By: Sean Crose
Undisputed super featherweight champion Alycia Baumgardner is looking to avenge her sole loss, a 2018 split decision defeat to Christina Linardatou. “I’m writing a book, on who I am,” Baumgardner says on the eve of her rematch with Linardatou this weekend. “Winning on Saturday closes a chapter. People are saying, ‘well Christina was her only loss’. There are only clips of the fight on YouTube, I’ve never seen the whole fight. I remember when I was in the ring that night and her hand was raised, I was like ‘damn, I’ve got my first loss’. But then I was like, ‘I’m not done, who cares?’”
At the moment, Baumgardner is one of he biggest names in women’s boxing. And a victory Saturday night at Detroit’s Masonic Temple would only improve her already impressive reputation. What’s more, Baumgardner, doesn’t necessarily see the loss to Linardatou as an entirely negative thing. “It was needed for growth,” she says, “and I want people to recognize what growth looks like; it’s ugly, and it hurts. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel and it tells a story.” It’s a healthy way to view things, frankly, especially now, when the sport seems to finally be emerging from the ridiculous belief that a loss is a reputation destroyer.
“I wanted to show people that a loss doesn’t have to be a bad thing,” says Baumgardner. “I got to see at that given time, what it would have looked like had I won because I saw her career; she became a world champion after that. And I thought ‘wow, that could have been me’ but everything comes back full circle, and I am happy everything played out the way it was supposed to as now I’m undisputed and fighting her in my backyard. I keep thinking how the fight is going to play out, it will be spectacular, it will give me the feeling that this is what I have been waiting for and I am going to punish her.”
Ultimately, Baumgardner wants to make it clear to everyone – especially Linardatou – that she’s grown from the fighter she once was. “I want her to know that she is in with someone that isn’t the same fighter that she fought five years ago,” Baumgardner says. “I chose her. I could have fought anyone, but I chose her. She’s hungry and she should be. She has fought some great fighters, and she’s pumped that she’s beaten me before, that drives her, but she has no idea. After the first fight she came up to me and said you are the hardest fighter I’ve ever fought. If she thinks I hit hard then, just wait until she gets this work. You are in there with a dog, and I am going to punish you.”
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