2022 has already proven to be a big year for women’s boxing, and towards the end of summer there will be a captivating championship doubleheader at London’s O2 Arena in England.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and WBC/IBF/WBA middleweight champion Claressa Shields (12-0, 2 KOs) will unify her belts with WBO champion Savannah Marshall (12-0, 10 KOs) in an undisputed championship main event. The backstory between these two is that Marshall defeated Shields in the amateurs back in the 2012 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. To date that remains Shields’ only defeat as an amateur or pro.
Shields, the self-described greatest women’s boxer of all-time, most recently defended her titles against Ema Kozin in February. The Michigan native had previously fought twice under the PFL banner, going 1-1 in her foray into MMA. While she expects to continue her MMA career concurrently with boxing, this is by far the biggest fight possible. Marshall is coming off a spectacular KO of Femke Hermans, once again showcasing her vaunted power. She’s been the WBO champion at 160 lbs since stopping Hannah Rankin in October 2020.
In the co-main event, WBO and IBF super-featherweight champion Mikaela Mayer (17-0, 5 KOs) takes on WBC champion Alycia Baumgardner (12-1, 7 KOs) in an all-American unification bout that has been placed in the UK, where the market and interest in women’s boxing is indisputably bigger at the moment.
Mayer captured the WBO title from Ewa Brodnicka by unanimous decision in October 2020. Two fights later she prevailed in a thriller against Maiva Hamadouche to take the IBF belt away from the Frenchwoman. Those belts were defended in an easy decision over Jennifer Han in April. Baumgardner is familiar to UK fans on the basis of her upset KO win over then WBC champion Terri Harper, who was out on her feet after absorbing a massive right hand. She followed that up with a successful title defense against Edith Soledad Matthysse, also in England.
Other undercard fights will be announced at a later date, but the main story here is the presence of those two very compelling championship fights. By the end of September 10th we should have an undisputed middleweight champion and a three-belt super-featherweight champion. All of this just months removed from Katie Taylor’s classic vs. Amanda Serrano, which itself featured Franchon Crews-Dezurn’s undisputed super-middleweight title win over Elin Cederroos.
ESPN+ will have live coverage of Shields-Marshall and Mayer-Baumgardner in the United States, while Sky Sports will televise the event in the United Kingdom.