In a somewhat surprising announcement, the World Boxing Council’s female championship committee has declared an immediate rematch between their flyweight champion Jessica “Kika” Chavez (27-4-3, 4KO) and her last challenger Esmeralda “La Joya” Moreno (33-9-1, 11KO).
Earlier in 2016, in a “fight of the year” candidate, Chavez defeated Moreno with a majority decision. The fight was very close and competitive thus Moreno was not satisfied with the result and officially protested the scorecards with the WBC. The committee also declared before the ordered rematch Chavez has the opportunity to participate in a voluntary defense. The winner of that fight must face Moreno next.
They first met back in early 2011 with the 29-year-old Moreno taking a wide 10 round unanimous decision with scores of 98-92 three times. On that night in Mexico City, Moreno captured the vacant WBC Silver light flyweight title as well as interim Mexico national strap.
Since that fight over five years ago Moreno has gone 15-3-1 with three stoppages inside the distance. She defended that Silver belt five times before capturing the full-fledged version against Japan’s Naomi Togashi in June of 2012. She defended the world title only once before taking the majority of 2013 off coming back in November of that year.
Moreno challenged for the WBC’s 108-pound title again in September of 2015 but lost a unanimous decision to reigning champion Ibeth “Roca” Zamora. In her last fight before the Chavez rematch, Moreno of Mexico City traveled to Austria in April of this year and scored a majority decision over local favorite Eva Voraberger to earn the world title shot against Mexico City’s Chavez. With that win Moreno captured a slew of lesser-known titles including the IBO, WIBF and GBU super flyweight belts.
Even though Moreno, an 11 year pro, has had an impressive run since her win against Chavez, perhaps the current champion has fared a bit better going 17-1-1, 2 KOs in the last five years. Despite her loss to Moreno in early of 2011, Chavez challenged for and captured the IBF light flyweight title in her next fight against Irma Sanchez and defended that title three times before defeating Irma Sanchez once again but for the vacant WBC Silver 108-pound title.
She beat Yessica “Tutti” Bopp in June of 2013 to give the Argentinean her only loss and beat former champion Melissa McMorrow in August of 2014. She lost to Zamora for the world WBC light flyweight title and jumped up to the flyweight division in September of last year and beat Arely Muciño for the WBC strap via a lopsided unanimous decision. She has defended her world title three times with wins over Italian Simona Galassi, Argentinean Vanesa Lorena Taborda and Moreno.
Moreno and Chavez faced each other for the second time in July of this year in one of the most competitive female fights of the year. Moreno, motivated with her surprise win over Voraberger in her previous fight, pressured the 28-year-old Chavez early in the fight, trapping her against the ropes and going to work.
The equally as experienced Chavez, making her debut a year later than Moreno, counterattacked Moreno well as she weathered the storm. Chavez, with long-time trainer Nacho Beristain in her corner, began to bleed profusely from the nose in the fifth that prompted Moreno to attack but was not able to take advantage of Chavez’s handicap. Chavez closed the second half of the fight forcing the two judges to score it for her with close cards of 97-93 and 96-94 while the third scored it an even 95-95.
Immediately after the fight, Moreno protested the result and called for an immediate rematch. She petitioned the president of the WBC, Mauricio Sulaiman, the following week during the traditional Tuesday afternoon press conference Mr. Sulaiman holds over a cup of coffee.
“I find completely unfair the 97-93 scorecard of one of the judges,” Moreno stated. “What fight did he watch? I know I won the fight, the whole world saw it. I don’t want to be a belt-less champion; I want the belt that signifies me as the champion. That is why I am here and I ask Mr. Sulaiman to review the fight and to consider my petition.”
Moreno did not relent as she underwent on a campaign to get her wish. Every time a microphone or a video camera was pointed in her direction, she was relentless in asking for the rematch she felt she undeniably deserved.
“I am sad and feel disenfranchised by the decision that was given. I think these kinds of decisions should not be allowed. I think this affects boxing, me, my career and the work of my corner but the boxing world. Many fans are not satisfied. It broke my heart to go back home without the title, a title I promised my family. I only ask if she beats me, to beat me right,” she said.
In late August, Moreno was still campaigning with the WBC, again visiting the main office in Mexico City to ask Sulaiman for a review of the fight and for an immediate rematch to be ordered. Without committing himself to anything official, Sulaiman once again assured Moreno the issue was getting looked at without actually calling out for a review.
Sulaiman at the second annual WBC female boxing convention held in Tijuana, Mexico, in January of this year shared his plans of organizing a flyweight tournament with guaranteed purses as well as every fight of the tournament being televised. Some of the participants announced for the tournament well Chavez, Moreno, the aforementioned McMorrow, Ava Knight, WBC Silver champion Raja Amasheh among others. One other that is calling for an opportunity against Chavez is WBC light flyweight champion Ibeth “Roca” Zamora who wants a direct shot at the 112-pound title without having to vacate her title.
No word when that tournament or if Sulaiman will grant Zamora her wish.