Alycia Baumgardner Speaks on Her Early Career Trials
Alycia Baumgardner (12-0, 7 KOs) is just days away from the biggest bout of her career. On October 15, she will put WBC women’s junior lightweight title on the line against IBF/WBO champ Mikaela Mayer (17-0, 5 KOs) in a 130-pound unification showdown at the O2 Arena in London, England.
While Mayer had a successful amateur career and signed with Top Rank after competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Baumgardner’s path was bumpier. During an interview with the UK’s Sky Sports, the 28-year-old went into detail about her struggles and the sacrifices she had to make.
“Paying for my opponents, rarely getting any money. There was one time I didn’t even get paid for a fight. But I’m like, ‘that’s okay; it’s not about the money’. It’s just I was willing to get out there, and the money’s going to come.
[…] I’m working hard at it and along that process, I still had to work. I still had to work a full-time job. I was an aide in a nursing home, I was a server at one point. I was driving to practice. I was driving from Ohio to Michigan every day, like two hours.
I would drive, work out, drive back. But I was determined. I’ve been doing this for a very long time, but I knew my work was going to pay off eventually.”
IT WAS WELL WORTH IT
Her determination paid off in November 2021 when she faced Terri Harper for the WBC title. Fighting on short notice in Harper’s home country of England, Baumgardner capitalized on her opportunity. She used her power to take control of the action early. Eventually, the fight ended spectacularly in round four when a Baumgardner right-hand left Harper out on her feet.
That victory led to a multi-fight deal with Matchroom promotions in December 2021. After a successful title defense against Edith Soledad Matthysse in April 2022, The Bomb now faces Mayer. Much of the pre-fight lead-up has been contentious. Both champions have hurled their share of insults. Mayer has said she plans to take Baumgardner into deep waters. Baumgardner has promised to dog-walk the unified champion and knock her out.
“People are still doubting me, but this is part of the sport. My mindset is to win. My mindset is to have a dominating performance, and my hand will be raised. Winning this fight means everything.”
For Baumgardner, this battle with Mayer is more than a unification bout. It’s a testament to how hard work and belief in yourself can payoff. She feels more than ready for the biggest test of her career and refuses to let Mayer or anyone take it away.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.