Who Run The Ring: Women’s Boxing is (thriving and) here to stay

Over the past few years, the boxing world has changed for the better. Slowly but surely, women’s boxing has been getting the recognition it hasn’t had in years. In 2020 alone, we have seen record-breaking moments being shown to global audiences.

There has never been a better time to commit to women’s boxing. If everything goes according to plan, it will only get better from here.

We have high-profile figures raising the bar every step of the way. In January, Claressa Shields (10-0) beat Croatia’s Ivana Habazin (20-4) to win the WBC and WBO Light-Middleweight Titles. By doing so, she became the fastest boxer, not just female, to win titles in three divisions. Those wins added to her resume as the undisputed middleweight champion. That is thanks in part to beating mainstays like Christina Hammer (25-1) and Hanna Gabriel (20-2-1). Outspoken and confident, the 25-year-old Olympic gold medalist is making a name for herself wherever she goes.

Outside of Shields’ run with Showtime, we have seen Top Rank embrace women’s boxing. The WBC-NABF Super-Featherweight Champion Mikaela Mayer (13-0) has been Bob Arum’s secret weapon. Following Jamel Herring testing positive for COVID-19, Mayer became the first female fighter to main event an ESPN-produced Top Rank card. She would beat Helen Joseph (17-5-2) in a compelling affair that mesmerized fans.

Proving herself to a new audience, Mayer will now get a title shot against Ewa Brodnicka (19-0), who holds the WBO Super-Featherweight Title. The ultimate goal for Mayer is to face Terri Harper (10-0-1), the WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight Champion. Beating all of the international stars, Mayer is hoping to conquer Poland’s champion before moving onto the UK’s prized possession.

While several boxing brands feature women fighting, the home of women’s boxing appears to be in the UK. Matchroom Boxing holds the ultimate advantage over everyone else. Carried by DAZN, Matchroom has hosted the three-headed monsters of women’s boxing.

Katie Taylor, Cecilia Braekhus, and Amanda Serrano are all history makers. Taylor (16-0) is the undisputed lightweight champion. A main piece for DAZN’s launch in the United States, Taylor has put on two Fight of the Year candidates. After narrowly beating Delfine Persoon (44-3) back in 2019 inside Madison Square Garden, the two had a rematch for the ages during the Matchroom Fight Camp series this past August. Taylor erased all doubts and managed to overcome a last-minute training camp. She is now set to main event a fight card featuring the first-ever women’s triple-header for Matchroom on November 14. Facing Miriam Gutierrez (13-0), Taylor will be joined by Harper and Rachel Ball (6-1).

Taylor was meant to face Serrano (38-1-1), a champion in seven different weight classes. However, negotiations have hit a standstill. Serrano holds titles in the welterweight, bantamweight, featherweight, and lightweight divisions, and is on a 24-fight win streak. If a Taylor-Serrano fight, one that Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn has stated could end up main eventing Madison Square Garden, was to ever be brought up again, you can imagine sparks and money would be flying.

You can’t forget about Braekhus (36-0), the former undisputed welterweight champion. Making her debut in 2007, the Norwegian boxer had a streak of 25-straight title defenses before this past August. Fighting on the literal streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Braekhus and Jessica McCaskill (9-2) engaged in a war that saw the 36-year-old WBA and WBC Super-Lightweight Champion break down Braekhus. McCaskill would end up winning via majority decision. A rematch is on the table, and both are ready to show they can repeat their performances from the summer.

In addition, Matchroom Boxing just saw the professional debut of Ellie Scotney. She is just the latest budding star Matchroom has signed over the years. There’s Chantelle Cameron, Shannon Courtenay, the aforementioned Harper and Jonas, and Savannah Marshall. Someone who was supposed to be fighting on the same card as Scotney was Hannah Rankin (9-4). The first female world champion for Scotland, Rankin has been waiting to face Patricia Berghult once again for the IBO Super-Welterweight Title. She was supposed to face Marshall for the WBO Middleweight Title before the latter’s trainer tested positive for COVID-19.

Rankin is known for a great fight not many were able to see in 2018 against Alicia Napoleon Espinosa, a former WBA Super-Middleweight Champion. Napoleon continues to fight for gold, recently against Elin Cederroos (8-0). One of the original advocators for women’s boxing, former WBO Featherweight Champion Heather Hardy (22-1, 1 NC), an MMA star as well, made history for women’s boxing when she landed a fight on NBCSN against Shelly Vincent back in 2016.

These are just the names of fighters who get international exposure, so just imagine the talent that is out all over the world.

Women’s boxing continues to fight for fair pay and equal time. However, one can’t help but think of the progress that has already been made within the ring. With stars getting a chance to shine all over, it is only a matter of time before the higher-ups in every promotion see their value.

Which fighter are you excited to see compete in the next few months?