2018 Wish List Part II
By Felipe Leon
In 2017 we saw the sport of female boxing get to a level we had not seen before in quite some time. In part one we went through the list from super feather to heavyweight of the female division for matches we would like to see. Here are some more suggestions for the upcoming 12 months to keep the momentum going for the sport to get to the level it needs to be.
In the rest of the world and especially in Argentina, Mexico, Japan and some parts of Europe, female boxing is booming and it has for years. For the US to be on the same level captivating fights have to be made so they can be broadcast over a mainstream platform.
Now in part II we will go after the remaining weight divisions from atomweight to featherweight.
Jelena Mrdjenovich (37-10-2, 19KO) vs Cindy Serrano (27-5-3, 10KO) – The featherweight division must be one of the deepest not only in female boxing or boxing but in combat sports in general. Cindy, the older sister of Amanda Serrano, has been living in the shadow of her multi-divisional champion sibling but Cindy has done enough in her career to step out in her own right. Late last year she captured the WBO 126-pound division and with Jelena holding the WBC and WBA, the winner of this fight should be considered the best of the division with only the IBF champion Jennifer Han in their way from being the queen.
Honorable mention – As mentioned before the featherweight division is stacked and you can do a round-robin tournament with any of the likes of Heather Hardy, Stephanie Ducastel, Jennifer Han, Soledad Matthysse, Olivia Gerula, Ana Julaton among others and get some sizzling fights. Hopefully we get them in 2018.
Amanda Serrano (34-1-1, 26KO) vs Marcela Eliana Acuña (46-6-1, 19KO) – I know, I know, Amanda Serrano right now is trying on 4oz. gloves for her upcoming debut in Mixed Martial Arts but one can dream of one last hurrah in boxing and who better for her to face but the legendary Acuña? The “Tigress”, as she is known, has faced and beaten everybody in her division but Serrano while holding the IBF crown. This fight makes more sense financially in Argentina but if Showtime can broadcast Katie Taylor’s fight from London on their YouTube channel, why not this fight from Buenos Aires?
Honorable mention – If there is one thing you can say about Mexico’s Mariana “Barbie” Juarez is that she doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She actually seeks them out. Earlier this year the 37-year-old captured her fourth world title in as many divisions by beating African Catherine Phiri for the WBC bantamweight strap in Mexico City. She has hinted of going up to challenge another African, Fatuma Zarika, for her 122-pound WBC belt. I suspect before her career is over, she will.
Mariana Juarez (47-9-4, 18KO) vs Jackie Nava (33-4-3, 14KO) – This fight has been talks for quite some time but it looks like it is actually happening in the summer of 2018. Nava has had this kind of mega fight before a couple of times when she faced Ana Maria Torres but against Juarez the stakes might be a bit higher with the title of greatest Mexican female fighter of all-time on the line. Almost a given this fight gets broadcast in one way or another in the U.S. especially if it’s on Zanfer in Mexico who has an exclusive output deal with Bein Sports.
Tyrieshia Douglas (13-1, 6KO) vs Susie Ramadan (27-2, 12KO) – It is about time Ms. Douglas gets some love in the United States. Fighting out of Baltimore, Maryland, “Lady Tiga” has been doing all the right things while being developed in her hometown. Her own blemish came when she went down to Argentina and challenged Leonela Yudica for the IBF 112-pound title in what many consider a controversial decision. She needs a name before taking on the division champs and who better than Susie Ramadan? Ramadan is not afraid to leave Australia as she has done a couple of times to Mexico but can Maryland offer enough financially to get her to “Charm City”.
Honorable mention – One of the longest reigning champions of recent times Zulina “Loba” Muñoz lost her title this summer in a war against the unheralded Guadalupe Martinez. Talks of an immediate rematch went by the wayside when Muñoz announced she was pregnant with her second child. She is about due so hopefully she gets her chance to reclaim the title she defended successfully 10 times.
Jessica Chavez (30-4-3, 4KO) vs Ava Knight (14-2-4, 5KO) – the former champion Knight has not fought since April of last year but she has stated on her social media accounts she is getting ready to come back and claim what is hers. After beating Esmeralda Moreno in their much anticipated rematch and winning the WBC flyweight tournament, Chavez stated she wants to make her U.S. debut. Who better against than Las Vegas native Knight?
Honorable mention – If there is one fight that needs to be made for U.S. TV in 2018 is the grudge match between Marlen Esparza and Seniesa Estrada. There is bad blood between these two since the amateurs and now it has boiled over into social media with both taking shots at each other in their accounts. Too bad it hasn’t happened in the ring just yet. Esparza is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions while Estrada has worked with them in the past. Seems the only thing stopping this fight is a contract.
Naoko Fujioka (17-2, 7KO) vs Yokasta Valle (13-1, 6KO) – These two women just faced each other not too long ago for the vacant WBO title with Fujioka, long considered the best Japanese female fighter of all time, taking a unanimous decision over the still-green Valle of Costa Rica. The fight was much closer than the official scores given. There was a rematch clause with the #1 desired location being the United States. Hopefully not only does this fight land here but also on some type of TV.
Honorable mention – Argentina’s Yesica “Tutti” Bopp has held the WBA title for over eight years but never has only fought once out of her native country, a 2013 loss to Jessica Chavez in Mexico. She is charismatic, tough, beautiful and skillful, so whoever she faces, it would be a treat and something we need to see in the U.S. before the 33-year-old retires.
Anabel Ortiz (26-3, 4KO) vs Yuko Kuroki (17-4-1, 8KO) – Just like in the male side, the two lightest divisions in female boxing are largely ignored but the Mexican Ortiz is not being one of the staple fighters to be featured on her country’s airwaves. Rumor has it she is ready to move up to 108lbs in 2018 but hopefully se faces the second longest reigning champion in the division in Kuroki as her last hurrah at 105 pounds.
Momo Koseki (23-2-1, 9KO) vs Anyone – There is a fighter in Japan that has held her title longer than any other active female champion in the world. Momo Koseki has been the WBC 102-pound champion since August of 2008. She is a big fish in a small pond beating everybody in her division. She is now moving up to 105 pounds and challenging Yuko Yuroki for her WBC belt. If she were to win, then hopefully she stays at 105 pounds and goes after Ortiz in Mexico.