Inside rise of Amanda Serrano, from sparring with sister as novice to Jake Paul brokering mega-fight with Katie Taylor

AMANDA SERRANO didn't even enter a boxing ring until she was seventeen – but this weekend she fights in the biggest women's match of all time.

The Puerto Rican star, 33, is preparing for an epic unification bid against Ireland's unbeaten lightweight sensation Katie Taylor on April 30.

It's been a whirlwind rise to the top for the Carolina-born fighter, who is the current unified featherweight world champion.

Growing up in New York, Amanda was a keen swimmer as a child but never showed any real interest in becoming a boxer.

Her sister Cindy had taken up the sport and trained at her husband Jordan Maldonado's gym Envy Us, where 12-year-old Amanda took a part-time job.

But it wasn't until she was 17 and left high school that the burning desire to trade blows saw Serrano finally enter the ring.

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She responded to an ad in the New York Daily News, signing up for the glittering amateur Golden Gloves competition.

Sister Cindy tried to talk her out of it, but Amanda was thrown into a sparring session with her own sibling – and more than held her own.

Cindy explained: "I didn't want to do it. I was like her mom, I was her protector."

Serrano's natural talent flourished in the ring, despite being shy and introverted away from it.

She persisted in training at her brother-in-law Maldonado's gym, who continued to put her into the ring and tell her to beat her sister up.

Amanda duly obliged and began a whirlwind 9-1 amateur career, which saw her win the Staten Island championship in 2008.


The sisters remain inseparable and still live together in their unassuming two-story New York childhood home.

Amanda explained to ESPN: "I would just watch [Cindy].

"And I guess that made me who I am, like I wanted to be like her. 

"I was like, 'She's my role model.' … so when I saw her doing boxing, I guess I wanted to try, I wanted to do it."

Serrano – known as 'The Real Deal – made her pro debut in 2011, with the 5ft5 pocket rocket destroying Jennifer Scott just over a minute into round one.

She's since carved out a stunning record of 42-1-1 from 44 pro bouts, with 30 of those wins coming by way of knockout.

Her only bruising loss came against Frida Wallberg in April 2012, where Serrano was denied the WBC super featherweight title by the judges.

Spurred on and not dispirited by defeat, Serrano KO'd Maria Elena Maderna in Argentina just over two years later to land the WBO crown.

Serrano now has titles in an outrageous seven divisions – only the great Manny Pacquiao, with eight, has won more.

And he's also shown her mettle in the MMA world, beating Valentina García in the iKON Fighting Federation 7 last June on her strawweight debut.


It's with YouTube star Jake Paul that Amanda's star has really shone through, with Serrano finally reaping the rewards for a long and bruising career.

Three of her highest paydays have come either working with Paul or fighting on his undercards.

And it's done wonders for her social media presence and therefore celebrity, with her Instagram followers leaping from  80,000 to nearly 350,000.

All this comes at a time when women's boxing is surging in popularity – and Serrano is a worthy opponent to take on the feared Taylor on April 30.

Fans were stunned by her brutal power in a dominating victory against Miriam Gutierrez last December, her first since moving up to the lightweight division.

Although Gutierrez somehow took a one-sided fight the distance, she was left unrecognizable after her face took a brutal ten-round pummelling.

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Paul has since brokered the NY showdown with pound-for-pound star Taylor with his own company Most Valuable Promotions.

Dubbed the biggest female boxing fight of all time, it will result in a seven-figure payday for both competitors.

YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake revealed that Serrano doesn't even have a phone and her success is solely down to her hard work and dedication.

He said: "Amanda has accomplished so much, she deserves to be rewarded.

"I’m excited to be Promoter Paul while she gets to be put on a pedestal.

"She’s a superstar who has committed her life to boxing.

"She doesn’t have a phone, meanwhile I’m posting TikToks all the time."

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Serrano can make history on Saturday by becoming the first Puerto Rican – male or female – to earn undisputed championship status.

And Paul is backing his star attraction to upset Irish star Taylor and inflict a first pro defeat on the Olympic hero.

Paul continued: "Amanda is one of the greatest fighters of all time.

"Honestly, we just clicked from day one. She told me how much she was getting paid for her fights, and I thought it was crazy how little she was getting.

"She’s an incredible fighter. She just needed help and guidance and I’m honored to play that role."

Serrano faces Katie Taylor for the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring female lightweight titles on Saturday with ring walks expected around 10pm ET.

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