Ripples in the light flyweight-flyweight pond
By Felipe Leon
With this past weekend’s win by Jessica “Kika” Chavez (30-4-3, 4KO) over Esmeralda “Joya” Moreno (35-10-1, 11KO) in their rubber match for the WBC flyweight Diamond belt, big ripples were cast on the 108-112 pound female boxing pond that will take at least a year to subside.
Chavez, 29, has defended her WBC 112-pound title six times after defeating previous champion Arely Mucino back in September of 2015. Chavez has strung together an impressive resume in her defenses with wins over Simona Galassi of Italy, Argentinean Vanessa Lorena Taborda, Japan’s Naoko Fujioka, fellow Mexican Ana Arrazola and the two wins over the tough and experienced Moreno.
In her post fight interview with the brilliant Diamond belt around her waist, Chavez declared her new goals are to fight in the United States and to go for another title. She did not specify if the other title was in the same division or she was thinking of moving up. If were to suppose she wants to stay in the 112-pound division and try to unify, the odds would be she would accomplish it.
The WBA champion is none other than Japan’s best female fighter Naoko Fujioka (16-2, 7KO). Although considered one of the toughest flyweights in the world, Chavez defeated her via a unanimous decision in the first round of the WBC flyweight tournament that began late last year.
Holding the IBF strap is Argentina’s undefeated Leonela Paola Yudica (12-0-3) who defeated Gabriela Bouvier (13-7-1, 3KO) of Uruguay via split decision in late 2014. It might cost Chavez, or more so her promoter Promociones del Pueblo, some work to get her out of her native country since she has only fought outside of Argentina once and to a draw which should make her a bit gun shy about going to Mexico. Since winning the title Yudica has strung wins over American Tyriesha Douglas, fellow Argentinean Soledad del Valle Frias and Venezuelan Carolina Alvarez. Her only blemish in her world title reign is a draw against Vanesa Lorena Taborda.
Yudica is scheduled to defend her title once more later this month against Yunoka Furukowa.
Chavez’s easiest prey might be fellow Mexican Monserrat “Raya” Alarcon (9-3-2) of Mexico City who coming up from the strawweight division surprisingly captured the WBO title earlier this year with a seventh round technical decision win over Nana Yoshikawa in Japan. Alarcon, with no knockdowns on her record, dropped Yoshikawa several times during their battle before it had to end early due to an accidental cut.
Chavez is light years ahead in skill, power and experience over Alarcon who might be looking for just one big payday at flyweight before going back to 105 pounds or even 108.
Alarcon is scheduled to defend her title later this month against an opponent to be named.
La Roca and others
Also biding their time for an opportunity for the green and gold belt as well as a crack at Chavez are former WBC light flyweight champion Ibeth “Roca” Zamora (27-6, 12KO) and former WBF flyweight champion Isabel “Estrella” Millan (19-3-1, 8ko). They face each other in a title eliminator on October 21st in Zapopan just outside of Guadalajara, Mexico, and live on Televisa in Mexico.
The 28-year-old Zamora of Ecatepec, Mexico, is no stranger to Chavez and it seems she has the current champion’s ticket.
They first faced each other in the summer of ’08 in Zamora’s fourth pro fight with “La Roca” taking a six round decision. Their second face-off was in late 2014 with Zamora defending her WBC 108-pound title with a 10 round unanimous decision. Zamora has faced a who’s who of the lower weight classes with wins over former or current champs like Esmeralda Moreno, Anabel Ortiz, Ana Arrazola, Susana Perez, Ava Knight and Jolene Blackshear.
Zamora captured the vacant WBC light flyweight belt back in March of ’13 with a split decision over Naoko Shibata in Japan and went ahead and defended it eight times before losing it to Moreno during the WBC flyweight tournament back in April. She has now decided to move up to flyweight.
Millan in her own right is a formidable foe as well having captured the vacant WBF title on hostile territory when she defeated Amira Hamzaoui in France last year. Millan, who hails from Culiacan, Mexico, showed her true grit two fights ago when she traveled to Japan and faced the tough Naoko Fujioka for the vacant WBA title. Despite being stopped in the tenth, Millan displayed her Mexican roots as she went out on her shield.
Also waiting on the wings is the former three-time flyweight champion Arely “Ametralladora” Mucino (25-3-2, 10KO) of Monterrey, Mexico. Mucino is the only Mexican female fighter who at one point or another has captured the three of the four major sanctioning body’s titles. It would make sense for her to go after Alarcon who holds the WBO belt she needs to fulfill the feat but I am sure if Chavez comes knocking, she would jump at the chance for revenge since Chavez beat her for the WBC belt in 2015.
Despite her loss to Chavez this past weekend, Moreno continues to be the WBC 108-pound champion with her win over Zamora in April.
Since then Tijuana’s Kenia Enriquez (19-1, 9KOs) captured the vacant interim title with a 3rd round knockout of Mary Salinas (16-6-3, 5KOs) in May in Ciudad Obregon. As of yet the WBC has not mandated a unification bout between the two and it would be hard to believe they would do so with Moreno coming off a loss. Her next defense of the title should be a voluntary one with any of the top 15 ranked fighters in the WBC lists with a mandatory against Enriquez after that.
Coming up the ranks as a potential challenger could be Los Angeles’ Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada (11-0, 2KO) who after a slow start early in her career has put her activity in high gear fighting three times in 2016 and three more times so far in 2017 with wins over Nancy Franco and Anahi Torres among others. Estrada has been improving and looking sharper after each fight and looks ready for a title shot.
Along with Estrada former world title challenger Sandra “Perla Negra” Robles (18-2, 9KO) of Tijuana should be on the top of the list of possible challengers for the light flyweight crown. Since losing in her only bid for a world title against WBA 105-pound queen Anabel “Avispa” Ortiz, an ill-timed decision with Robles fighting at a much lighter weight and in the champ’s hometown, the Tijuana fighter has strung together a 7-0, 4KO, ledger against average competition but Robles has shown she is ready for the big time.
If by chance Enriquez becomes the full-fledged WBC 108-pound champion, it is unlike she would face Robles in the future since they are trained by the same man, Enriquez’s father.