Tomorrow morning, Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano (38-1-1, 28 KOs) will travel to the Dominican Republic for a Wednesday night rematch with Dahiana Santana (36-12, 15 KOs) at Santo Domingo’s Hotel Catalonia Malecon Center. It will be the seven-division champion’s first fight since January, despite several high-profile bouts being knocked out by Covid-19.
Serrano has twice been scheduled to fight Katie Taylor, in a contest that is widely considered the biggest fight in women’s boxing. The bout was announced in late March, just before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down New York City, and kicked off a spate of event cancellations. The May 2nd bout was rescheduled for July in England. Once again, the bout was sidelined by Covid, and rescheduled for August. Unable to go to the gym due to Covid restrictions in New York City, and unwilling to travel and fight, without proper sparring, literally in her opponent’s promoter’s backyard, with no neutral officials, during a pandemic, Serrano and her team decided to move on from the Taylor bout.
A unique and exciting opportunity then seemed to present itself – a historic, all-women event, set to take place in December on a new major platform, that would have seen Serrano unify her WBO featherweight title with Sarah Mahfoud’s IBF featherweight title. That event was canceled largely due to the rise of Covid-19 cases.
“We had to get Amanda in the ring,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment (DBE). “I then happily made a deal with the new Ring City series to feature her on their December 17 card, which already included Jelena Mrdjenovich.”
Serrano was set to face Taynna Cardoso, of Brazil, in an eight-round bout, when Cardoso’s pre-fight Covid test came back positive. Undeterred, Serrano kept training, and a replacement opponent, Argentinian Ana Romina Guichapani, was secured.
“We got word that the airport closest to Guichapani in Santa Cruz, Argentina, was closed due to Covid,” said DiBella. “In order to get to the States, she would have to fly out of Buenos Aires, which is a two-and-a-half day drive for her. We couldn’t make it work, but Amanda needed to fight.”
DiBella then secured a rematch with Dahiana Santana, the only opponent available on short notice. Serrano had stopped Santana at Barclays Center, in their first hard-fought fight, with a TKO in the eighth round. To benefit Dahiana and to make the rematch a bit more interesting, the fight was moved to the Dominican Republic, Santana’s backyard, on a card promoted by Shuan Boxing Promotions.
“I have the best promoter, the best team, that has been trying to put me on multiple cards in December,” said Serrano. “I did my medicals, I have continued training. I’m doing my part, and am looking forward to getting back in that ring and fighting again.
“I definitely want to unify with the IBF champion Sarah Mahfoud, as well as the WBC and WBA belts with Jelena Mrdjenovich,” Serrano continued. “Hopefully, that will happen in 2021.”
Mrdjenovich is scheduled to face Iranda Paola Torres on Thursday’s Ring City card on NBC SportsNet. In the main event, DiBella Entertainment’s rising star Charles “Bad News” Conwell will be facing Madiyar Ashkeyev, and DBE’s undefeated heavyweight prospect Stephan “Big Shot” Shaw will be fighting Lyubomyr Pinchuk on the same card.
“What a long, strange trip 2020 has been,” said DiBella. “Amanda and her manager, Jordan Maldonado, have been so patient and cooperative, and it’s been frustrating to face so many roadblocks this year. Amanda is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. We’ll get through this fight, and focus on 2021. It is Amanda’s desire to unify the featherweight division. That’s what we are aiming to do. Amanda’s on a collision course with Jelena Mrdjenovich and Sarah Mahfoud.”
Serrano’s fight will stream live on Facebook on both DiBella Entertainment’s and Shuan Boxing Promotions’ pages. The card begins at 5:00pm EST, Wednesday, December 16, and also features a world title fight. Puerto Rico’s WBO minimumweight world champion Wilfredo Mendez will defend his title for the third time against Venezuelan Alexis Diaz in a 12-round contest.