GLENDALE, Arizona — Eddie Hearn is prepared to return to New York City with a pair of lineal championships on the same show.
As BoxingScene.com previously reported, Matchroom Boxing and Most Valuable Promotions (MVP) are working out terms for an undisputed featherweight championship between seven-division and reigning lineal WBC/IBF/WBO/IBO featherweight champion Amanda Serrano and Mexico City’s Erika Cruz, who holds the WBA belt. The fight—once finalized—is targeted to headline a February 4 DAZN show in New York City.
Matchroom Boxing is also working on a second undisputed championship fight on the night, between lineal/WBC/IBF/WBO/IBO 130-pound queen Alycia Baumgardner and long-reigning WBA titlist Hyun Mi Choi. At minimum, Baumgardner’s next title defense is budgeted to land on the show—with Choi as the preference but with that fight currently the subject of a December 12 WBA purse bid-hearing.
“We’re trying to negotiate that,” Hearn confirmed to BoxingScene.com. “We’d love to do that fight on the same card as Serrano-Cruz. Unfortunately, Choi might not be ready for that early February date. Alycia beat Mikaela Mayer to unify three titles and the Ring belt.
“But we need to mop up that last one. The WBA have ordered it and we really want to make that fight.”
The double championship bill would mirror the sold-out April 30 DAZN show at Madison Square Garden jointly presented by Matchroom and MVP.
That memorable night saw Ireland’s Katie Taylor (22-0, 6KOs) edge Serrano (43-2-1, 30KOs)—a Brooklyn-bred Puerto Rican southpaw—via split decision to defend her undisputed championship. The bout remains a leading candidate for 2022 Fight of the Year, headlining a night that also saw Franchon Crews-Dezurn (8-1, 2KOs) soundly outclass previously unbeaten Elin Cederroos (8-1, 4KOs) to fully unify the super middleweight division.
Serrano (43-2-1, 30KOs) ended a two-fight stay at lightweight with a return to featherweight, her prime weight and where she further unified the division in her most recent start. Serrano traveled to Manchester, England to add the IBF 126-pound belt to her growing collection following a dominant ten-round win over previously unbeaten Sarah Mahfoud.
A win over Cruz (15-1, 3KOs)—who is riding a 14-fight win streak—would deliver the last featherweight chip to Serrano. It would also provide Puerto Rico—the first country or territory in boxing history to claim at least one champion in every weight division—with its first undisputed champion, male or female.
Meanwhile, the event will provide Baumgardner (13-1, 7KOs) with her first title fight in the U.S.
The unified and lineal 130-pound champ from the greater Detroit area has spent her last three fights in the United Kingdom. It began with her fourth-round knockout of then-unbeaten WBC junior lightweight titlist Terri Harper last November 13 in Sheffield. Baumgardner made her first title defense in a ten-round, unanimous decision win over former unified featherweight titlist Edith Soledad Matthysse on April 16 in Manchester.
In her biggest win to date, Baumgardner dethroned IBF/WBO 130-pound champ Mikaela Mayer via majority decision as the co-feature of an historic October 15 all-female card at The O2 in London.
Choi (20-0-1, 5KOs) presently serves as the longest reigning titlist in the sport, dating back to May 2015.
However, the unbeaten two-division and reigning WBA 130-pound titlist has drawn industry-wide scorn for her soft level of opposition and avoiding the tough fights. There were previously talks in place for a Baumgardner-Choi WBC/WBA unification bout, only for Choi’s side to head in another direction. It led to Baumgardner instead going to Mayer first and now revisiting plans for all the belts.
Choi’s seven-plus year reign has come with ten successful title defenses, including a ten-round win over Vanessa Bradford in her most recent outing on October 19 in Seoul, South Korea.
Regardless of Choi’s participation, the placement of Serrano-Cruz and Baumgardner would leave the DAZN show with two true lineal championship bouts on the telecast.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox