San Diego’s Amaris Quintana knows very well that few women have ever performed in front of a large scale audience. It’s the main reason she accepted a fight against a razor sharp boxer from across the Mexican border.
“I accepted it because it is a big opportunity for us women to be on an undercard of a great fighter such as (Gennady) Golovkin,” said Quintana.
Quintana (9-2-2) meets Tijuana’s Kenia Enriquez (15-1, 7 Kos) in a junior flyweight match set for six rounds on Saturday April 23, at the Forum in Inglewood, California. The co-main events will be dynamic middleweight champion Golovkin and flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in separate bouts.
But the female battle will not be a second class affair. Both petite female prizefighters have a lot in common.
“We sparred a couple of times,” said Quintana who realized they would probably meet in the boxing ring one day. “She’s strong and she’s technical.”
Each girl had fought in San Diego boxing cards and had seen each other’s performances. Because of the dearth of top flight female prizefighters in the same weight class, it was just a matter of time before they met in the ring.
“It came up couple of times to fight each other but nothing was ever set. Now we have a good opportunity for both of us to show what we have,” says Quintana, 26. “It’s an honor and a good opportunity that we women need to expand our talent and to be given the opportunity as the men.”
The young female fighter has always been enamored with the sport of boxing. She started fighting amateurs in her early teens. And when she decided to become a professional it was without hesitation.
“I began training back when I was 13. I didn’t start competing till I was 15. I grew up with an older brother and guy cousins so I was always roughed up and playing tough sports with them when I was in kindergarten,” said Quintana who weighs between 102 and 108. “I used to fight a lot in school but not to start them, but only when I defended my brother. I would get in fights with the boys who tried to bully him who were two years older than me or anybody who ever tried to mess with me or pick on me. I was really small so it has always been in me.
“I decided to box because I wanted to get in shape but I have always been competitive so of course I got hooked. But it did take me a while to convince my dad to let me train at a boxing gym and then to let me compete. They taught me that to win, I needed to push myself more and work harder. To leave it clear for a win; especially when two fighters who like to be in the pocket fight.”
Even before having her first pro bout she was sparring with other talented female boxers some that were several weight classes above her such as Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton. It was all part of her zeal to learn the sport of boxing.
Two of her first four bouts were intense punch outs with current WBO flyweight champion Melissa McMorrow. Their two confrontations ended in a majority draw and a split draw. Ironically, McMorrow defeated Enriquez last year to wrest the title from the fighter from Tijuana. This coming fight is a true border war.
In 2012 and 2013 the San Diego brunette had two major confrontations with Riverside’s Sindy Amador. Their first clash took place in Ontario where Amador won by a razor close decision that some felt should have awarded to Quintana. But in their second fight, Amador was defending the IFBA light flyweight world title and performed strongly to win again. Fans were excited by both of those performances.
“I remember it was a great opportunity and huge challenge, since she was way more experienced than I and we were both undefeated. I knew she had lots of fans, that she was fast, and with a great boxing technique. I suffered a head butt in the second round. Thank God they let me continue. It was a war but I never slowed down even with all the bleeding between rounds due to the big cut on my left eye and won by decision,” said Amador of their first match in 2012 at the Doubletree Hotel. “The second fight was on a neutral place and she even brought more people than I. But I knew she was overconfident and underestimated me.”
Quintana bounced back from those two losses and on June 2014 the perky prizefighter defeated Susana Uribe to win the vacant NABF female minimumweight title. Then last November, she defeated Selene Lopez who is set to fight Seniesa Estrada on the same April 23 fight card at the Forum.
The border war between Quintana and Enriquez has caused a fervor among female fight fans in both countries; even amongst former foes.
“I’m very excited about Kenia fighting her. I think they have been sparring partners so they know both weaknesses and strengths. But boxing is about styles,” said Amador who retired due to a severe eye injury. “It is going to be a great fight.”
The San Diego fighter Quintana feels this is her moment.
“A win over Kenia will open more opportunity for me and also being on this card I hope to open up the doors for bigger and better fights,” Quintana said. “Hopefully, one day, a main event in Las Vegas at the MGM or anywhere.”