Mikaela Mayer: 'Women's Boxing Will Never Disappear Again. We're Back For Good'

The WBO and IBF super featherweight champion spoke to The Sportsman ahead of her big O2 bout with Alycia Baumgardner
12:05, 07 Jul 2022

WBO, IBF and The Ring super featherweight champion Mikaela Mayer will be part of a huge card on 10th September at the O2 Arena. The Olympian will face WBC counterpart Alycia Baumgardner in a unification showdown that will serve as the co-main event to Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall. The card is the latest in a banner year for women’s boxing. The Sportsman spoke to Mayer about how far the women’s game has come, and the women that paved the way for the current boom.

“Oh, my God, it's come so far. Coach Al (Mitchell) keeps asking me, ‘Did you ever think that you would be here? Did you ever think that you'd be this far in your career and that everything would be happening this way?’ And I'm like, ‘Yes!’”. Mayer speaks with infectious optimism and pride at the state of the sport, and her place within it. “I saw the vision that a lot of people couldn't see. That's why I am where I am today. It's come so far, I am so happy to be a part of this era of women's boxing.”

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The unified champion sees September’s show as another milestone in the rapidly-growing sport. “I think that we're changing the narrative. And this fight card right here is a perfect example of that, getting two of the greatest fights at the same time. Giving the fans an easy one-stop shop. And yeah, I couldn't be happier to be a part of it.”

Things haven’t always been this way. Women’s boxing enjoyed a surge of popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before fading from view as male-only cards became the norm in subsequent years. But Mayer believes women’s boxing is here to stay this time. 

“I don't think that women's boxing will ever disappear again. And I say again, because I feel like it did for that era with Laila Ali and Mia St. John and (Ann) Wolf and all them and there's like a whole decade where women's boxing wasn't even a thing. And we're back for good. I know that the talent pool is just too deep. And there's some young girls coming up that are just gonna blow everyone out of the water.”

On her last visit to the UK, Mayer revealed her love for a certain ‘Girl Power’ English pop act. In recognition of her first fight on these shores, we challenged the Californian to name her favourite Spice Girls song. But when you’re as much of a fan as Mayer is, such a question is nearly impossible to answer.

“When you love something as much as the Spice Girls, there's no favourite song. I know every single song and every single album word-for-word. But I may reveal what my favourite is come fight week. You guys will see.” After hinting towards a possible Spice Girls ring walk, Mayer spoke about what the band meant to her as a child. “Really growing up, the Spice Girls was my only connection and affiliation to the UK. That's all I knew was ‘Oh, the Spice Girls are from there.’ So still a huge fan. I had 22-hour drive here to camp and I blasted them the whole time.”

So what will happen when two become one at the O2 Arena, and Mayer faces off with Baumgardner? Will one fighter be exposed as a Wannabe? Will somebody get stopped right now, thank you very much? Who will write their name into the history books Viva Forever? Time will tell. But one thing is for sure, Mikaela Mayer is dead serious about advancing the cause of women’s boxing, and she continues to be one of the sport’s finest competitors.

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