With women’s boxing getting the national spotlight for the month of March, debates over what needs to be done to further the growth of women’s boxing continues.
Claressa Shields’ undisputed junior middleweight title win over Marie-Eve Dicaire on an all-women’s pay-per-view card on March 5 as well as the rematch between Jessica McCaskill and Cecilia Braekhus for the undisputed welterweight title on March 13 highlight a loaded month for the sport. Maricela Cornejo (13-4, 5 KO) is one of those women who are in a notable televised fights this month as well.
Cornejo will take on Alma Ibarra on the Twitch-streamed portion of the March 18 Ring City USA card from Puerto Rico. Ahead of her first fight in more than a year, Cornejo took a look at the current landscape of women’s boxing. Although she is excited that March, which also features Amanda Serrano vs. Daniela Bermudez in a featherweight title fight on March 25, Cornejo believes there is a lot left to do before women’s boxing gets the support she believes it deserves.
In regards to the Shields vs. Dicaire all-women’s pay-per-view card, Cornejo thought that the promotion behind the show was not up to the level she believed it deserved.
“A lot of people didn’t even know about it. What was missing about it? The promotion, the storytelling behind [it], having her team do an All-Access. Yes, it’s the pandemic, but there’s ways to film. There’s ways to film safely. That was missing and that is such a shame for such a great night of what she was able to do with what she could. Shame on her team for not making it a bigger fucking deal. It was a big deal for women’s boxing. She’s worthy of that publicity. She’s worthy of cameras following her and showcasing what this magnitude of a night should have been, and it wasn’t,” Cornejo said.
Cornejo admitted that she was disappointed the Shields vs. Dicaire card was not a bigger deal in boxing. The former title challenger wished that the women would get consistent support from the sport at large beyond the occasional one-night showcase.
“That was so disappointing. This is what’s missing. Come on you guys, this is what’s missing: the storytelling, doing what you guys do with the guys, like with Canelo and everything… Until then, it’s going to be a fight night, ‘Oh, it’s an all-women’s card. Okay great.’ Then it’s going to go back down. They’re not consistent with the storytelling. Storytelling is very important in our lives. That’s what connects us. Until then, it’s going to be a one night thing and it’s going to continue on,” Cornejo said.
As far as her fight against Ibarra is concerned, Cornejo is excited to return to the ring, continue the positive momentum women’s boxing has garnered as of late and show that women deserve to be on an even playing field as the men.
“I think it’s going to be a great showcase of boxing and the art of boxing. I was asked, ‘How does it feel to be on their card and their platform?’ What do you mean, ‘How does it feel for us to be on their card?’ How awesome does it feel for them to have two warriors just be on their card. I don’t take it as, ‘I’m so grateful.’ No, dude. I’m standing side by side. We run the same miles. We sweat the same. We bleed the same, so why should I be looking up to you? Because you’re a guy? We’re worth it and tune in on fight night because you’ll see the women play no games,” Cornejo said.
Cornejo vs. Ibarra airs on Twitch on March 18 on Ring City USA from Puerto Rico.