Ana Esteche and Celeste Peralta face off in high-stakes rubber match
By Diego Morilla
Ana Esteche and Celeste Peralta have already fought twice. The first one was a great bout. The rematch was simply extraordinary. And this Saturday, June 3, all signs indicate that they will even improve on those two intense confrontations in their historic fight at Buenos Aires’ Argentine Boxing Federation stadium when they clash once again for the three title belts currently in the hands of Esteche and with both personal and national pride on the line for both of them.
The expectations are high, and both fighters are aware of the magnitude of the challenge.
“I am mentally and physically ready this time, because I learned a lot from my mistakes in the previous fight,” said Peralta (8-1-0, 1 KO), who lost her WBO and IBF super lightweight belts against Esteche last November, in an extraordinary and close fight. “We worked all this time to avoid making the same mistakes we made last time, which was to take all of her looping right hands and get lost in her game.”
The truth, however, is that Esteche’s “game” was anything but that. The then-only-WBA titlist stood her ground during the early onslaught and stayed away from Peralta’s solid boxing skills to then turn the tables and make it a dog fight for the rest of the proceedings, throwing punches from all angles from bell to bell, overwhelming her opponent and connecting with power to wear Peralta off. And it paid off when Peralta ended up visibly more hurt and tired in the final round, in which Esteche cemented her victory with a memorable all-out attack.
Strategically, Esteche (12-4-3, 2 KO) will carry a significant advantage, being the defending champion, and thus forcing Peralta to go after her in the ring and proving herself to be worthy of being called a triple champion. But Peralta, 29, bets on a strategy that has already paid dividends for her, and which she hopes to repeat once again this Saturday.
“This fight has to be more like the first one I had with Ana in Mar del Plata,” reminisced Peralta, who defeated Esteche in eight rounds in a non-title bout in that summer resort city in 2015. “I have to impose my own boxing style and not get caught in her web, which is the toe-to-toe infighting, because I am not a brawler but rather more like a boxer-stylist, and so I have to fight my own fight and have my mind in the fight so that I can do my job, instead of working to her advantage,” said the now-former champ.
With each passing year, Argentine female boxing continues to add one page after another to an already illustrious history that has carried on for 18 years and which continues to grow. This year, the great Marcela Acuña was awarded top honors as the best fighter in Argentina (male or female), Erica Farias gets ready to travel to Norway to face the purported best fighter in the world in Cecilia Braekhus, and in the middle of all this, the figure of these two still-emerging fighters who have left everything in the ring arise to promise much more in their next outing.
The historic proportions of this fight is not lost to them, either.
“This is a historic fight because of the number of titles at stake. But this time, I take it with more responsibility because I am no longer the champion and I want to be the champ again”, said Peralta, who not only would have the opportunity to revalidate the great promise that she generated in her early days as one of the most outstanding members of the Argentine national team, but also to reassert herself as one of the best Argentine fighters in a very competitive moment in the country’s history. “I would love to get the win first and then start thinking about going abroad and defending my titles somewhere.”