white. Although wearing colors different from those on her home flag, it was clear that Cruz was representing Mexico as fans cheered.
During the opening rounds Cruz quickly moved in and out as Serrano used light jabs to warm up to her opponent. Cruz constantly worked toward Serrano who remained calm in her approach, waiting for her opponent to tire out.
It was in the 3rd round that a head butt between the two fighters resulted in a bloody gash on the head of Cruz. The leak over Cruz’s face dripped into her eyes as she proved to work against the hindrance. A true Mexican warrior, Cruz was consistent in her approach, never letting up against Serrano who remained patient.
When going blow for blow the two fighters almost mirrored each other, their combinations the same one two, over and under before Cruz was caught by a steady Serranos quick hands. The two fought hastily before Cruz was saved by the bell in the sixth round.
In the final rounds, Cruz’s leg seemed to buckle before she fell over. Cruz rose to finish the match before the two went punch for punch in the final seconds of the bout.
The judges scored 98-92 and 97-93 all in favor of Serrano as winner. Serrano not only improves her record but becomes the first Puerto Rican undisputed world champion.
“I’m such a proud Puerto Rican and to be able to give back to my island really touched me,” said Serrano.
After achieving her dream of becoming an undisputed world champion, Serrano is already locked in to rematch the name she fought against her first-time headlining card at MSG, Katie Taylor.
Set to take place in Ireland, May 20th, Serrano is set to fulfill the promise she made before, a rematch in her opponent’s home turf. As the biggest names in women’s boxing, it’s only right the two give fans another epic battle between the best.
“We wanted this fight undisputed versus undisputed champions…This is more than a dream come true to make my debut in Ireland,” stated Taylor.
In the co main event, a battle for undisputed world super featherweight champion title between Alycia Baumgardner (14-1, 7 KO’s) and Elhem Mekhaled (15-2, 3 KO’s) stunned fans.
Hailing from France, Mekhaled, a former WBC world champion entered the ring in a ruby red floor length gown adorned in sequins.
Undisputed and highly decorated Baumgardner entered the ropes in less flamboyant attire but sparkled as her robe and shorts too were dressed in sequins.
As the match commenced, Mekhaled took her time, finding her opponent’s rhythm. With power behind her heavy hitter punches, Baumgardner had moments of slight energy depletion. Mekhaled was quick to land blows, creating sounds of awe from the crowd.
In the 3rd round Baumgardner released a blitzkrieg attack knocking Mekhaled over 3 times as she kept rising for more. Baumgardner amped up her vicious attacks on the French fighter leaving Mekhaled unable to defend herself. Momentarily paused by the referee, Mekhaled resumes the match as she tries to find a weak spot in Baumgardner. Mekhaled’s cross combinations slowed her opponent before Baumgardner utilizes her jabs. The final round of the match amped up as Mekhaled was able to get inside with a left uppercut. Baumgardner tirelessly defended herself with an uppercut to the body that knocked Mekhaled down. Although able to rise, Mekhaled was unable to win back the precious points she lost during the match. The bout was scored 99-89, 98-90 a unanimous decision for Baumgardner as reigning undefeated champion.
“I started my period today so that should tell you that just women can do it all,” stated Baumgardner.
Baumgardner united all the belts, but the journey wasn’t easy.
“She kept cooking like a champion, but I used my jab, I let that be the dictator of the round.”
In the fight for the vacant WBC silver bantamweight title, Skye Nicholson (6-0) and Tania Alvarez (7-1, 1 KO’s) battled in a 10-round match.
The 2020 Olympian, Nicholson was challenged by her charging opponent. Alvarez took on the mannerisms of a bull seeing red as she charged her opponent throughout the ring. The charges took a toll on Nicholson who was lucky to go without penalty as she held her opponent numerous times. Although effective in exhausting Nicolson, Alvarez’s inability to keep a distance before striking was the fighters downfall.
Alvarez ran across the ring as each round begun, running into Nicholson mitts. In the final round Nicholson throws Alvarez in an attempt to get Alvarez off. The bout was scored 100-90, 98-92, 97-9. Nicholson becomes the new WBC silver featherweight champion.
In the 10 round IBF inter-continental contest between super bantamweights Ramla Ali (8-0) and Avril Mathie (8-1-1, KO’s) it was Ali who emerged victorious.
Mathie was quick to move the fight as she quickly found herself connecting with her opponent’s hands. Ali quickly weakened Mathies disposition as Mathie was soon toppling over. The crowd cheered for their favorite, yelling out, “Ali.”
Ali worked her left jab, weaving under and over as her opponent tried to catch her.
Ali has proven to remain calm in her approach, sitting in her punches as she aims with confidence and precision. Hanging at Ali’s waist, Mathies legs failed to keep her upright. By the 4th round little changed as Mathie failed to harness power behind her punches. It’s Ali alone in the ring with her punching bag, dodging the aimless blows and catching perfect shots to a flailing Mathie. In the 7th round Mathie picked up speed in an attempt to make her way into Ali’s shield as Ali kept her at bay.
Easily entangled by a hugging Mathie, Ali is quick to throw her off and exit. Mathie lands a combination of cross hooks before Ali quickly exits and uppercuts Mathie in the stomach. After 10 rounds, the judge’s scores are unanimous, a win for Ali as she becomes the new featherweight champion. Adding a belt to her resume, the model and new champion improves to 8-0, 3 KO’s.
The WBC world title eliminator between super middleweights Shadasia “The Sweet Terminator” Green (12-0, 11 KO’s) and Elin Cederroos (8-2, 4 KO’s) was a battle of tug of war between the two accomplished fighters. Green, hailing from New Jersey cautiously defended her title as she strategically broke down her opponent.
Cederroos, a former WBA and IBF champion attacked Green, viciously leading the match in the first round. The Swedish fighter, Cederroos was quick and efficient with her combinations as she moved Green along the ropes, before Green quickly found her entrance, clocking a solid jab to the rib.
Cederroos was consistent while her pattern became predictable as Green began to work under her attacks. Green was able to land detrimental shots to the body, noticeably tiring the former champion. Moving with her left and attacking with her right, Cederroos quickly fell into Green’s trap. Unable to retaliate, Cederroos was moved from corner to corner before the referee called the fight to an end, a TKO by Green. At 1 minute and 8 seconds of round 6, Shadasia remains undefeated as the WBC silver and WBC Continental Americas champion.