Kenia Enriquez Forced to Move Up to Flyweight
By Felipe Leon
Boxing doesn’t wait for anybody. Such is the case of former world champion Kenia Enriquez (23-1, 9KO) of Tijuana, Mexico. The 28-year-old last saw action in January of 2020 defending her interim WBC light flyweight title for the fourth time. In the previous two years, she only fought once, with 2017 being the last year she was in the ring more than one time.
“I have been training this whole time, preparing myself,” the charismatic Enriquez stated recently in an exclusive interview with the all-female boxing podcast 2-Min Round. “I tried to get a fight but it wasn’t in the cards. I am always looking to find my best version and perhaps I haven’t been able to display it inside a ring but every time I train, I feel am reaching that goal.”
In 2017, Enriquez, who stresses she is a promotional free agent, fought three times, the last time since she enjoyed so much action. In her second fight of that year, she captured the vacant interim WBC light flyweight world title, with a seventh round TKO win over Maria Salinas. After four defenses against Jessica Nery Plata, Norleidys Graterol, Leiryn Flores and Chaoz Minowa, Enriquez was stripped after not making weight in her last fight.
Enriquez was scheduled to fight in November last year but was not able to make the contracted weight of 108 pounds to defend her world title.
“My desire to be inside a ring forced me to take a fight on short notice,” Enriquez explained. “I was confident that I could make the weight because I have never had an issue, I’m always training. The week of the fight, it was evident I wasn’t going to make the weight, I just hit a wall. I realized that I am growing, I’m older, physically more mature, I don’t think I will be able to make 108 pounds again. We made the fight for 115 pounds and my opponent agreed but at the end she decided not to fight. I understand.”
“I am going to fight now at 112 pounds,” she continued. “I think I was very avoided at light flyweight, the only reason I stayed in that division that long was to get a shot at the full-fledged world title against Yesenia Gomez. I stated that on my social media, to her, to the WBC at the convention in the Philippines. I think I can do the same and capture another world title at 112 pounds, I’ve done it before.”
She stresses that she did everything in her power to force Gomez to face her in the ring. As the interim she was first in line to challenge for the absolute green and gold belt. Instead, Gomez defended her world title four times against opponents ranked lower while Enriquez waited in the wings.
“I think we all saw the same thing. There was a moment I was so frustrated, my anger, because I was doing everything in my power to get the fight,” Enriquez explained. “I really wanted that title. I appreciate the interim title but it is not the absolute. There were never talks, she always avoided me. It wasn’t in my control. I was always ready to face her and I believe in my talent and skill. I have no doubt I would have beaten her.”
“I do believe I am one of the most avoided fighters out there,” she says. “When I have wanted to fight in Mexico, no matter how much I asked her to face me, she didn’t or when a fight falls out and I state that am ready like I did with Seniesa, I did it with Yesenia Gomez, I tried it with all the champions and they all prefer to face somebody else.”
In late 2014 she captured her first world title, the vacant WBO flyweight title with a unanimous decision over Ana Arrazola. She lost it in her first defense via a controversial split decision to veteran Melissa McMorrow.
“I would very much like that rematch, it is a fight I have always wanted,” she said of her only loss. “I have matured, I think now I can resolve that problem named Melissa McMorrow. I think I have more tools and I have worked harder than when we had our first fight.”
Enriquez, who is now ranked #1 at flyweight by the WBC, sees the movement in the lower weight classes, especially in the United States, as a great motivator recommit herself to her career and actively pursue a promotor who can put her in the right fights.
“I am very happy because of that because I think we are opening doors, fighters of a very high level,” she shared. “I do believe even though they are fighting on these big stages, they are not giving audiences competitive fights. I have seen it with Seniesa Estrada, a fighter who was in my division and I had looked for a fight against her, decided to fight a smaller Anabel Ortiz. I hope Marlen Esparza, the WBC flyweight champion, gives me the opportunity to challenge for the title in the United States. She doesn’t seem to be too afraid of facing anybody anywhere.”
One of the reasons Enriquez was out of the boxing ring for some time was her pursuit of an MMA career. She got so deep she was signed to a secondary MMA promoter, Combate Americas, but decided to refocus on her first love, boxing.
“My boxing career is important. I want bigger fights,” she stated. “I have chased the champions and it has not happened. I need to work harder, have better fights and position myself as the #1 fighter in my division so that there is no reason why not to face me.”
As mentioned before, Enriquez has recently been ranked #1 in the flyweight division by the WBC and at one point should be the mandatory challenger for the current world champion Marlen Esparza.
“I want to thank Mauricio Sulaiman and the WBC for naming me the #1 and showing me the respect I deserve for being the interim champion at 108 pounds,” Enriquez said. “I hope it doesn’t take long for me to be in a ring with Marlen Esparza. She knows what I am about since we have sparred each other in the past here in Tijuana, I hope she doesn’t run.”
To listen to the complete, unedited interview, please visit BlogTalkRadio.com/2MinRound
(Photo by Pro Boxing Fans)