Mexico vs The World
By Felipe Leon
In boxing Mexico has always been a powerhouse. On the male side Mexico has more world champions than any other country in the sport except the United States while in on the female side, where the sport gets much more respect, TV time and attention than in the states, Mexico is a force to be reckoned with but come up very short as far as world title holders.
Here we will see how the Mexican female champions rank against the rest of the world in each weight class. We will be focusing on the world title holders of the four major sanctioning bodies, the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC), the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Organization (WBO). Also we will only mention the full-fledged champions and not worry about interims, International or Silver titles.
Heavyweight: Here is where the Mexican women excel over their male counterparts. For quite some time many held on to hope that Chris Arreola, the southern California Mexican-American fighter, would be the first of Mexican descent to capture a world title in the flagship division of the sport. While the WBA doesn’t offer a title in the division which in the female rankings is anything over 168 pounds, the IBF and WBO titles are vacant. The WBC’s champion is Mexico City’s Alejandra Jimenez who beat out fellow Mexican Martha Salazar for the world title.
Super Middleweight: The division is dominated by one, Claressa Shields. Earlier this year the 22-year-old Shields completely dominated Nikki Adler to capture the WBC belt while also picking up the vacant IBF strap as well. The WBO and WBA titles are vacant. Shields has expressed her desire to capture titles at 160 and 154 pounds but why not go one pound over current limit and take over the heavyweight division?
Middleweight: Despite Mexico holding a grip over the heavyweight division, it is common knowledge in the sport Mexican female fighters tend to dominate the lighter weight classes so here at the limit of 160 pounds a German, Christina Hammer, is the queen holding both the WBC and the WBO titles. Hammer will be making her U.S. debut in early 2018 while they marinate a super fight against Shields for later in the year. The WBA and IBF titles are vacant.
Super Welterweight: At 154 pounds the division is full but nobody from our neighbor to the south. The WBA and WBO titles are held by the talented Hanna Gabriels of Costa Rica while Poland’s Ewa Piatkowska is the WBC champion. The IBF title is held by Chris Namus of Uruguay.
Welterweight: In this division there is no other than Norway’s Cecilia Braekhus. Born in Columbia but adopted by Nordic parents, Braekhus is considered by many the current best female boxer in the world and thus is the only female fighter who is the undisputed world champion in the sport. Recently the IBF named Layla McCarter her mandatory challenger so if Braekhus wants to continue to hold that title she much face the American next. There has been talk of Braekhus coming back to the United States, we’ll see if it will be in 2018.
Super Lightweight: Surprisingly Argentina controls this division across the board with Ana Laura Esteche as the WBA, IBF and WBO champion while the WBC champion is Erica Anabella Farias. Hopefully in 2018 we see them face each other and we can have another undisputed world champion for female boxing.
Lightweight: The most recent crowned world champion sits in this division. Ireland’s Katie Taylor is considered one of the most exciting female fighters in the scene and recently she captured her first world title, the vacant WBA strap, in the UK. She will be defending it before the end of the year and looks to unify in 2018. She will have to face the likes of Belgium’s Delfine Persoon who is the WBC champion, the IBF’s Victoria Noelia Bustos of Argentina and another Argentinean in Yohana Belen Alfonso who holds the WBO title.
Super Featherweight: At 130 pounds, “it’s a small world” kind of division with South Korea’s Hyun Mi Choi holding the WBA world title, Finland’s Eva Wahlstrom recognized as the WBC champion, France’s Maiva Hamadouche as the IBF world champion and Germany’s Ramona Kuehne holds the WBO world title.
Featherweight: Canada’s Jelena Mrdjenovich is considered the reigning female in the division with two titles, the WBA and the WBC, with American Jennifer Han holding the IBF world title. Cindy Serrano of Puerto Rico is the WBO champion.
Super Bantamweight: Colombia makes its first appearance with Liliana Palmera holding the WBA strap while the WBC champion is Kenya’s Fatuma Zarika with Africa making its first appearance as well. One of female boxing’s legendary fighters, Marcela Eliana Acuña is the IBF champion and the WBO belt is held by none other than Amanda Serrano considered the second best fighter in the world behind Braekhus. Unfortunately Serrano has made the jump to MMA stating she will make her debut in that sport in 2018 with no word if she will come back to defend her title. If not, it is expected to go vacant sometime next year.
Bantamweight: Venezuela makes its first appearance at 118 pounds with Mayerlin Rivas as the WBA champion and Mexico comes back with the legendary Mariana “Barbie” Juarez coming in as the WBC champion. Argentina also makes their contribution in this division with Maria Cecilia Roman as the IBF champion and Daniela Romina Bermudez the WBO title holder.
Super Flyweight: With no male world champion from Peru, Lina Laura Lecca is the only world champion from that South American country with the WBA title around her waist. Mexico’s Guadalupe Martinez holds the WBC strap while Argentina’s Debora Anahi Dionicius is the IBF’s champion. The WBO’s title is vacant.
Flyweight: The considered best female Japanese fighter of all time, Naoko Fujioka, once again finds herself at the top of her division holding the WBA title at 112 pounds with arguably the best current Mexican female fighter in Jessica “Kika” Chavez as the WBC champion. Argentina makes another appearance with the IBF title in Leonela Paola Yudica and Mexico’s Monserrat Alarcon captured the WBO title earlier this year with a surprise win in Japan.
Light Flyweight: One of the most popular female fighters in the world is the WBA world champion, Yesica Yolanda Bopp of Argentina while Mexico’s Esmeralda Moreno and Alondra Garcia hold the WBC and IBF titles respectively. The WBO title is vacant.
Strawweight: At 105 pounds the long reigning WBA champion is Mexico’s Anabel Ortiz with the WBC strap held by Japan’s Yuko Kuroki. China makes their only appearance on the list with the IBF title by Zongju Cai while the WBO strap is held by Japan’s Kayoko Ebata.
Atomweight: The only weight class that is unique to female boxing since it doesn’t exist for men, the limit is 102 pounds. Japan nearly makes a sweep with Yunoko Furukawa holding the WBA, Momo Koseki the WBC and Nao Ikeyama the WBO, all from the land of the rising sun. The IBF title is vacant.
In female professional boxing 51world titles are held with nine of them being vacant. Mexico falls short from the top stop with Argentina holding 12 titles and Mexico with eight. Japan is close third with 6 and Norway holds four titles, all by Cecilia Braekhus.
The United States currently has three titles tied with Germany but that may very well change next year if Shields and Hammer face other. Another tally that might change is Puerto Rico’s with two but as it has really been mentioned, Amanda Serrano might not be available to defend her super bantamweight title and that might go away. Costa Rica also holds two titles by their own Hanna Gabriel.
Belgium, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Ireland, Kenya, Poland, South Korea, Uruguay and Venezuela all make the list with one world title each.