Cindy Serrano Wins, Amanda Serrano Next and Female Boxing Hits TV
In front of an anxious Puerto Rican audience Cindy Serrano captured the WBO featherweight world title by majority decision. Her sister Amanda Serrano holds the WBO super bantamweight belt. Now they are the only sisters to hold world titles simultaneously.
“It feels amazing! Words can’t really describe the feeling,” said Cindy Serrano following her victory last Saturday. “There’s no better feeling than to be a Puerto Rican athlete and perform in front of your crowd. They are the greatest fans ever.”
It’s an historic moment for women’s boxing.
Believe it or not, that’s just step one.
Amanda Serrano (30-1-1, 23 Kos) now looks to defend the WBO super bantamweight title against Mexico’s Yazmin Rivas (35-9-1, 10 Kos) on Jan. 14, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Showtime will televise. It’s been nearly eight years since a female bout was televised by the large network.
Showtime vice president Stephen Espinoza announced two weeks ago that Serrano’s title defense will be televised and to expect more female fights shown on the network.
“It’s the first step of integrating women’s boxing into Showtime on a regular basis,” said Espinoza. “It’s way overdue.”
Female Boxing on TV
Espinoza said in the past few years a number of markers showed interest in female prizefighting was high.
“We have been reminded that the market is ready to accept female combat sports. One reason is the success of women’s MMA,” said Espinoza who took over the sports programming five years ago. “The U.S. has always prided itself as being in the forefront but in this issue we are behind. The irony is most of the Latin American countries are far more progressive than the U.S. is. The past few years have been great years in terms of women’s boxing on TV in other countries.”
Ronda Rousey’s immense success in MMA proved an American audience existed that was interested in seeing female combat sports. On a regular basis she fought in front of more than 15,000 live fans and 1 million televised pay-per-views.
In Latin American countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama and Peru female boxing regularly out-performs male televised boxing events. Stars such as Mariana “Barbie” Juarez, Yesica “Tuti” Bopp and Hanna Gabriel have extremely large followings and television appeal.
Europe was the first continent to expose its fight fans to female boxing with stars like Regina Halmich, Daisy Lang and lately Cecilia Braekhus. Now another star is emerging in Great Britain with Irish amateur star Katie Taylor exploding on the pro scene with two impressive wins in two weeks.
Olympians and hard-hitters
Taylor, a former 2012 Olympic gold medalist for Ireland, has crashed the pro scene like a Mack truck through a storefront window. Her speed and precision remind some of former great Lucia Rijker. Two fights in two weeks resulted in a knockout win and a dominate performance over a European contender.
“I’ve spoken to Eddie Hearn (Taylor’s promoter) on what he has planned for her in the future,” said Espinoza adding that Taylor may be fighting in New York next is being considered on Showtime.
The Irish boxer is not the only Olympic gold medalist. Last month America’s two-time Olympic gold medal winner Claressa Shields burst through with her pro debut in an electrifying performance in Las Vegas.
Shields fought on an HBO pay-per-view card but her fight was not included on the telecast. Instead, her battle against former amateur foe Franchon Crews was streamed and shown before the pay-per-view card. Her fight was a hit especially among the crowd at T-Mobile Arena.
“Claressa Shields is obvious. She has a great amateur background and is somebody we’d be interested in as well as Katie Taylor,” said Espinoza.
Most of the female fights are focused on the East Coast but the Showtime executive expects to move west to broaden the fan appeal.
But first, the city of Brooklyn will showcase the next female star in Amanda Serrano a super bantamweight with crackling power and tremendous fan appeal. Most of her wins come by knockout. She’s a hard-hitter.
Serrano was ecstatic when told about the upcoming televised fight.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Amanda Serrano who faces Mexico’s Rivas a former WBC bantamweight titlist now fighting at super bantamweight.
Espinoza said it promises to be an exciting female fight with more to come in 2017.
“The thing is there is no shortage of talent and compelling fights in female boxing,” said Espinoza. “It’s going to be a welcome addition.”
The Serrano sisters are leading the way.
(Photo by The Hype Magazine)