Marlen Esparza Returns, Naoko and Tsunami and More Female Fight News
By David A. Avila
Change, can make you want to hustle.
Marlen Esparza the NABO flyweight titlist returns to the boxing ring minus a few wrinkles and adding a few new bullets to the arsenal.
Houston’s Esparza (6-0, 1 KO) puts it all on display against Mexico’s tough Sonia Osorio (13-6-1, 3 KOs) on Thursday July 18, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. The title fight will be streamed on Golden Boy Boxing page on Facebook and also at RingTV.com .
After winning the bronze medal in the London Olympics in 2012, the petite flyweight with the fast hands had been cruising along even after becoming a professional in 2017. She had signed with Golden Boy Promotions and resumed her winning ways.
But a funny thing happened to the Texan, she discovered that despite an impressive amateur boxing career, the pro fight world was different in many ways aside from no head gear and smaller boxing gloves.
“My style of boxing was not the same as what those fans on the street want to see,” said Esparza, 29. “I like pretty (style) fighters but that’s not what the people want to see. Now that I realize it, that’s what I’m going to go for.”
While taking time off for marriage and giving birth to a child last year, the return of Esparza to the boxing ring also saw her shed a longtime amateur boxing style in favor of a prizefighting mode bent on hurting the opposition, not just out-scoring foes.
In her last appearance against Venezuela’s Jhosep Vizcaino in April, the former Olympian Esparza was more focused on attacking with big shots rather than the familiar four and five punch flashy combinations.
“I realize that’s the goal. If you tell me what game where playing I can give you that. It took me a long time to understand what you want to see,” said Esparza about fans of the pro style.
It’s the hurting game.
Esparza, who recently picked up the NABO title with a one-sided win last April at the same Fantasy Springs venue, knows she is facing yet another tough Mexican fighter with a lot of prizefighting experience.
“I know she (Osorio) is decent. I know she fought Seniesa (Estrada) but I didn’t see too much. I don’t think too much of her as far as her capabilities. Her fundamentals need a lot of work but she does stay busy,” said Esparza about her scheduled foe. “Our game plan is the same we have to neutralize that and calm her down and make her think twice. I think we’re going to concentrate on the jab.”
For the last 19 years the Texas prizefighter has seen female boxing evolve and seen her own role in it also lead her into the contention status. But she wants more for women’s prizefighting and for herself as well after all these years.
“I realized I had to evolve,” Esparza said. “I have to be reintroduced to the pro world. Getting your feet wet really does matter. You have to do things correctly.”
Esparza understands a change is needed, not because of a lack of ability, but for the good of her game.
“I’m ready to rock and roll,” she said.
Battle of Japan
A long sought meeting between Japan’s two most respected prizefighters Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1, 7 KOs) and Tsunami Tenkai (26-12-1, 15 KOs) finally saw them meet after all these years. Both battled for Fujioka’s WBA flyweight world title at Tokyo on Friday. After 10 furious back and forth rounds the world title clash ended in a split draw.
Fujioka, 43, who has captured world titles in five weight divisions, had never fought Tsunami despite crossing paths on many occasions.
Tenkai, 34, holds the WBO light flyweight world title but was willing to move up to challenge Fujioka in a higher weight category. She had previously held world titles in the super flyweight and bantamweight divisions and was looking to add a fourth.
In Japan fans often debated about who is the superior fighter. On Friday fans at the legendary Korakuen Hall saw the two battle back and forth in an ebb and flow fight that not surprisingly ended in a split draw.
We will have more on this fight later this week from writer Yuriko Miyata.
More Female Fight News
Debora Lopez (14-0-1) defeated Debora Gomez (5-4-1) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Friday July 12. The Argentine flyweight title fight was held at Luis Guillon, Buenos Aires.
Ana Esteche (14-5-3) beat Maria Ruiz (5-13-1) by unanimous decision after six rounds on Friday July 12. The super lightweight match was held at San Francisco Solano.
Gisela Avalos (1-0) beat Sofia Rodriguez (0-1) by decision after four rounds on Friday July 12. The lightweight bout took place in Salto Argentino.
On Wednesday July 17, super welterweights Hanna Gabriels (19-2-1) and Abril Vidal (8-0) meet in a 10 round bout for the WBA world title at San Jose. Gabriels, 36, holds the WBA and WBO world titles. Vidal, 20, fights out of Argentina and recently defeated Yamila Reynoso. The fight will be stream live on UFC Fight Pass.
On Thursday July 18, super featherweights Maiva Hamadouche (20-1) and Janeth Perez (24-5-2) meet in a 10 round match for the IBF world title at Le Cannet. Hamadouche, 29, is making the fifth defense of the title since winning it in November 2016. Perez, 29, fights out of Mexico and recently lost by majority decision to Ewa Brodnicka in Poland. Also, super lightweights Justine Le Poultier (0-1) and Donya Darouiche (1-1) meet for four rounds.
Maryna Malovana (3-0) beat Claire Ciantar (3-6) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Saturday July 13. The lightweight match was held in Munich.
On Saturday July 20, featherweights Elina Tissen (23-2) and Kim Jaeckel (3-1) meet in a 10 round GBC title fight at Muster.
On Saturday July 20, lightweights Siobhan O’Leary (2-0) and Denisa Cicoova (1-1) meet in a four round fight at Cork. Also, welterweights Katelynn Phelan (1-0) and Galina Gyumliyska (11-40-1) meet in a four round bout.
Anna Brozzi (1-0) beat Jovana Milovanovic (0-3) by technical decision after three rounds on Friday July 12. The featherweight fight was held at Santa Marinella.
Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1) and Tsunami Tenkai (26-12-1) fought to a split draw after 10 rounds on Friday July 12. The WBA flyweight world title fight took place in Tokyo. Fujioka retains the title. Also, Airi Motoki (2-0-1) knocked out Kei Sugimoto in the fourth round in a bantamweight bout; plus Ai Sugimoto (2-0) won by knockout in the first round over Yuri Sekiwa (1-3).
Yareli Larios (14-2-1) was the winner by decision after eight rounds versus Claudia Rangel (1-2) on Saturday July 13. The super featherweight fight took place in Tonala, Jalisco.
On Saturday July20, light flyweights Jessica Basulto (3-0) and Cinthia Martinez (4-4-1) meet in a four round bout at Merida, Yucatan.
On Sunday July 21, featherweights Cynthia Ogunsemilore (1-0) and Adedeji Abiodun (0-0) meet in a four round bout at Lagos. Also, bantamweights Mariam Yusuf and Fatima Sanni debut against each other.
Yaditza Perez (10-13-1) won by first round knockout over Zuseth Hoyte (0-6) on Saturday July 13. The flyweight fight took place in Boquete. Also, Teresa Almengor (3-1-2) beat Jamileth Vallejos (1-2) by decision after four rounds in a bantamweight bout.
Ewa Piatkowska (13-1) defeated Kamilla Boka (3-3) by decision after six rounds on Friday July 12. The non-title super welterweight fight took place at Dzierzoniow. Piatkowska holds the WBC super welterweight world title.
Intira Sangpun (0-0-1) and Somwang Sawinchai (0-0-1) fought to a draw after four rounds on Saturday. The super featherweight contest took place at Pathum Thani.
Natasha Jonas (8-1) won by four round technical knockout over Bec Connolly (2-6) on Friday July 12. The lightweight fight took place in Liverpool.
On Friday July 19, super bantamweights Teri Harper (7-0) and Nozipho Bell (9-2-1) meet in a 10 round IBO world title fight at Rotherham, Yorkshire.
On Saturday July 20, lightweights Chantelle Cameron (10-0) and Anisha Basheel (8-5) meet for the WBC Silver title at Brentwood, Essex.
On Saturday July 20, super lightweights Cherrelle Brown (5-0) and Kirstie Bavington (2-0-1) meet for WBC International title at Bethnal Green, London. Also, lightweights Kallia Kourouni (9-2) and Vaida Masiokaite (1-5-2) meet in an eight round fight.
On Thursday July 18, flyweights Marlen Esparza (6-0) and Sonia Osorio (13-6-1) meet in an eight round fight at Indio, California. It will be shown on Golden Boy Fight Night page on Facebook
On Saturday July 20, flyweights Amy Salinas (2-0) and Randee Lynn Morales (0-1) meet in a four round fight at Albuquerque, New Mexico. Also, lightweights Bridgette Baca (1-2) and Katie Ramirez (0-2-1) meet in a four round match.