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Alycia Baumgardner says 2018 loss to Christina Linardatou 'was needed for growth'

Alycia Baumgardner says 2018 loss to Christina Linardatou 'was needed for growth'Matchroom Boxing

Alycia Baumgardner has only lost one fight in her incredible career thus far: A July 2018 split decision defeat against Christina Linardatou in which Baumgardner lost the first belt she had won as a professional fighter.

Baumgardner (14-1 7 KOs) has since gone on to dominate the women's super-featherweight division, unifying the world titles over a 15-month span starting in late 2021 and becoming the undisputed champion in February of this year following a victory over Elhem Mekhaled.

Now, Baumgardner is preparing for a fight that, should she win, will serve as a bit of revenge for the only blemish on her sterling resume as she is set to face Linardatou (14-2 6 KOs) in Detroit on Saturday night, live on DAZN.

“I’m writing a book, on who I am,” Baumgardner said.

“Winning on Saturday closes a chapter. People are saying, ‘well Christina was her only loss’. There are only clips of the fight on YouTube, I’ve never seen the whole fight. I remember when I was in the ring that night and her hand was raised, I was like ‘damn, I’ve got my first loss’. But then I was like, ‘I’m not done, who cares?’ 
“It was needed for growth, and I want people to recognize what growth looks like; it’s ugly, and it hurts. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel and it tells a story."

Baumgardner certainly turned the sting of 2018 loss around, winning eight straight bouts since falling to the Dominican-born Greek fighter. 
“I wanted to show people that a loss doesn’t have to be a bad thing," Baumgardner said. 

"I got to see at that given time, what it would have looked like had I won because I saw her career; she became a world champion after that.

"And I thought ‘wow, that could have been me’ but everything comes back full circle, and I am happy everything played out the way it was supposed to as now I’m undisputed and fighting her in my backyard.

"I keep thinking how the fight is going to play out, it will be spectacular, it will give me the feeling that this is what I have been waiting for and I am going to punish her."

Baumgardner promises to show a different side of herself against Linardatou than she did when they first met in the ring, and the 29-year-old is confident that the experience she's picked up will push her towards a victory on Saturday.

“I want her to know that she is in with someone that isn’t the same fighter that she fought five years ago," she said. 

"I chose her. I could have fought anyone, but I chose her.

"She’s hungry and she should be. She has fought some great fighters, and she’s pumped that she’s beaten me before, that drives her, but she has no idea.

"After the first fight she came up to me and said you are the hardest fighter I’ve ever fought. If she thinks I hit hard then, just wait until she gets this work. You are in there with a dog, and I am going to punish you."

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