Amanda Serrano Return Confirmed For February
Amanda Serrano Return Confirmed For February
Seven division women’s world champion Amanda Serrano will be back in a familiar setting for February. Serrano will battle Erika Cruz for the undisputed women’s featherweight title at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater February 4th.
Matchroom Boxing made the announcement Tuesday morning of the Serrano-Cruz showdown and also American Alycia Baumgardner going for 130 lb. women’s supremacey agains Elhem Mekhaled in the co-feature,
All the Featherweight marbles on the line, Feb 4! @Serranosisters 👑 @ErikaCruzHerna5 #SerranoCruz pic.twitter.com/rza0in0md6
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) January 3, 2023
From the Matchroom Boxing official release:
“Amanda Serrano will face Erika Cruz in a Puerto Rico vs. Mexican battle for the Undisputed World Featherweight championship and Alycia Baumgardner takes on Elhem Mekhaled for the Undisputed World Super-Featherweight championship at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday February 4, exclusively live worldwide on DAZN….
Seven-weight World champion Amanda “Real Deal” Serrano (43-2-1 30 KOs) looks to become the first Puerto Rican born fighter to take home the title of undisputed, as she finally gets the opportunity at Featherweight where she has ruled since 2019, after her history-making Lightweight clash with Katie Taylor at Madison Square Garden last April. Serrano faces off against Cruz in her hometown of New York City after a convincing win over Sarah Mahfoud in Manchester, England to add the Dane’s IBF title to her WBO and WBC belts at 126lbs.
The missing piece of the jigsaw is the WBA crown that belongs to Cruz (15-1 3 KOs). The Mexican became WBA champion in April 2021, ending the long reign of Canadian Jelena Mrdjenovich in West Point, New York. Cruz defended the title in Mexico in November 2021 and then met Mrdjenovich in a rematch in September in Mexico and won via shutout on points. The 32 year old, nicknamed ‘Dinamita’ will pose a big threat to Serrano’s hopes of becoming undisputed and put a spanner in the works of the Taylor rematch.
“This is a pivotal moment, not just for me and my own career but for my home island of Puerto Rico,” said Serrano. Earning the opportunity to be an undisputed lineal champion is something most fighters only dream about but becoming the first boxer from Puerto Rico to be an undisputed champion would make it even more special. I look forward to entering the ring on Saturday, February 4th in my hometown of NYC back at Madison Square Garden, taking on a Mexican champion in Erika Cruz and making Puerto Rican history. I encourage all my fans to turn up and tune in!”
“I am grateful that this opportunity was finally given to me after many years of work,” said Cruz. “I have always gone against everything, but God is on my side, and he has given me the strength to achieve my goals. It’s time to make history and give Mexico its first unified champion at 126 pounds.”
Baumgardner anxious to fight in U.S.
Baumgardner (13-1 7 KOs) had a brilliant 2022, capped by her victorious trip to London where she unified the 130lbs division against bitter American rival and IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine champion Mikaela Mayer in October via split decision. Baumgardner made it three wins on the bounce in the UK having ripped the WBC and IBO World titles from Terri Harper in Sheffield in November 2021 with a stunning KO and defending the belt for the first time in April in Manchester, shutting out Edith Matthysse over ten rounds.
Like Serrano, the Detroit star just needs the WBA belt to complete the full set, and that belt is vacant with #3 ranked Mekhaled (15-1 3 KOs), and the French former interim WBC champion comes into the bout on the back of a slender reversal in a bruising encounter with Belgium’s former World ruler Delfine Persoon in May in Abu Dhabi.
“Naturally, I’m VERY excited to finally be fighting for undisputed to make it official what I’ve known all along – I’m the world’s best fighter in this division!” said Baumgardner.
“To finally return home and debut in MY country as a World champion is something I’ve been so looking forward to and to have all of this come together as a co-main at the legendary Madison Square Garden in NYC is so incredible!
“NYC is an awesome representation of our country’s diversity, the diversity that’s so near and dear to my heritage… so for me, it’s definitely a fitting venue.”
“I get to be an ambassador for women’s boxing in America on one of the largest stages for boxing in the world! I plan to use my talent as an athlete to show Americans and the world a level of women’s boxing that many have never seen before.
There’s a stacked card in support of the Undisputed double-header, and it’s led by Brooklyn’s own Richardson Hitchins taking on New Jersey’s John Bauza for the IBF North American and USWBC 140lb titles.
It’s a second fight under the Matchroom banner for Hitchins (15-0 7 KOs) and the unbeaten 25 year old will defend the IBF belt he won on his first fight with Eddie Hearn in Cleveland in November, his first title fight in the paid ranks and look to add a second strap in the process.
Hitchins fights in New York for the first time since March 2019, and fellow unbeaten man Bauza (17-0 7 KOs) will want to spoil his return to action in the Big Apple. The Puerto Rican from NJ faces both his first title bout and first battle over ten rounds in the paid ranks on the night. Bauza was a national champion the same year that Hitchins represented Haiti in the 2016 Olympics and the pair are familiar with each other having sparred in the past.
“I’m excited to come back home and showcase my talent in front of my city and my #1 fans,” said Hitchins. “When I signed with Eddie, he promised he was going to turn me into a star and having the opportunity to come back so quickly after my last fight, and do it at home, man I’m just so grateful for this.
“Bauza is no joke, we know each other, but these are the type of fights I want. I’m fighting a young, hungry, undefeated prospect like myself, but I truly believe I’m the best 140 pounder in the world and come fight night I’m going to show him I am on a whole other level. February 4th is going to be a very special night for me, and I just can’t wait to be back in front of my hometown fans and show the world that I am a problem at 140 lbs.”