We take a look at three of the greatest female fighters to have donned the gloves and assesses who can stake a claim as being the best of the lot.
This weekend, undisputed featherweight champion, Amanda Serrano (44-2-1, 30 KOs) puts all four of her world title belts on the line against Heather Hardy.
The Puerto Rican is one a select few with a claim to being boxing’s greatest woman of all time.
Ten years ago, the fighters in frame for the accolade were very different.
The likes of Laila Ali (24-0, 21 KOs, Anne Wolf (24-1, 16 KOs), Christy Martin (49-7-3, 32 KOs), Regina Halmich (54-1-1, 16 KOs) and Lucia Rijker (17-0, 14 KOs) were the finest fighters in an embryonic sport, but due to the dearth of quality opposition available to them, each has been surpassed by those who followed the trail they blazed.
The London 2012 Olympics was the turning point for women’s boxing in the amateur code, but it was the 2016 Rio Games which had the greatest impact on the professional sport.
Many medallists left the unpaid ranks after their exploits in Brazil, resulting in a sharp increase in both the quality and popularity of female professional boxing.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the revolution was led by Katie Taylor. The Irishwoman signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport and fought on the undercard of massive events, broadcast live on Sky Sport.
As recently as the start of this year, Taylor was widely regarded as the best woman to have laced up the gloves. Her list of achievements is impressive, having become the undisputed queen at lightweight and winning another title at super-lightweight.
The Bray fighter defeated accomplished fighters during her championship runs, such as: Amanda Serrano, Natasha Jonas, Jessica McCaskill and Delfine Persoon.
A loss to Chantelle Cameron for the undisputed crown at 140lbs, in May, has seen her stock drop somewhat. However, Taylor has the chance at redemption when the pair meet again, in November.
A Gold medallist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Ireland's Katie Taylor won 22 consecutive bouts as a professional before losing to Chantelle Cameron in May.
There are parallels between the situation Taylor finds herself in that of Cecilia Braekhus (37-2, 9 KOs).
Prior to the ascent of Taylor, the Norwegian had been at the pinnacle of the pound-for-pound rankings, before the 39-year-old lost all four of her welterweight world titles in a shock defeat to Jessica McCaskill in 2020.
A rematch the following year saw McCaskill emerge victorious and earn her titles back.
‘The First Lady’ had been the undisputed champion at 147lbs for six years. While impressive, others have beaten better foes.
Braekhus will increase her historical standing if she scores a win over Terri Harper in October, with two super-welterweight titles at stake.
The Norwegian opted to dominate a single weight class, while Serrano has taken a different route.
‘The Real Deal’ is a prolific belt collector having won world titles in seven different divisions. While going up and down in weight for opportunities is more commonplace than in the men’s sport, the extent to which Serrano has done it is extraordinary.
The 34-year-old has captured belts at every weight from super-flyweight to super-lightweight. A truly remarkable feat.
In April 2022, Serrano was within a whisker of cementing her status at the premier female pugilist when she took on Katie Taylor at Madison Square Garden.
The pair made history by becoming the first women to sell-out the venue and went on to produce one of the best fights of the year. One judge believed Serrano had done enough, but the others awarded the bout to Taylor by the smallest of margins.
A rematch had been agreed for this year, but injury prevented Serrano from participating. With Taylor tied up for the foreseeable future, a clash against undisputed super-featherweight champion Alycia Baumgardner could enhance the Puerto Rican’s legacy.
Amanda Serrano has a professional boxing record of 44-2-1, with her only defeats inside the ring coming against Katie Taylor and Frida Wallberg.
A case can been made for any of the aforementioned women being history’s best, but ultimately, the title belongs to Claressa Shields (14-0, 2 KOs).
The two-time Olympic gold medallist is a phenomenal athlete who has only lost a single bout, amateur or pro. The American had been defeated by Savannah Marshal in the unpaid ranks, but gained her revenge in October 2022.
Observers expected the fight to be competitive, but it was anything but, as Shields demonstrated just how good she is.
Shields has been undisputed at light-middleweight and middleweight, as well as holding wins over two women who went on to hold all four straps at 168lbs.
Initially, Shields had been the self-proclaimed GWOAT, but now that status is universally accepted.
Claressa Shields' last outing in the ring saw the American overcome Maricela Cornejo by Unanimous Decision to retain her undisputed status at middleweight.