Alycia Baumgardner will defend her undisputed 130 lb championship against Christina Linardatou in a rematch from Detroit on July 15, with Cuban amateur great Andy Cruz making his pro debut and Richardson Hitchins facing Montana Love on the undercard.
The show will be carried by DAZN.
Baumgardner (14-1, 7 KO) lost an eight-round split decision to Linardatou (14-2, 6 KO) back in 2018 in Louisville, and believes, of course, that she deserved the win in that fight.
Now 35, Greece’s Linardatou’s only two losses have come at top level against Delfine Persoon in 2016 and Katie Taylor in 2019, title fights at 135 and 140, respectively, and she won the WBO 140 lb title against Kandi Wyatt in 2019.
Most recently, Lindardatou was controversially scrapped from a UK fight against Mikaela Mayer due to a permanent lens, which she’s had for years and fought with without issue.
It may have been something of a blessing in disguise, though, as she now has a crack at the undisputed championship at 130. No question that Baumgardner, 28, will come in the favorite this time, but it’s still a huge opportunity for Linardatou, and for Baumgardner, this is a significant fight with meaning behind it. She can’t erase that “1” and turn it into a “0,” but she can get even, so to speak.
The fight will be Baumgardner’s second straight in the U.S., and her first headlining gig in her home country, after she broke through on the world level with three fights in the UK in 2021-22.
“It was a blessing to be able to fight overseas in front of an international audience to unify titles, and then to finally become undisputed in my home country at MSG, was so amazing,” said Baumgardner.
“But to come back home to the Midwest, where I grew up, where I learned how to work, where my life was shaped, where my faith was forged, and then to headline in my adopted home of Detroit for my first undisputed title defense, I am truly realizing a dream come true.”
“In one of the world’s most storied cities for boxing, I get to put on a show and show out in front of the people who’ve supported me and know me best. I get to thank the region that helped make me who I am. I get to show the world that a little girl from Fremont, came back home as the undisputed champion of the world, and let all those other midwestern little girls like me know that they can reach any dream they can imagine.”
“I think it’s going to be a great fight with me and Alycia,” said Linardatou. “It’s going to be much better than the first one. She has shown signs of improvement, but I have a new purpose to fight for: my son.
“And as much as she improved with her skills, her ego and head has grown with it. She does a lot of things for social media and to get attention. I’m doing this for the legacy of my son. See you July 15, chump — I mean champ.”
Hitchins (16-0, 7 KO) and Love (18-1-1, 9 KO) will meet in a 12-round bout with a couple of minor regional/rankings-relevant belts from the WBC and IBF on the line at 140 lbs.
Hitchins is coming off of a brutally dominant win over John Bauza on Feb. 4 in New York, while Love hasn’t fought since his ridiculous, Royal Rumble disqualification loss to Stevie Spark in Cleveland last November.
“To say there is bad blood between us is an understatement,” said Hitchins. “This is personal for me. I genuinely cannot stand the guy and he’s going to feel all that anger come out. This is my time. This is going to be a showcase performance for me and put me in line for a world title.
“He isn’t on my level. He doesn’t belong in the ring with me. I’m giving him this opportunity for no other reason than that I want to smash him to pieces.”
“I’m gonna give you this ass whoopin’ you been asking for,” said Love. “This is just the fight I need to get back into the mix, and when I deal with him, I’ll be back on track for world titles.”
A lot of boxing fans will be most interested in the pro debut of Andy Cruz, the 27-year-old Cuban who dominated in the amateurs between 2015 and 2021, winning Olympic gold in Tokyo by beating Keyshawn Davis in the lightweight final. Davis was an actual gold medal-level boxer, it’s just that Cruz was better than him.
Now, we’ll see how he does turning pro, and he’s going right at an experienced veteran you’ve surely seen before, Juan Carlos Burgos (35-7-3, 21 KO), a 35-year-old Mexican whose last fight was an eight-round decision loss to Davis in December.
“I’m pumped and ready,” said Cruz. “Everything I wanted is about to become a reality. Now, it is time for me to show the world what I am made of. I want to give my fans the best of me, and I’m ready to do in pro boxing the same I did in the amateurs, be the best in the world!”