Hanna Gabriels vs Abril Vidal in World Title Clash – UFC Fight Pass will stream
By David A. Avila
Costa Rica’s queen of boxing Hanna Gabriels returns to the boxing ring but this time she has all of Norther America watching.
WBA super welterweight world titlist Gabriels (19-2-1, 11 KOs) defends against undefeated Argentine Abril Vidal (8-0, 3 KOs) on Wednesday July 17, at Gimnasio Nacional Eddy Cortes in San Jose, Costa Rica.
UFC Fight Pass will telecast the event live at 8 p.m.ET/ 5p.m. PT.
“She is the first and only one to knock Claressa Shields down,” exclaimed Lou DiBella who recently signed Gabriels to a promotion deal a few months ago. “She is one of the best female fighters pound for pound.”
DiBella has signed numerous top female prizefighters at various weight classes and he foresees big things for Gabriels.
“She is an incredibly talented boxer and she is very eloquent in both Spanish and English,” said DiBella of Gabriels. “Hanna is also a huge attraction in Costa Rica.”
On Wednesday it’s Costa Rica’s best against Argentina’s rising star.
Vidal, 20, hails from the boxing crazy country of Argentina and just recently defeated fellow countrywoman Yamila Reynoso a rugged two-fisted fighter who does not back up. Despite just recently exiting her teens, Vidal, the super welterweight from Neuquen, has already engaged in two 10-round fights. She won both.
The undefeated Argentine has a cockiness and brashness she does not hide. When both fighters met earlier this week Vidal boldly stuck a fist near Gabriels’ face.
“I’m going to make her pay for that fist in my face” said Gabriels, 36.
The Costa Rican prizefighter might be her country’s most recognizable athlete. Even before entering boxing Gabriels was a track star for her country. When she made a world title defense against Melisenda Perez in March 2011, more than half of the national soccer stadium was filled with rabid fans including the actual president of Costa Rica at the time.
A loss to Oxandia Castillo in February 2012 forced a change in Gabriels’ fighting style. A major influence has been her husband Bryan Vazquez, a defensive whiz in the super featherweight and lightweight divisions. In the rematch Gabriels dominated Castillo.
“I really appreciate everything he’s taught me,” said Gabriels who now employs a more defensive style than before. “There are a lot of things that we have been working on, especially in terms of defense and stuff. We’ve been putting a lot of work into that and hopefully I can show advancement in that sense.”
Though defense has become a focal point, she can still crack.
The boxing world became aware of Gabriels when she met two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields for the vacant middleweight world title a year ago in Detroit, Michigan.
Central American prizefighters often get overlooked but on that night in June 2018, both Shields and Gabriels exploded with punches and down went the American superstar. Those watching on television and those in person, suddenly woke up to the reality that female boxers can crack.
Shields recovered quickly from the knockdown and a real fight ensued with fists blazing and powerful blows bouncing off each other. American fight fans had witnessed the Female Fight of the Year for 2018. Both fighters emerged with boosted reputations. Shields would be voted Fighter of the Year and Gabriels was seen as one of female boxing’s most dangerous fighters.
Their fight also bumped up awareness for female prizefighting more than a few notches.
Gabriels is keenly aware of her position in the female fight world.
“I feel great, I feel happy that the fight is in my country. A lot of people are coming down, I’m hoping the gym is going to be full. I’m pretty excited and I’m going to give my very best,” said Gabriels. “Just happy to know that the people that like me over there in the U.S. will have the chance to watch me and show some support. So I’m very, very happy.”
Fans get another opportunity to see one of female boxing’s most exciting fighters.
UFC Fight Pass is giving a free seven-day trial and it can be found on most social media sites including the UFC.com web site. Go to this link: https://www.ufc.tv/category/fightpass-live-events
(Photo by DiBella Entertainment)