Amanda Serrano is headed to Ireland, Alycia Baumgardner has plenty of options and Ramla Ali continues to improve

NEW YORK — Amanda Serrano only savored about 30 seconds of her decision win over Erika Cruz for the undisputed featherweight title on Saturday. That’s the reality. Even before Serrano could step out of the ring with all her belts on for the first time, her expected rematch with Katie Taylor was announced.

Serrano will travel to Ireland to fight Taylor on May 20th in a rehash of the best women’s match in boxing history, something talked about an hour after the first bout ended at Madison Square Garden on April 30th last year.

That has always been the path, the course for Taylor and for Serrano.

Serrano wanted this first — wanted to go uncontested first — before fighting Taylor again. She actually wanted this to happen before the first fight with Taylor, but the scenario was too grand to pass up — and Taylor and Serrano had been orbiting each other for years at this point.

Right now, however, Serrano didn’t want to think about Taylor. She wanted a few days — perhaps after a trip back to Puerto Rico, where she has a new home she’s yet to organize — before she starts thinking about what’s next.

But she and her trainer, Jordan Maldonado, made one thing very clear: if they were going to fight Katie Taylor again, it would be in Ireland. It was important to Taylor and, in a way, important to Serrano.

“We knew we were going to Ireland,” Maldonado said. “The plan was the plan. Katie Taylor was super respectful and honorable fighting us here in New York. We’re Puerto Ricans, but this is basically our home.

“And we promised, and one of the things I said is that I would only have the Katie Taylor fight in Ireland. She deserves it.”

Where the fight will take place in Ireland is still being worked out as many parts have been postponed over the past week. But women’s football is once again doing what men’s football so often struggles to do: deliver the best possible fight to its supporters in a reasonable timeframe, without much haggling.

And if it even comes close to matching the intensity of the first fight, it will help make women’s boxing even bigger. -Michael Rothstein

Alycia Baumgardner has many options

While Taylor and Serrano are set to fight in May, options are pretty open for Baumgardner after she clinched the undisputed junior lightweight title with a win over Elhem Mekhaled on Saturday.

In the short term, it would make sense for Baumgardner to probably stay at 130 pounds and rack up a few title defenses there before bulking up for a megafight. Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn mentioned the potential for a homecoming fight for Baumgardner in Detroit.

“A home fight in Detroit would mean everything,” said Baumgardner. “I was a club fighter at the time selling tickets. I know I can put people on seats. I know I’m entertaining, and I can sell out a great audience no matter what arena we choose in Detroit.

“It would put Detroit back on the map. Detroit has a history of boxing and great champions that come from that state.”

And there are plenty of options for opponents, although it would make sense for Baumgardner to have a homecoming fight to defend her newly minted 130-pound undisputed title.

But there is life beyond 130 pounds. So what could that mean? Baumgardner said she feels best anywhere between 130 and 140 pounds, but that she would also be open to going to 126 pounds to fight Serrano – a fight that would pair two of the sport’s toughest hitters, if it would happen. Hearn said Baumgardner is also interested in Taylor and Chantelle Cameron.

So there’s big potential fights ahead for Baumgardner, complete with big paydays.

And the other potential payday sat right by the ring: Mikaela Mayer, who beat Baumgardner for the IBF and WBO titles in October. Whenever the camera panned to Mayer, she was booed at the Hulu Theater.

Hearn said he would consider a rematch because the fight would be big in the United States — Detroit, Las Vegas or New York. When Baumgardner was asked how many zeros it would take to make that rematch, she said dryly, “The ones that never end.”

Your spell now tells you how much of a wild ride it was for Baumgardner, who went from the B-side of a title fight against Terri Harper to the undisputed junior lightweight champion in 15 months. – Rothstein

Ramla Ali keeps improving

Ali was one of the highlights of the early card – showing exactly what she could become as a fighter.

She told ESPN she doesn’t think her win over Avril Mathie on Saturday was her best performance, but because she’d been battling illness all week, she told her trainer Manny Robles in the second round that her chest was sore from pain to the illness – she “made it my best effort”.

“It went well,” Ali said. “[Mathie] I was very lucky that I wasn’t at my best.”

Robles pumped her up with positivity, which Ali says helped get her through the fight.

However, from a progress point of view, Ali said it is much better than a year ago.

“I have more things in my arsenal,” Ali said. “I couldn’t have competed in 10 rounds if I wasn’t in a state where I was better than last year. I couldn’t have finished it. I would have been done.”

Next, she said she wanted to be able to fight for a world title. Whether that’s next or not remains to be seen and depends on their management team.

On the back of her swim trunks on Saturday she had the word “Chingona,” which is Mexican slang for “bad ass,” a nickname given to her at her Los Angeles gym, Ali said, “because of all the hard work, all the sparring and all the grueling training I put in and did so well at.”

“They gave me that nickname, and it’s a term of endearment,” she explained.

Ali had actress Letitia Wright as part of her cheer section. Ali invited the “Wakanda Forever” star to the fight – and she hooked up with Wright afterwards. It showed Ali has star power that other fighters may not have, which could boost her growth as she continues to progress, all the more important in taking boxing to bigger platforms. – Rothstein

Will Emanuel Navarrete’s sloppy but fun style succeed at 130?



Emanuel Navarrete rallies to win in incredible fashion

Emanuel Navarrete stops Liam Wilson in a thriller to become a three-division champion.

Navarrete is one of the most attacking fighters in boxing and this approach has propelled him to the top so far.

The Mexican fighter is now a three-division champion and he has proven his power could carry up to 130 pounds, even if it took longer than usual to materialize.

Navarrete’s 130-pound debut also showed his vulnerability. He’s always in entertaining fights, but a lack of defense comes at a price. Liam Wilson’s left hand in Round 4 provided the first knockdown of Navarrete’s career and it’s a surprise he wasn’t dropped sooner.

Navarrete bangs wildly from all angles, sometimes out of rhythm, and often drops his hands low during sequences. Wilson was able to time Navarrete between punches and nearly ended the fight. He might have done so had Navarrete not been granted the impossibly long earldom.

But he was – and Navarrete was able to wear down the 8-1 underdog and earned the stoppage in Round 9. Credit to Navarrete for finding a way to win but he now has to prove that same character in fights against bigger punchers and far better fighters.

That Wilson could bring Navarrete so close to defeat is alarming. On the other hand, it’s hard to tell how good Wilson is since this was his first time at the world level. While Wilson didn’t show anything special, he showed his courage and that the moment wasn’t too big for him.

Navarrete, on the other hand, cannot change his style at this point; it works for him. But faced with larger 130lb fighters, he’ll probably need to be more defensively responsible if he wants longevity in his new weight class. – Mike Coppinger Amanda Serrano is headed to Ireland, Alycia Baumgardner has plenty of options and Ramla Ali continues to improve

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