In her own words, seven-weight world champion and current undisputed featherweight champion Amanda Serrano is fighting to prove that women fighters can box the same twelve-round, three-minute championship distance as her unified world featherweight title defence looms closer.
Serrano will defend her unified featherweight titles against Danila Ramos (12-2) in Orlando, Florida, which will be held over the men’s championship distance, a break from the norm of ten rounds of two minutes per round. However, the WBC have refused to sanction the bout, so Serrano could not defend the prestigious green and gold strap.
Women fighters up till 2014, however, could fight the same championship distance as men. Still, the WBC decided to reduce the rounds and round duration to the standard 10x2 fight duration.
The WBC, at the time of the ruling in October 2014, stated bluntly, with no scientific evidence published publicly, that ‘Several facts were reported during the convention which are of total concern regarding any changes of the 10 x 2 female boxing matches,’ the WBC’s statement said.
‘Women are physically inclined to have concussions, much more than men.
‘A female fighter used to fight 10 x 2, which is 20 minutes, would need tremendous effort to adjust to 12 x 3, which is 36 minutes.
The stance from the WBC has stayed the same, and WBC president Mauricio Sulaimán has refused to commission new research into the prospect of bringing the female code of the sport into line with the men.
In a recent interview with Chris Mannix, the WBC president Sulaiman stated, “Why would we change the rules for women’s boxing? It’s entertaining as it is and is ultimately good for fight fans. Why change?”
In 2020, a study published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that “female athletes appear to sustain more severe concussions than male athletes, due in part to a lower biomechanical threshold tolerance for head impacts”. However, a case study examining 23 athletes later in 2021 found no such link.
Serrano, when speaking to Sky Sports ahead of her encounter with Ramos, has admitted that she is feeling the pressure of fighting over the same distance as men but believes it is ultimately for the benefit of women’s boxing.
“It’s a lot of pressure on me, but I feel for women’s boxing, it’s going to be big.
“This fight is hard for me because I honestly want to showcase that I’m capable of going the 12, three-minute rounds. But then again, that’s an extra minute, so it might not go 12 rounds,”
“I’m super-excited to go out there and showcase women’s boxing at its finest and that women can do anything that we put our minds to.
“That’ll show that we deserve it.”
Serrano hopes she does not have to return to 10 x 2 rounds and has cited that the increase in the fight duration is widespread within the female code of the sport.
“For me personally, I don’t want to go back to two minutes,” she said.
“It makes no sense to go backwards, so hopefully, other women are on board. They love the idea, they’ve been asking for it for many years now, and hopefully, this is the first step.”
Ultimately, Serrano is not fighting only to defend her unified featherweight titles but equality. The popular Puerto Rican says she and many other women train exactly the same as the men and have been doing so for many years.
The undisputed featherweight champion is confident that her fight with Ramos will change the opinions of the powers that be starting firstly with fight fans.
“Women have expressed for so many years that we’re doing it in the gym, we’re sparring three minutes, we’re training 12 rounds, whatever we have to do, we’re doing it in the gym.
“I hope it changes people’s minds, people’s view of women’s boxing. This is a fight for women everywhere to be treated the same as their male counterparts.
“It’s going to be just a great night, not just for me, but for women’s boxing.”