Esteche and Farias close the year with a bang
By Diego Morilla
Undisputed champions are very rare in any division or gender in boxing, and 2017 has given us a number of unified title bouts throughout the year. But oddly enough, the one opportunity that that we may have to clear an entire division and give us a unified champion will not materialize when the best pair of super lightweight female boxers in the world clash in Argentina for a grudge match with all the marbles and the neighborhood bragging rights at stake.
This is exactly what will transpire in the town of Concordia, Entre Rios, on Friday Dec. 29th when Erica “Pantera” Farias (24-2, 10 Kos) and Ana Laura Esteche (13-4-3, 2 Kos) enter the ring for the 10-round championship bout, which in spite of them owning a combined total of all four major titles at stake, the trinkets in question will not be at play in this rare showdown between two great champions at the peak of their powers.
Or as most of us believe.
“Farias was one of the best in the weight,” said Esteche, resorting to the past tense to belittle her foe’s achievements, “but on the 29th I am going to demonstrate that I am the best,” said the current IBF, WBO and WBA champ, who is coming off back-to-back wins over Celeste Peralta in two extraordinary wars in Argentina this year, and is looking to wipe out the competition in this bout.
But Farias would not allow Esteche to outshine her, neither in the ring nor the pre-fight buildup.
“I was the one who looked for this fight,” said Farias the former two-division titlist in one of the several videos produced by TyC to promote the fight. “She is the champion in my weight, and there must be only one champion,” said Farias, who owns the WBC belt that she kept even as she moved up in weight to challenge pound-for-pound entrant Cecilia Braekhus in Norway earlier this year.
The fight was already a dream matchup for the two local favorites last year, but when Farias decided to test the 147-pound waters to challenge Braekhus, her friend Celeste Peralta challenged Esteche as the favorite to win it all. Peralta lost the first bout by a razor-thin, debatable decision and the rematch by a much bigger margin, setting up the grudge match in which Farias will try to avenge Peralta and grab all the belts in her natural division in one fell swoop.
Title or no title, they seem determined to make each other’s job as hard as possible in what is now a potential FOTY candidate if things go as planned and their verbal confrontation translates into a war in the ring.
“Esteche is a temperamental fighter, but she doesn’t have much more than what she shows in the ring, which is going forward and trying to rip your head off,” said the 33-year old Farias. “In order to be a champion, you have to have more qualities than she has. And I think I have them.”
Esteche went further in her depreciation of Farias’ style.
“She’s very basic,” said the 27-year old Esteche. “She was always the number one fighter in our division, but now I am super well trained and I have to demonstrate that I am the best right now.”
As much as a rematch with all their titles at stakes would be the most desirable scenario, we will settle for a bad blood matchup between two of the most ferocious fighters in the middle divisions in female boxing right now. Hold your votes for the end-of-the-year awards, ladies. This one could change it all with the swing of a single punch.
(Photo by Ramon Cairo)