Boxing buffet on ESPN+ from Ireland and Las Vegas: Mikaela Mayer defends title
SAN DIEGO, Calif., November 4. 2021 – Either figure out a way to get your work done early on Friday or convince the boss you’re doing research so you can take in two boxing cards from both sides of the pond.
The marquee fight features WBO super featherweight world champion Mikaela Mayer making her second title defense. Mayer 15-0, 5 KOs) faces longtime IBF world champion Maiva Hamadouche of France (22-1, 18 KOs) with both belts on the line at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Mayer initially won her title in October 2020. She faces a tough, tested veteran in Hamadouche who has defended her title six times. Her only loss is a 2015 decision to rugged Belgian star Delfine Persoon. It’s written far too often, but it’s fair to say Mayer will face her toughest test yet, and she knows it.
Mayer: Win leads to Terri Harper
“My mindset is that I’m here to challenge myself to the best of my ability in this fight and for the rest of my career,” said Mayer at this week’s final pre-fight news conference.
Mayer said she was the one who had to push the longtime champion Hamadouche to agree to a unification fight.
“This is my chance to show that I’m the best fighter in my division. Winning this fight and performing very well will put me as the top player in the division,” said Mayer. “She is aggressive, and I haven’t faced someone as aggressive in my professional career, but I have faced plenty of styles as an amateur. We are prepared for it. If she thinks she is going to bully me, that will not be the case.”
“I believe my experience will be the difference,” replied Hamadouche. “I’m very aggressive and very physical. I will come at her like no other fighter has come at her before.”
Mayer has publicly called out British junior lightweight star Terri Harper. A win would put her and Top Rank in a position to pressure Harper and Matchroom Boxing for the biggest unification fight possible. Mayer knows putting on a show and scoring a knockout will go a long way toward making it happen.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum supports three-minute rounds
But the limitations of the women’s two-minute rounds make it difficult. Good news then to hear Top Rank promoter Bob Arum making the pre-fight headlines when he said it’s time for women to fight three-minute rounds. Praise Uncle Bob and pass the stopwatch.
“If we want to bring women’s boxing to the forefront of the sport, we all should advocate for three-minute rounds,” said Arum. “If women’s boxing wants to get into a prominent position that it hasn’t, but it should, in my opinion, it should be changed to three-minute rounds. Why is there a difference in rounds between women’s and men’s boxing?
Arum said other sports such as tennis provide an example.
“By keeping it at two-minute rounds, you are telling the world that women’s boxing is different. If we are worried about health issues, do three-minute rounds and regulate the number of rounds women can fight.”
“Talking from experience, that extra minute could change a fight. You could have more knockouts and more finishes.”
Hamadouche also endorses the idea.
“I think that fighting at three-minute rounds will be very good for me. That’s exactly what I want.”
For this week anyway, both women will need to be aggressive and active in the ring. Mayer can make a statement if she can stop Hamadouche for the first time. She has dominated her last five opponents on the cards. A stoppage would be the next step on a significant platform.
Belfast card features welterweight prospects Crocker vs Haroyan
Earlier in the day, ESPN+ offers a card promoted by Conlan Boxing at Ulster Hall in Belfast. In the main event, welterweight Lewis Crocker (13-0 7 KOs) will fight in his hometown against Artem Haroyan of Armenia (17-2-1, 9 KOs). Haroyan is undefeated at welterweight, and both want to advance to the next level with a strong performance. The entire card starts at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m PT.
The Las Vegas card begins with undercard bouts at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, followed by the main and co-main at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. Yes, we feel for the East Coast fans who need to have the energy drinks handy to stick it out.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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