Alycia Baumgardner is at the point where she can easily headline shows.
For now, she is perfectly fine with sharing the spotlight.
The unified junior lightweight champion once again plays the co-main event slot on a high-profile show. It is stateside this time, as Baumgardner collides with France’s Elhem Mekhaled for the undisputed 130-pound championship as part of a February 4 DAZN show from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. The event is headlined by the Amanda Serrano-Erika Cruz undisputed featherweight champion.
“I love it, it’s huge and builds me a fighter,” Baumgardner told BoxingScene.com. “It builds my profile. Stacked shows like this, like my last fight, they put more eyes on the sport and more eyes on my career.”
Baumgardner (13-1, 7KOs) saw her career and popularity soar to new heights following her majority decision wjn over undefeated Mikaela Mayer in their October 15 lineal/WBC/IBF/WBO/IBO junior lightweight championship. The fight served as the co-main event to an all-women’s show topped by the Claressa Shields-Savannah Marshall undisputed middleweight championship.
The double title bill did huge business for The O2 in London, UK broadcaster Sky Sports and sports streaming platform ESPN+ which carried the event stateside. Similar anticipation has already come of the February 4 show in New York City, which marks the first U.S. card of 2023 for Matchroom.
It’s also the first stateside appearance for Baumgardner—an Ohio native who lives and trains in the greater Detroit area–since August 2021 preceding her first career title fight. Three straight U.K. appearances followed, beginning with her November 2021 fourth-round knockout of Terri Harper in Sheffield, England to win the WBC 130-pound title.
Baumgardner now returns to the U.S. with all but one major title, with the vacant WBC belt at stake for her ten-round championship clash with Mekhaled (15-1, 3KOs). It comes on a night where Brooklyn’s Serrano (43-2-1, 30KOs) aims to become the first Puerto Rican fighter to claim undisputed championship status.
“I'm excited to see that fight. I think everybody is excited to see Amanda, from her fighting Katie Taylor to her fighting the IBF champ (Denmark’s Sarah Mahfoud) in another unification fight and now to this fight,” noted Baumgardner. “It being in New York, her backyard—their fight and my fight will be a great night for the sport and I’m honored to be a big part of it.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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