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Amanda Serrano vacates WBC title over dispute about fighting across 12 three-minute rounds

By George Ramsay, CNN

(CNN) — Puerto Rican boxer Amanda Serrano says that she has vacated her WBC title because the governing body continues to prevent women from fighting across 12 three-minute rounds.

Serrano retained her WBA, IBF and WBO featherweight titles by defeating Brazil’s Danila Ramos in October – the first women’s fight to be contested across the longer format since 2007.

Usually, championship fights for female boxers would be contested over 10 rounds of two minutes, and the WBC did not sanction Serrano’s bout against Ramos.

“Moving forward if a sanctioning body doesn’t want to give me and my fellow fighters the choice to fight the same as the men, then I will not be fighting for that sanctioning body,” the 35-year-old Serrano wrote on Instagram on Tuesday.

“The WBC has refused to evolve the sport for equality. So I am relinquishing their title. Thank You to the sanctioning bodies who have evolved for Equality!”

CNN has contacted the WBC for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, in September, WBC president Mauricio Sulaimán said: “Tennis – women play 3 sets, basketball the basket is shorter and the ball smaller and those are not contact sports. We stand by safety and well-being of the fighters.”

On Wednesday, Sulaimán reiterated the governing body’s stance about safety, telling Sky Sports News: “This is not discrimination, this is not sexism, this is not about equality, it is about safety and safety only.”

Last year, Serrano became the first woman to headline a boxing match at Madison Square Garden alongside Ireland’s Katie Taylor.

Serrano lost that fight against Taylor in a split decision, the second defeat of her professional career. She has otherwise had 46 wins – 30 by knockout – and one draw.

Ahead of Serrano’s fight against Ramos, a group of female boxers argued for their right to compete in the same format as their male counterparts, writing in an open letter: “We have earned the CHOICE of 3 minute rounds, with 12 rounds for championship fights to demonstrate our skill and greatness.

“We have earned the CHOICE to build a more equal future for fighters everywhere.”

On Tuesday, Serrano thanked “my fellow fighters who have stood with me,” adding: “If you want to face me in the ring, you have a choice. I’ve made mine.”

In the past, American fighter Claressa Shields has said that fighting two-minute rounds is a financial detriment to female boxers.

“I care about the sport and I know for a fact that [round and fight length] is why we don’t get paid like the men and also why women’s boxing is not considered on the same level as men’s boxing,” Shields told Yahoo Sports in 2021.

In the same year, promoter Bob Arum told ESPN: “If I could get three-minute rounds, I would sign a number of women.”

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