Alycia Baumgardner avenges Linardatou loss with wide UD, Andy Cruz wins pro debut
Alycia Baumgardner avenged the only loss of her pro career and defended her undisputed junior lightweight championship for the first time with a clear-cut unanimous decision over Christina Linardatou on Saturday at the Masonic Temple in Detroit.
Baumgardner (15-1, 7 KOs), who won by scores of 99-91 and 98-92 (twice), had dropped a six-round split decision to Linardatou in 2018. Linardatou won the WBO 140-pound belt in her next fight but would lose it to Katie Taylor in the same year (2019). Baumgardner went on a win streak that included a KO of the Year against Terri Harper (which earned her the WBC belt in 2021) and a split decision over highly regarded Mikaela Mayer (which garnered her The Ring, IBF and WBO titles in 2022).
Coming into Saturday’s rematch, Linadartou (14-3, 6 KOs) had only fought once (in 2022) since 2020. During her hiatus the 35-year-old gave birth, so there was some ring rust to knock off during her rematch with Baumgardner, who started well by landed hard body-head combinations in the opening round. However, the Greek veteran stepped up her aggression and punch activity in Rounds 3 and 4, outworking Baumgardner, who was content to stiff-arm the challenger and jab to the body.
Linardartou was the more active and aggressive fighter during the middle rounds, while Baumgardner was a more economical ring general, controlling the distance and landing the harder and more accurate punches. The 29-year-old Detroit resident pressed more during the late rounds, forcing Linardatou to the ropes where they exchanged punches, often targeting the body, which sapped the energy from the former beltholder.
Baumgardner physically dominated a game-but-fatigued Linardatou in the final two rounds.
When asked why she took her foot off the gas pedal after the first round, Baumgarnder replied:
“It’s about boxing smart, we’ve got 10 rounds to work with. It’s about skill.”
When asked what’s next, she called out undisputed lightweight champ Katie Taylor and undisputed junior welterweight champ Chantelle Cameron, who are scheduled to fight a rematch of their May 20 showdown (won by Cameron). Baumgardner also mentioned undisputed featherweight champ Amanda Serrano, who has fought as heavy as junior welterweight.
Her promoter Eddie Hearn liked the sound of that.
“Alycia’s ready for mega-fights and Serrano is a tremendous fight,” he said. “Serrano next, then the winner of Cameron-Taylor. Only big fights for Alycia now.”
In the co-featured bout of the Matchroom Boxing card, which was broadcast live on DAZN, Cuban amateur star Andy Cruz won his pro debut with a dominant 10-round unanimous decision over 35-year-old gatekeeper Juan Carlos Burgos.
Cruz, a three-time world amateur champ who won a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games, beat Burgos by scores of 100-90 (twice) and 98-92.
Burgos (35-8-3, 21 KOs) was a world-class featherweight and junior lightweight a decade ago. The Tijuana challenged for world titleholders on three occasions — dropping a decision to Hozumi Hasegawa (for the WBC 126-pound belt in 2010), holding Roman Martinez to a split-draw (for the WBO 130-pound belt in 2013) and losing on points to Mikey Garcia (for the WBO 130-pound belt in 2014).
In recent years, Burgos has been a durable opponent (he’s never been stopped) for up-and-coming lightweights, including Devin Haney and Keyshawn Davis. Add 27-year-old Cruz to that group.
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