Women’s Boxing Needs Strong Rivalries That Capture The Interest Of Fight Fans To Grow, Where Should We Look Next?
Claressa Shields convincingly settled her decade-long rivalry with Savannah Marshall on Saturday night at a ‘sold-out’ O2 Arena. The build-up and attention for the bout was unprecedented for a women’s boxing match in the United Kingdom with millions tuning in to witness a fantastic night for boxing.
On the undercard, we had arguably a more-anticipated and more heated rivalry fight between Alycia Baumgardner and Mikaela Mayer. Baumgardner controversially beat Mayer via a split decision and fans would certainly tune in to a rematch that could headline and sell well in the United States.
With two huge feuds being settled on one historic night, boxing fans now look for the next matchup that continues the momentum of women’s boxing and garners the interest of fight fans once again.
NoSmokeBoxing explores some of the fights which could be the next big women’s boxing rivalry that will once again grow the sport.
Ebanie Bridges vs Shannon O’Connell
Long-time Australian foes Ebanie Bridges (8-1) and Shannon O’Connell (23-6-1) meet on Dec 10 in Leeds for Bridges’ IBF World Bantamweight title. O’Connell has been calling Bridges out for years with no response and when the bout was first ordered in July, Matchroom requested a voluntary defence first leading O’Connell to believe that Bridges was scared to face her.
The pair have had a war of words over social media in recent weeks with O’Connell suggesting Bridges wanted this bout, a fight between two Aussies, in the UK because of favourable scorecards. O’Connell also called Bridges a ‘skanky stripper’. The IBF champion has responded by stating how much she couldn’t wait ‘to shut this annoying c**t up’.
Not hosting Bridges O’Connell in Australia is a missed opportunity for everyone involved. An all-Aussie world title clash with plenty of needle would’ve done wonders for women’s boxing and boxing as a whole down under as well as Matchroom/DAZN who recently staged their first show in that market.
Terri Harper vs Natasha Jonas 2
Natasha Jonas (12-2-1, 8 KOs) and Terri Harper (13-1-1, 6 KOs) first shared the ring in a headline contest at fight camp 1 in the summer of 2020. Jonas-Harper was the first ever all-British women’s world title fight and definitely did not disappoint but their tightly fought, nail-biting draw did leave fans desiring more.
Jonas moved up three weight classes to 154 earlier this year and impressively demolished Chris Namus inside two rounds to win the WBO strap. In her most recent outing, the Liverpudlian unified her belt with WBC champion Patricia Berghult and on Nov 12 will fight for her third super welterweight trinket facing IBF title holder Marie Eve Dicaire.
Harper followed Jonas in making the same move and convincingly outpointed Scotland’s Hannah Rankin in September to dethrone her of her WBA belt. Should Jonas beat Dicaire, Harper vs Jonas 2 – a rematch of their 130-pound clash becomes a 4-belt undisputed fight four weight classes above.
Harper Jonas 2 would be by far the biggest all-British female fight to date and with the opportunity to headline a major show for all the belts, there would be considerable hype, especially considering the thriller that was their first contest. Fights like these are needed to continue the growth of women’s boxing domestically and give fans the next big matchup to look forward to.
Chantelle Cameron vs Jessica McCaskill
Northampton’s unified super lightweight champion Chantelle Cameron (16-0, 8 KOs) will face America’s undisputed welterweight Titleist Jessica McCaskill (12-2) on November 5 in Abu Dhabi for all the marbles at 140.
Cameron has insisted that deep down McCaskill’s team know that they cannot beat her, hence the fight happening at 140 so McCaskill can keep her 147-pound belts as a safety net. Cameron has stated that McCaskill has a lack of confidence and the American would’ve jumped at the chance of getting Cameron to a weight she has never boxed at before (147) if she truly thought she could win. (Interview)
Although there might not be much genuine animosity, the matchup and rivalry through competition is an excellent one that pits the UK against the US as Shields Marshall did and hopefully lands the winner a shot at the P4P #1 in Katie Taylor.