Fighter Focus: Mikaela Mayer can’t catch a British break

 | January 22 | 

3 mins read

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Twice now, Mikaela Mayer has come to England for a defining fight and left on the wrong side of a controversial decision. First, Alycia Baumgardner took her IBF, WBO and The Ring super featherweight titles at the O2 Arena in 2022. The split-decision defeat looked harsh on Mayer, who seemed to do enough to retain her titles. Then on Saturday, the spectre of that night returned as Mayer lost another split nod, this time to IBF welterweight champion Natasha Jonas.

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You’d forgive Mayer for wanting to give Britain a wide berth from now on. While she is a devotee of UK pop sensations the Spice Girls, surely the American doesn’t 'wannabe' putting up with losing these close fights (viva) forever. Perhaps it is time for her to say 'goodbye, my friend' to boxing in Britain (last one, I promise).

The Baumgardner defeat could be taken in isolation. While the fight was on British soil, it pitted two American fighters against each other. But some fans are alleging Jonas got the rub of the green against Mayer due to the fight location. ‘Miss GB’ was performing in her hometown of Liverpool in front of thousands of her own fans. Jonas is a well-liked figure in boxing circles and some feel that may have played into the decision going her way. 

This effect may have been exaggerated somewhat. Of the three judges, it was Britain’s Michael Alexander and American Frank Lombardi that went with Jonas. German judge Diana Drews Milani gave Mayer the nod. But it is true that the roar of the crowd can nudge the judges. Jonas was the recipient of plenty of vocal support on Merseyside. Perhaps this swayed the two Jonas-voting officials?

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So where does Mayer go from here? She’s been vocal about where she wants to go; straight into a rematch with her conqueror. The Californian deserves that much, as do the fans. The fight was close and arguably indecisive. The action was intense and enthralling. A return fight would seem to suit all parties, though Jonas may disagree. But in the champion’s case, an opportunity to remove all doubt in a rematch might be exactly what she needs.

While women’s boxing has given us some incredible fights, precious few of them have spawned rematches. There is yet to be a defining female trilogy. Katie Taylor and Chantelle Cameron look to be headed down that road after sharing 20 blistering rounds last year. Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall have enough animosity to be given another go at each other, while Amanda Serrano is always in the background for Taylor too. 

Jonas-Mayer can fit right into what could be a golden era of women’s rematches. Theirs is a rivalry built not on animosity but on competition. No matter who you scored as your victor on Saturday, nobody can deny the pair were incredibly well-matched. It was a close and gripping way to spend half an hour. 

While Jonas did have a rematch clause in her contract in case of defeat, Mayer was given no such luxury. Still, it would be a shame if these two don’t go up against each other again. Time to remove all doubt. If the first fight is anything to go by, any return bout between Mayer and Jonas will be a must-watch affair.

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