Erica Farias Returns

Erica Farias defeats Victoria Bustos in a dominant performance

By Diego Morilla

ROSARIO, Argentina – Local hero Victoria Bustos failed to live up to the expectations of a long-anticipated rematch against WBC super lightweight titlist Erica Farias, losing by a wide unanimous decision on Saturday night in a fight that did not feature the drama of their memorable first bout.

The prospect of an emotional rematch against her biggest foe, with the hometown edge and an increased level of experience as additional advantages, was not enough for Victoria Bustos to pull another come-from-behind performance quite like the one she managed in the first encounter, dropping a decision against a very motivated Farias, who was returning to the ring after a long layoff.

Bustos (15-4) never found her rhythm in the fight, hoping to launch a counterpunching effort in the early going, but never truly being able to let her punches go. A lightweight titlist in her own right, Bustos looked slower in the higher weight and lacked the aggression and the drive that she displayed in their first encounter, where Bustos had only six pro bouts and managed to briefly floor Farias in a losing but very credible effort for a rookie.

In spite of being the visitor and the champ to boot, Farias (23-1, 10 KO) took the initiative for most of the bout, and only when the WBC’s open scoring allowed her to know that she had a four-point lead in most scorecards by the end of round eight did she finally stand there to wait for Bustos’ onslaught, which never materialized. “The Lioness” thus surrendered her turf and youth advantage to “The Panther”, and the scorecards were a mere formality.

Juan Carlos Palmieri and Roberto Rilo saw the bout at 97-93, while Nestor Savino saw it at 98-92. had it 99-91 for Farias.

“I needed to get back on track and feel the canvas under my feet again”, said Farias after the bout, anxious to get her career back on track to perhaps risk her title abroad again, naming alleged pound-for-pound queen and 147-pound undisputed champ Cecilia Braekhus as one of her goals. A rematch against Belgium’s Delfine Persoon, her lone conqueror, is a more likely goal for Farias in 2016.

In a terrific co-main event, local prospect Lucas Fernandez improved to 10-1 (7 KO) in a dominant and highly entertaining win over Carlos Ariel Farias (13-10-3, 1 KO, no relation to Erica), who started out displaying speed and poise but who never recovered from a 4th round knockdown to lose by scorecards of 79½-75, 79½-75 and 80-74.

Previously, Marcelo Caceres (11-3, 8 KO) dominated a feisty but limited local banger in Hugo “Cannnibal” Quiroz (7-2, 1 KO) in an all-action six-rounder.

In the other female bout of the evening, former national team member and promising mini-flyweight contender Andrea “Cobrita” Sanchez (3-0-1, 1 KO) put on her strongest performance to date against a feisty debutant in Laura Rosa “Toti” Salazar (0-1), in a hotly disputed unanimous decision win in four rounds. Sanchez was able to deploy her entire arsenal of long, looping right hands, accurate hooks and solid jabs against a surprisingly resourceful Salazar, who was nonetheless dominated from bell to bell.