Joyce vs Zhang undercard: Mikaela Mayer back in the UK today

04/15/2023 - No comments

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.

Mayer-Wildheart will be the co-feature to the heavyweight main event between WBO interim champion Joe Joyce and Zhilei “Big Bang” Zhang.

Promoted by Queensberry Promotions, Joyce-Zhang, Mayer-Wildheart and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+ beginning at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT.

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.


Mikaela Mayer is ready to bounce back from her first professional loss and make a statement in a new weight class. The former WBO and IBF super-featherweight champion will take on Christina Linardatou, a former two-time world champion at super-lightweight, in a 10-round lightweight bout on Saturday, 15 April at Copper Box Arena in London. The fight will be televised live on BT Sport in the U.K. and streamed live on ESPN+ in the U.S.

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The Mayer-Linardatou showdown will be the chief support to the interim WBO heavyweight title fight between unbeaten British star Joe Joyce and Chinese contender Zhilei Zhang, which is promoted by Queensberry Promotions.

Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs) is a 2016 U.S. Olympian who signed with Top Rank in 2017 and quickly rose to the top of the women’s super-featherweight division. She won the WBO title in October 2020 with a dominant decision over Ewa Brodnicka and then unified the WBO and IBF belts in a thrilling war with Maiva Hamadouche in November 2021.

However, Mayer’s unbeaten run came to an end in February 2022, when she lost a controversial split decision to Alycia Baumgardner at London’s O2 Arena. Mayer is eager to avenge that loss, but she also wants to challenge herself at a higher weight class against Linardatou, who holds a win over Baumgardner.

Linardatou (14-2, 6 KOs) was born in the Dominican Republic but moved to Greece as a child, where she fell in love with boxing. She turned pro at age 26 and won her first 12 fights, including a TKO over Claribel Ferreras in her debut. She suffered her first loss in 2018, when she challenged Delfine Persoon for the WBC lightweight title and lost a unanimous decision.

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Linardatou bounced back from that defeat by winning the WBO super-lightweight title with a majority decision over Kandi Wyatt in March 2019. She defended that belt once with a unanimous decision over Deanha Hobbs before losing it to undisputed welterweight champion Katie Taylor in November 2019.

Linardatou regained the WBO super-lightweight title in October 2020 with a split decision over Baumgardner, handing her the only loss of her career. She vacated that belt in February 2021 and moved back down to lightweight, where she has won two fights by stoppage.

Linardatou is confident that she can upset Mayer and spoil her lightweight debut. She believes that she has the power and experience to beat the former super-featherweight queen.

Mayer vs. Linardatou is a high-stakes clash between two former world champions who are looking to make their mark at lightweight.