Maria Roman upsets Carolina Duer in Argentina, lifts IBF bantam belt
By Diego Morilla
SAN ISIDRO, Argentina.- It was supposed to be business as usual for one of Argentina’s most stable and accomplished female fighters when Carolina Duer announced a defense of her IBF bantamweight title at the Tattersall Hall of the local racetrack, but challenger Maria Cecilia Roman never got the memo and took control of the center of the ring from the very beginning to take charge of the tempo and character of the bout and piled up enough points to score an upset win by way of unanimous decision on Friday night.
Fighting with a poise well beyond her ring experience, the 34-year old Roman (10-4-1) displayed a variety of weapons that befuddled the champ, who was taken by surprise by her challenger’s aggression in the early going.
It took the 39-year old Duer (19-4-1, 5 KO) three rounds to get things going, and by then Roman was already establishing her dominance with a more aggressive game and keeping the perfect distance to both keep Duer in check and staying away from her sporadic attacks.
Duer is known for being a fierce stalker behind her limited and predictable combinations, mainly depending on her crushing one-two to establish control and do some damage, but in this occasion she simply allowed Roman to take the initiative and resorted to a counter-punching tactic that never really paid off.
The seventh was Duer’s best round, but what could have been the beginning of a miraculous comeback down the stretch was marred by a deep cut on her left eyebrow that turned her face into a red mess for the rest of the bout. The injury gave Roman a new bright red target to aim for and she delivered a relentless attack during the following two rounds to cement her victory, even though Duer took the final round on most cards with a spirited effort.
Judge Javier Geido had Roman ahead by 96-94, and Manuel Veliz saw it 95-94 for her also, while Marta Mendez gave the fight to Duer by 96-94. Roman, a native of the San Juan province who came into the bout as the IBF’s No. 1 contender, said that she would be willing to give Duer a rematch in a fight that, although close, did not leave any doubts of her victory and the result was not disputed by the loser immediately after the bout. According to comments made after the bout, the rematch is already being discussed for later this year, but may be delayed due to Duer’s cut.
Duer, who was coming from an almost year-long layoff since her last bout in August 2016 (a win by stoppage over Aline Scaranello in Argentina), was a WBO super flyweight and bantamweight titlist, and in spite of her limited amount of fights she has fought 15 times with a world title on the line, winning 13 times and losing only once, with one draw. She has beaten fighters such as Marcela Acuña and Marisa Portillo.
This was Duer’s first loss since November of 2008 when she was defeated by Yanina Acuña in the end of a three-fight losing streak that put her record at a disappointing 2-3 before she embarked on an eight-year winning streak that ended on Friday night.
Earlier on, Iara Altamirano defeated Yeni Mendoza in a bantamweight four-rounder by majority decision with scores of 39.5-37, 39-37 and 39-39.
(Photo by Robi Cobe)