2021 was a banner year for women’s boxing. We saw thrills and spills, upsets and dominations. Undisputed champions reminded us of their skills, and challengers reminded us of the danger that always lurks just round the corner. Here are five of the women that defined a breakout year for the sport.
Jake Paul gets a lot of criticism within boxing, and almost all of it is warranted. What cannot be faulted are his efforts to shine a spotlight on one of the world’s supreme boxing talents. WBC and WBO featherweight champion Amanda Serrano has fought on the last two Paul cards, putting her in front of a vast new audience.
Her skills warrant the platform. ‘The Real Deal’ has rattled off three wins in 2021, while somehow also finding time for an MMA victory. Daniela Romina Bermudez was stopped in a March title defence, before decision victories over Yamileth Mercado and Miriam Gutierrez on the aforementioned Paul pay-per-views. The seven-weight world champion has made no secret of her desire for a showdown with the next boxer on this list.
‘The Bray Bomber’ made no secret of her desire to face Serrano, calling out the Puerto Rican after defending her undisputed lightweight championship against Natasha Jonas in May. That decision win was the first of three outings for ‘KT’ in 2021.
Jennifer Han fought bravely at Headingley Stadium in Leeds, but was ground down by the Olympic gold medalist in front of 20,000 fans. To close out the year, Taylor outscored Firuza Sharipova to retain her title for the twelfth time.
Serrano is not the only potential superfight on the horizon for the Irish superstar. A clash with the next name on our list would be electric.
‘CasKILLA’ became the undisputed welterweight champion in 2020. After winning a rematch with the woman she beat that night, Cecilia Braekhus, she made history once more by becoming the inaugural The Ring women’s welterweight queen.
McCaskill would end the year by knocking out Kandi Wyatt in a title defence, and she has made no secret of the fact she wants to meet Katie Taylor next. The American was in the building for Taylor’s win over Jennifer Han, and the pair seem to be on a collision course that could provide 2022’s most exciting fight.
The former Team USA amateur made waves this year, solidifying herself as the ruler of the super featherweight division. Erica Farias fell in Mayer’s first defence of the WBO belt she claimed last year. The Rio 2016 Olympian then turned her attention to the woman who had reigned for five years as the IBF champion, Maiva Hamadouche.
Their tussle for the title also crowned a new The Ring champion, and Mayer stood tall at the end of ten rounds. 2022 presents a fine opportunity to clean up the division, and a bout with Delfine Persoon is one of the most exciting super featherweight fights out there. If Mayer is successful, she might then pursue challenges further up the weights.
Few fighters are quite as box office as ‘The GWOAT’. The outspoken Olympic gold medalist’s star quality shines as brightly as her unblemished professional record. When she’s not defending the world championships she simultaneously holds across the light middleweight and middleweight divisions, she’s calling out the Paul brothers or trying her hand at MMA.
In between all this, she managed to step into the ring and remind us all why she’s perhaps the biggest name in women’s boxing in 2021. Shields became the undisputed light middleweight champion when she unified her WBC and WBO straps with those of IBF and WBA champion Marie-Eve Dicaire. That decision win was Claressa’s only outing of the year, but she’s back next month defending her unified middleweight crown against Ema Kozin in Cardiff.