Mayer vs Wildheart – ESPN, BT Sport – April 15 – 2 pm ET
April 15: Joyce-Zhang, Mayer-Wildheart and undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT.
UPDATE: Former unified junior lightweight world champion Mikaela Mayer has a new opponent for her lightweight debut. Mayer will battle Swedish contender Lucy Wildheart in a 10-rounder for the WBC interim world title tomorrow at London’s Copper Box Arena after her original opponent, Christina Linardatou, was forced to withdraw after not meeting British Boxing Board of Control requirements.
Wildheart (10-1, 4 KOs), a 30-year-old boxer-puncher, enters this late-notice assignment riding a five-bout winning streak since a 10-round decision defeat to French standout Estelle Mossely. In 2021, she knocked out former Mayer foe Edina Kiss in the third round. Wildheart went 2-0 in 2022, winning a pair of six-round decisions on British soil.
“I like fighting in the U.K. I like the fans here. The energy they bring to the arena is always great. They’re a lot of fun. I feel like I did a lot of work in my last outing here in terms of media. It was a huge fight and the Queen had passed, so we had to come out several times to promote the fight. And I just wanted to continue that moment and come out here and put on a great performance in front of some great fans.”
“I am coming off a loss. Yet I feel like I’m the greatest I’ve ever been. Skill-wise, I have taken another step forward. But at the same time, it’s almost like I’m taking a step back. I didn’t want that to be the case. I didn’t want to take a step back when it came to my competition or my next move in the sport, so I told my team that I wanted a top competitor. I wanted someone who challenge me and motivate me and get me back in position for a world title.
“That’s Christina Linardatou. She is accomplished. She’s a top ranked. And I wanted to put on a good fight for the fans against a worthy opponent, and she is a worthy opponent.”
“Christina has a very aggressive, come-forward style. So, obviously, I’m the taller and leaner boxer, so you are going to see me boxing and moving. But I also have to demand some respect and sit on my shots. There will be moments that where we’ll be in close and having to let my hands go as well. So, I know it’s going to be a really exciting, action-packed fight.”
“I feel great. I’m so happy to be coming back. I had already done a fight after giving birth, but this is the first big fight. I’m very excited that it’s against Mikaela, who is a very tough fighter.”
“I have been keeping an eye on her for years now. I keep an eye on all my possible opponents. I keep an eye on all the women I could fight, from 130 to 140.”
“I wasn’t nervous [at the Grand Arrivals]. I was thinking she was trying to find the nervousness in me. But, I’m calm. I feel better than at any other previous time because of the processes. It was very difficult to get into the condition that I once was. The process makes you stronger, not nervous.”
“Advantages? We are both strong. We are both fast. I don’t know what exactly to tell you about advantages. I only know that I feel very strong and very fast. I think I’m faster. My defense is good. That’s my favorite. My defense.”
Mikaela Mayer is coming back to the U.K. for the second time in a row.
The former unified junior lightweight champion will make her lightweight debut against former two-time junior welterweight world champion Christina “Medusa” Linardatou on Saturday, April 15, at Copper Box Arena in London.
Mayer-Linardatou will serve as the co-feature to the WBO interim heavyweight title clash between undefeated British knockout artist Joe Joyce and Chinese contender Zhilei Zhang.
Promoted by Queensberry Promotions, Joyce-Zhang, Mayer-Linardatou and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.
“Mikaela Mayer made such a big hit in the UK that it only made sense to for her to fight across the pond again,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Mikaela is still one of the very best fighters in the world, and she demanded a tough fight for her lightweight debut. Linardatou has proven herself at the world-class level and should give Mikaela a run for her money.”
Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympian, signed with Top Rank in 2017 and captured the WBO junior lightweight championship with a unanimous decision victory against Ewa Brodnicka in October 2020. The following year, the Los Angeles native unified the WBO and IBF titles in an action-packed slugfest against Maiva Hamadouche. In her last fight, Mayer suffered the first defeat of her career, a razor-thin split decision setback to Alycia Baumgardner at London’s O2 Arena. Mayer wants to reverse her lone defeat, but she’ll first step up to lightweight to face Linardatou, the only woman to defeat Baumgardner in the paid ranks.
Mayer said, “The second I returned to the U.S. after my last fight in London, I called my team and told them to get me a fight ASAP. I didn’t want to wait, and I didn’t want to fight anyone other than a top contender! I’m hungry and motivated to prove that I’m still the best. When Top Rank sealed the deal with the tough and experienced Christina Linardatou, I was excited and inspired. She’s an aggressive, come-forward fighter, which is going to force me use all my tools. I always love the energy and support I get when visiting the UK, and I’m excited to come back and give everyone a great fight.”
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(ESPN+, 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT)
• Joe Joyce 256 lbs. vs. Zhilei Zhang 278 lbs
(Joyce’s WBO Interim Heavyweight Title — 12 Rounds)
• Mikaela Mayer 134.5 lbs vs. Lucy WIldheart 134.4 lbs
(Vacant WBC Interim Lightweight Title — 10 Rounds)
* Wildheart stepped in after Mayer’s original opponent, Christina Linardatou, was forced to withdraw after not meeting British Boxing Board of Control requirements
• Moses Itauma 247 lbs vs. Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko 241 lbs
(Heavyweight — 6 Rounds)
• Sam Noakes 134.5 lbs vs. Karthik Sathish Kumar 134 lbs
(Lightweight— 12 Rounds)