Alycia Baumgardner stuns bitter rival Mikaela Mayer with controversial split decision win to become unified super-featherweight world champion on Shields v Marshall undercard
- Alycia Baumgardner controversially defeated Mikaela Mayer via split decision
- The American became the unified world super feather champion at the O2
- She won thanks to two scores of 96-95, while Mayer took a 97-93 victory
Alycia Baumgardner became the unified super-featherweight world champion on Saturday night when she defeated her bitter rival Mikaela Mayer via a controversial split decision after a brutal match at the O2 Arena.
Baumgardner had started the stronger fighter in this grudge match and had to fend off a strong challenge from her fellow American Mayer in the middle rounds, with the fight looking like it could go either way as we approached the scorecards.
But ‘The Bomb’ added Mayer’s IBF and WBO belts to its collection of IBO and WBC belts thanks to two scores of 96-95 from the judges – leaving her rival incredulous at the decision after a single 97-93 of the third judge.
Alycia Baumgardner became the unified super feather world champion on Saturday night after a split decision win over Mikaela Mayer to settle their feud
Baumgardner started the strongest when she turned Mayer upside down with some fierce counter shots
It was certainly a controversial decision after a fierce fight that seemed to have broken Mayer, and will spark talk about a rematch next year.
These two had been engaged in a heated back and forth for months and there was real tension leading up to this one – with security having to claw them apart at their weigh-in as Mayer kicked her rival out.
Baumgardner looked gritty as she waited for Mayer to enter the ring, taking her time as she entered to the tune of Spice Girls hit Spice Up Your Life and accompanied by backing dancers.
The opening round was a tentative one – with neither fighters hooked up until Baumgardner had some success with an overhand right that caught Mayer and looked sharper as the fight went on, poking her with a quick counter-left in round two and forcing her onto the back foot.
Mayer ramped up the intensity on round three as she offloaded a straight line to Baumgardner, but the WBC champion hit back with another fierce counterattack to keep himself in the lead.
Mayer – the IBF and WBO featherweight champion – was chased early on
But Mayer came back roaring in the middle rounds, leaving her rival with a succession of excellent combinations
Baumgardner proved elusive as the fight went into fourth, as she limited her to long-range jabs—before Mayer found her rhythm in an exchange, touching a brutal combination twice.
Another straight hit cleared Baumgardner on round five and Mayer continued to turn the tide – sticking behind the jab to win himself back for another round.
Baumgardner was forced into a clinch after being stabbed by another Mayer combination in the sixth round, with the latter turning her attention to the body.
But Baumgardner came roaring back in the seventh when she left Mayer stinging after landing straight to the right, with the match descending into a firefight as both fighters charged into each other.
A handful of naughty hooks from Baumgardner continued her strong late spell before Mayer got an overhand right in the eighth. As the final bell approached, it was Mayer who wanted to add shine to her finish, as she had success with a few one-twos on lap nine.
Fans were treated to a brawl on the final round as the pair broke loose and Baumgardner was looking for crucial body shots to win the match before the final bell rang.
The pair had to be separated by security at their weigh-in when Mayer kicked out her rival