FULL CARD RECAP: Amanda Serrano, Alycia Baumgardner Become Undisputed Champions At Madison Square Garden
(New York City)- It was far from easy, but the great Amanda Serrano (44-2-1, 30 ko) gutted her way to a tough unanimous decision over Erika Cruz (15-2, 3 ko) in an absolute war to become the undisputed featherweight champion of the world in front of a sold out Hulu Theater. The judges had it 98-92 (twice) and 97-93 for Serrano. Serrano becomes the first Puerto Rican/Nuyorican fighter in history to become an undisputed champion, setting the stage for a rematch with Katie Taylor in Ireland May 20th.
This was a brutal, bloody fight, and as Serrano gets a little older you have to wonder how many more fights in this style she has in her. But Cruz deserves a lot of the credit for forcing the action. She was incredibly game and forced the fight with the vast majority of exchanges taking place on even terms. Most of the fight took place shoulder to shoulder, but the moments where Serrano separated herself were when she created a little distance and set her shots up from the outside.
Serrano is a genuine legend of the sport, and on accomplishment and merit she is not only a legendary Puerto Rican fighter, but she is making her case as an all time great fighter from New York and is in some ways in a league of her own. She doesn’t appear to entirely be the force of nature she was a few years ago, but she has a lot left in the tank, certainly enough for one more go with Taylor in a fight that will rival their first encounter as one of the biggest fights in women’s boxing history. She also continues to make an argument for her position in the top of the pound-for-pound rankings, without a doubt in the top five.
Baumgardner Drops, Dominates Game Elhem Mekhaled to Become Undisputed at Jr. Lightweight
Alycia Baumgardner (14-1, 7 ko) became the undisputed jr. lightweight champion by dropping a game Elhem Mekhaled twice in the third and cruising to a wide unanimous decision victory by scores of 99-89 (twice) and 98-90. ITRBoxing scored the bout 98-90 for Baumgardner.
After splitting the first two rounds, Baumgardner landed several fight changing shots in the third, dropping Mekhaled and altering the dynamic of the fight completely. Even when Mekhaled (15-2, 3 ko) would get in Baumgardner’s chest and at times land solid overhand rights, particularly in the back half of the fight, Baumgardner maintained her composure and showed her level, staying calm behind her jab and countering Mekhaled’s every move. The ref also seemed to miss an obvious knockdown in the 10th with a right hand uppercut that nearly led to a stoppage for Baumgardner, but that was just the cherry on top of what was a dominant performance over a top level opponent who had never been beaten that way.
Baumgardner was much calmer in the buildup to this fight than her bout with Mayer, not getting in Mekhaled’s face or playing mind games, making it a tough to know exactly what kind of performance we could expect from her, but she delivered. After the fight, Baumgardner showed interest in fights with Katie Taylor as well as the other “big fights” in boxing. That could be Amanda Serrano, it could be Delfine Persoon, it could be a rematch with Mikaela Mayer. One thing is for sure though; Alycia Baumgardner is a pound-for-pound superstar.
Richardson Hitchins Shines, Gives John Bauza a Boxing Lesson
Jr. welterweight Richardson Hitchins gave John Bauza a bell-to-bell boxing lesson, dropping him in both the first and fourth rounds for a wide unanimous decision by scores of 100-88.
Bauza (17-1, 7 ko), also undefeated coming into the fight was a very credible prospect himself, with a variety of skills, but could do nothing to get past the jab, feints and footwork of Hitchins (16-0, 7 ko). He tried to make a push in the 9th and 10th rounds, but was answered by an even more punishing offense from Hitchins, who’s mesmerizing speed and skills often turned Bauza into a spectator himself.
This fight resembled Shakur Stevenson’s win last April over Oscar Valdez; two great fighters in the ring, with one just having edge in every category imaginable. It may not have been the style of fight that the mostly pro Bauza crowd wanted to see, but this was in many ways a star making performance for Hitchins, who looked like the goods in a step up fight between two top prospects meant to be a 50/50 fight. Hitchins is tough out for ANYBODY at 140 lbs.
Yankiel Rivera Wins Wide Over Fernando Diaz
Flyweight prospect Yankiel Rivera (3-0, 2 ko) of Toa Alta, Puerto Rico won a competitive but wide decision over a game and skilled Fernando Diaz (11-3-1, 3 ko).
The scorecards did not entirely reflect how close and competitive as this fight was and in each round both fighters had their moments, often switching roles throughout the fight from boxer to aggressor. The majority of the fight saw Rivera pursuing Diaz on the front foot, but they would often switch roles as Rivera got up on his toes and boxed with Diaz becoming the pursuing aggressor. Overall, Rivera landed the clean more effective shots and spent more time fighting his desired style of fight than Diaz. Rivera is a fun new addition to the flyweight division.
Skye Nicolson Outboxes, Decisions Tania Alvarez
Despite a valiant attempt from Tania Alvarez, the ITRBoxing 2022 prospect of the year Skye Nicolson (6-0) easily outboxed her en-route to unanimous decision victory by scores of 100-90, 98-92, and 97-93.
Nicolson spent the majority of the fight on her back foot, practically unable to miss with the check right hook and jab, while Alvarez (7-1, 1 ko) rushed in trying to catch Nicolson with something wild, mostly unsuccessfully, taking crisp counters on her way in. By round 7 or so Alvarez’s reckless style and pressure started to to make Nicolson uncomfortable, and she landed some nice straight rights and body shots down the stretch of the fight. Unfortunately for her, it was too little too late as Nicolson cruised down the stretch, winning wide.
Nicolson has expressed interest in getting a title shot sometime this year, and it looks like she has the boxing ability and talent to give anyone at 126-130 problems. Her lack of power may hinder her against a more effective pressure fighters, but unless you are able to match her speed and footwork or time her, whoever faces her next is likely to have a long night.
Ramla Ali Wins A Tough Decision Over Avril Mathie
Jr. featherweight prospect/contender Ramla Ali (8-0, 2 ko) took a tough 10 round decision over the skilled and game Avril Mathie (8-1-1, 3 ko) by unanimous scores of 99-91, which seemed a bit wide and certainly didn’t reflect the toughness of the fight.
The first five rounds saw the two fight on even terms, with Ali fighting in a more aggressive, high guard style than she generally does and Mathie almost meeting her punch for punch. But in round 6, Ali switched gears and started to box from the outside in her more typical style and separated herself slightly down the back half of the fight with clean counters. Ramla is one of the more compelling fighters in her weight neighborhood, if not the most skilled, and it seems like only a matter of time before she gets a shot at a title. As for Mathie, she put up a game performance against one of the best fighters in her division and will certainly get another big opportunity, either at 118 or 122.
Shadasia Green Stops Elin Cederroos in 6th
Paterson native Shadasia Green (12-0, 11 ko) is clearly one of the best fighters in the world, and she made that more than obvious in her sixth round stoppage of tough contender Eli Cederroos (8-2, 4 ko) to become the mandatory to undisputed super middleweight champion Franchon Crews Dezurn.
Cederroos started the fight very aggressively in round one, forcing Green to the ropes and out-hustling her with activity. But after settling down in the second and buzzing Cederroos, Green, a natural counterpuncher with power, started to find the timing and distance on her right hand, dropping Cederroos in the third and dominating the remainder of the fight.
Green boxed beautifully, walking Cederroos into counterpunches the whole fight and giving her a calculated beating. She stays in the pocket and moves her head, but can move a little when she needs to. She looks like a fighter who can do it all, both a brutal puncher but also a master boxer with great defensive skill, and against the very aggressive Cederoos she made a tough fight look easy.
Also On The Card
- Hard-hitting lightweight prospect and Brooklyn native Harley Maderos (5-0, 4 ko) slugged his way to a sixth round stoppage of Julio Madera (4-3, 3 ko). The fight was brutal enough that the doctors had to check on Madera multiple times, and the ref stopped the fight shortly after the second doctor check-in in round 6. Though a wide swinger, Maderos is extremely accurate and has great timing, and Madera couldn’t ever really get himself into the fight.
- Jr. welterweight prospect Aaron Aponte (7-0-1, 2 ko) showed a nice power-jab and boxed a disciplined fight to a shutout decision over Joshua David Rivera (8-2, 3 ko). Aponte looked good in this fight. He boxed patiently, landed his jab consistently, and his defense looked sharp. He also showed a good sense of range and footwork. In the middle rounds, Aponte fought portions of the fight on the inside but looked comfortable against the tough Rivera. Solid win.