Amanda Serrano moved to WBC featherweight title list, Mrdjenovich named “champion emeritus”
Amanda Serrano is now halfway to her goal of becoming the undisputed featherweight champion.
On Thursday, the record-setting seven-division titlist went from interim champion to “world” champion by the World Boxing Council (WBC), adding to its collection of 126 books which already includes the strap of the World Boxing Organization (WBO). The move came following a breakdown in talks over a targeted showdown with Edmonton’s Jelena Mrdjenovich, who was named the Champion Emeritus while remaining out of the ring indefinitely.
A previously ordered period of trading between the two was about to head towards a stock market offering that was due to take place this Friday. The session was canceled as Mrdjenovich continues to adjust to the loss of Milan Lubovac, his longtime coach and mentor throughout his career since his professional debut in 2003.
“While the whole world was shocked by the pandemic in 2020, Mrdjenovich and his team were struck by further tragedy when his mentor, father friend and longtime coach Milan Lubovac suffered cardiac arrest in 2020,” noted the WBC in a statement addressing the decision. . “He has been in a coma ever since, which prevents Mrdjenovich from concentrating on his career as she had done the previous one. [eighteen] years.
“Due to her extraordinary achievements and exemplary behavior throughout her career, the Women’s Championship committee has unanimously decided to appoint Jelena Mrdjenovich as champion emeritus, which will ensure that she retains all her rights as as a WBC world champion and will give her the chance to fight the defending champion whenever she feels ready.
With the upgrade, Serrano (39-1-1, 29KOs) now moves on to his next target, this time as a two-belt titlist.
Brooklyn-based southpaw Boricua, 32, will return home to Puerto Rico for her next title defense, putting her WBC and WBO belts on the line against an opponent who has yet to be disclosed. The WBC exit supported an earlier break in news that Serrano will face Argentina’s Daniela Bermudez (29-3-3, 10KO), a reigning 122-pound three-division titist who would gain weight once the fight is over. .
“The Committee has decided to confirm Amanda Serrano as WBC featherweight champion and will sanction the [unified title] fight against Daniela Bermudez. The fight is scheduled to take place on March 25 in Puerto Rico.
Serrano has confirmed on his new YouTube channel “Serrano’s Corner” that the fight will headline the March 25 edition of Ring City USA on NBC Sports Network, although the series has yet to confirm details of the event. The date serves as the end of a three-show streak, all airing live from Puerto Rico, with the other two announced cards scheduled for March 4 and 18.
Serrano won the interim WBC featherweight title following a 10-round unanimous decision victory over compatriot Heather Hardy, from Brooklyn. Their September 2019 fight – broadcast live on DAZN – also saw Serrano regain the WBO featherweight title she previously held in 2016, marking her only weight where she enjoyed two title reigns.
Serrano has won titles at junior bantamweight, bantamweight, junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight. The up-and-down weight movement was done the hard way, having climbed to 140 pounds before dropping to 115 pounds in his very next fight to win his sixth and seventh division titles, respectively.
Through it all, the belief of his tight-knit team – led by Hall of Fame-elected promoter Lou DiBella and trainer / manager / brother-in-law Jordan Maldonado – was that his optimal bonus exists as a featherweight. With that comes the goal of becoming the very first female boxer to completely unify the featherweight division, as well as Puerto Rico’s very first undisputed champion – male or female – in the era of the four belts (five including the IBO).
Other contenders for the division title include IBF champion Sarah Mahfoud as well as Mrdjenovich who still holds the WBA title.
The previously targeted fight with Mrdjenovich still represents a three-belt unification fight whenever it can be done, assuming Serrano wins on March 25. With the status of champion emeritus, Mrdjenovich has the right to challenge her old belt whenever she deems herself fit to return to the ring.
Mrdjenovich is a three-time WBC titlist and won the WBA belt in her March 2016 rematch with Edith Soledad Matthysse. Most recently, Mrdjenovich claimed a relentless 10-round victory over Iranda Torres in a Ring City show in December 2020 which was to serve as a prelude to a showdown with Serrano.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox