Originally slated for December of 2015, the second annual WBC Female Boxing Convention was pushed back a month to the tail end of January 2016 because according of the overwhelming response from the female boxing community.
Over 40 professional female fighters representing 30 countries made their way to the Grand Hotel in the heart of Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico, along with promoters, managers, WBC officers, officials and fans to take part of the seminars, meetings and festivities around the convention.
The event kicked off officially the morning of Thursday, January 28th, with the opening ceremony with WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman presiding. A children’s chorus wowed the crowd with a heart-warming rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Jimmy Lennon Jr. (no relation to John Lennon) acted as master of ceremonies. The GuinnessBook of World Records presented WBC super-bantamweight champion Alicia Ashley, 48, an award as the oldest acting boxing champion in history. The convention got off to a roaring start.
During the opening ceremony the first WBC female champion ever crowned, Tijuana’s Jackie Nava, was given a special award honoring her for her work representing fellow female fighters. Unfortunately, Ana Maria Torres was going to be given the same award but she was not able to attend because of illness. Current WBC Female super flyweight Zulina “Loba” Muñoz was also honored for her humanitarian work along with the wife of the great Muhammad Ali, Lonnie Ali, for her work in various charities.
Friday was a working day for the attendees including seminars and talks regarding medical issues. The WBC medical board chairman Dr. Paul Wallace informed the convention on the importance of pregnancy tests prior to fights as well as introducing Dr. Meeryo Chloe from UCLA who spoke about concussions and tips on how to prevent them.
Others speakers on Friday touched on the history of female boxing, the marketing and distribution of the sport and fitness and conditioning with an emphasis on the female body. That night the formal attired award banquet was held with various awards given such as Fighter of the Year to lightweight champion Delfine Persoon, Fight of the Year to Erica Farias and Klara Svensson, KO of the Year to Yazmin Rivas, Prospect of the Year to Marisela Cornejo and Comeback of the Year to Alicia Ashley.
The convention closed on Saturday afternoon prior to the mega fight card presented by Zanfer Promotions that night which featured five female bouts. In the main event, which was televised nationally in Mexico on the Azteca channel, Zambia’s Catherine Phiri pulled the upset by defeating defending WBC female bantamweight champion Yazmin “Rusita” Rivas with a technical majority decision.
The anticipated ratings and mandatory meeting was held on Saturday morning before the closing as WBC female boxing president Malte Muller-Michaelis along with president Mauricio Sulaiman went down the list of what is next for each division. The most interesting development was the talk of a flyweight tournament with the winner taking home a special diamond belt. Those mentioned for the tournament were the actual champion Jessica “Kika” Chavez, WBO champion Melissa McMorrow, former champ Ava Knight, Silver champion Raja Amasheh and current light flyweight champion Ibeth “Roca” Zamora. It was also ordered if Zamora goes up to the flyweight division, her title will go vacant and will be disputed between the newly crowned light flyweight champion Ana Arrazola and highly ranked and former champion Kenia Enriquez who was present during the ratings meeting.
In closing, many fighters in attendance took the microphone including Ava Knight who through tears shared how much being a WBC Female champ meant to her as well as the afore mentioned Enriquez thanking every one for coming to her city and for the opportunity to perhaps challenge for another world title.