Lupe Martinez Holds Off Jessica “Kika” Chavez to Retain WBC Title
By Felipe Leon
Mexican veteran Jessica “Kika” Chavez had a dream of becoming only the second female fighter from Mexico to capture three world titles in as many divisions.
She will have to try again.
Tonight in her hometown of Ecatepec, Mexico, Chavez came up short in her challenge for the WBC super flyweight title held by Guadalupe “Lupita” Martinez (19-9, 6KO) via a close hard fought ten round split decision with scores of 97-94 and 97-93 for Martinez while the third judge scored it 96-94 for Chavez (30-5-3, 4 KOs). ThePrizeFighters.com scored it an even 95-95.
The fight was the main event of the televised fight card presented by Promociones del Pueblo on Mexican mega channel Televisa.
“It was a tough fight,” an emotional Martinez, 27, said immediately after the bout. “I am here to be a champion for many years to come. I am willing to give her the rematch if that is what my team says is next.”
The win over Chavez marked the third defense of Martinez of the title she captured in a shocking win over the long-reigning former champion Zulina “Loba” Muñoz back in May of 2015. A TKO over Carlota Santos and a unanimous decision against Irma Garcia rounded out the defenses with a non-title win over Yulihan Luna in her last fight in November of last year.
After defeating Esmeralda “Joya” Moreno to capture the WBC Diamond flyweight title in September of 2017, Chavez took a year and a half hiatus to give birth to her first child, a girl she named Alondra. Chavez has held world titles at light flyweight as well as flyweight.
After a first round which Chavez, 31, won with quicker counterpunching, Martinez put it in high gear and began moving forward taking advantage of her longer reach and scoring the straighter punches.
In the first half of the fight it was evident Chavez was having trouble with Martinez’s output but she managed to land effective counterpunches as Martinez clumsily moved forward. It was hard for Chavez to get any offense going since she had to defend herself constantly against Martinez’s barrage but was able to score the more telling shots, although not enough.
It didn’t help that Chavez when retreating would do so in a straight line allowing Martinez to score with the final punches of her three to four punch combinations. In the third Chavez let Martinez know she was there with a hard left hook to the chin but the bigger defending champion walked right through it.
From the opening bell Martinez attacked the body of Chavez with uppercuts and through five rounds Chavez was still the quicker of the two.
All that changed in the second half of the fight.
Chavez conditioning or lack thereof became visible as she began to slow down while Martinez turned up the heat. Chavez, fighting off the back foot, kept counterpunching but it was less often although she did score the bigger punches when she did.
With the rounds dwindling down a street fight broke out in the seventh with Martinez coming out the chute with a non-stop attack of straight punches that pushed Chavez back towards the ropes. They went toe to toe there with Martinez getting the better of the exchange.
Martinez kept up with the attack until the end of the fight knowing she was fighting in the hometown of her better-known challenger. Chavez’s best moments were when she countered scoring the more impressive shots but they were too few and far between.
In the tenth and final round Chavez simply looked for a big punch, winging power shots from either fist trying to knock out the champion but Martinez proved simply too big, too tough and too strong.