Undefeated Mikaela Mayer impresses in Arizona
Undefeated Mikaela Mayer moved to a perfect 7-0 (4) with a stoppage over Hungarian Edina Kiss, 14-8 (8), at the conclusion of the third round, at the Gila River Arena, in Glendale, Arizona, on Saturday night.
It was Mayer’s ESPN debut and the junior lightweight phenom made the most of her TV time.
While one might expect to see her on the cover of Vogue Magazine as opposed to The Ring, her ability to both box and bang in the squared circle is turning heads for the California-born Colorado resident.
In a pre-fight presser, two days before the bout, Mayer had predicted a strong showing, saying, “It’s time that women get put on the big stage, so thank you to Top Rank for believing in me and trusting in women’s boxing. I’m ready to put on a good show.”
She was also looking to display some power in the bout. “I want knockouts because I want people to be excited to see my fights. And I know I have the power to knock out these girls. My team and I have been working on some things, some subtle changes from the amateurs to the pros, small changes but very important to get me sitting down on my punches,” she said. “I plan on taking it to her.”
And that she did, scoring an impressive stoppage when Kiss opted to not come out for the fourth round.
The Top Rank card was headlined by now-former WBO lightweight champion Raymundo Beltran versus former IBF junior lightweight titlist Jose Pedraza, who scored a unanimous decision over his Phoenix-based opponent.
The card also saw exciting WBO junior featherweight champion Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe successfully defend his strap against Japan’s Hidenori Otake, who he blasted with a very impressive first round stoppage.
Mayer has certainly kept her part of the bargain since signing on with the Las Vegas promotional powerhouse, racking up an impressive seven straight wins in her first rolling year as a professional.
Mayer, 28, started punching for pay after an impressive amateur career that saw her represent the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
After signing with Top Rank, Mayer made her professional debut in the summer of 2017 and it’s been full speed ahead ever since.
A couple of days before Mayer notched her latest win last Saturday, UCNLive.com had a chance to catch up with her to discuss where she feels she is right now in her professional journey.
The friendly, well-spoken Mayer is well aware of her position as a female athlete in a predominantly male sport. Speaking outside the oven-like, converted church that has been the Michael Carbajal Boxing Club since 1993, it is clear that Mayer is a very dedicated and focused athlete.
Bill Tibbs: Thanks for taking a minute to chat, Mikaela.
Mikaela Mayer: No problem.
BT: Are you where you want to be in your career right now?
MM: I am exactly where I think I should be; it’s been a great year. We have been busy this year; this will be my seventh fight in a year. Top Rank has been keeping me busy. I am happy with the way things are progressing.
BT: You came into the pros off of a very successful amateur career. Was turning pro always in the plan for you?
MM: My plan was to go to multiple Olympics; that is really what I was planning to do with my boxing career. I never really thought about turning pro. I had planned to be an amateur athlete and compete in several Olympics and that is really all I was planning to do. But the opportunity came up for me to turn professional and I was excited about the challenge and here we are.
BT: It is still early in your career but do you have a timeline in your mind as to when you would like to compete for a title?
MM: There is no timeline really and you wanna know why? The reason that I don’t have a timeline is because Coach Al (Mitchell) won’t let me. He decides the timeline. I totally believe in him and know that he knows exactly where I am in each step of my career and how I am progressing. He has had lots of world champions. He knows when I am ready for each step in my career. He looks at each one of my fights and goes over it in detail. He examines each fight, where I am and what step I am ready to take next. He doesn’t want me to just fight for the belt; he wants me to be at a stage to fight for the belt and win it and then defend it multiple times. That is the goal. I trust in him 100% and listen to what he says. I follow his plans each step of the way because he is evaluating me all the time and knows exactly what steps I am ready to take and when I am ready to take them.
BT: You seem to have a great fit with your team.
MM: Exactly. Like I said, Coach Al looks at every fight and how I performed and what steps we are ready to take next. By the time he arrives, about the last two weeks of camp, I have been working with Coach Kay (Koroma); I am in shape and we are ready to set the strategy for the fight. I am living and training in Colorado and live very close to the Olympic training center. Coach Kay is an assistant with the Olympic program and I train with them a lot; it’s great.
BT: What has been the biggest change you have noticed from coming out of the amateur program into the pros?
MM: The biggest thing I guess would be that, in the amateurs, it is all about moving in and out and scoring the points. In the pros, you can settle down a bit and carry out your game plan. You have an idea of what strategy you want to take into the fight and what you have been working on. In the amateurs, it is a lot harder to do that because you don’t necessarily know who you’ll be fighting.
BT: In women’s professional boxing, there has always been a fight for legitimacy among a sometimes skeptical – if not outright critical – male population. Do you ever feel you’re still in that battle? Do you think female fighters have to fight harder to be taken seriously?
MM: Oh yeah, that still goes on. I mean, I felt it the first time I sat down with Top Rank and was trying to convince them to sign me, to take a chance on me. If women’s boxing was a huge thing, they would have signed female fighters already. So I am looking at them, trying to convince them that I am a real fighter and can do something in the sport in the pros. You might have people looking at female fighters and looking and thinking, “Oh, look at her blond hair,” or, “her outfit,” or whatever and not really looking at what the fighter is doing in the ring. At first, I would be thinking, “I should wear this outfit or that color and try to look a certain way,” because maybe you feel a bit of pressure to look a certain way or what you think you should look like. Am I supposed to look all girly? Or am I supposed to look tough? But as time has gone on, you feel less pressure. I have found my comfort level and am just being me. I think that if other young, female fighters coming up maybe want to turn professional one day and they see me, then they can look at what I am doing. Hopefully I can inspire them. I can understand and relate to where they are. I was there once too.
BT: Thanks for the chat, Mikaela.
MM: No problem. Thank you.