Yazmin Rivas vs Cristina del Valle Pacheco
By Felipe Leon
The female boxing world is full of stories of survival. From putting abusive circumstances behind them to becoming world champions and juggling motherhood, education and a professional boxing career all at the same time, stories of overachieving women abound in women’s prizefighting.
Yazmin “Rusita” Rivas (38-10-1, 11KO) is one of those women.
At 30 years of age Rivas has found herself in a boxing ring for well over half of her life turning pro at the tender age of 13 and through the ups and downs which a female boxing career consists of, she has survived it all.
This Saturday night, November 10th in Tijuana, Mexico, she will have yet another test when she defends her newly acquired WBA super bantamweight against Argentina’s Cristina del Valle Pacheco (11-11-2, 2KO). The scheduled ten-round bout will be the semi-main event televised by the Azteca channel live in Mexico.
In the main event, Mexico’s Jackie Nava (34-4-3, 15KO) will look for her ninth title when she faces Carolina “Fiera” Alvarez (14-9-4, 9KO) for a version of the WBA bantamweight crown.
“My whole preparation for this fight I did it in my hometown,” Rivas said from Torreon, Mexico. “I am ready for my first defense of my world title.”
“I know my opponent is not an easy one,” Rivas continued. “My preparation was a tough one because of that. Sometimes you prepare for ‘A’ but once in the fight you have to have a plan ‘B’. I know she is tough like all Argentineans.”
Many would have believed Rivas’ career would have changed since her last defeat, a 10 round unanimous decision to one of the top female fighters in the world Amanda Serrano in January of 2017. Without a doubt that fight from the Barclays Center in New York and broadcast live on Showtime Extreme was the biggest platform Rivas had ever performed on despite headlining cards on Mexican TV.
That fight as well as the first match up between Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent have been attributed as the catalyst for the new wave of female boxing on U.S. television and internet applications. Since then we have seen a number of female fights on American airwaves.
Since that loss Rivas dusted herself off and got back to her winning ways stringing three victories in a row. The second against previously undefeated Yareli “Chololita” Larios, daughter of former champion Oscar Larios, Rivas captured the vacant WBC International Super Bantamweight title while in her last fight the Torreon native and mother of one traveled to Colombia to capture the WBA world strap with a 5th round TKO of former champion Liliana Palmera last May.
In a 17 year career Rivas has faced a who’s who of elite opponents with wins over Susie Ramadan twice, Edith Matthysse, Nydia Feliciano, Mayerlin Rivas, Calixta Silgado, Alesia Graf, Celina Salazar and Jessica Gonzalez but her losses have come to some of the biggest names in the sport like Jackie Nava twice, Marcela “Tigresa” Acuña, Ina Menzer, Zulina “Loba” Muñoz and the aforementioned Serrano.
Rivas at the final press conference before her first defense of her title stated the fight she wants more is the third one against Nava. “It would be a great honor. It would be a war. Now I have a lot more experience than in the first two times that we met. I would love that fight. Third time is the charm and Jackie is the best in Mexico, I admire her.”
In Pacheco, the champion Rivas should not expect nearly the challenge as she did many of her past rivals.
The 38 year-old Argentinean will be fighting out of her home country for only the second time in her surprisingly 12 year career. Earlier this year she traveled to Chile to lose to Yesica Patricia Marcos via a six-round split decision.
Pacheco’s career is defined by who she has lost to more so than who she has beaten. With her .500 record in 24 fights, her longest winning streak has been four fights with two of the wins back to back against Marta Soledad Juncos, a fighter with a worse record than her. In 2018 Pacheco is 1-1 with a TKO win over Cintia Gisela Castillo in her last fight early last month and that split decision to Marcos in March.