Unbeaten Super Featherweight Alycia Baumgardner closed out 2017 by signing to Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing, and working long-time champion Cecilia Brækhus’ recent training camp in Norway.
Back in late September Fremont, Ohio’s Alycia “The Bomb” Baumgardner (4-0, 4 KOs) – an athletic 23-year old Super Featherweight now training out of nearby Toledo – proudly posted on Instagram that she was the first woman to sign with Evander Holyfield’s fledgling Real Deal Boxing promotional outfit.
Baumgardner also announced that she was headed to Norway to train with undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Brækhus ahead of her rematch with Mikaela Lauren.
Now that the undefeated Ohioan is back home in the States, she took a few moments of her time to share her thoughts on the recent string of exciting developments in her young boxing career.
Round By Round Boxing: What does signing to Real Deal Boxing mean to you?
Alycia Baumgardner: To me it means everything, you know, I’ve been working really hard and to be the first female signed is a blessing within itself. And, it’s just going to be awesome. It means a lot because it’s a new promotion, and it means a lot to be to be the first woman signed. So, I’m definitely happy about that.
RBRBoxing: What was it like for you to meet Evander Holyfield for the first time? Did he impart any wisdom to you as a fighter, or was he able to express any vision for your role within the company?
AB: Yeah, they flew me out to Atlanta and I got to meet the team, and we got to have brunch that morning. And he was able to give us a motivational speech, and it got me motivated to get back in the gym and just work even harder.
It’s nice when you’re able to communicate one-on-one and have that personal relationship, and not just be signed to a promotional company and not being able to meet the person. So meeting Evander and being able to talk to him, and we got to ask questions and stuff, it was awesome, it was a really great experience and just being in tune you know.
RBRBoxing: Other former boxing greats have started promotional companies, Mike Tyson was one recently, what’s your comfort level with the team?
AB: The comfort level was awesome. I feel, with being signed, it’s good to have relationships where you know individuals so you can have a relationship where everybody’s comfortable with everybody else. It’s like you’ve known these people for a while. So, it’s nice to be comfortable, and I think that’s the most important part, when you’re signed and you have a good team behind you – 100%.
RBRBoxing: Last time we spoke was on the podcast and you were getting ready to fight at the DeCarlo’s Convention Center in Warren, Michigan against Brittney Artis. This was another fight that ended quickly at 0:36 in round one, walk us through what happened.
AB: Well, you know, every fight I’m ready to fight whoever. People were like, “Oh, well she’s taller than you!”
And I’m like, “Ahh, that don’t mean nothing…”, you know. So I go in there with the same attitude that I had from my first fight and, you know, I wanted to give the crowd a show. My coach was like, ‘Just play with her…’ and I was like ‘alright.’
I played with her and then I hit her with that right hand, and it was over. I was like, I’m ready for the next one.
RBRBoxing: What would you attribute your success to right now? Is it power, is it your fight approach, your strategy? Is it movement? How are the knockouts coming right now?
AB: I would say it’s just everything, you know. I work hard everyday in the gym and power has a lot to do with it, you know speed; and you know, I’m a natural born athlete. Being in boxing at a young age, at eight years old, it just pays off and you can definitely see it in the ring. I’m very well-experienced, so I feel I have the total package, for sure.
RBRBoxing: Do you think your level of athleticism is going to be your calling card as you advance in your career, and as the ranks of the women’s side of boxing begins to materialize?
AB: Yeah. Like I said I’ve been doing sports, at five years old started out with wrestling. I was in track, then started boxing at eight. I have it all, for real.
RBRBoxing: Talk to me about your experience with participating in the training camp with Cecilia Brækhus, a world champion in year eight of her reign.
AB: You know, going out there I had told myself, ‘This is gonna show me where I’m at as a boxer, you know, I’m training with the undisputed champ.’ Just being out there was just a great experience, and just being able to spar with her and her being in women’s boxing was awesome because I train with the guys all the time. So, going out there and getting female work was awesome. The camp was great. We had two other girls in camp with us. It was just awesome, it was a great experience, and it just showed me a lot on where I’m at and what level. And, I’m definitely on that level, for sure.
RBRBoxing: Brækhus’ record obviously doesn’t reflect big time power, with only the nine knockouts in her 32 fights, but she’s undefeated and holds every belt imaginable. What stood out about her to you the most?
AB: Her drive. She’s a very hard worker, she pushes herself, she had a great camp. We definitely prepared her well. She just has the drive and I think that’s important in boxing. You gotta have the drive and still have that passion, and keep going and want to be better and not settle, for sure.
RBRBoxing: How was it working against such a proven vet without your coach?
AB: Oh, it was great, you know. I think that was a good highlight for me because going by myself, it allowed me to focus on myself. Boxing is like all mental you know, so when you’re in the ring you’re by yourself pretty much – you have your coach telling you [stuff] in the corner. But going out there in a different country, training with the champ, it definitely well prepared me mentally. It was great, I liked it!
You know I also got to work with Jonathon Banks when I was out there, so that was also a plus. It was just great all around.
RBRBoxing: Before camp ended was there any compliment that Cecilia gave to you?
AB: Yeah, she definitely told me that I was a great fighter, and that she would love to have me in camp next time. So I thought that was great to hear. She complimented me on my style of fighting – it went well.
RBRBoxing: Was there anything specific you were looking to observe about Cecilia to save for Alycia? Anything you were looking for to see how she goes about her preparation? Her nutrition or diet? Rest or recovery techniques?
AB: Yeah, I think it’s important as a fighter to have a good team behind you, and that’s definitely what she has. She has people to take care of her, to get stretched out after she’s working out. That was something that was important to me, you know, that’s what I like to have – you have to have a good team.
Just her using her ways, her footwork, her working with Jonathon Banks was a definitely a plus for her, and she looked great.
RBRBoxing: You said you thought you all prepared her well. The fight with Lauren ended in the sixth round via technical knockout. What did you think of the result?
AB: I thought it was great. I already knew she was gonna beat her. She was just really well-prepared for this fight, for sure. I give her all the props. Hopefully she can come to the States and fight, you know, that would be awesome.
RBRBoxing: Did she express any interest in fighting in the U.S. or say that an appearance is a goal of hers?
AB: I think for fighters, as far as like Anthony Joshua, they want to come to the States to be recognized, also, just as much. So, I think that’s a goal for her to be able to come over to the States and also show her talent off, for sure. So I think that’s just another great opportunity for her if she is able to come over here to box as well.
RBRBoxing: So what’s the next date for yourself? When can we expect Real Deal Boxing to get something set up for you?
AB: We’re talking about a couple of possible dates, these are always subject to change, but right now we’re looking at November 17th in Flint, Michigan and another show December 15 in Detroit, Michigan, that they’ll be throwing. Hopefully we’ll get the fight date on the 15th.
I’ll be going to six rounds for my next fight, and I’ll just wait to hear back something certain from my manager. We’re just back in the gym, training hard – working.
RBRBoxing: Is it important to get you in the building for the Real Deal Boxing card that’ll be at Resorts World Casino in New York on November 18, if not just to get a feel for how they’ll be putting their events together?
AB: I was able to fly out for the show in Atlanta, and they had asked if maybe I wanted to come out on the 18th again, in New York. It was being talked about, you know, just being able to go out there, see the team again, and to see some of the fights, that would be great. So again, it’s being talked about and if I’m able to go, then I’ll be there for sure.
RBRBoxing: Last question, I just think with the level of skill that will be in the ring, you as a younger fighter would be interested in the fight, but where are you with Vasyl Lomachenko versus Guillermo Rigondeaux on December 9 in New York?
AB: Yes, I’m very excited, I’m a Lomachenko fan for sure. But, you know, I’ve seen Rigo and he works very hard, I’m kind of leaning towards him for this fight, surprisingly. Let the best fighter win, but I’m actually going for Rigo for this one, for sure. We’ll see, they both have really nice styles, so it’s gonna be a really good fight. I feel like it’s up in the air, for sure, but I’m leaning towards Rigo for this one, for sure.
RBRBoxing: The main concern regarding Rigondeaux is the size he’s giving up in this matchup, how do you think he offsets that disadvantage?
AB: I think, I would say his power, possibly, and his movement. He’s really good at that too, but so is Lomachenko too. They both have their pros, for sure. I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to break it down, you know, it’s up in the air. I like both fighters.
I think they’re picking really great fights this year, so far, there have been really good fights put together. I just saw the Hurd and Trout fight, and that was a good fight. Yeah, really good fights this year, for sure.
RBRBoxing: Well, I want to thank you for your time, and wish you continued success. Until next time.
AB: Yeah, absolutely! Thank you.
All photos provided by Alycia Baumgardner