SAN DIEGO, Calif., July 14, 2020 – Top Rank Boxing and Mikaela Mayer wrote another chapter in its half-century of boxing history on Tuesday, with its first-ever women’s main event.
The opportunity for Mikaela Mayer of Los Angeles (13-0, 5 KOs) and Helen Joseph of Lagos, Nigeria (17-5-2, 10 KOs) came at the expense of WBO junior lightweight champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring, who was pulled for a second time due to a positive coronavirus test on Monday before his bout with Jonathan Oquendo.
Mayer put on an impressive performance, with a near shutout decision over Joseph. Scores were 100-90 X 2, and the third judge found a single round for Joseph in the 99-91 score.
Mayer and Joseph both recognized the opportunity before them and got busy from the opening bell. Mayer had no trouble landing shots on Joseph, who put herself right in front of Mayer. Mayer kept up an impressive offensive output, landing a wide variety of punches, staying busy throughout and blasting Joseph with far too much power for her to set up and effectively trade.
The two-minute rounds flew, but Mayer still managed to land 195 punches of 538 thrown in the 20 minutes (36 percent), against 86 of 377 punches for Joseph (23 percent).
“I’m a little offended that you thought it would be my toughest test to date. I still have a lot to show, I’m the best in the division. In the first round I knew she was too slow for me,” said Mayer. “Even though I won every round, I probably didn’t work the body enough.”
Herring was understandably disappointed; saying his second positive test after a negative test on July 3 was a complete surprise. “I was fully prepared to make my second title defense tomorrow night. I am hoping that my team and Top Rank can reschedule this fight soon. Thank you for all the support everyone has shown. I can’t wait to get back in the ring and perform.”
Mayer knows how it feels. She was originally scheduled for the first Top Rank card on June 9 but was scratched due to her own positive COVID test. This time, she made it to the ring, but her 76-year-old trainer Al Mitchell stayed home due to a previous positive COVID19 test, letting Kay Koroma and Manny Robles hold down the corner. “I told her to listen to Coach K and Manny, they’re a very good corner,” said Mitchell. “I’m there, I told her. I’m in her head because we’ve been together for so long.”
After the bout, Mayer said promoter Bob Arum told her, “‘Great fight, the next one will be for the title,’ so I’m going to hold him to it,” laughed Mayer.
Clay Collard racks up fourth win of 2020 with round 2 TKO
Appearing in his fourth fight of 2020 and his 11th fight in 13 months, middleweight “Cassius” Clay Collard of Burley, Idaho (7-2-3, 2 KOs) is becoming the boxing star of the Coronavirus era. The former MMA competitor finally faced someone other than an undefeated record in Lorawnt-T Nelson of Arvada, Colorado (5-3, 4 KOs). Collard promptly dropped Nelson with a clean straight right in the first round, and he did it again with the same punch in the second round, followed by a third knockdown. Collard had plenty of time in the round left to finish Nelson off, but took a bit of time until referee Celestino Ruiz stopped the bout at 1:57 of the round for a TKO win. Call Collard the Fighter of the Year so far, or at least the COVID Champion.
Collard said staying busy has been key in his transition from mixed martial arts. “Staying consistent. I work hard every day, I listen to my coach every day, and he yells at me every day,” said Collard. “I think fought (Nelson) a lot more like a boxer, I was picking my shots better, working at distance, been working on my boxing.”
Ruben Cervera wins decision over Clay Burns
Lightweights Ruben Cervera of Santa Marta, Colombia (12-2, 10 KOs) and Clay Burns of Alexandria, Louisiana (9-9-2, 4 KOs) went right to each other from the opening bell, delivering nothing but offense for six rounds. Cervera scored the first knockdown with a smart counterpunch against the awkward Burns, who had some success catching Cervera by surprise. But it wasn’t often enough to overcome Cervera’s opening knockdown and offensive output overall on the scorecards.
Javier Martinez wins pro debut
When accomplished amateur middleweight Javier Martinez of Milwaukee got passed over for the 2020 US Olympic boxing team, he promptly turned professional signing with Top Rank. While his amateur pals are sitting idle, Martinez (1-0) made his pro debut Tuesday with a unanimous decision win over Ryan Burrs of Frederick, Maryland (2-2). Scores were all 40-36.
Martinez was without his regular trainer, so Edgar Sandoval stood in. Burns came to Las Vegas alone, with only corner cutman Mike Bazzel rooting him on. Martinez delivered a controlled fight behind a strong right hook, catching Burns at the end of the third round but staying disciplined and patient without getting into an unnecessary brawl.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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