Amanda Serrano is one of the best female boxers in the world. Having won world titles in five weight divisions (super-bantam up to lightweight) the Puerto Rico born Brooklyn resident recently moved into Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), fighting under the Combate Americas banner.
Having seen Amanda box I wanted to know what was behind her decision to move into MMA and also hear her thoughts on some other aspects of her career.
Amanda is on Twitter and Instagram @Serranosisters and is worth a follow if you are interested in getting a glimpse of some of the work she puts into both sports during training. We all take inspiration from different thing and seeing someone giving everything to their chosen sport(s) and constantly challenging them self does it for me.
Going by the interview Amanda has no intention of slowing down or calling it a career any time soon. Enjoy the read.
CM: Hi Amanda, I’d like to start with your most recent bout – your MMA debut against Corina Herrera on April 13, which went the distance and was scored a draw by the judges. I know you prepared diligently but how did you feel just as the bout was about to begin? Confident, nervous? Also can you remember much about the actual fight itself?
AS: I prepared really well for my debut against Corina Herrera. She wasn’t my original opponent but the fact that I was learning the sport meant I trained in every aspect of it. It served me well because I was on auto pilot. My nerves kind of took me away from my game plan. It felt so different being in there. It was what I expected – tough. It’s a new sport so it takes a little time to get adjusted.
As far as the actual fight I didn’t feel anything she did, plus I defended her take down attempts well in the first two rounds. I escaped three submission attempts by her. In the second a standing guillotine and in the third an arm triangle and lastly a rear naked choke. I felt that my nerves had kind of drained me. I’ve done all of that in the gym so I was familiar with it all. I just couldn’t handle my nerves but I’m glad I showed that I’d put in the work. Anyone else would have probably tapped out, but not me ha ha.
CM: So why the move to MMA? Was it to do with a lack of opportunities and TV exposure in America for female boxing? What are your thoughts on the future prospects for female boxing in the USA in the upcoming years?
AS: What made me switch to MMA was the fact that they appreciate their female athletes and boxing doesn’t. There’s almost always a female fight on every MMA show – generally in a good TV spot. MMA gives female athletes good exposure, unlike boxing.
I think boxing will get better for some females but definitely not all. It’s been that way since it started. First it was the Christy Martin era..
..where no one even knew any other girl then there was the Laila Ali era, which almost mimicked the Martin era. Now it’s mainly Claressa Shields with the exception of a few others that are now beginning to be regularly mentioned.
CM: And a simple follow up to that question – in terms of boxing and MMA what is planned next?
AS: My plans are to finish out the year with my promoter Lou DiBella. Lou is a great promoter who has given myself and my sister Cindy great opportunities. Then it’s all MMA after I satisfy our contract together.
CM: On closer look at your boxing record it is remarkable how you managed to move around the weight classes, sometimes going up, sometimes moving down, and remain competitive enough to continue winning world titles. How did you manage this? Also would you still be able to do this now and what would be realistic weights for your next bouts in both boxing and MMA?
AS: As far as going up and down in weight – my trainer/manager Jordan Maldonado is a genius with how he has me either go up or down in weight. My next boxing match will be at 140lbs, to win in a sixth division. I’m looking to break my own record and cement my legacy in boxing – I would even consider going down to 115lbs after ha.
As for MMA – I can only make 125lbs there. It’s different to boxing where my punching power neutralises size. In MMA there’s grappling that requires a different set of strength so if I go under 115lbs I’ll be a little weaker than at 125. At 135lbs in MMA I would definitely be giving up too much size. People who don’t know both sports don’t understand this. Punching power is natural and doesn’t require anything other than just hitting someone. On the other hand wrestling requires different strength components.
CM: In my opinion your boxing skills are exceptional. Your technique also. Have you ever considered training others in boxing?
AS: First – thank you for the compliment. Now to answer this question correctly – I would love to train fighters at some point but only when my own fighting career ends. Right now I’m so involved with myself training for fights that it wouldn’t be fair to start training someone when I’ll need to take that time for myself. I want to be able to give them everything I have as a trainer just like my trainer does with me.
CM: Sticking with the subject of training – the videos of your gym work that you share on social media give us all an insight in to how hard you work. I find it inspiring and wonder if any young fighters are motivated to follow your example. So do you consider yourself a role model for the next generation of fighters?
AS: Great question because at first I did it to become the best I could for myself then I realised it was more for my family, fans and my team. Shortly after that I realised that many of my fans looked up to me so in essence you automatically become a role model to some.
For that reason I’m one that doesn’t allow myself to get into call-outs and the trash talk that some fighters do trying to stir up fights or show people that they are tough. As a role model I keep it classy. No need to talk. I’ve always said people lie, numbers don’t. Check mine, check yours. I KO them and you struggle with them ha. My fans like me because I’m a lady but I fight like most men do. I’m a fighter, not a talker. I fight, others talk.
CM: Finally, as a Puerto Rican living in New York can you give the readers an insight into what both places mean to you?
AS: As a Puerto Rican living in Brooklyn I feel responsible to represent both. Although Puerto Rico is always at the top of everything I do, and it will always remain that way it’s in my blood, I was raised in Brooklyn so in fairness to where I was raised I keep it honest and work super hard for both. I was born in Carolina, PR but came to Brooklyn when I was eight months old. I’ve lived in the same house for all these years – 29 to be exact! So for as long as I continue to fight I’ll represent both. May I add that will be for quite some time, now that I’m a two sport athlete!
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