Mariana Juarez vs. Susie Ramadan: Contrasting Battle Styles
By David A. Avila
Mexico’s reigning queen of boxing Mariana “Barby” Juarez defends the world championship against Australia’s Susie Ramadan who is looking to reclaim it.
Two vastly experienced fighters from different continents finally meet.
Juarez (50-9-4, 18 KOs) defends the WBC bantamweight title against Ramadan (27-2, 12 KOs) on Saturday Oct. 27. The match takes place in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Televisa will televise.
It’s rare when any fighter has more than 50 bouts, especially for female prizefighters. Juarez is one of the few that has accumulated that many. It’s becoming more common especially in countries that favor female boxing like Mexico. Not too long ago, there were only a handful like Layla McCarter, Mia St. John, Regina Halmich, Christy Martin and Marcela Acuna.
Juarez, now 38, has been fighting for more than 20 years and not all of her fights have been registered. A number of her underground boxing matches in Mexico do not appear on any official site.
Today, Mexico has become one of the premier countries to propel female prizefighting with numerous headlining fights that are televised nationally and abroad. And leading the army of Mexican female fighters is “Barby” Juarez.
Along with her sisters Lourdes and Patricia, the Juarez sisters have become fighters you have to see if you like female boxing.
When Juarez steps into the ring against Ramadan, she will be defending the bantamweight title a sixth time since winning it in April 2017. She previously owned titles in the flyweight and super flyweight divisions.
This fight was originally scheduled to be against former super bantamweight champion Jackie Nava of Tijuana. But due to circumstances an agreement could not be made in time so Team Juarez quickly made adjustments and reached out to Team Ramadan in Australia. They immediately accepted.
Fighting out of Melbourne, Victoria, the southeastern section of Australia, the 39-year-old Ramadan finds it difficult to garner challenges simply due to the distance. In the past, the cost of travel to send members of Team Ramadan to another continent was out of reach for many boxing promoters of female prizefighting.
But times have changed.
“Being a female boxer is a tough business and at times you may think about quitting,” said Ramadan who has been a prizefighter for 11 years and has experienced dozens of disappointments due to canceled fights and inability to attract challengers to Australia due to costs.
When Ramadan got the call she was ready to go.
“Her team contacted my team. It wasn’t a surprise as I’ve been aware they have wanted me to fight her, they know I’m a great fighter and it will be a great fight,” said Ramadan.
World title fights are nothing new for Ramadan who is a former IBF and WBC bantamweight world titlist. Her lone defeats came against Yazmin Rivas and took place in Mexico. Still, the Aussie team is eager for the challenge.
“There’s excitement. Not only am I representing my country, but it’s a great opportunity to have a fighter be a world champion in our country,” said Ramadan who won the IBF bantamweight title in February 2011 and the WBC title in February 2012. “But I believe I have so much more to show the world and push hard to pave the way for women’s boxing.”
In Mexico, Juarez has been at the forefront of the female boxing movement and has become an icon.
The slim brunette often appears on television commercials and visits schools, hospitals and attends any event she receives an invitation.
“I believe that it’s important to be visible and I take all the opportunities given,” said Juarez, who appears on international magazines and on television sports shows. “It’s very important for female athletes to be visible.”
Battle of styles
But winning is also important and both Juarez and Ramadan have shown throughout the years they are finely tuned fighting machines.
“She is a strong fighter with a lot of experience, has done well in her career,” said Ramadan of Juarez. “It’s been said that I am and have been put in the positions of our legends such as Jeff Fenech. But I believe I have so much more to bring in the boxing world.”
Juarez has studied Ramadan and her style and looks forward to the challenge.
“It is a different style than what we had been preparing for,” said Juarez, who had been devising plans to counter the pressure style of Jackie Nava. “(Ramadan) moves a lot and boxes. We are working on closing the exits and preparing not to get hit.”
Moving fighters are not common in Mexico. They prefer action.
Ramadan is excited about the challenge too.
“My team Labruna and all the boys at the gym have been so supportive and have worked really hard also to get me prepared for this fight,” said Ramadan. “I’m an exciting fighter to watch, my skills, speed and smarts.”
Juarez does not take the Aussie fighter lightly.
“This will be a defense of my bantamweight world title,” said Juarez via phone. “God is first. Then we go in search of the super bantamweight world title.”