|The team of Rijker and Prazak win again|
|USA vs Canada|
Winners: 112 - Marlen Esparza USA, 119 - Christina Cruz USA, 125 - Tiara Brown USA, 132 - Queen Underwood USA, 141 - Marie-Eve Dicaire Can, 152 - Myriam DiSilva Can, 165 - Franchon Crews USA, and Youth - Jajaira Gonzalez USA
A look back at January - March 2014 in women's boxing:
On January 4 in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Daniela Romina “La Bonita” Bermudez, 114, won the vacant WBO female super-flyweight title with an eight-round technical knockout of “Triple L” Linda Laura Lecca, 114 ¾. The 24-year-old Bermudez (16-2-2, 5 KOs), who fights out of Rosario, Argentina, now stands as a four-time champion winning world titles at both bantamweight and super-flyweight. She showed well in defeats earlier in her career against the current WBA & WBO light-flyweight champion, Yesica Yolanda Bopp and the current WBA featherweight champion, Edith Soledad Matthysse. It was the first stoppage loss for Lecca (9-2-1, 3 KOs) of Lima, Peru.
On January 18 in San Clemente del Tuyu, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ana Laura “La Monita” Esteche, 138 ¾, of San Martin, Buenos Aires, won the WBA female light-welterweight title with a ten-round unanimous decision (98-92/99-91/98-92) over the previously unbeaten Monica “La Gata” Silvina Acosta, 139 ¼. The 35-year-old Acosta (19-1-2, 5 KOs) fighting out of Santa Rosa, Argentina, was making her fourth defense of the WBA title. Esteche, with the upset win, moves her record to a deceiving (10-3-1, 2 KOs). The 23-year-old emerging star failed in previous attempts at world lightweight titles losing hometown decisions to fellow Argentine Victoria Noelia Bustos and Columbian Enis Pacheco.
Quick hits from January:
Southpaw Monica Lovato (13-1, 5 KOs) entered the ring for the first time in six years scoring a stoppage victory over DJ Morrison (TKO-4). Lovato is best known for winning the IBA female bantamweight title with a split-decision victory over Mexican boxing star, Mariana “Barbie” Juarez in 2007. Arely Mucino (19-2-2, 10 KOs), in her home town of Monterrey, Mexico, rallied to get past former longtime WBA super-flyweight champion, Tenkai Tsunami (19-9, 9 KOs) winning a controversial ten-round majority decision. Tsunami, a native of Tokyo, Japan, tasted defeat for the fifth time in Mexico. The first-ever Chilean born world champion, Carolina Rodriguez moved to (11-0, 1 KO) successfully defending her WIBA bantamweight title for the first time with a ten-round unanimous decision (100-89/100-89/99-89) over Simone Da Silva Duarte (14-5, 6 KOs). Duarte tasted the canvas in the eighth round. Yazmin “La Rusita” Rivas (29-8, 9 KOs) won the vacant WBC Silver female super-bantamweight title with a ten-round unanimous decision over the hard-hitting Calixta Silgado (11-3-2, 8 KOs) by the scores (100-90 x 3)
|Braehus retains her title as the best in the world|
“Cecilia was very strong, an incredibly good boxer,” said Lamare. “For me, the time has come to step down. I wish Cecilia all the best.” Lamare (22-4, 10 KOs), a three-time, light-welterweight champion, exits the sport having defeated several contenders during career losing only to Braekhus, Holly Holm, and Anne Sophie Mathis. Matched against an excellent opponent, Braekhus, at the age of 32, looked better than ever and appears to have reached the height of her career.
|Mighty McMorrow dropped a decision to Barbie|
Quick hits from February:
Esmeralda “La Joya” Moreno (25-7-1, 9 KOs) once a pound-for-pound ranked fighter, is attempting recapture top form after a year hiatus from the ring due to childbirth. She moved to (0-1-1) since her return dropping an eight-round, split-decision (77-76/75-77/75-77) to Maribel Ramirez (9-6-2, 3 KOs). Kristin Gearhart (3-0, 1 KO), a bright American light-welterweight prospect out of Chicago, scored a stoppage victory over Allanna Jones (RTD-3). Mako Yamada (7-0, 2 KOs) won the WBO female minimumweight title with a ten-round, split-decision over hard-punching slugger, Su-Yun Hong (9-1, 5 KOs) by the scores (96-94/97-93/96-97). Yamada, at the age of 19, becomes the youngest female world champion. Fernanda Soledad Alegre (18-1-1, 9 KOs) defended her WBO female light-welterweight title for the ninth time with a sixth-round technical knockout of Marisol Reyes (13-8-1, 6 KOs). Although underrated, Alegre is one of a long line of female world boxing champions from Argentina and is one high profile victory away from pound-for-pound mentioning. In a battle of two elite flyweight prospects, Kenia Enriquez (10-0, 5 KOs) emerged winning a six-round unanimous decision over Noemi Bosques (4-1-2, 1 KO). The scoring (60-53/60-53/59-54) was not indicative of the competitiveness of the fight. Enriquez scored a knockdown in the first round.
|La Loba is an Avenger|
Clearly, “La Loba” Munoz treated this highly anticipated rematch as an opportunity to avenge the only loss of her career stated, “I can say that I feel much more mature and experienced defeating Alesia. I have thoroughly prepared to give my audience a memorable fight, which I dedicate to Don Jose Sulaiman.” In contrast, Graf, who has not defeated a world-class opponent since 2009, was confident that she would defeat Munoz and leave with the title.
From the opening stanza, the ultra-aggressive Munoz dominated with her left hand consistently landing jabs and hooks keeping Graf off-balance, unable to mount an effective counterattack. After sustaining a cut over her left eye from an accidental headbutt at the end of the third, Munoz stepped on the accelerator in the fourth leading with left hooks, some of which had a noticeable impact on Graf. The aggressive nature of the bout caused referee Kenny Bayless to have his hands full with the two fighters constantly clashing heads. Graf, who suffered a cut over her left eye from an accidental head butt earlier in the fight, with a minute remaining in round six, sustained a severe cut over her right eye from yet another accidental head butt. After evaluating the damage, the ringside doctor called a halt to the contest resulting in the technical decision victory for Munoz. The fight was co-promoted by Canelo Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions and was televised on Mexico Televisa and USA Fox Espanol. Newly installed WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman Saldivar, stated that the fight for the WBC female super-flyweight title between current champion, Zulina Munoz and challenger Mariana Juarez (39-7-3, 16 KOs), is mandatory. The WBC has set a deadline for promoters to reach an agreement on the details of the fight, and if no agreement is reached, a purse bid will be conducted at a future date.
|Winner and still champion Christina Hammer|
With the win, Hammer improves to (17-0, 8 KOs), whereas Balogun falls to (23-3, 11 KOs). Hammer has essentially cleaned out the middleweight division. Her next title challenger will likely elevate from the welterweight or light-middleweight classes. This match up was promoted by SES Boxing and televised live in Germany on SAT1.
|Prazak fires her guns at Shotgun O'Connell|
The 34-year-old champion, a slugger with ever-improving boxing ability, nearly ended the fight early knocking the elusive O’Connell down twice in the second round with crushing right hands. The knockdowns were a harbinger of things to come as Prazak's physical strength, coupled with a two-fisted attack caused O’Connell to wilt under the pressure eventually prompting a referee stoppage at 1:56 of the fifth round. Prazak, who is currently based out of Los Angeles, California, moved her record to (13-2, 9 KOs). Under the tutelage of her trainer, Lucia Rijker, Prazak has developed from a one-handed banger into a two-fisted fighter boasting a left-hook that not only complements her right-cross, but essentially won her the WBC super-featherweight title with a knockout of popular Swede, Frida Wallberg (KO-8) in June 2013. It is no coincidence that the counter left hook was the signature punch of Prazak’s trainer during her active boxing career. The 31-year-old challenger won the WBF female featherweight title in June 2013 by knockout over Gabisile Tshabalala (KO-7). Before Prazak, her most significant fight was a decision loss to then WBA featherweight champion, “Defector Girl” Hyun-Mi Choi in South Korea. With the loss, O’Connell drops to (8-3, 5 KOs).
She is trained by former IBF lightweight champion, Philip Holiday.
Quick hits from March:
|Hardy brings the Heat|
The Sweet Side Previews Erica Farias vs Delfine Persoon:
|KO Digest breaks down Farias vs Persoon|
With the momentum of a stellar 2013, that witnessed her post a record of (7-0, 3 KOs) including knockout wins over Eva Halasi (TKO-3), then the IBF welterweight champion and Lucia Morelli (TKO-10), which secured her the WIBF, WBF, and WIBA lightweight titles, Persoon poses a serious threat to Farias’s reign as champion. Stylistically, Persoon aggressively moves forward behind a jab in a straight-line looking to deliver her hard right hand. As with most European boxers, she needs room to punch and is an ordinary at best infighter. She often reaches with her punches leaving herself open to counters. She has elite power, good hand speed, and is exceptionally strong. Of the two, Farias is the more complete fighter adding long-range boxing ability and movement to her impressive arsenal recently. She throws a wide left hook, ordinarily considered a technical flaw, but it works to corral her opponent into her right hand. The most prominent common opponent is former WIBA featherweight champion, Irma Balijagic Adler (14-5, 7 KOs). Adler lost a lopsided decision to Persoon (UD-8) in October 2013 but suffered a stoppage loss to Farias (TKO-1) in June 2012.
Here is how the two female fighters break down in ten important categories.
Farias holds a key advantage in 6 out of 10 of them with 1 even:
Power: Farias Speed: Farias
Chin/Durability: Farias Size: Persoon
Accuracy: Persoon Skills: Farias
Conditioning: Even Punch Volume: Persoon
Defense: Farias Quality of Opposition: Farias
KO's Sweet Side Prediction: Persoon, early in her career suffered a stoppage loss to Zelda Tekin, who, in her next fight received a two two-year suspension for refusing the post-bout doping test. Farias has knocked down six of her previous ten opponents stopping five of them. With the venue in her home country, Persoon could possibly obtain a decision win if she lasts the distance; however, I see this as doubtful and believe Farias lands early and often earning a stoppage victory in the mid-rounds.
Three Questions - Sweet Side Q&A with Sarah Kuhn
Q: How did you get your start in boxing?
A: In 2008, I wanted to change up my workout routine. I was stuck in the world of dieting and going to a gym with no direction, no one pushing me and no results. I've always been a heavy girl and pushed over 200 lbs in my late teens. I just couldn't figure it out. I tried all the fad diets, crash diets, treadmill routine, and swimming. As a child I took ballet, tap and jazz for about 10 years, so I decided I would give that a try again! A few doors down in the same plaza I saw a sign for Sweeney's Boxing and Fitness. I thought "hey why not" and I walked through the door. This would change my life. Rick Sweeney, the owner and my trainer looked at me, and one of his first questions was "how much do you weigh?" followed by "do you want to fight?" All he saw was a girl walking into a boxing gym. I made an appointment for a free trial, and that's where it started. I worked my butt off that day. I proved to myself that I could get through that workout and after a long talk with myself, I decided to stay. My 3 times a week turned into 6 days a week. I trained 4 hours average every day, trying to learn this sport that I knew nothing about. It's the first athletic thing that I've been really good at. I played a lot of sports growing up, but I just wasn't very good at any of them. For some reason this sport came naturally. Six months later I had my first amateur match. I walked into the gym weighing 178 lbs., and I stepped on the scale at 152 lbs. that night. The first round of that fight was a whirlwind. I've never been so scared in my life! My opponent had a little more experience, all I remember in the first round is taking a beating. I remember thinking to myself "Sarah, mom is watching you get punched in the face right now, she must be so worried and upset." After the first round ended I walked back to my corner. Rick says to me "are you tired?" "No," I said. "Well look at her, because she is exhausted. Now go punch her back." And that's exactly what I did. In the 3rd round, the ref stopped the match, and I won my first fight and the Adirondack Regional Golden Gloves. I went on to win NYS Golden Gloves the following month. My amateur career was pretty short. I finished with a 6-3 record, my last fight being in the National Golden Gloves, which was a great experience in being there with all of those amazing women.
Q: The Albany, NY area has several successful boxing gyms.
Which is your home and who is your trainer?
A: I train with Rick Sweeney at Sweeney's Boxing and Fitness in Delmar, NY. There are a few gyms in the area, but even less with female boxers, and even less than that who want to work with female boxers. Rick happens to prefer working with female fighters. We both knew my style was a little more conducive to professional boxing. I'm not the quickest boxer, and endurance is definitely my strong point. So here I am 5 years later, still following this journey. I’m just a small-town, home schooled girl from Schoharie, NY, who is ranked in the top 10 in the world, getting ready for my 13th professional fight. I truly believe our lives will take the path that they are meant to; we just have to be willing to take that turn. We have to trust our souls, even when we don't know why it's leading us that way. This has been the most difficult and rewarding journey of my life. I'm looking forward to seeing what the future brings me, and no matter what it does bring, because of this experience I know I'll be able to conquer it. I don't believe I would have had these opportunities at any other gym. Rick is a special trainer. He's been like another Dad to me. He's sacrificed a lot, time, money and taken me all over the country to fight, and all over the state to spar. I was meant to find him. I work very hard for him, and he works very hard for me. We both do it for the love of boxing. It's certainly not for the money! It’s great to see more and more females coming in over the years too. I'm very proud to know that I share a part in that.
|Kuhn has a hand in Machina Boxing equipment|
A: My role is to basically give ideas on what styles I do and don't like as a professional boxer. The fit of their gloves are engineered to fit a woman's more narrow hand, the clothes are flattering and supportive, and their new sparring equipment is some of the best I've ever used. Before I signed on they didn't have headgear or 16 oz. sparring gloves. I was able to tell them what I thought was the best fit, most comfortable, practical and protective. I try it out and give feedback which goes to the designer. Machina is breaking into the professional competing side of it, and I'm very proud that I've had a hand in that. They are going to provide stylish and good quality equipment, and I am excited for what they bring to the table. It's wonderful to know that there is a company out there that believes in 'us'. Sometimes I feel like the bigger companies just think of women's boxing as an afterthought. I think products from Everlast, Title, and so-forth are great, but just because you make something the same way and color it Pink or Purple (girlie colors) don't mean it's designed for a woman! That's where they are different. I'm very happy for the opportunity to represent them and women's boxing. Thank you for this chance to tell a little bit about myself. I love this sport; I love the ins and outs, the ups and downs. I love the challenges, and the victories that I have gained whether I won or lost the match. I try to live the other parts of my life like I do boxing.
Take chances, train hard, FIGHT and then no matter the outcome, learn.
KO Digest's Dynamite Dozen Pound-for-Pound Ratings:
|Braekhus is still #1 Pound For Pound|
1- Cecilia Braekhus (24-0, 7 KOs) Norway
2- Erica Anabella Farias (19-0, 9 KOs) Argentina
3- Marcela Eilana Acuna (41-6-1, 18 KOs) Argentina
4- Christina Hammer (17-0, 8 KOs) Germany
5- Diana Prazak (13-2, 9 KOs) Australia/USA
6- Yesica Yolanda Bopp (26-1, 12 KOs) Argentina
7- Ann Sophie Mathis (27-3, 23 KOs) France
8- Jelena Mrdjenovich (32-9-1, 16 KOs) Canada
9- Jessica Chavez (19-3-3, 4 KOs) Mexico
10- Delfine Persoon (28-1, 13 KOs) Belgium
11- Ibeth Zamora Silva (19-5, 8 KOs) Mexico
12- Naoko Fujioka (11-0, 6 KOs) Japan
"The Sweet Side of the Sweet Science" is written by women's boxing expert Mark A. Jones - exclusively for KO Digest. You can find more of Mark's work on his women's boxing blog: Boxing Jones