Mikaela Mayer in Rio Olympics and other female fight news
Most of our coverage focuses on female professional prizefighting, but with the inclusion of professionals this year by the International Olympic Committee, we felt it necessary to mention those women participating in Olympic boxing.
Mayer, 26, is one of two North American females on Team USA currently in Rio de Janiero, Brazil about to engage in the Olympic tournament. The other is Claressa Shield a gold medal winner in 2012.
It’s been a long journey for Mayer.
Four years ago the tall blonde lightweight barely missed the cut for the women’s team. Only three are selected after two years of qualification in national and international tournaments. Mayer didn’t make the team in 2012 but set her focus on getting on the team on her next attempt.
The leggy lightweight could be seen traveling to various gyms throughout the Southwest. From out of the way boxing gyms in Las Vegas to small crowded gyms located in the East LA. Wherever girl boxers could be found Mayer would be there ready to exchange punches with all comers.
One day Mayer would be sparring with super featherweight world champion Lissette Medel. On other days she could be seen lacing up against other girl boxers itching to make a name against the tall amateur with speedy combinations and smooth footwork. At first her punches were more slaps than punches but after four years of sparring against the best, including a change of boxing coaches, the Southern Californian soon began finding her footing and power.
“It’s been such an amazing journey. To look back at all the ups and downs to being just another boxer in the Maywood community boxing gym to being an Olympian,” said Mayer recalling our first meeting in 2012. “I was just an amateur boxer.”
Tournaments saw Mayer successfully engage against some of the best in the world. Slowly her already natural athleticism was boosted by a growing skill set and wins began mounting up quickly. But one other thing separated her from the others: she had a blue hot intense desire to succeed.
Born on the Fourth of July, the Southern California girl never had aspirations of entering boxing as a youth. She tried different things, including modeling, but felt something was missing in her life.
“When I was a young teen, I wasn’t focused on anything. I was traveling on the wrong path. I thought of kickboxing because there was a kickboxing gym by my house and became obsessed with it,” said Mayer.
Kickboxing then led her to the sport of boxing.
“First, there’s more of a ladder to climb in the U.S. with boxing rather than with Muy Thai. My kickboxing trainer let me take boxing,” said Mayer, adding that her kickboxing trainers helped her during the early part of her amateur boxing career. “There was something about boxing that I wanted to learn more. I just eventually stuck with boxing and fell in love with it.”
She was 18 and entering a sport that usually sees people enter at much earlier ages. At 5-foot-9 and blessed with speed and athleticism, Mayer was able to climb to the finals of the U.S. national tournament. But it ended with a close loss and her London Olympic dreams fell short in 2011. She immediately decided to make changes.
“I lost two out of four of those fights and I wasn’t happy with my training. My coaches were Muy Thai and not boxing specialists,” Mayer said. “My dad said there’s a boxing program in Northern Michigan with someone named Al Mitchell. He called me later that day and said they want me there in two weeks. I said, ‘yes, let’s do it.’ Broke up with my boyfriend and quit my job. All I wanted to do was train. I had never been in northern Michigan and it was the best decision I made.”
Mitchell formerly headed a U.S. Olympic boxing team and knows the intricacies of winning a tournament boxing match. Together they restructured her style and emphasized her strong points. During the past four years, Mayer could be seen sparring in gyms throughout Southern California, Nevada and Colorado with pros and amateurs.
Last fall, Mayer put all of her training and new experience to the test in the U.S. Olympic elimination tournament. She fought her way to victory and a final spot on the Team USA female boxing team headed to Brazil.
“It was a great experience and I was able to come out on top,” said Mayer who defeated a fellow Southern Californian to win the lightweight division title. “I was just hoping they (judges) saw what I felt. It was the best feeling in the world. It was a super emotional moment.”
Association International Boxing Amateur (AIBA) ranked Mayer No. 7 in the world of 132-pound female lightweight division. The Olympics feature only three female weight divisions. Along with Mayer is 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields in the 165-pound middleweight division who is the only returning female on the team. Mayer feels excited about the team.
“I knew it was my year and it feels good to make that dream finally come true,” she said. “I had no doubt I would make it.”
Female Fight News
In Rosario, Erica Farias defeated Victoria Bustos by unanimous decision after 10 rounds to retain the WBC super lightweight world title on Saturday July 30. For more read story by Diego Morilla on this site.
In San Salvador de Jujuy, a battle between super featherweights saw Brenda Carabajal (11-2) win by technical knockout over Maria Maderna (15-13-3) at the end of the third round to keep the Argentine super featherweight title on Friday July 29. Carabajal, 25, was fighting in front of her hometown. Maderna is 40 and fights out of Las Flores, Argentina.
In Cartagena, a featherweight clash saw Yolis Franco (20-9-3) defeat Glenis Cardona (2-9-2) by decision after six rounds on Friday July 29. Franco, 39, lives in Cartegena and has now won five consecutive fights since losing to Jennifer Salinas in 2013. Cardona, 21, has now lost four consecutive fights.
In Le Cannet, a super bantamweight clash saw Angelique Duchemin (12-0) stopped Marianna Gulyas (13-24) by technical knockout in the fourth round on Saturday July 30. Duchemin, 25, fights out of Thuir, France and dropped down in weight for this contest. Gulyas is 28 and has lost six consecutive bouts.
In Hamburg, a flyweight world title clash saw Susi Kentikian (36-2) defeated Nevenka Mikulic (6-7-1) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Saturday July 30. Kentikian, 28, fights out of Hamburg and retains the GBU and WIBF flyweight world titles. Mikulic, 36, fights out of Croatia.
In Osaka, a minimumweight battle saw Minayo Kei (3-2) defeat Haruko Kaneko (0-1) by technical knockout in the last round of the four rounder on Sunday July 31. Kei, 24, fights out of Okinawa.
In Tokyo, a minimumweight contest saw Erika Hanawa (6-0) remain undefeated with a decision win over Saranyaphong Theinthong (0-7) after five rounds on Wednesday July 27. Hanawa, 26, fights out of Tokyo, Japan.
Fuka Komura (0-0) makes her pro debut against Kaori Nagai (0-1) in a four-round minimumweight showdown on Sunday Aug. 7, in Osaka, Japan.
In Tijuana, a flyweight contest saw former Mexican amateur star Sulem Urbina (1-0) win a close split decision over Eloisa Martinez (1-4-1) after four rounds on Saturday July 30. Urbina, 26, lives in Phoenix and recently signed with Zanfer Promotions. It was her pro debut. Martinez, 22, fights out of Queretaro, Mexico.
In Cuernavaca, a flyweight match up saw Mayela Perez (13-21-4) use her experience to defeat debuting Zaida Cuevas (0-1) by technical knockout in the first round. Perez, 31, fights out of Saltillo, Mexico.
In San Luis Potosi, a welterweight match up saw Maru Ramirez (1-0) win her pro debut by decision over Heidy Martinez (0-2) after four rounds on Friday July 29.
In Monterrey, a super featherweight showdown saw Marisol Corona (6-2) defeat Karen Acosta (2-1-1) by majority decision after six rounds on Tuesday July 26. Corona fights out of Nayarit, Mexico. Acosta was fighting in her hometown.
Jackie Calvo (8-2) meets Jazmin Ortega (2-3-1) in a flyweight contest set for six rounds on Saturday Aug. 6, in Mexico City. Calvo, 20, lives and trains in Mexico City. Ortega also fights out of Mexico City and defeated Lourdes Juarez and Irma Sanchez in back to back fights.
Lourdes Borbua (6-0) meets Rita Luzardo (0-1) on Tuesday Aug. 9, in a super featherweight match up. The fight takes place in Panama City.
In Estosadok, a super featherweight contest saw Yuliana Kutsenko (5-0-1) defeat debuting Natalya Kamenskikh (0-1) by unanimous decision after six rounds on Saturday July 30. Kutsenko, 27, fights out of Zhiguli, Russia.
In St. Petersburg, a featherweight match saw Elena Gradinar (3-0) defeat Kseniya Pichugina (0-1) who was making her pro debut by unanimous decision after six rounds on Saturday July 30. Gradinar, 25, turns 26 on Aug. 16, and fights out of St. Petersburg, Russia.
In Valencia, a super featherweight contest saw Firuza Sharipova (1-1) win her first pro fight by defeating Angela Cannizzaro (5-4) by decision after four rounds Saturday July 30. Sharipova, 21, fights out of Kazakhstan. Her opponent Cannizzaro is 39 and lives in Italy.
In Brooklyn, New York, a featherweight clash saw Amanda Serrano (29-1-1, 22 Kos) knockout Calixta Silgado (14-7-3) at 1:41 of the first round on Saturday July 30. It was Serrano’s fourth consecutive knockout. Serrano, 28, mentioned she would like to drop down another weight division to capture another world title. She now holds the WBO featherweight title. Silgado, 28, fights out of Colombia.
In Plymouth, Mass. a welterweight battle saw Aleksandra Lopes (16-3-2) defeat Szilvia Szabados (13-7) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds to win the vacant WBC Silver title on Saturday July 30. Lopes, 36, lives in Mass. and won every round on all three judges cards. Szabados, 25, fights out of Hungary. Also, another welterweight fight between debuting boxers saw Amanda Pavone (1-0) beat Kaline Medeiros (0-1) by decision after four rounds.