ALYCIA BAUMGARDNER MOVES A STEP CLOSER TO JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT UNDISPUTED BID WITH SPLIT DECISION OVER MIKAELA MAYER
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 15: Alycia Baumgardner (L) and Mikaela Mayer (R) exchange punches during their unified super featherweight championship fight at The 02 Arena on October 15, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Robinson/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)LONDON (October 15, 2022) — The co-feature bout for the Claressa Shields versus Savannah Marshall undisputed Middleweight championship grew from noisy to highly combustible. Junior Lightweight unified champion Mikaela Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs) spent the last several years becoming a draw for Top Rank on its broadcast partner ESPN.
On the other hand, WBC champion Alycia Baumgardner (13-1, 7 KOs) traversed the Midwest the past five years collecting victories until a world title opportunity against unbeaten champion Terri Harper presented itself on the DAZN streaming app in November 2021. The Fremont, Ohio native took her talents across the pond and won a thrilling upset by way of a highlight reel four round knockout.
Afterwards, a showdown between the two, initially explored in 2020 as part of Top Rank’s Bubble fights at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, seemingly made more sense. The two now possessed 3 of the 4 titles in the 130-pound division.
After a series of volatile moments en route to fight, Mayer and Baumgardner finally met inside London’s O2 Arena.
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Very little of the pre-fight animus surfaced during the 20 minutes of battle in the ring. Baumgardner started strong by jumping out to an early lead in landed punches. Mayer faltered a bit out of the gate, and needed a few rounds to adjust to Baumgardner’s movement and choice of range. Attacking from distance allowed Baumgardner to time Mayer repeatedly and her right hand became the story of the first few rounds.
Mayer eventually got on track. She worked her way back into the fight behind her jab, but she often left herself open to counters when attempting follow up with her right hand. Baumgardner squandered her early lead, seemingly growing less and less busy with her offense. However, the 28-year old picked things up starting in the seventh, and did enough to win the majority of the final five rounds to take the fight by split decision. Baumgardner’s hand was raised after the judges’ decision was revealed with cards of 93-97, and then a narrow 96-95 on the remaining two cards.
Baumgardner got off to a very solid start. Between her jabs to the body and using her feet to be hard to locate, Mayer’s typical work-rate was stalled out in the first frame.
Mayer continued with her feints in Round 2, and committed to her jab and 1-2 more. Baumgardner laid back a little and attempted to land her right hand from different angles as Mayer threw her jab. The Ohio native landed the round’s best punch moments before the bell.
Mayer stayed with her jab early in Round 3. She appeared to be step or two behind Baumgardner who maintained her movement and extended her lead in landed punches.
Mayer jabbed to the body after the fourth round bell. She added a right hand that landed cleanly in the opening moments. Baumgardner circled away, changing directions but was caught flush with a two punch combination and clean-up left hook. The round was Mayer’s best to this point.
Mayer’s momentum continued to grow through the first minute of Round 5. Baumgardner started to struggle with the unified champion’s jab. The action picked up somewhat in the round, Baumgardner placed a right hand in between Mayer’s jab near the end of the round.
Mayer maintained her aggression in Round 6. She pressed forward with the busier hands. Baumgardner’s jab lacked its sharpness from the opening round.
Baumgardner landed a big right hand just before the second half of Round 7. The WBC champion’s intensity clearly returned after being strongly encouraged by her corner during the break. Mayer took some bigger shots, failing to keep her head off the line as she stepped forward to engage. Mayer finished the round with a cut.
The landed shots count stood at 76-72 in Baumgardner’s favor to start Round 8. Baumgardner erupted with a combination early in the round. She targeted Mayer’s body and finished with an uppercut. The rest of the action was close.
Mayer doubled and tripled her jab through the first 60 seconds of the ninth round. She worked effectively from outside, Baumgardner flurried to answer. The exchanges were extremely balanced again, making the leader of the fight difficult to determine.
Baumgardner maintained a 5-punch lead to open the 10th and final round. Baumgardner circled to her left jabbing. She landed a left hook to the body just under one minute to go. Mayer returned fire. Both fighters fired away with various punches to close out the final two minutes. But the winner was still fairly indistinguishable.
Baumgardner’s case was solidified by landing 40 percent of her power punches to secure a healthy 78-39 lead in that category.
Mayer exited the ring – with obvious disappointment in the decision – without speaking to the in-ring interviewer. Baumgardner said that she was confident that she’d done enough to earn the decision, and cited her effectiveness with her power punches. In closing, the IBF/WBC/WBO champion stated her future intentions.
“I landed the cleaner shots. The harder shots. I had her cut above her forehead. I was the harder puncher. I dug deep. That girl ain’t getting no rematch. I’m going after Choi [Hyun-Mi] like I said. Undisputed is what I claimed. It’s what I’m going to do.”
All photos courtesy of Mark Robinson/Top Rank via Getty Images