November is shaping up to be a huge month for the women’s junior lightweight division.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Mikaela Mayer and Maiva Hamadouche are set to collide in a long-pursued WBO/IBF junior lightweight title unification fight. The mouthwatering showdown will headline a November 5 ESPN+ show from Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, according to two sources with intimate knowledge of the development.
ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein was the first to report the news.
The bout has been in the works since Mayer’s last win, a ten-round, unanimous decision victory over Erica Farias this past June at the very same venue that will host the biggest fight of her young career. Mayer (15-0, 5KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympian, made the first defense of the WBO title she claimed in a ten-round shutout over then-unbeaten titlist Ewa Brodnicka last Halloween at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Each of Mayer’s last two bouts took place in supporting capacity to three-division titlist and pound-for-pound entrant Naoya Inoue. The upcoming clash with Hamadouche will mark her second career headliner, having previously topped an ESPN telecast in a ten-round win over Helen Joseph last July also at MGM Grand Conference Center. The 31-year-old from Colorado Springs by way of Los Angeles will fight for the sixth straight time in Nevada and her fourth in a row in Vegas.
Hamadouche (22-1, 18KOs) will attempt the seventh defense of her IBF title, which also serves as her U.S. debut and first career fight outside of Europe. The long-reigning titlist from Paris claimed her portion of the junior lightweight crown in a ten-round win over Jennifer Salinas in November 2016. Hamadouche has scored stoppage wins in seven of her last eight starts since then, including five knockouts among her six title defenses.
The agreed-upon clash with Mayer was put on hold until the fourth quarter of 2021 as Hamadouche was already committed to represent France in the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics which took place this past summer. Her time on amateur boxing’s highest stage was brief, dropping an opening round decision to Finland’s 40-year-old Mira Potkonen, who went on to make history as the oldest boxer in history to medal in claiming Olympic bronze.
In her most recent pro fight, Hamadouche—who turned pro in 2013—scored an eighth-round knockout of Nina Pavlovic last December on the road in Milan, Italy. The upcoming clash with Mayer will mark the sixth career fight on the road for the 31-year-old Hamadouche.
The bout comes on the heels of another divisional unification bout taking shape. Reigning WBC/IBO champ Terri Harper (11-0-1, 5KOs) is fully healed from an earlier hand injury and is angling to face unbeaten WBA titlist Hyun-Mi Choi, the longest reigning current alphabet titleholder in the sport, male or female. The two were due to collide this past May, only for Harper to aggravate a prior hand injury during training camp and was forced to undergo surgery.
Both sides have confirmed plans for a showdown later this year, with a date in November expected to be revealed in the near future.
Mayer made history, with her win over Joseph serving as the first-ever female bout to headline on ESPN’s flagship network. Her unification clash with Hamadouche will mark the first women’s boxing match to serve as main event of a U.S.-based ESPN+ telecast. The unbeaten titlist also topped an ESPN2 telecast preceding Tyson Fury’s celebrated Vegas debut in June 2019.
The title unification bout lands on a strategically placed date. The show takes place on the eve of the awaited undisputed super middleweight championship showdown between unified WBC/WBA/WBO titlist Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (56-1-2, 38KOs) and IBF beltholder Caleb Plant (21-0, 12KOs), which headlines a November 6 Showtime Pay-Per-View event from nearby MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox