Last month, Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko filled out a 90,000-seater stadium in the UK in what was dubbed one of the biggest boxing events ever staged in the sport. Joshua, the younger man, beat one of the legends of the heavyweight sport in what was a very memorable contest. The fight was only the third event in history to be shared by two of the major networks in the USA, HBO, and Showtime – in fact, the broadcast on the latter channel drew an average of 659,000 viewers, while it exceeded 10 million in Germany. It is proof that boxing and other combat sports such as MMA are thriving in today’s market.
Boxing and MMA have historically been male-dominated sports. However, that has changed. Olympian Katie Taylor was on the undercard at Wembley and is set to feature in a main event in the USA soon as her stock continues to rise.
Here is a look at the four most influential female fighters in boxing and MMA today.
Nicola Adams – Boxing
British boxer Nicola Adams is a two-time Olympic gold medalist as she ruled her division in London and Rio de Janeiro to establish herself as one of the most successful amateur women boxers in history. Adams is the first female boxer to win an Olympic title and she has used that record to promote the sport to women in the UK are who looking to follow their role model.
Adams recently turned professional where she made her debut in Manchester, England last month. She defeated Virginia Noemi Carcamo on points over four rounds. Her promoter Frank Warren will be looking to make his boxer a world champion in the quickest time as possible.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk – MMA
Joanna Jedrzejczyk is regarded as the pound-for-pound number one female fighter in UFC today. She won the women’s strawweight title back in March 2015 and since then has defended her title on four occasions.
Jedrzejczyk is the only female Polish UFC champion in history and only the fourth to come from Europe. Given her success though, she has a huge following around the world and is considered one of the most successful female MMA fighters ever in the sport.
Her next defense of her belt will be against Jessica Andrade at UFC 2011 where she is the favorite at 4/7 with Betway Sports to remain unbeaten after that contest. It looks like this Polish powerhouse is here to stay.
Ronda Rousey – MMA
Arguably the most recognizable female name in MMA is Rowdy Ronda Rousey. The American won a bronze medal at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008. She switched to UFC in 2011 and since then has held the UFC women’s bantamweight title which she lost to Holly Holm in November 2015.
Rousey’s success in MMA has led to her other projects including acting, as she has featured in the Expendables 3, Fast and Furious 7 and Entourage. In 2015 she was voted as the ESPN’s best female athlete where she took 52% of the vote and finished ahead of Serena Williams in the poll.
After over a year out of the sport, Rousey returned to the octagon last December to face Amanda Nunes where the former was beaten by TKO in the opening round of that contest. She is expected to feature again later this year in the bantamweight division.
Katie Taylor – Boxing
Irish boxer Katie Taylor won gold at the Olympics in London in 2012 and has had a hugely successful amateur career winning every major gold medal there is to claim in the sport. The 30-year-old is a huge name in Ireland and is increasingly becoming a bigger star in the USA where she is set to make her debut in the upcoming months as a professional.
Taylor won the vacant WBA female inter-continental lightweight title on the Joshua-Klitschko undercard last month after stopping German Nina Meinke in the seventh round. She is expected to fight for a world title later in 2017 and has been tipped to become one of the biggest stars in women’s boxing in the USA and Europe.
With the four female athletes all thriving in their respective sports today, boxing and MMA are only going to continue to grow as the next generation of stars will be watching and hoping to emulate their success in the future.