A women’s super middleweight unification bout has been added to Showtime’s Jan. 10 card, which is set to be headlined by Claressa Shields vs Ivana Habazin for a pair of vacant junior middleweight titles.
WBA titleholder Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa (12-1, 7 KO) will take on IBF titleholder Elin Cederroos (7-0, 4 KO) in the fight, scheduled of course for 10 rounds.
Napoleon-Espinosa, 33, is a New Yorker and familiar to viewers of Lou DiBella’s Broadway Boxing series. This year she beat Eva Bajic and Schemelle Baldwin via stoppage on a pair of those shows streamed on UFC Fight Pass. The win over Baldwin was a title defense.
Cederroos, 34, is a Swedish fighter who turned pro in April 2017 and claimed the vacant IBF belt in March of this year, winning a majority decision over Femke Hermans in Belgium. The title had previously been held by Shields, who moved down in weight this year.
“I’m really excited to be unifying with IBF World Champion Elin Cederroos on Showtime,” said Napoleon-Espinosa. “I’m extremely grateful to my promoter Lou DiBella, manager Brian Cohen, coaches Leon Taylor and Delen Parsley and my husband Roberto Espinosa for being the key ingredients to making this dream come true. I have an amazing team of men that stand strong by my side believing in me, preparing me and working hard to open doors for me to thrive.
“I’m blessed and prepared to win and put on a memorable performance for all the world to see that night. I’m in tremendous spirits and excited and ready for the night to come. Thank you to everyone, my team, family and fans, for making this opportunity materialize into a dream come true.”
“Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa is a great champion and she will be my toughest test, but I am ready,” said Cederroos. “It is an honor for me to make my U.S. debut on such a prestigious card and to do so in a world title unification battle. Alicia and I will put on a great show.”
Napoleon-Espinosa has had some Twitter exchanges with Shields and obviously hopes to land a fight with the self-styled “GWOAT” at some point. She’d be an underdog against Claressa as things currently stand, but who isn’t? And it’s the biggest money fight any woman from 154 to 168 is likely to get, with easily the most TV exposure given Showtime’s investment in Shields and women’s boxing.