Amanda Serrano is set to return on March 2, defending her three featherweight titles in a main event from Puerto Rico against Nina Meinke, with her promoter Jake Paul fighting in the chief support bout on the undercard.
It’s been seen, and rightly so, as a gracious and smart move on the part of Paul (8-1, 5 KO), who does not officially have an opponent yet for his eight-round fight, though former British and Commonwealth super middleweight champ Rocky Fielding (30-3, 18 KO) has been mentioned a bit.
Serrano (46-2-1, 30 KO) will be a big favorite against Germany’s Meinke (18-3, 4 KO), but it’s a totally credible fight against a legitimate 126 lb contender. Serrano is also achieving a career-long dream of headlining in Puerto Rico, and not just at any venue — about 20,000 are expected at Coliseo de Puerto Rico on fight night.
“Pinch me. It’s so surreal looking around and to be back at home as the main event. I am super honored,” the 35-year-old Serrano said at Thursday’s press conference in San Juan.
“Thank you so much to MVP for putting on an amazing show and for putting me as the main event with Jake Paul as co-main event. He’s such a gentleman that he said, ‘This is your island,’ so he’s given me the opportunity and I’m super excited to be here, to have an amazing opponent, to come out and showcase women’s boxing once again.”
“I’m used to performing, going out and sitting and watching Jake perform. Now it’s the opposite. I don’t mind being co-main event, [but] he said there’s no way in the world that he was going to be the main event. This is my island. So I’m truly thankful for this opportunity. But it’s going to be kind of weird because it’s not only Jake that’s fighting, I have Krystal, Bomba, and Wanna and I have to watch all those fights before my fight. So, I’m gonna be a nervous wreck in the locker room, but I’m gonna be ready to go out there and perform.”
“She’s the queen of the island, and I’m just the supporting character on March 2nd,” Paul said. “This is her night to create history and put on a show, and I’m just happy to be along for the ride. I think most people are going to be rooting for Amanda Serrano, so she’s the main event, and I’m happy to support and be a part of that. That’s what I wanted, and to just take a backseat.”
Meinke, 30, showed nothing but respect for Serrano, which was returned in kind, and said that the fans in Puerto Rico have been welcoming and energetic ahead of the event.
“Everyone is super friendly, and seriously this is what we need in boxing. It’s the support you get, even though we’re opponents. They just appreciate us as boxers, so I’m really happy,” she said.
“Of course [Amanda is] a very strong boxer and I really respect her. But I’m also a very skilled fighter. I had a long amateur career and fought over 70 fights, so I’m also an experienced boxer. This is going to be a great fight. We will show the world that women’s boxing is very good and strong.”
Serrano recently gave up her WBC featherweight title because the sanctioning body refuses to sanction women’s fights with 12, three-minute rounds, which Serrano is now insisting on for her fights. The WBA, IBF, and WBO have all given the green light, and Serrano will defend those titles.
Serrano is hoping the WBC will change their tune in time.
“[Vacating the WBC title] definitely wasn’t a very easy decision for me. You know I worked so hard for all these belts, all these titles,” she said. “And so to give up something that you really love and work hard for, it hurts.
“But if you believe in something you have to take a stand. I believe that women need equality. The first step was performing and succeeding and doing the 12, three-minute rounds. And I think I just needed to do what I had to do. All these other organizations are supporting me 100 percent. So I believe in it and I took the stand, and hopefully the WBC will come around one day.”