Broadcast history will be made Saturday, August 14 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as Crystina Poncher and reigning WBO junior lightweight world champion Mikaela Mayer will form boxing’s first-ever all-female broadcast team.
Poncher [play-by-play] and Mayer [color commentary] will call the international broadcast of the tripleheader featuring the third fight between WBA super flyweight world champion Joshua “El Profesor” Franco and former world champion Andrew “The Monster” Moloney, undefeated junior welterweight contender Arnold Barboza Jr. against Antonio Moran, and the professional debut of middleweight Nico Ali Walsh, grandson of Muhammad Ali.
The international broadcast will be available to millions of fight fans in more than 150 countries.
“Crystina Poncher is one of the very best broadcasters in boxing and a pioneer for females in the sport,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said. “Mikaela is a natural behind the microphone, and boxing fans around the world are in for a real treat on Aug. 14.”
Poncher said, “I’m excited to be a part of this historic night in the sport of boxing. I’ve always strived to break through barriers and be a leader for women in boxing, particularly when it comes to broadcasting. It’s been an honor calling fights alongside many talented trainers and fighters, including Brian McIntyre, Chris Algieri and Manny Robles. And now, with world champion Mikaela Mayer joining me at the broadcast table, it’s an important moment not only in my career but for boxing in general.”
Mayer added, “I’m beyond honored to be sitting alongside Crystina Poncher as the first female broadcast team in boxing history. We’ve both worked extremely hard to raise the profile of women in our sport, and this is proof that our hard work has not gone unnoticed. I would like to thank Top Rank and ESPN for supporting the growth of women in boxing and helping us to break more boundaries.”
Poncher joined Top Rank as a host and reporter in 2010 and made her color commentary debut in 2013. In March 2019, she became only the second woman — following Claudia Trejos in 2010 — to handle play-by-play by duties on a boxing broadcast. Six months later, she became the full-time play-by-play commentator for Top Rank undercard broadcasts on ESPN+ and main card international broadcasts. Poncher also serves as a roving reporter for ESPN’s live boxing coverage and is currently boxing’s only female play-by-play commentator. A native of Costa Mesa, California, Poncher previously worked as a host for NFL Network and NFL.com from 2013-2016.
Mayer [15-0, 5 KOs], a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Los Angeles, is rated as one of the world’s top pound-for-pound boxers. She captured the WBO junior lightweight world title last October over longtime champion Ewa Brodnicka and defended her belt June 19 with a one-sided decision over former two-weight world champion Erica Farias. Mayer made her broadcast debut May 22 as a guest analyst for ESPN on the undercard of the undisputed junior welterweight title showdown between Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez. She will continue to pull double duty as she readies for a late 2021 title unification showdown against IBF world champion Maïva Hamadouche.
By Kingsley Amos Antempim