When we talk about the best pound for pound female fighter on the planet there are few that can challenger Irish boxing queen Katie Taylor (19-0, 6), the undisputed Lightweight champion, and of the greatest female amateurs of all time and a woman who has already scored a host of notable wins. Sadly the female Lightweight division has essentially cleaned out by Taylor, who has wins over Viviane Obenauf, Anahi Ester Sanchez, Jessica McCaskill, Victoria Noelia Bustos, Cindy Serrano, Eva Wahlstrom, Rose Volante, Delfine Persoon, Natasha Jonas and Jennifer Han. To get a good test she needs to either go over old ground, with bouts against Persoon and Jonas being interesting or move up in weight.
Sadly instead of chasing a legacy defining fight at a different weight Taylor is scraping the barrel and this weekend she will face Kazakh challenger Firuza Sharipova (14-1, 8). On paper Sharipova looks like an okay challenger, but in reality she's a fighter with a horribly padded record, no wins of note, and a career that has been played out just as much in the Kazakh press as the boxing ring. In fact if anything anything she's been in the press more for stupid stories rather than her boxing career.
When we talk about Katie Taylor, we talk about a fantastic fighter who can box, brawl or fight. She's among the best pure boxers in female boxing, but when she needs to dig deep and fight she's proven she can do that too. The only thing missing from her arsenal is fight changing power. She has great stamina, fantastic work rate, a good boxing brain, solid technical skills, she's well polished and determined to prove she's the best. If she had power she would be a truly sensational fighter, instead of just an excellent one.
Sadly when it comes to Sharipova we talk about one who is poor, untested, limited and who's best wins come against fighters that wouldn't even be in the top 10 wins for Taylor. Fighters like Djemilla Gontaruk and Yuliya Kutsenko are the best she's faced, and neither of those are close to being world class fighters. Sadly it's the other opponents that sum up Sharipova's resume best, with fighters like Happy Daudi having shared the ring with her, and Daudi looked like she had stumbled into the ring whilst looking for a friend rather than looking for a fight. Sadly even against someone as limited and poor as Daudi, Sharipova didn't shine, instead she had a punch bag in front of her who essentially gave up being hit rather than gave up trying to win.
Sharipova's record might suggest she has some power, but that really says more about her competition. Only one of her stoppages has come against a fighter with a win, and that was the aforementioned Happy Daudi. Sadly for her she's not going to have the fire power to get Taylor's respect. She's not going to have the skills to test Taylor. She's not going to have anything to make Taylor think twice. Instead Taylor is going to beat Sharipova into submission in a bout that is not just a step up in class, but something more akin to getting an elevator from the basement to the pent house suite. She is going to get a beating here, and hopefully she doesn't have the heart and will to stay in there for too long. Fingers crossed she knows her limits and doesn't take a career changing beat down to Taylor.
Prediction - TKO 5 Taylor
On December 9th we'll see a new Japanese female Minimumweight champion being crowned as Nanako Suzuki (5-2, 1) and Sayo Segawa (1-1, 1) battle for the currently vacant title, which was given up by former champion Yuma Narita following her first defense last December.
Aged 22 Suzuki is the younger fighter, despite having more professional experience than Segawa. Suzuki debuted at the age of 17, back in 2017, and scored win on debut before suffering her first loss in her second bout, when she was beaten by Eruka Hiromoto. She bounced back with a couple of wins, including one over Ka Yan Won in Hong Hong, but was beaten in a minor surprise in 2019 as she returned to Hong Kong and lost to Renz Dacquel. Since that loss she has notched up back to back wins and built some momentum whilst also winning her first 6 rounder.
In the ring Suzuki is an energetic little fighter, who bounces on her feet a lot and comes forward behind a busy jab. Sadly she is tiny and whilst her jab is busy it's not a damaging one. It also doesn't really set the table for her other shots as her right hand is slow and wide and her other shots often look more like slaps than full blooded punches. She's very much a developing fighter, but she looks like a novice in there with a lot of work to do. Offensively she's not particularly sharp, though she is quick. Sadly though she is very open defensively and so far she's been lucky not to have faced opponents able to really take advantage of all her defensive holes.
Segawa was a former amateur standout before beginning her professional career in 2019. She impressed in her debut, beating a Thai visitor, but was beaten in her second professional bout. Whilst she is an inexperienced professional she was very established in the amateur ranks, coming 3rd in the All Japan Championships and scoring more than 30 wins with almost half coming by stoppage. Sadly though she is diminutive, and is less than 5 foot tall, which will be a problem as she steps through the levels of the sport.
Given her amateur credentials it will be little surprise to learn that Segawa's a polished fighter. She does things properly, her shots are crisp and clean, her movement looks natural and educated, and her footwork is solid, though somewhat rigid. She picks her shots well, she sets a good tempo and she looks like a much more polished version for Suzuki, tidying up a lot of the flaws we mentioned with Suzuki. Sadly she's lacking power, and doesn't seem to put too much on her shots, but she is quick, aggressive and clearly understand what she's doing in the ring.
We suspect Suzuki can go on to win a title in the future. Here however we expect the polish and amateur skills of Segawa to be the difference maker, and her loss last time out will act as the sort of bout to correct her focus, and develop a more intelligent gameplan, rather than holding her feet as she did last time out,
With neither fighter having much in terms of power we can't imagine this one finishing early, we do expect a lot of shots landed by both in an exciting and very fun fight. Just unfortunately for Suzuki we don't think she has the tools to beat the more polished Segawa.
Prediction - UD6 Segawa
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.