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Boxers to Watch: Five female fighters making their way toward the top of the fight card

By Adam Stern
Baumgardnergetty images

Alycia Baumgardner

Baumgardner started to make waves after an upset win last year versus veteran Terri Harper, and that led to a contract with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn. The 27-year-old Ohio native is 11-1 and now owns the WBC and IBO super featherweight titles. With Hearn’s considerable promotional backing, she’s an American fighter to keep an eye on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Katie Taylor

With a perfect record of 20-0 — six of which came by way of knockout — Taylor is undoubtedly one of the top pound-for-pound female boxers in the world. Taylor, the current undisputed lightweight champion of the world, is from Ireland and often fights in the U.K. but her potential fight with Amanda Serrano looks set to take place across the pond in New York City. She is also represented Hearn, who has been negotiating with Serrano advisers Jake Paul and Nakisa Bidarian to set up the fight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Claressa Shields

As her nickname implies, Shields — referred to as the GWOAT, or Greatest Woman of All Time — has had a storied career during her time in fighting, which has mainly been in boxing but more recently also expanded to mixed martial arts. Shields is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner for the U.S. and is the only boxer ever to hold all four belts in two different weight divisions at the same time. She’s eyeing a big bout versus English fighter Savannah Marshall later this year; Marshall beat Shields when they were both in the amateur ranks, and that stands to this day as Shields’ only loss in boxing. She is represented by Dmitriy Salita of Salita Promotions.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mikaela Mayer

Backed by promotional heavyweight Top Rank Boxing, standing with an undefeated record of 16-0, and even having a budding media career, Mayer is one of the top and most visible female boxers in America. She is the super featherweight champion with the WBO and IBF, and she became part of the first all-female broadcast team for a fight when she called an event from Tulsa last August alongside Crystina Poncher. ESPN platforms have aired every fight in her professional career starting with her pro debut in 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serranogetty images

Amanda Serrano

One of the few who could possibly lay claim to being the top female fighter over Katie Taylor is Serrano, which is why their potential match later this year is so tantalizing for boxing fans. Serrano, a seven-division champion with a sparkling record of 42-1-1, has started to gain a more sizable following due to Jake Paul’s promotional efforts around the Puerto Rican fighter in 2021; her social media following went up more than 220% since she started working with Paul and Nakisa Bidarian’s Most Valuable Promotions firm.

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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