Mikael Mayer had to work hard for this one.
The 2016 U.S. Olympian, typically a slick boxer, outfought tough, aggressive Maiva Hamadouche on the inside to win a unanimous decision and unify two junior lightweight titles Saturday in Las Vegas.
The scores in the 10-round bout — 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92 — don’t tell the story of the entertaining battle. Mayer (16-0, 5 KOs) had to dig deep.
“[I showed] I could bang it out on the inside,” he said. “That wasn’t really the entire game plan. The game plan was to use my jab, but in the back of my head, I knew she was going to keep it close, keep me on the inside. Even though we trained for that, just being able to do that for 10 straight rounds taught me a lot.”
“This is everything I trained for. It really hasn’t even sunk in, but I’m proud of what I did. I’m proud of my team. We’re going to celebrate this one, for sure.”
Mikaela Mayer now holds two of the 130-pound titles. Steve Marcus / Getty Images
Mayer said she also finds gratitude in proving her doubters wrong.
“I really wanted to show everyone in the division and the naysayers that I didn’t have the power and the grit to stay in there for 10 rounds with Hamadouche that I am the best in the division,” she said.
Hamadouche (22-2, 18 KOs) had won 13 consecutive fights since she lost a decision to Delfine Persoon in 2015. The Frenchwoman was making the seventh defense of her IBF belt.
Mayer was making the second defense of her WBO title. She is now setting her sights on the other 130 pound champions, Terri Harper (WBC) and Choi Hyun-mi (WBA).
“I am coming to be undisputed,” Mayer said, “and I want the big fights. I’m definitely a threat.”