Thursday, September 21, 2023  |



Women’s Ratings Update: Mikaela Mayer wins inaugural Ring belt at 130, jumps to No. 7 at P4P     

Mikaela Mayer (left) earned the first-ever Ring belt in the junior lightweight division with a win over Maiva Hamadouche at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on November 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Fighters Network

It was much more than a career-defining fight. It was a testimony of women’s boxing’s enormous progress, a fight that will be in the conversation as a possible Fight of the Year, regardless of gender.

For 10 rounds, Mikaela Mayer and Maiva Hamadouche held nothing back, putting it all on the line for the biggest prize in prizefighting: an undisputed world title. And the winner proved to be a deserving one, mixing it up when she had to and boxing beautifully too in a clash that will be remembered for many years to come.

In the end, Mayer, a former US Olympian and current WBO titlist, was declared the winner of the unification battle against France’s Hamadouche (No. 3 in The Ring’s Women’s Ratings), now a former IBF beltholder.

With this result, Mayer (No. 1) was promoted to the first-ever Ring champion in the junior lightweight division. And with this performance, Mayer also jumped up one spot in the mythical pound-for-pound ranking, becoming our new No. 7 ahead of former queen Cecilia Braekhus.

The entire panel saluted her historic achievement with generous laudatory remarks.

“She had a great strategy and execution against the aggressive Hamadouche, and then her long-time mentor Al Mitchell still gave her “A-,” said Japan’s Yuriko Miyata. “I liked that idea. I am looking forward to seeing how she performs when she gets an ‘A’ from him.”

Malissa Smith agreed with Coach Al, too.

“Talk about representing the best in women’s boxing and our inaugural Ring belt for the junior lightweight division!” said the boxing historian from New York. “Mayer brought her ‘A’ game to new levels (…). Hamadouche was absolutely the full-throttle engine that kept on coming, but Mayer was able to bring together a range of boxing prowess with her body work and smart use of the jab to set up devastating combinations.”

Mayer’s stock rose considerably after this fight, and the rest of the panel agrees that the sky is the limit for the Californian.

“I believe that Mayer will continue to rise. I agree that she must climb a step above Braekhus,” said Argentina’s Yesica Palmetta, while her compatriot and editor of Rincon Rojo magazine Irene Deserti concurred by saying “Mayer has impressive versatility. She evolves round by round. Simply fantastic!”

Mark Jones didn’t hesitate to predict an even brighter future for the new undisputed champion.

“If I had to predict who will be the No. 1 pound-for-pound in women’s boxing a year from now, Mikaela Mayer would be on the short list. She’s the most diverse fighter at junior lightweight, and goes to the body as well as any fighter in women’s boxing.”

Considering the level of opposition that awaits her should she stay in the division, Mayer is going to need all that – and then some. Especially now that a new arrival has made things interesting for her at 130.

To the ongoing challenge of England’s WBC titlist Terri Harper, who may be Mayer’s next opponent if she manages to overcome Alicia Baumbgardner’s challenge this coming week, Mayer must now add the threat of a foe that has always hovered around the 130-135 region. And now, after two consecutive fights at 130, she was ranked in this division too, just to make things even more interesting.

“While (Delfine) Persoon’s victory over a 7-6 may not seem impressive, fights are hard to come by, and (her) ‘win’ over Katie Taylor will forever be etched in our minds,” said Lupi Gutierrez-Beagle, of Beautiful Brawlers, responding to a proposal to bring the Belgian mauler back into the ranking at 130 after defeating Beatriz Aguilar over the weekend, while she is still ranked as our No. 1 at 135. “Let’s stir this pot: Delfine Persoon at No. 2.”

Hannah Rankin is now Scotland’s first-ever world titlist. Photo by Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom Boxing

Although The Ring has tried to refrain from ranking fighters in two divisions simultaneously, the talent and level of activity of some of them justifies a few exceptions, and Persoon is definitely one of them as an instant favorite or 50-50 proposition against any of her fellow pound-for-pound entrants.

“Persoon is another of the great warriors who are showing up women’s boxing, in addition to her extensive experience,” said Palmetta, while Jones said that “she has experience against high-level competition, extremely high punch volume, power in the right hand, and an endless motor.”

Elsewhere in our rankings, we pondered the rise of Scotland’s Hannah Rankin after her great win over Sweden’s Maria Lindberg with a WBA belt in play, and more enough votes were gathered to move the professional bassoon player to the No. 2 position at junior middleweight.

For Puerto Rico’s Wildalys Figueras-Snow, it was a “close fight where Lindberg landed good punches; however, Rankin did her part with more forceful and flashy hits.” Smith agreed in saying that “Hannah Rankin is very refreshing as a fighter and made history as Scotland’s first women’s boxing champion. I’m all for putting her into the number 2 spot. She’s earned it.”