Is Female Boxing Losing Another One? Amanda Serrano Considers MMA
By Felipe Leon
The fact female fighters do not get the respect they deserve is no secret. For years their biggest argument has been although they do everything their male counterparts do, the vast majority of them do not get anywhere near the same pay, recognition or acclaim the men do. Since the rise and fall of Ronda Rousey, a number of female boxers have made the transition to the Octagon with Holly Holm the biggest and most successful name.
Amanda Serrano (33-1-1, 25KO) the once beaten wunderkind from Brooklyn, NYC, by way of Puerto Rico, might be the next. Despite her six titles in five different divisions, an unheard of feat until she achieved it, Serrano has not garnered the recognition but more importantly the purses she feels she deserves.
“In MMA the girls get so much recognition, they respect them more than the boxing game,” she said when on the 2 Minute Round, the all-female podcast after a MMA training session. “I love boxing, boxing is my life and I have been doing it since I was 18 years old. I love the sport but the sport doesn’t love us back. I am a five division world champion and I am still not getting, you know, if I was a man, I would be hanging out with Floyd Mayweather Jr in Vegas with Lamborghinis having chauffeurs but I am not, I am a female. I am still struggling to make ends meet but with MMA the girls they get so much more money and recognition, I just want to wet my feet and see how it is.”
Serrano mentioned she has been training in the different mixed martial arts for about a year and expects to make her debut in that sport at the beginning of the year. She expects a bigger payday than what she received for her biggest televised boxing match to date, her unanimous decision win over Mexican Yazmin Rivas in January of this year.
“Rivas got $15,000; I got $17,500 for that fight,” she said of her winnings. “I believe that with MMA I would get paid a lot more than that.”
The 28 year old Amanda, younger sister of WBO featherweight champion Cindy Serrano, sees the aforementioned Holm as the blueprint of what a female boxer can do in mixed martial arts. “Definitely, she is also an inspiration because she has made so much more money in MMA, which is a motivation to be like her. She had a great boxing career, so do I, so why not try it?”
According to Serrano, the interest from that side of the combat sports world is healthy for a young, charismatic, bilingual and beautiful new star.
“We have been getting a lot of feedback from MMA fighters as well as promoters like Bellator and the UFC,” she said regarding the possibilities. “(Lou) DiBella (her boxing promoter) has been talking to Bellator because he has the connection and we are getting calls from the UFC.”
Puerto Rico, Mariana Juarez and a Sixth Weight Division
Serrano is coming off a third round technical knockout of Edina Kiss this past month in San Juan, Puerto Rico, defending her WBO 122-pound title for the second time.
“It feels great to fight in Puerto Rico,” she said. “I expect that from Puerto Rico, it is such a small island but they love their athletes. No matter who they are, they respect their athletes and they give their athletes their all, their love and support, 100 percent. To fight there is an amazing feeling.”
The recognition she receives has not come without its hard work since from sun up to sun down when she is on the island, she is promoting the event which comes with its rewards. “I don’t mind it because I am reaching out to my fans, to my people, to the young girls out there. It is great and actually since my sister and I became world champions, there has been uproar in the boxing gyms for young females. There is many, many girls now joining the boxing gyms. There had never seen so many young girls going into the gyms and wanting to learn how to fight.”
As for Amanda, who began to box at 18, looks towards the future in a brand new sport for her, she feels she still has opportunities in boxing as long as the other fighters are willing to meet her inside a ring.
“I would definitely like to fight Mariana Juarez,” speaking of the legendary Mexican fighter who recently defended her WBC bantamweight title. “I wouldn’t say it would be my biggest fight but I don’t mind fighting her even if it is in Mexico. I would fight her in her living room if I had to. Like I said and you can see in my record, me and my sister we are real fighters and we will go wherever we have to go.”
“In female boxing you have to go where the opportunities are,” she explained. “We are real fighters. We don’t stay stuck in Brooklyn, we travel the world. If you don’t do that, if you don’t take chances, then you don’t win. I went to Sweden and I got my first and only loss. From that I said I don’t want to leave it to the judges. Those are the chances you take as a fighter and I don’t regret anything I have done in my career. If I have to I will continue to travel the world.”
Despite achieving what nobody had done in female boxing, six titles in five different divisions, Serrano still has goals inside a ring, one of them being conquering a sixth division. “I would like to before I retire, a sixth division, to 140 pounds. We actually petitioned for the champion but we will see what is next, we don’t know.”
She hopes to return to boxing even if it means putting her MMA training on hold and pushing back her debut in that sport. After all, boxing is what she loves but the right fights needs to be come.
“Jordan (Maldonado) has been speaking to (Lou) DiBella and Lou to Stephen Espinoza (vice president of the Showtime Sports division) and if there is a good fight I would get a Showtime slot,” she explained. “So hopefully we are looking for a good fight but the good fighters don’t want to fight. It is not fair for me because I am willing to fight but they are not willing to fight so I get put on the back burner because they are not willing to fight. I don’t get the opportunity to fight on Showtime because these girls don’t want to fight.”
One of the fights she wants is against the current WBC and WBA featherweight champion Jelena Mrdjenovich of Canada. An offer was extended to her in January on the Showtime network but the Canadian decided to go a different route. Serrano ended up facing Rivas instead.
“The first time I fought on Showtime Extreme, I was supposed to fight on the Showtime undercard against Jelena (Mrdjenovich) but she outpriced herself. It wasn’t fair,” she says audibly frustrated. “I ended up fighting on Showtime Extreme and I got a pay cut, in half, right down the middle. Jordan even reached out to her personally telling her we should do this for female boxing, to put on a beautiful show, but she said no. What are we going to do? I guess they don’t want to get knocked out on TV.”
(Photo by JP Yim)
To listen to the full interview, please visit 2MinRound: Hooks and Jabs Look at Female Boxing