Female Pound for Pound

Female Pound for Pound Dec. 2015

By David A. Avila

Female boxing took a backseat to female mixed martial arts especially with the emergence of Ronda Rousey the past two years.

Unlike MMA, female boxing has remained invisible with not one single televised bout in the U.S. on any major television network. But it still exists and in other countries like Mexico, Japan, France and Argentina the sport is exploding.

Female boxers not only have to fight to get the attention of the media, they even have to fight to get a spot on boxing promoters fight cards. Sexism is strong in U.S. professional boxing.

Nonetheless, those women who continue to fight the fight, are still among us. Here’s a list of the top female prizefighters in the world:


1.)    Layla McCarter (37-13-5) – She lives and trains in Las Vegas, Nevada and has not lost a fight in almost nine years. In that time she’s defeated some of the top female fighters from lightweight to junior middleweight. McCarter, 36, started slowly in her career and her love of boxing kept her in the sport. Now she’s become one of the most skilled female prizefighters in the history of female boxing. She did not fight once in 2015, but not through fault of her own. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is partly to blame and would not sanction two of her opponents though they were highly qualified. One other proposed bout came from Argentina but the purse was a ridiculously low $3,000. McCarter remains the best female prizefighter today and just needs a chance to show it. Her last fight was in the BKB, a pit-style fight where she won by technical knockout over former super featherweight champion Diana Prazak.


2.)    Delfine Persoon (35-1) – The lightweight world champion from Belgium has not lost a fight since 2010. She has been negotiating to face Layla McCarter in Europe but the money offered hasn’t quite met the mark. We’ll see if the top two female prizefighters can finally meet in the boxing ring. 


3.)    Cecilia Braekhus (27-0) - Born in Colombia and now living in Norway, the undefeated welterweight has athleticism and knows how to use it. She’s cleaned out much of Europe but has not fought any top Americans. Braekhus, 34, is a very tough competitor.


4.)    Ibeth Zamora Silva (24-5) – The tiny mini-flyweight from Mexico City known as “La Roca” has emerged as a fan favorite in her country. Silva fires punches in bunches and with skill and precision. She has victories over several elite fighters like Ava Knight, Jessica Chavez and Naoko Shibata.


5.)    Melinda Cooper (23-2) – Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, she was the first from that city to win a world title. Blessed with speed and knockout power Cooper, 30, was scheduled to fight this past summer in Los Angeles for the IBF bantamweight world title against Carolina Arias, but that fighter from Costa Rica could not obtain a visa.


6.)    Erica Farias (22-1) – The super lightweight has been one of the few from her native Argentina willing to travel abroad to prove her mettle. Farias, 31, has shown in many fights that strength is her main asset and relentless pressure. She’s recently won the WBC super lightweight title in Denmark.


7.)    Jackie Nava (32-4-3) – Born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico the super bantamweight has been through the wars. Nava, 35, has been one of the top fighters in the world for a number of years. She’s very offensive-minded with inside great fighting skills.


8.)    Amanda Serrano (26-1-1) – She’s a super featherweight southpaw with power and has won by knockout on 19 occasions. That’s a rare thing in female prizefighting because the rounds are only two-minutes long as compared to male fights that are three-minutes long. Serrano lives and trains in Brooklyn.


9.)    Yazmin Rivas (34-8) – The WBC bantamweight titlist was very busy in 2015. Nava won three fights including a win over San Antonio’s very good Celina Salazar. A match with Melinda Cooper would be a gift for fans.


 10.)                        Melissa Hernandez (22-6-3) – She’s long been one of the most skilled female boxers in the world. Don’t be fooled by the number of losses. Hernandez, 35, is completely fearless and willing to fight anyone at any weight. She now trains out of Brooklyn.


Others to watch:  Kenia Enriquez, Yulihan Avila, Celina Salazar, Kenia Enriquez. Susi Ramadan, Carolina Rodriguez, Kaliesha West, Melissa McMorrow, Maureen Shea, Susi Kentikian, Naoko Fujioka, Jessica Chavez.