Women’s Boxing March Madness, A Comprehensive Preview Part 4: Serrano vs. Bermudez & More

Serrano vs Bermudez preview!

March 25

It is not even a question whether Amanda Serrano has proven herself worthy of her ring moniker, ‘The Real Deal.’ But has she finally met her match in Daniela Romina Bermudez? We will find out on March 25 when Serrano headlines a homecoming card in Puerto Rico in defense of her WBC and WBO world featherweight titles.

Bermudez may not have the name recognition of Katie Taylor or Jelena Mrdjenovich, with whom Serrano engaged in ultimately fruitless negotiations over the last six months for legacy-building super fights, but the heavy-handed Argentine is not to be taken lightly. Serrano is well aware of this and, to her credit, personally selected Bermudez as her next opponent not in spite of the danger she poses, but exactly because of the substantial risk factor involved, even after she had been offered a less hazardous challenge.

This is part of what makes Serrano ‘The Real Deal.’ That and the ten world championship belts won in—count ‘em—seven weight divisions, only a single defeat in 41 career bouts over the course of twelve years (to then-WBC super-featherweight champion Frida Wallberg in 2012), and 29 of her 39 wins coming by way of knockout with a phenomenal 15 of those occurring in the first round.

This past December, the WBC not only refused to sanction featherweight champion Jelena Mrdjenovich’s voluntary title defense against Iranda Paola Torres (unlike the WBA) but, in a letter sent to both camps, ordered Mrdjenovich to meet Amanda Serrano in a mandatory unification match. Amanda had won the WBO belt in September 2019 from Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy who had taken possession of the strap by decisioning her rival Shelly Vincent in a return bout the year before.

Amanda has been itching for a fight with Mrdjenovich for several years, and it has similarly been on the wish list of women’s boxing fans the world over, myself included. Jelena evidently declined the offer and, although she was stripped of the WBC title which was then awarded to Serrano, Mrdjenovich was elevated to the status of Champion Emeritus. Enter Daniela Romina Bermudez.

She may be known as ‘La Bonita’ but don’t let her good looks fool you. Bermudez can fight and has been doing exactly that since 2010. Other than Bermudez boxing from an orthodox stance while Amanda Serrano will be coming at her as a southpaw, a tale of the tape comparison between Daniela and Serrano reveals almost no other significant discrepancies. Each fighter stands five-foot-five, Bermudez is only nine months younger than the 32-year-old Amanda and has a reach advantage of just an inch and a half, and while her KO ratio may not be as eye-popping as Serrano’s, Bermudez has finished off 1/3 of her opponents before the final bell.

Looking to make it an even four, Bermudez has already scrapped her way to world titles in three weight classes and is the current WBO bantamweight and IBF super-bantamweight belt-holder. Some of Daniela’s stellar victories have come against the likes of Edith Soledad Matthysse (who dealt Bermudez her first loss in their previous encounter), Mayerlin Rivas, Linda Laura Lecca, Mariana Juarez, Marcela Eliana Acuna, Irma Garcia, and Alys Sanchez. Her other two defeats were both suffered at the hands of fellow Argentine Yesica Bopp, a living legend in her own right.

All things considered, the Serrano/Bermudez bout is pretty much as evenly-matched as you could possibly hope for between two female warriors who have both made countless positive contributions to the sport. Even better, their title fight will be televised on NBC Sports Network as part of its Ring City USA series.

 

March 27

A ten-round women’s bout headlines a card at Hobart City Hall in Tasmania, Australia on March 27 which sees 4-1 Krystina Jacobs battle it out with Lorrinda Webb (2-1, 1 KO) for ownership rights to the vacant WIBA world super-featherweight title. Both fighters’ only losses have come via split decision and neither was active throughout the turbulent year of 2020.

 

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Valgerdur Gudstensdottir of Iceland will make the trek to the Hotel Intercontinental located in St. Julians, Malta for a March 27 showdown with 38-year old veteran Claire Sammut who is 4-6-0 (1 KO) since debuting in 2015. Sammut pulled out a close unanimous decision over a novice by the name of Jaime Wallis Bates in her last outing this past July. By fight night, Gudstensdottir (4-2, 1 KO) will have been sidelined for almost two full years when she rebounded from a two-fight losing streak by stopping Sabina Mishchenko in the fifth round. She gave a valiant effort in a 2018 defeat at the hands of then-undefeated Katharina Thanderz who just challenged WBC and IBO world super-featherweight champion Terri Harper this past November.

 

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Yekaterinburg, Russia—most famous for being the site of the grisly execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his entire family, ending the three-century-long Romanov dynasty and ushering in an era of Communist rule beginning with Lenin—hosts an evening of eleven prizefights on March 27  at the RCC Boxing Club. Born in Kazakhstan and residing now in Voronezh, Tatyana Zrazhevskaya won the 2015 Golden Girl Championships for Team Russia during a successful amateur career and has won all ten bouts to this point since turning professional the following year.

Zrazhevskaya will be vying for the interim WBC super-bantamweight title against 18-6-2 Estrella Valverde of Mexico. A twelve-year pro, Valverde has notched three knockout victories but has been stopped twice herself. She is the current owner of the WBC International and Fecombox super-flyweight championships but has come up short in three world title bids. Although Jackie Nava was given a unanimous decision over Valverde in Mexico City last July, the bout was officially declared a no-contest due to the fact that it was not approved by the local commission which had put a moratorium on professional boxing because of Covid-19 restrictions.

 

March 28

The twilight of March Madness arrives, somewhat paradoxically, in the Land of the Rising Sun. Up-and-coming flyweight Marina Hamada (2-0-1) looks to prolong her unbeaten streak at the expense of Michiko Abiru, who has won just two of six career fights to date. Their four-round prelim takes place at the Central Gym in Kobe, Japan.

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