Mikaela Mayer is victorious as she defeats Jennifer Han during their WBO and IBF junior lightweight championship fight at The Hangar on April 09, 2022 in Costa Mesa, California. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Mikaela Mayer is coming back to the U.K. for the second fight in a row.
The former Ring junior lightweight champion will make her lightweight debut against former two-time junior welterweight world champion Christina “Medusa” Linardatou on Saturday, April 15, at Copper Box Arena in London.
Mayer-Linardatou will serve as the co-feature to the WBO interim heavyweight title clash between undefeated British knockout artist Joe Joyce and Chinese contender Zhilei Zhang.
Promoted by Queensberry Promotions, Joyce-Zhang, Mayer-Linardatou and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.
Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympian, signed with Top Rank in 2017 and captured the WBO junior lightweight championship with a unanimous decision victory against Ewa Brodnicka in October 2020. The following year, the Los Angeles native unified the WBO and IBF titles in an action-packed slugfest against Maiva Hamadouche. In her last fight, Mayer suffered the first defeat of her career, a split decision setback to Alycia Baumgardner at London’s O2 Arena.
Mayer wants to reverse her lone defeat, but she’ll first step up to lightweight to face Linardatou, the only woman to defeat Baumgardner in the paid ranks.
Mayer said, “The second I returned to the U.S. after my last fight in London, I called my team and told them to get me a fight ASAP. I didn’t want to wait, and I didn’t want to fight anyone other than a top contender! I’m hungry and motivated to prove that I’m still the best. When Top Rank sealed the deal with the tough and experienced Christina Linardatou, I was excited and inspired. She’s an aggressive, come-forward fighter, which is going to force me use all my tools. I always love the energy and support I get when visiting the UK, and I’m excited to come back and give everyone a great fight.”
Linardatou (14-2, 6 KOs) was born in the Dominican Republic but moved to Greece as a young child, where she developed her love for boxing. When she was 26, she returned to her native country to begin her pro career with a first-round technical knockout over Claribel Ferreras. The 34-year-old remained undefeated until unsuccessfully challenging Delfine Persoon for the WBC lightweight world title in 2016. Linardatou bounced back with four more wins, including a victory over Baumgardner and a win against Kandi Wyatt to capture the vacant WBO junior welterweight championship. Linardatou lost her 140-pound belt to Katie Taylor in 2019 but regained that title with a unanimous decision over Prisca Vicot in February 2020. Linardatou returned from a 29-month layoff last July, winning a six-round decision over Aleksandra Vujovic.
Linardatou said, “I’m excited to be fighting Mikaela. She is coming off a loss to Alycia Baumgardner, whom I easily beat some years ago. I know she will be looking to make a statement in this fight. This is my first big fight after having a baby, which means my mission is different. Prior to having a baby, I would fight for titles and money. Now, I am fighting for legacy and to show my son how great his mom is.”
“Mikaela Mayer made such a big hit in the UK that it only made sense to for her to fight across the pond again,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Mikaela is still one of the very best fighters in the world, and she demanded a tough fight for her lightweight debut. Linardatou has proven herself at the world-class level and should give Mikaela a run for her money.”
A press release by Top Rank was used in this article.