Maricela Cornejo Edges Erin Toughill in Hollywood

Maricela Cornejo Beats Erin Toughill in closer fight than scores show


By David A. Avila

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.-Hollywood specializes in facades and when Maricela Cornejo was announced the winner by unanimous decision over Erin Toughill, few knew if it was real or not.

Cornejo (13-3, 5 KOs) was deemed the winner by decision over Toughill (7-4-1) after eight rounds in a middleweight fight at the Avalon Theater on Sunday. It was the second time a female main event had been staged by 360 Promotions.

It surpassed most fan’s expectations.

Toughill was the aggressor for most of the fight as Cornejo circled one way or the other while countering here and there. Both fighters are about equal height and the reach favored neither fighter. But Toughill was always marching forward.

With Toughill pressing forward Cornejo circled and punched, but despite the movement was hit constantly. Each exchanged punches throughout the fight but neither was ever hurt by the blows.

“I wanted to feel the power in her. She actually packed a punch,” said Cornejo, 31. “I took the pressure and was staying calm.”

Cornejo had her best moment when the two engaged inside toe to toe. The younger fighter was able to connect more solidly standing still and scored well in the fifth round. Then she broke off the inside attack and was immediately hit with long range blows by Toughill.

“I know she comes to fight. That’s what we do,” said Toughill, 41. “On the inside I should have done a lot more.”

In the sixth round Cornejo reverted back to her earlier strategy of moving away while trying to catch Toughill from long range. It didn’t look good to see the younger fighter trying to avoid contact. In many ways it resembled her prior fight against Franchon Crews. She lost that fight for the super middleweight world title last September by majority decision.

Cornejo has natural strength and athleticism, but seems to lack confidence in those assets. Instead she boxed and moved which is more suited for a light hitting amateur style boxer than a prizefighter. Toughill looked like a prizefighter.

From the sixth round on the zip in Toughill’s punches lost steam and the numbers seemed to dwindle, but Cornejo remained in a defense mode and though she landed the harder blows in the last three rounds, she was still getting hit in return. Body shots were especially effective but Cornejo seldom targeted the body.

After eight rounds the judges scored it 79-73 twice and 78-74 for Cornejo. It seemed much closer than those scores to the audience and in press row.

“I think it was a lot closer than what the judges had it,” said Toughill, 41, after the fight. “I’d like a rematch with her.”

It was especially ironic that many people criticized the match when it was first announced. If you read our advance story we predicted a competitive match as did promoter Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions.

Cornejo also expected a tough one.

“I was not going to look past her,” said Cornejo adding that she planned to circle and move before the fight. “She’s a very talented fighter.”

Will there be a rematch?


(Photo by Al Applerose)