Women’s boxing has been gaining a lot of steam from recent promotional pushes on platforms like DAZN and ESPN+. There have been more frequent main events, touted title fights/unification fights, and some very exciting scraps when the best are paired and meet in the ring. Last night Mikaela Mayer the IBF champion at 130 lbs. met WBO title holder Maiva Hamadouche of France and they put on a hell of a fight.
Mayer 31 from Colorado Springs, Colorado entered her third career title fight after lifting the title off of Polish champion Ewa Brodnicka in dominant fashion and defending against Erica Farias. She has been a pretty dominant fighter in her pro career thus far and had her stiffest test against 22-1 Hamadouche who had 18 KO’s and a relentless style. Hamadouche won her belt in 2016 and had six successful defenses of that title with five won by stoppage. Her lone loss was in 2015 to one of the best female fighters in the world in Belgium’s Delfine Persoon. Mayer to the amazement of the crowd and ESPN broadcast crew came right out to the center of the ring and began trading with Hamadouche to start the fight. All action from the beginning Mayer was firing hard right hands down the middle and trying to use the leverage to comeback with a left hook. Hamadouche weathered the storm and came back attacking with lefts and rights to win the round. The first four rounds were fought at close range with neither fighter giving ground. Hamadouche’s relentless style caused problems for Mayer who willfully traded despite having more depth to her overall boxing style. Hamadouche had a lot of success with the uppercut which is rare as a shorter fighter. As the middle rounds approached Mayer took advice from her corner to turn Hamadouche more and create distance. This created opportunities for the left hook, right cross and uppercuts. With the room to punch she generated more stinging power and gave judges a clearer view of her cleaner work. A nasty body attack also seemed to take the snap out of Hamadouche’s punches. In the seventh round Mayer scored two hard right hand counter punches and won the eighth in dominant fashion. It felt as though Mayer could potentially score a TKO by wearing down Hamadouche but the French titlist roared back. She appeared to gain a second wind and on my scorecard took the last round scoring heavy blows down the middle. After ten rounds I had the fight a draw at 95-95 while the judges gave Mayer the nod with scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92 which begs the question as to which fight they were watching.
I think Mayer showed terrific resolve in dealing with the attack of Hamadouche and displayed terrific boxing skills. Hamadouche is just a mean, come forward fighter who brings it. This fight would make a great rematch. I feel overall that this fight did a lot of good to further promote women’s boxing.