Alycia Baumgardner is set to defend her undisputed World Super-Featherweight title against Christina Linardatou at The Masonic Temple Detroit in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday, July 15. The event will be broadcasted live worldwide on DAZN, featuring a showdown between rivals Richardson Hitchins and Montana Love, and the professional debut of Cuban amateur standout Andy Cruz.
Baumgardner, who holds a record of 14-1 with 7 KOs, is staking her 130lbs titles for the second time following a decisive victory over Elhem Mekhaled in New York last February. This successful defense in the Big Apple was preceded by a major win in London against arch-rival Mikaela Mayer, which earned her all the belts in the division. Now, ‘The Bomb’ is heading home to fight in Detroit for the first time as a professional, with an unfinished business against Linardatou, who dealt Baumgardner her only professional loss back in July 2018.
Linardatou, with a record of 14-2 and 6 KOs, aims to claim her third World title and repeat her victory over Baumgardner, five years after a contentious split decision victory over eight rounds in Louisville. Her victory over Baumgardner paved the way for her first World title at Super-Lightweight against Kandi Wyatt in March 2019, having previously challenged Delfine Persoon for the World Lightweight title in June 2016. Now at 35, she defended her title against Deanha Hobbs in Athens in June 2019, only to lose it to Katie Taylor in Manchester, England in November 2019. However, she bounced back three months later, claiming the vacant title against Prisca Vicot in Indiana, and returned to the ring in July with a win in six rounds in Greece.
The anticipation for Baumgardner’s homecoming event is heightened by an exciting undercard featuring a showdown between fierce rivals Richardson Hitchins and Montana Love, contending for Hitchin’s IBF North American and USWBC Super-Lightweight titles.
Hitchins, boasting an unbeaten record of 16-0 with 7 KOs, is ascending through the 140lbs division ranks, set to fight for the third time in eight months since partnering with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom. The Brooklyn-based boxer showcased an impeccable performance in his last match, overpowering John Bauza in a ten-round fight in New York in February, after an impressive eighth-round stoppage win against Yomar Alamo in Cleveland last November.
Love, with a record of 18-1-1 and 9 KOs, was the headliner during the aforementioned Cleveland event where he faced Steve Spark. The bout ended controversially when a mix-up on the ropes appeared to result in Love lifting Spark over the ropes, leading to his disqualification. Now, Love is striving to return to the running to face the top fighters and titleholders in the 140lbs division. As if more motivation was needed, the tension between Hitchins and Love was palpable during the Cleveland press conference, intensifying the upcoming bout’s stakes and rivalry.
Following a recent promotional agreement with Hearn and Matchroom, the Cuban amateur prodigy, Andy Cruz, is scheduled to make his professional boxing debut on the card. Cruz will be facing Juan Carlos Burgos in a ten-round Lightweight contest.
Cruz, a gold medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in the Lightweight category, defeated Keyshawn Davis in the postponed August 2021 games. His victorious streak continued with an exceptional third consecutive AIBA World Championship gold at Light-Welterweight in Serbia, three months later. These accolades join his previous triumphs from the World Championships in Germany and Russia in 2017 and 2019.
At 27, Cruz is eager to make his mark in professional boxing. He’ll be taking on the seasoned Burgos (35-7-3, 21 KOs), who managed to take Davis to a full eight rounds in their December showdown and held a ten-round draw with highly rated Lightweight Angel Fierro in the previous March.