Lupita Martinez vs Jessica “Kika” Chavez for WBC Super Fly Title
By Felipe Leon
There are two female fights in Mexican boxing lore by which all others are measured. In 2011 Ana Maria “La Guerrera” Torres and Jackie “Princesa Azteca” Nava faced each in two epic wars televised at a national level in Mexico. The first was ruled a draw while the second saw Torres of Mexico City squeak out a narrow unanimous decision over Tijuana’s Nava.
After the two battles both women became among the biggest names in Mexican female boxing and the epitome of which all other women boxers from Mexico should emulate.
This Saturday night in Ecatepec, Mexico, just outside of Mexico City, we have a fight that just might live up to what is expected when current WBC super flyweight champion Guadalupe “Lupita” Martinez (18-9, 6KO) defends her title against former WBC flyweight champion Jessica “Kika” Chavez (30-4-3, 4KO) in a scheduled ten rounder. The main event will be televised in Mexico by Televisa and presented by Promociones del Pueblo.
Chavez, who is trained by the legendary Nacho Beristain, is the daughter of former fighter Juan Manuel “Kiko” Chavez, it would be expected for her father to be the one to push her inside a boxing ring but in Jessica’s case it was her mother.
“It was my mother who planted the seed of me fighting,” Chavez reminisced. “My dad took us to the gym and there was a Japanese girl training there. My mom said, ‘you think you are tough at home, fight her,’ and I did. Since that day, I never wanted to leave the sport.”
Chavez also joined the gym to try to get some attention from her father. At that time her father was the trainer and would concentrate all his time on her older brother, Enriquez Chavez.
“I would go to the gym but he wouldn’t let me train,” Chavez said of her father. “He would say it wasn’t for me. That I should go play with my dolls. It would make me sad and I told my mother. She got mad at him and made him train me.”
A big part of her success has been the man who is considered by many one of the best trainers Mexico has ever produced, Nacho Beristain. “He is somebody that has helped me a lot. Without him I wouldn’t be who I am. We’ve won world titles because of him. He knows more than me and his work is very important. I am who I am because of what Don Nacho has taught me.”
Ever since she went pro in 2006 Chavez has become one of the biggest names in the sport south of the border. What has helped her get there is not only her willingness to face anybody in her division but also her relentless come-forward all-action style.
The same can be said of Martinez which only makes for an all-out war this Saturday night.
After starting her career with five wins against two draws including one against future world champion Ana Arrazola and a win over the tough Mayela Perez, Chavez suffered her first loss against also future champion Ibeth “Roca” Zamora. Two fights later in 2009 she traveled south to Argentina to challenge Yesica “Tutti” Bopp for the interim WBA light flyweight title but came up short in a unanimous decision.
All that occurred by her tenth fight.
There hasn’t been a major name from 108-112 pounds that Chavez hasn’t faced and beaten. From world title challengers, former and current champions like Nora Cardoza, Esmeralda Moreno, Katia Gutierrez, Irma Sanchez, Bopp in a return fight in Mexico, Tenkai Tsunami, Melissa McMorrow, Arely Muciño, Simona Galassi, Vanesa Lorena Taborda, Naoko Fujioka and Ana Arrazola in a return bout.
She captured her first title, the IBF light flyweight strap, in 2011 with a split decision over Irma Sanchez. She defended that title three times and in September of 2015 she defeated Arely Muciño for the WBC 112-pound title. She defended that title six times before taking a hiatus and being named the champion in recess.
Every one of her four losses have come to world-class opposition. After the two first to the aforementioned Zamora and Bopp, she has lost to Esmeralda Moreno which she avenged twice and one other time to Zamora.
Her fight against Moreno in 2016 was considered the female Fight of the Year and her last fight in 2017, also against Moreno, crowned her as a WBC Diamond champion as well as giving her the win in the sanctioning body’s female flyweight tournament.
The 30-year-old Chavez has not seen action since that fight. She took a nearly two year hiatus to become a mother for the first time. Last year she gave birth to a bouncing baby girl she named Alondra who now has become her main engine to achieve more in her career as a professional fighter.
“I left as a world champion and I intend to return as one,” Chavez said recently. “I just have a little bit more motivation now in my daughter Alondra. I am happier, stronger because of her.”
“I am better now than I have ever been,” Chavez said of her pending return. “I have recouped my condition and my boxing. My daughter gives me more motivation than I have ever had before. I take her with me to the gym.”
A win over Martinez will make her a three-divisional world champion equaling the feat only one other Mexican female fighter has achieved.
That fighter is Mariana “Barbie” Juarez.
“I am sure of what I have to do inside the ring,” Chavez stated. “I have a great team, I had great sparring and I want to be a part of that select group of Mexicans who have won world titles in three different divisions.”
For Martinez, 27 years old and a mother of two, the road to the top has not been so easy but like Chavez what keeps her moving forward are her kids, Jacobo and Ximena.
“They are what is most important in my life,” Martinez said. “Together with my mother, they are who give me strength when I feel I can keep going. They support me when I’m on my diet, when I am tired. To hear their laughter is the fuel I need to keep going, to wake up early and to keep training.”
She went pro in 2012 and by her third bout she had two losses. Five fights later she had three losses but this time to much better opponents, future champion Ana Arrazola and Daniela Bermudez.
By 2014 she had dropped four more fights but also to world-level opponents in Debora Anahi Dionicius, Naoko Shibata, Linda Laura Lecca and Ava Knight. One more loss came in late 2016 to Jasseth Noriega.
Since then Martinez has not lost a single fight.
She jumped on to the world stage when she shockingly defeated long-reigning WBC 115-pound champion Zulina “Loba” Muñoz in May of 2017.
“I don’t want to lose and it is not my time to lose,” Martinez said of her world title. “There is still more dreams and more to reach around a world title. I still haven’t found the words to describe the happiness I felt when I won it.”
“When I was fighting Zulina all I could think of was my daughter,” Martinez remembered. “Her dream was always for me to win a world title. I remember I scored with four unanswered punches and that game me the confidence to keep going.”
Ironically along with her daughter it was Chavez who also helped her gain confidence to take on the fight against Muñoz.
“She helped me to get ready for a number of fights and she would tell me I was ready for a world title even though I didn’t feel it,” Martinez explained. “She told me I needed to believe it and she insisted in me taking the fight against Muñoz.”
Now Chavez is the biggest threat of her keeping her title.
“I know who I am facing and I know it will be a war inside the ring,” Martinez said of Chavez. “I don’t see myself losing, this is what we got ready for, it will be a war.”
Martinez has defended the title twice with a ninth round stoppage of Carlota Santos that same year and Irma “Torbellina” Garcia early last year.
In her last fight, a non-title affair, she defeated former bantamweight world champion Yulihan Alejandra Luna with a unanimous decision in November of last year.
The fight against Chavez marks the third defense of her title but she says she has much loftier dreams than that. “My goal is to get to ten defenses like what Torres did and then go after 11 because nobody has done that, not Torres or Jackie Nava or Mariana Juarez, the biggest names in our sport.”
First she must get past Chavez.
“There is not a lot to say, we know that we are facing a great champion,” Martinez said of her next opponent. “We know her style is a difficult one. I go forward all the time, that is how we win fights and that is how we are going to defend the title. I can’t give any advantages to ‘Kika’, we are going to close out the ring and force her to fight my fight.”
Martinez had the sparring needed to get ready for such a fighter like Chavez and her experience. One of them was current WBA 105-pound champion Anabel “Avispa” Ortiz.
“We know this will be our toughest fight to date, we have analyzed her style,” she continued. “She is a very good counter puncher and she takes advantage when you make a mistake. We have worked on our defense.”