“Avispa” Ortiz Buzzes Back in the Ring
By Felipe Leon
Just like her nickname “Avispa” (the wasp in Spanish) describes her, the diminutive five-foot even Anabel Ortiz (24-3, 4KO) throws so many punches it seems as if she would levitate.
This Saturday night she will headline the Zanfer promoted fight card televised live by the Azteca channel in Mexico from the nation’s capital where she will defend her WBA 105-pound title for the ninth time against the tough Nancy “Chatita” Franco (17-10-2, 5KO) of Guadalajara, Mexico, in a scheduled 10 rounder.
“We are ready for another defense,” Ortiz recently declared. “We have worked hard to be a world champion and nobody is going to take this title. We have proved why we are a world champion and we will continue to be so.”
Ortiz began boxing at the age of 11 in her hometown of Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico, and amassed a 117-3 record in a seven year amateur career. She went pro in early 2007.
After capturing the WBC minimumweight title in only her seventh pro fight in late ‘09 – via a unanimous decision over veteran Carina Moreno – and losing it in only her second defense, Ortiz, 31, captured the WBA version in the summer of 2013 by winning a close split decision over Etsuko Tada in Japan.
Ortiz, originally of Tepic but fighting out of Mexico City, has not looked back since in winning 14 consecutive fights and holding the title for nearly five years. Her defenses have come against Hye Soo Park in Korea, Neisi Torres, a return bout with Tada, Nana Yoshikawa in Japan, Tijuana’s Sandra Robles, former IBF champ Katia Gutierrez, veteran Jolene Blackshear and Venezuela’s Debora Rengifo while also capturing wins over Ivoon Rosas, Suri Tapia, Kareli Lopez and Brenda Ramos in non-title fights.
The 28-year-old Franco is no stranger to the world stage as well.
This Saturday night will mark her third attempt at a world title after briefly holding the IBF 105-pound strap back in 2013. Like Ortiz, “Chatita” traveled to the land of the rising sun to win her first title taking a unanimous decision over Kayoko Ebata.
“I was able to make my dream a reality,” Franco said at the time of her win. “I am very happy. Kayoko Ebata was a tough opponent but I expected it my preparation was the key to the win.”
She lost the title in her first defense back home against Victoria Argueta but quickly recovered it two fights later via split decision. Her two other world title berths have come against Japan’s Yuko Kuroki in 2015 where she was bested via a unanimous decision and then in June of 2016 she traveled to Venezuela to face the legendary Yesica “Tutti” Bopp for the WBA light flyweight title where she was defeated by another unanimous decision.
They share common opponents at the highest level of the sport with opposite results.
Franco faced the tough Mayela Perez in only her second bout as a pro fighting to a six round draw and again a year later in an eight rounder while Ortiz beat her with a unanimous decision in a 10 rounder in only her fourth fight. Both faced and lost to former WBC light flyweight champion Ibeth “Roca” Zamora with Ortiz going the 10 round distance while Franco was stopped in six. Ortiz beat Anahi Torres in ’09 in a four rounder while Franco lost a decision in 2012. Both faced Ivoon Rosas twice with “Avispa” beating her twice while “Chatita” split them, losing to her in their first fight and winning the second. In May of 2012 Ortiz went down to Argentina to challenge the ultra-popular Yesica Bopp for the WBA and WBO 108-pound titles and came up short via a unanimous decision with Franco making the trip last year but with the same result. They both beat Lorena Arias in keep busy fights with Ortiz taking the eight round unanimous decision in 2012 while Franco beat her in the same year in a six rounder.
Franco also has faced a number of top female fighters like former world champions Arely Mucino and Ana Arrazola, Maricela Quintero as well as up and coming prospects Ebony Rivera and Seniesa Estrada.
Franco is convinced her experience will make this attempt the best of her career. “Two weeks ago Ulises Lara upset former world champ Moises Fuentes and nobody gave him a chance. This fight is at the same venue and I will be author of another upset, I will beat Anabel in her own backyard, whatever it takes, I will make history.”
Franco has won her last two. Ortiz says she can’t take any opponent lightly.
“We can’t come in overconfident,” she stated. “We are facing an opponent with experience. We are ready to face the best version of Nancy Franco there is.”