When Amanda Serrano trains for championship fights, she often competes with men for at least a dozen three-minute rounds, using the standard male regulation format to push her athleticism to the edge.
But when she actually gets in the ring, the fight only lasts 10 two-minute rounds, which is standard for women’s boxing.
On Friday she will compete in the first women’s title fight in 15 years to be sanctioned under men’s rules, and only the second ever. It would also be the largest title belt in three of the four Major boxing sanctioning organizations Will be ready to catch.
“We are able to showcase this on a worldwide stage,” Serrano said. “I want to show that we are capable of doing this.”
Serrano, 35, a seven-division boxing world champion and undisputed featherweight champion from Carolina, PR, will square off against Daniela Ramos, 38, from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Serrano will defend her titles from the World Boxing Organization, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation.
Serrano will enter the ring on Friday with a record of 45-2-1 and 30 knockouts, one of the best in women’s boxing and just two knockouts short of breaking the women’s record. Ramos has a record of 12-2-0 with one knockout. The fight will be held at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida, and will be streamed beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern. DAZNA sports subscription service.
For Serrano, this match is about more than stats and title. She’s looking to change a sport that has long struggled with equality.
Male and female athletes have competed under different rules for generations. In professional basketball, women play 10-minute quarters while men play 12-minute quarters. In tennis, women compete in a best-of-three format during Grand Slam tournaments, while men play best-of-five sets. In boxing, 16 minutes separate the men from the women.
Serrano and other boxers say the level playing field has been long overdue, especially when it comes to pay.
Nakisa Biederian, co-founder of Most Valuable Productions, which promotes Serrano, said a 12-round fight could attract a big audience. “If you put out a more exciting product,” he said. “You’ll get paid more.”
Biederian said fans are more likely to see a powerful exchange of punches leading up to the finish in three-minute rounds. She said this is something that women’s boxing “generally misses out on compared to men’s.”
Friday’s fight was sanctioned by the Florida Athletic Commission and the three major boxing bodies. Biederian said the World Boxing Commission, the fourth major agency, would never sanction a 12-round fight for women. Commission, which is cited a study This suggests that women are more vulnerable to concussions than men, the study did not respond to a request for comment.
Biederian said he acknowledged that a longer fight increases the risk of injury, but “this is about two professional athletes who have the right to compete however they want.”
This fight is being promoted with the slogan “our choice, Two dozen current and former female fighters signed a letter arguing that women should have the option of competing in 10 or 12 rounds.
They also included Laila Ali, former super middleweight and light heavyweight champion and daughter of Muhammad Ali. She said she always believed that women should fight in three-minute rounds, including during her fighting years.
“Two minutes go by very quickly,” he said. “There are times when you’re just about to finish it and then the bell rings and you’re like, Dang, if I had just one more minute.”
Ali said, unless men and women fight under the same rules, true equality will be out of reach.
“As professional fighters, you want to get to a point where you’re no longer thought of as a female fighter, you just want to be a boxer,” she said. “When it comes to athleticism it really shouldn’t matter.”
Bonnie Morris, professor of women’s history at the University of California, Berkeley, said that as women became more active in athletics, concerns arose about their “fragility and susceptibility to injury”, leading some sports to be segregated by gender. It has been done. This was especially true when it came to hitting on women’s faces, he said, “because your face is your destiny.”
But that didn’t stop women from entering the ring.
Malissa Smith, author of “A History of Women’s Boxing,” said women have fought three-minute rounds throughout the history of boxing. But it was not until the 2000s, when boxers like Laila Ali and Christy Martin brought greater legitimacy to the sport, that state boxing commissions began formalizing rounds for sanctioned women’s bouts.
They also set minimum standards for money, “which were pitifully low because they did not consider them equal to fighting men,” Smith said.
Serrano has helped change that.
Last year, she faced Katie Taylor in the first boxing match headlined by women at Madison Square Garden. Both were guaranteed at least $1 million, one of the highest prize money in women’s boxing. Serrano lost in a split decision, but she used the moment to step into the role of a change maker. He was promoted by his promotion company, which is led by Jake Paul, one of the biggest disruptors in boxing and social media.
On Friday, Smith said, each fighter will try to knock his opponent out the entire distance, so the fight won’t go the full 12 rounds. But in boxing, what often matters is how well two people can perform.
Former featherweight champion Heather Hardy said the longer format would allow Serrano to showcase her technical work and tactics.
“A lot of eyes are always on his fights,” Hardy said. who lost to Serrano in August, “He has the target audience, talent and athleticism to do it.”
Of the three combat sports in which Hardy competes – kickboxing, mixed martial arts and boxing – he said no one has ever hit him as hard as Serrano did.
“I wouldn’t want to be there with Amanda even for three minutes,” she said.