The biggest women’s boxing rivalries in history
by Kate Rosindale on Jul 15, 2023
There is nothing like an intense rivalry to pique the interest of sports fans.
Over the years a number of thrilling confrontations have helped to do just that for the world of women’s boxing.
As a growing area, these exciting match ups have no doubt helped with the development and recognition of the sport.
While the status of women’s boxing continues to be elevated, new rivalries are sure to emerge that will shatter gender stereotypes and open doors to opportunities for more female fighters.
Here we take a look at some of the biggest women's boxing rivalries in history.
Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer
When two undefeated world champions collide, the world takes notice. Such was the case when American sensation Claressa Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, locked horns with Germany's Christina Hammer, the long-reigning middleweight champion. The buildup to their clash was electrifying, with both fighters trading verbal jabs in the lead-up to their April 2019 showdown.
Shields, known for her aggressive style and brash demeanor, aimed to unify the middleweight division, while Hammer, with her height and reach advantage, sought to defend her titles. The fight lived up to its hype, with Shields ultimately triumphing in a unanimous decision. This rivalry showcased the talent and charisma of both fighters and underscored the global appeal of women's boxing.
Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon
Katie Taylor, an Irish boxing sensation and Olympic gold medalist, found herself embroiled in a captivating rivalry with Belgian boxer Delfine Persoon in the lightweight division. Their first encounter in June 2019 was an instant classic, marked by Taylor's speed and precision against Persoon's relentless pressure.
Taylor narrowly won the first bout, but controversy and clamour for a rematch ensued. In August 2020, they squared off once more, with Taylor emerging victorious in another thrilling contest. This rivalry not only elevated both fighters' profiles but also showcased the depth of talent in women's lightweight boxing.
Layla McCarter and Melissa Hernandez
This rivalry spans multiple weight classes and several years, highlighting the enduring competitiveness of women's boxing. Layla McCarter, known for her technical prowess, and Melissa Hernandez, a resilient and charismatic fighter, engaged in memorable battles.
Their match ups were celebrated for their skillful exchanges and intriguing storylines. McCarter and Hernandez's rivalry demonstrated that women's boxing is not confined to a single division and that the sport's strength lies in its diversity of talent and personalities.
Laila Ali and Jackie Frazier-Lyde
A rivalry that transcended the sport, the clash between Laila Ali and Jackie Frazier-Lyde was a spectacle of legacy and family pride. The daughters of two heavyweight legends, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, these two women entered the ring in 2001 with immense expectations on their shoulders.
Their fight, dubbed the "Ali-Frazier IV," was a nod to the epic battles between their fathers. While it may not have reached the same heights as their legendary dads' encounters, it showcased the enduring legacy of the Ali-Frazier rivalry and introduced a new generation to the world of women's boxing.