Amanda Serrano is changing the game at a great personal cost

 | February 21 | 

3 mins read

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Amanda Serrano is a fighter. Her battlefields have shifted frequently throughout her career. Alongside her record-breaking boxing career, Serrano has a 2-0-1 MMA record and a 5-0 ledger in submission grappling. But her latest struggle goes far beyond the mat, the cage or the ring.

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Serrano is fighting for women’s boxing to move to the customary 12 three-minute rounds that men’s championship fights have. Like any revolutionary, Serrano’s crusade has come at a personal cost. It is a toll she is willing to pay to see real change. 

‘The Real Deal’ was stripped of her WBC featherweight championship ahead of her pioneering 12x3s championship fight with Danila Ramos. The WBC refused to sanction the fight, citing safety concerns with women undertaking the extended distance. But Serrano was having this fight precisely to demonstrate why those concerns were unfounded. The WBA, WBO and IBF, whose belts she also holds, backed her fully. Serrano retained her trio of titles with a unanimous decision, going where no woman had gone before.

Serrano has suffered and will suffer due to her passion on this topic. Not every boxer is willing to compete in the altered ruleset, meaning Serrano’s options are limited when it comes to opposition. The Puerto Rican has admitted, for instance, that if she wants a rematch with Katie Taylor she will have to acquiesce to 10x2s. 

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Serrano has found an opponent to kick off her 2024, though. ‘The Real Deal’ will compete over her desired distance against Nina Meinke in April. The German is a fine contender, a former Katie Taylor opponent and ranked by several bodies. But, without being unfair, she is not one of the elite names in the sport. It is those women who Serrano’s campaign will need to convince.

The groundswell is growing though. Natasha Jonas and Mikaela Mayer explored that possibility ahead of their January IBF welterweight title fight. Chantelle Cameron campaigned to face Taylor over the 12-round distance in their rematch, which ultimately ended up as a 10-rounder. But the noise is being made. Surely it will not be long before Serrano is joined by other big-name stars competing over longer distances.

Ultimately, the main beneficiary of this seismic shift is unlikely to be Serrano herself. The future Hall of Famer is 35 years old now and while she is showing little sign of slowing down, it seems logical to suggest we are experiencing her last few fights. Given her desire to pursue big contests against the likes of Taylor, she may not get as many 12-rounders as she would like.

But the points she has made, the efforts in finally getting a 12-round women’s fight into the ring more than once, will never be forgotten. If we are sat here in five years watching regular fights over the championship distance in women’s boxing, it will be Serrano we have to thank for that. The Puerto Rican is already a seven-weight world champion, a record for women’s boxing. Now the icon has become a pioneer, fighting for equality in her beloved sport.

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