Alicia Napoleon returns in non-title fight, will scout Shields-Hammer in AC
WBA female super middleweight titleholder Alicia Napoleon will be back in action Wednesday night in a non-title bout when she takes on Eva Bajic in the co-feature of the latest edition of DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing series at the Sony Hall in Times Square New York City. The card will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.
“I am extremely excited to be back in the ring,” Napoleon said. “The time is right and this is a good tune up fight for me to prepare me for bigger fights to come this year.”
This will be Napoleon’s second fight since winning the world title last March at Barclays Center on the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz undercard and her first bout since getting married last year. While planning her wedding, Napoleon also managed to work full time at the Manhattan gym she owns, Overthrow New York, which recently opened its second location in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, and prepare for her first title defense last August.
“It was just crazy and exciting at the same time,” Napoleon recalls. “But I love pressure and I am up for any challenge, so we made it work and I won my fight and we had a beautiful wedding.”
The 33-year-old Napoleon (10-1, 5 KOs) has been an outspoken advocate for equal pay for women in boxing and believes the tide is starting to turn with world champion and two-time Olympic gold medal winner Claressa Shields meeting another world champion Christina Hammer headlining a card on Showtime.
“I’m so happy to see a fight like that which is 50-50 and both of the champions get the attention they deserve,” Napoleon said. “It’s about time the networks recognize us as equal contributors. We have fans, we have personalities and stories to share.”
Napoleon plans to be ringside for the Shields-Hammer middleweight unification world championship bout on Saturday to scout for a potential future foe. The Lindenhurst, New York native knows before she can enjoy being a spectator on Saturday night in Atlantic City she must get past the upset minded Serbian Bajic (14-16, 9 KOs).
“I’ve trained hard for this fight as if it were a title fight,” Napoleon said. “I watched Bajic on tape and we prepared a good game plan for her. I noticed she doesn’t like to get hit in the body so we are going to attack her there all night.”
Napoleon appeared only once in 2017 and had two fights last year which is well below the amount of times she wants to fight per year. There were instances where fights didn’t pan out like when she was prepared to fight last June in New York when her opponent Vashon Living inexplicably never showed up for the weigh in the day before.
“It’s very frustrating, but it’s part of the business and sadly I have gotten used to it by now,” Napoleon admits.
“It’s happened so many times to me when the fighters fail the medical or don’t bother showing up that when you include the amateurs it’s ridiculous, but I have to remain positive and focused at all times. Being upset doesn’t help the situation.”