Former flyweight champion Mariana “Barbie” Juarez (43-8-3, 17KO) announced her intentions to climb up to the bantamweight division in her next scheduled bout and look for a title at the 118-pound limit.
The announcement was made during the weekly World Boxing Council (WBC) weekly press conference held at their offices in Mexico City last Tuesday. The thirty-six year old Juarez is coming off an impressive dominating win over Tamao Ozawa (10-3, 3KO) this past Saturday night at a packed Arena Coliseo in her native Mexico City. The fight, which Juarez won via unanimous decision, marked the seventh time she defended her WBC International super flyweight title.
“My plan is to be the first female world champion in Mexico in three divisions,” the ever-popular Juarez stated at her turn with the microphone. “I’ve been champion at flyweight and super flyweight and now will look for the bantamweight title.”
Juarez, a pro fighter for eighteen years, captured the WBC flyweight, in March of 2011 with a unanimous decision over Italian Simona Galassi after holding the interim version for a couple of years. “Barbie” went ahead and defended that title seven times against the likes of Gabriela Bouvier, Arely Mucino and Shindo Go before dropping it to Ava Knight in October of 2012.
Though she formerly held an IFBA world title in the 115-pound weight division, an opportunity to challenge the WBC title holder and fellow Mexican Zulina “Loba” Muñoz never materialized. Juarez captured the WBC International title she presently holds with a unanimous decision over Riyo Togo in the summer of 2013. Defenses against current WBO flyweight champion Melissa McMorrow, Vanesa Taborda and Noemi Bosques followed before her latest against Ozawa. She also won an IFBA world title in the super flyweight division back in 2004 when the WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF sanctioning organizations did not recognize female prizefighters.
Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the WBC and who held the press conference, mentioned there shouldn’t be any problem for Juarez to receive a title shot at bantamweight soon.
“Mariana is without a question one of the most important female fighters in Mexico and the world,” Sulaiman stated. “She has been looking for a title shot at super flyweight but if her decision is to go to bantamweight then she will be ranked in that division. We need to see all the fighters in the division with the champion being (Catherine) Phiri. She had a rematch set against Yazmin Rivas but the cut suffered by Rivas this past weekend is going to leave her out of commission for a while. As a former world champion she has rights. All former world champions, according to our bylaws, have rights and with her fighting at the highest levels she has been a great representative of not only female boxing but of the World Boxing Council.”
When asked why she has not fought for the super flyweight title, Juarez seemed a bit taken aback by the questions. “Believe me, we have been working hard for two and a half years to earn the opportunity for the super flyweight title and we have been loyal to the WBC. I promised the late Jose Sulaiman in Cancun I would be a world champion again and I will keep my promise. He told me not to retire until I become a world champion again. After that I will think about retiring.”