In November, the unbeaten Chantelle Cameron heard the very words that Amanda Serrano hopes to hear after she’s punch-swapped with Erika Cruz at the Hulu Theater inside Madison Square Garden on February 4.
“And the new undisputed champion of the world.”
Cameron scored a convincing and impressive ten-round unanimous decision over Jessica McCaskill to consolidate all the belts at super-lightweight. It was a historic triumph that saw the Northampton-based boxer-puncher become the first female undisputed champ at 140 pounds.
The 34-year-old Serrano is the IBF, WBC, WBO, and Ring Magazine featherweight champion. Only Mexico’s Cruz, the reigning WBA titleholder, stands in the way of her finally securing an undisputed championship of her own.
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However, Serrano is the only seven-weight world champion in women’s boxing history. She is literally revered among her peers.
“She’s a world-class athlete, and what a respectful woman she is,” Cameron told The Sporting News. “She put out a tweet telling people not to overlook [Cruz] because she’s a worthy opponent – she’s a champion. I just thought, ‘You are what everyone should aspire to be.’
“Everyone is talking about the rematch with Katie [Taylor], but [Serrano] said not to disrespect the opponent she’s fighting at the weekend. I just thought, what a true champion she is to say that. On the biggest week of her life, she’s apologising to her opponent for being disrespected. Her attitude and the way she carries herself; she’s a credit to the sport.”
Ireland’s Katie Taylor became the first fighter to defeat Serrano in a decade when she won a ten-round split decision over her fellow pound-for-pound entrant in New York last April. It was, for many, the greatest women’s fight ever contested and The Sporting News’ Fight of the Year for 2022.
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Serrano (43-2-1, 30 KOs) came up two weight classes to challenge Taylor and still managed to inflict more damage on the undisputed lightweight champion than any previous opponent.
“It’s [Serrano’s] timing and her accuracy,” reasoned Cameron. “When she hits you, she hits you clean, and she doesn’t waste shots. She sits down on her shots; she’s not dancing around the place, just tippy tapping; she’s hitting with aggression. The fact that she came up two weight divisions and did that to Katie shows you the power she has.
“She’s got such a good boxing IQ, and she’s an aggressive southpaw, which is always a nightmare to box against. You see how hard she trains; she dedicates her whole life to training. You know you’re getting in there with a fit Amanda Serrano, so you know you’re in for a night of trouble. She’s a great boxer and a great champion.”
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Cruz (15-1, 3 KOs) dethroned Canadian veteran Jelena Mrdjenovich (TD 7) to win the WBA title and posted a ten-round unanimous decision over her in the rematch. Sandwiched between those bouts was a split-decision win over Melissa Esquivel. According to Ring Magazine, she is the No. 1 female featherweight in the world today.
However, despite the impressive record and the championship victories, Cameron “can’t see anything but a Serrano win.”
The Puerto Rican star is an elite-level force, and yet more boxing history beckons for this remarkable fighting machine.