Mikaela Mayer Moving Up To Lightweight In April
Former unified women’s junior lightweight titlist Mikaela Mayer is moving up to the lightweight division for her next fight, which will be her second in a row in England.
Mayer will make her return against Christina Linardatou, a former junior welterweight titleholder, on the card headlined by WBO interim heavyweight titlist Joe Joyce against Zhang Zhilei on April 15 (ESPN+) at the Copper Box Arena in London, sources with knowledge of the deal told Big Fight Weekend.
The bout will be the first for Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs), 32, of Los Angeles, since he lost her two 130-pound world titles by split decision to Alycia Baumgardner in their three-belt unification fight on Oct. 15 at The O2 in London in the co-feature of the Claressa Shields-Savannah Marshal undisputed women’s middleweight title fight.
Mayer had hoped for an immediate rematch with Baumgardner but when she could not get one she elected to move up, although according to her promoter, Top Rank, she would return to junior lightweight for another title fight.
Baumgardner became the women’s undisputed champ at 130 lb. earlier this month, when she scored two third-round knockdowns against Elhem Mekhaled en route to a dominating unanimous decision. Mayer was in attendance at ringside at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater and told the media that night that there have been discussions for a possible sequel with Baumgardner.
Instead, Mayer enters the 135-pound division that is ruled by longtime undisputed champion Katie Taylor, who is headed for a rematch with undisputed featherweight champion Amanda Serrano on May 20 in Dublin, Ireland, Taylor’s home country.
As long as Mayer couldn’t get rematch with Baumgardner, she will face Linardatou (14-2, 6 KOs), 34, of Greece, who is the only woman to defeat Baumgardner. She did it by eight-round split decision in July 2018.
Linardatou lost her junior welterweight title by decision to Taylor when Taylor took a one-fight step up to 140-pounds in November 2019. Her only other loss was a decision challenging then-lightweight titlist Delfine Persoon.