Mikaela Mayer v Maiva Hamadouche More Than Lives Up To Expectations
There has been a lot of talk about the future of the women’s junior light division. According to promoters like Bob Arum and Eddie Hearn, the end game is an eventual undisputed women’s world champion in the division. The seeds of that hopeful goal kicked off at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada as WBO women’s world junior lightweight champion Mikaela Mayer faced off against IBF women’s 130-pound champion Maiva Hamadouche.
Arum sees Mayer as the now and future star of the sport. She won the belt from Ewa Brodnicka in October of 2020. Before capturing the world title, the confident 31-year-old publicly stated her goal was to unify the division. Confident bordering on cocky, Mayer believes she will go down as one of the all-time greats in women’s boxing.
She fought a Hamadouche who has yearned for this kind of opportunity for a long while. The resident of Paris, France has held the IBF title since November 2016. Signing with Hearn and Matchroom promotions in September 2020, the 31-year-old was on a quest to prove that she’s the queen of the junior lightweight division.
READY TO RUMBLE EARLY
There were fireworks early on. Hamadouche (22-2, 18 KOs) charged out of the corner at the opening bell, looking to land with mean intentions. The IBF champ is known for her attacking style, and she forced Mayer (16-0, 5 KOs) into her kind of fight. Her volume punching gave the WBO champ problems during the first three rounds.
Mayer began to settle down and find a rhythm in the middle rounds. She was able to create distance and land combinations to the head and body. However, Hamadouche is a bit of a bull terrier in the ring. She was hell-bent on swarming her foe with a barrage of shots. This was no boxing match. Instead, the ladies largely stood, fought, and went to war.
As the rounds went on, Mayer began to find a home for the straight right and hooks to the body. Despite Hamadouche having the better knockout percentage, Mayer’s punches had more impact. The WBO champion was doing a beautiful job of combination punching while stepping around to avoid counterpunches. The IBF champ continued to come forward, but didn’t have the same energy and lacked the same snap in her punches.
Taller and with better technique, Mayer separated herself in the championship rounds. She landed at will on the outside and pushed her opponent back while on the inside. Both ladies gave their all, and Las Vegas gave both fighters a standing ovation at the final bell.
In the end, the judges scored the contest in favor of Mikaela Mayer by unanimous decision (98-92, 99-91, 100-90), who is now the unified IBF and WBO women’s world champ at 130 pounds. While this reporter felt the right woman won, the scorecards were far too wide in the victor’s favor.
After the fight, Maiva Hamadouche said the scores were unfair and felt she won. Hearn railed against the scorecards, also believing his fighter won. Overall, it was an outstanding and tight contest from beginning to end.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.