Alycia Baumgardner to defend undisputed 130-pound title versus Christina Linardatou, July 15
Alycia Baumgardner will make the first defense of her undisputed junior lightweight and The Ring Magazine championship against a familiar foe.
Baumgardner will face Christina Linardatou, on July 15, Matchroom Boxing announced over the weekend. The 10-round bout will take place at the Masonic Temple, in Detroit, Michigan, and will stream live on DAZN.
Also on the card, unbeaten Richardson Hitchins and Montana Love will square off in a junior welterweight bout. The long-awaited professional debut of Andy Cruz will also take place on the card, as he will face former 130-pound title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos, also scheduled for 10 rounds.
“What a night this is going to be,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “I am so thrilled for Alycia. It’s poetic that we have announced this card…as great champions deserve to fight in front of their hometown fans and that’s exactly what Alycia gets on July 15. I’ve no doubt ‘The Bomb’ is going to produce something special in Detroit.
“To say Richardson and Montana do not like each other is an understatement and they finally get their hands on each other in the ring. The build-up will be ferocious and will come to the boil on fight night but cool heads will be needed when they step through the ropes as this is a vital clash in the 140-pound division.
“And last but, by no means, least, welcome to the paid ranks, Andy Cruz. Fans who get their hands on a ticket for this brilliant night of action will witness the first steps of a fighter I believe will win world titles at multiple weights and walk into the Hall of Fame. Every journey starts with a single step and Juan Carlos is a tough Mexican that’s never been stopped and mixed in great company. It’s a great test on what will be the first of many epic nights for Andy in the pro game.”
Baumgardner (14-1, 7 knockouts), who was born in Chicago, Illinois, is ranked No. 8 in The Ring’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings. In her most recent bout, on February 4, Baumgardner dropped Elhem Mekhaled twice en route to a unanimous decision victory. With the win, Baumgardner won the WBA title to become the undisputed champion.
The 28-year-old unified the IBF, WBC and WBO 130-pound titles on October 15, defeating Mikaela Mayer by split decision in a very close fight in London, England.
Baumgardner’s only defeat in her pro career, a split decision, came at the hands of Linardatou in July 2018. She hopes to not only avenge her defeat to Linardatou but to revitalize the boxing scene in Detroit.
“It was a blessing to be able to fight overseas in front of an international audience to unify titles and then to finally become undisputed in my home country at MSG (Madison Square Garden in New York City), was so amazing,” said Baumgardner. “But to come back to the Midwest, where I grew up, where I learned how to work, where my life was shaped, where my faith was forged and then to headline in my adopted home of Detroit for my first undisputed title defense, I am truly realizing a dream come true.
“In one of the world’s most storied cities for boxing, I get to put on a show and show out in front of the people who’ve supported me and know me best. I get to thank the region that helped make me who I am. I get to show the world that a little girl from Fremont [Ohio], came back home as the undisputed champion of the world and let all those other midwestern little girls like me know that they can reach any dream they can imagine.”
Linardatou (14-2, 6 KOs), who is originally from Santiago de los Caballeros, in the Dominican Republic, and now resides in Athens, Greece, was originally scheduled to face Mikaela Mayer on April 15 in a lightweight bout. However in an unexpected move, The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) removed Linardatou from the Mayer bout after failing an eye exam. Linardatou faced Katie Taylor, in Manchester, in November 2019, losing by unanimous decision.
The 35-year-old has won her last two fights since the loss to Taylor. Linardatou is confident she can get the job done again against Baumgardner.
“I think it’s going to be a great fight with me and Alycia,” said Linardatou, whose other defeat was to Delfine Persoon. “It’s going to be much better than the first one. She has shown signs of improvement but I have a new purpose to fight for – my son.
“And as much as she improved with her skills, her ego and head has grown with it. She does a lot of things for social media and to get attention. I’m doing this for the legacy of my son.”
Hitchins (16-0, 7 KOs), who resides in Manhattan, New York, has emerged as a fighter to watch at 140 pounds.
The 25-year-old also fought on the same MSG card with Baumgardner and dropped his opponent John Bauza twice en route to a one-sided win. In his previous fight, on November 12, Hitchins stopped Yomar Alamo after the eighth round.
Love (18-1-1, 9 KOs) was disqualified in his most recent bout, on November 12, after throwing Steve Spark over the top rope, as both fighters were in a clinch. In his previous fight, on May 7 of last year, the 28-year-old overcame a knockdown to defeat Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela by a close decision.
Cruz is one of the more talented fighters to come out of Cuba. He won the gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games, defeating Keyshawn Davis in the final. Cruz was scheduled to make his pro debut one year ago, in Aguascalientes, Mexico, but was pulled from the card after a disagreement with his trainer, who also worked with other fighters from Cuba. He defected, reportedly making his way to the Dominican Republic until securing entry into the United States.
Burgos (35-7-3, 21 KOs), who resides in Tijuana, Mexico, lost by decision to Davis in his most recent bout on December 10. The 35-year-old has lost five of his last eight bouts.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]. You can follow Francisco on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.