Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa ready to face her biggest battle both in and out of the ring
When Claressa Shields and Ivana Habazin square off, it will truly be a history-making event. Not just because of what titles are on the line, but the fact that two women are main eventing a Showtime-produced boxing card. It is one of the rare times it has happened in general, but it feels so right. Shields has been a big advocate for women getting equal time with the men of boxing. Another woman fighting hard for those same goals, Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa, is opening up for her inside the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City.
A Long Island native, Napoleon-Espinosa (12-1) has been working on making an impact for women for the longest time. She was a part of the Best Fight You Never Saw against Hannah Rankin back in 2018 that received rave reviews from those in attendance. Coming into the fight, she knew her fight, the only title fight on the Andre Berto-led card, would not be televised. It ended up being the best fight of the entire event, a bittersweet moment for Napoleon.
A positive to come of it is the aspect of fan involvement. She hopes that will ultimately help in the goal for female boxers to be treated as equals.
“There will be a time when other female boxers and women from other sports will arise and be one voice,” Napoleon stated back in 2018. “One of the biggest reasons we have these opportunities is because of the fans. They are more important than they realize. Their voice is a big help to our voice.”
Now, Alicia has a true opportunity on her hands. She will be facing Sweden’s Elin Cederroos for both the WBA and IBF Super Middleweight Championships. With a win against Cederroos (7-0), Napoleon is one step closer to a potential money fight with Claressa. Like Katie Taylor v. Amanda Serrano, this fight would pit the two best fighters in their division (middleweight) against one another. The fight can sell, especially with the history between the two.
As was the goal in 2018, Alicia’s 2020 goals are no different. Seeing the coverage for the fight and the uptick of support, Alicia sees her fight as an opportunity of a lifetime, both in and out of the ring. Between her and Claressa, the time to get something done is now.
“I want to eventually get paid as well as the men are getting paid in this sport,” Napoleon stated during the pre-fight press conference. “When Claressa first started they weren’t offering the sort of money that there offering now but that money still needs to be more, sorry, but it does. It needs to change. Women offer just as much as the men.”
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