Alycia Baumgardner Becomes Undisputed
Alycia Baumgardner scored two third-round knockdowns against Elhem Mekhaled en route to a dominating unanimous decision to become the undisputed women’s junior lightweight champion on Saturday night at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Baumgardner won 99-89, 99-89 and 98-90 in an easy fight to score in the Amanda Serrano-Erika Cruz co-feature as she retained the WBC, WBO and IBF titles and won the vacant WBA title to make her the four-belt undisputed champion.
𝐔𝐍𝐃𝐈𝐒𝐏𝐔𝐓𝐄𝐃 👑 @alyciambaum
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) February 5, 2023
“The process has been great. I worked my ass off to get here,” Baumgardner said. “I showed discipline, grit, hard work. I had to fight who I had to fight and I got here and I came out successful.”
She badly hurt Mekhaled and nearly stopped her in the third round. Baumgardner landed a clean overhand right to score the first knockdown and then moment later dropped her again under extremely heavy pressure.
She continued to pummel Mekhaled and she went down again but referee Eric Dali ruled it a push. Regardless Mekhaled was hurt and in bad shape and showed enormous grit to make it out of the round.
“I saw a tough fighter and I had her hurt plenty of times but one thing about her is she got heart and I salute her for that,” Baumgardner said. “She kept coming like a champion should.”
Baumgardner (14-1, 7 KOs), 28, of Detroit, did not try to test Mekhaled (15-2, 3 KOs), 31, of France, in the fourth round, seemingly exhausted from exerting so much energy in the third.
“When you throwing bombs in there you got to get that (wind) back,” Baumgardner said. “I listened to my corner, I used my jab.”
Baumgardner had Mekhaled hurt again early in the seventh round and had her all over the place. But Mekhaled had enough heart and savvy to hang in for the rest of the fight as Baumgardner appeared very tired in the late rounds even if the result was never in doubt.
Baumgardner was very pleased with her performance.
“It was great. I dug deep,” Baumgardner said. “Look, I started my period today, so that should tell you something. That should tell you that us women can do it all.”
Baumgardner was not completely satisfied becoming an undisputed champion. She wants even higher-profile fights.
“Right now we want the big fights. We want the mega fights,” Baumgardner said. “This fight showed me there’s levels to this and I want to continue to climb. We want (undisputed lightweight champion) Katie Taylor. We want those mega fights. I want that challenge. I want to challenge myself. That’s the only way I’m gonna know where I am and how I can better.”
There is also the prospect of a rematch with Mikaela Mayer, who was ringside and who Baumgardner edged by split decision to unify three belts in her previous fight on Oct. 15.
“Mikaela came here for a reason,” Baumgardner said. “I hope she learned something — to know that I’m coming for that ass. (In a rematch) I’ll knock her the fuck out.”