Anahi Sanchez edges past Tamara Nuñez in a hotly disputed rematch
By Diego Morilla
PERGAMINO, ARGENTINA-In a gritty effort in front of her hometown crowd, IBF female super featherweight titlist Anahi Sanchez managed to defend her belt for the first time against a tough-as-nails contender in Tamara Nuñez, who almost ruined the champ’s homecoming with a strong showing in the second half of an action-packed bout that put her on the brink of scoring a shocking upset on Friday night in Pergamino, Argentina.
Sanchez (14-0, 6 KO) had a very dominant first half that earned her enough points to face the second part of the 10-rounder with confidence, but Nuñez’s effective counterpunching skills evolved into a more aggressive style in the second half, putting Sanchez on the defensive until the local credit jumped back on the action spurred by the mixed boos and cheers from her crowd as the bout entered the final stretch.
With an effort that belied her now negative record, Nuñez (6-7-3, 1 KO), a native of Reconquista, Argentina, missed a terrific opportunity to earn a victory that was well within her grasp by allowing Sanchez to take the initiative in the first five rounds, something that rarely works when a challenger travels to enemy territory. By the sixth round, Nuñez showed that her close, split decision defeat at the hands of Sanchez almost one year ago to the date was not a fluke, as she began to pummel the champ all over the ring with superb combinations.
Sensing trouble, and already losing the crowd, Sanchez had her best round of the fight in the ninth, when she chased Nuñez all over the ring and took control of the bout again. The final round was the most emotional episode of the entire bout as both fighters traded heavy artillery. In the end, Nuñez appeared to end the bout with plenty of gas in the tank while Sanchez seemed exhausted from the effort, a situation that leads to the question of what would have happened if Nuñez had chosen to invest some of that energy earlier on in the fight.
The judges’ scorecards reflected the intense, back-and-forth nature of the fight, with Omar Fernandez scoring a draw at 95-95, while Hector Miguel and Carlos Villegas scoring the bout 96-94 and 97-93, respectively.
The mood, however, both in the winner’s corner and around the small venue, was of a Pyrrhic victory, as it became evident that Sanchez would have to improve a lot in both defense and stamina if she is determined to keep the title she lifted with a TKO victory in six rounds over Greek-British contender Areti Mastrodouka back in March in this same stage that saw her squeeze past a modest contender.
Previously, in another female bout, Argentine super bantamweight champion Julian Aristule (31-6, 16 KO) scored a spirited unanimous decision win against an upset-minded Guillermo Soloppi (20-11-1, 3 KO) in a classic boxer-brawler matchup won by the technically superior fighter. Earlier on, Eduardo Sarmiento (10-0, 7 KO) stopped Carlos Córdoba (2-3) in the second round of a scheduled six-rounder in the super featherweight division.