Sweden’s Elin Cederroos took close scores, with a knockdown proving the difference, beating Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa by unanimous decision to unify the IBF and WBA super middleweight titles tonight in Atlantic City.
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Official scores were 95-94 across the board for Cederroos (8-0, 4 KO), with Bad Left Hook scoring it 96-93 and 97-92 for the Swede. Napoleon-Espinosa falls to 12-2 (7 KO) with the loss in a fight she was favored on the books to win.
Napoleon-Espinosa, 33, was hoping to fight Claressa Shields after this bout, but got tripped up thanks to a second round knockdown on a check left hook from Cederroos, a 34-year-old who didn’t even take up boxing at all until she was 28, and only turned pro in 2017.
New York’s Napoleon-Espinosa fought with a lot of grit and determination, but too often found herself at the wrong distance against the taller and longer Cederroos, whose athleticism proved a difference-maker, along with the fact that Napoleon-Espinosa was repeatedly tagged with left hands throughout the bout.
Despite the win, Cederroos wasn’t committing to challenging Claressa Shields herself, as Napoleon-Espinosa has wanted to do.
“I have to build up my name. I need more experience,” Cederroos said, stating a desire to get more belts at 168 pounds.
“I didn’t think that I lost,” Napoleon-Espinosa said. “Not at all. I thought it was fairly close, but I felt that I was ahead. But you know, it is what it is. I’m grateful for every experience in this ring. I don’t think that I lost this fight.”
Napoleon-Espinosa insisted she absolutely did not look past Cederroos and ahead to Shields.
“I don’t ever look past an opponent,” she said. “I wanted a tough fight. I know that Elin is an athlete. I did not look past her at all. And I do not feel like I lost.”