Mid-Year Progress Report Part II
By Felipe Leon
In the first part of the mid-year progress report we went from the heavyweight division to super featherweight giving our assessment of what has transpired within the weight class. Now we will tackle the lighter weight classes and check how close we are in getting the fights we want in 2018 or what needs to be done to get there.
In the 126-pound division at the beginning of the year we had asked for a mega fight between WBC and WBA champion Jelena Mrdjenovich and WBO queen Cindy Serrano. Serrano has not fought since October of last year when she defeated Edina Kiss in a non-title fight. In fact Serrano has not defended her title since last , so more than a year. Mrdjenovich has been slightly more active than Serrano avenging her draw against Stephanie Ducastel with a win in late April.
Are we getting close to this fight happening?
Probably not. Better set our sights on the other names in the division, IBF champion Jennifer Han, Heather Hardy or even Shelly Vincent. In fact, a rematch between Hardy and Vincent would be the best fight short of a unifying fight between two champions.
The fight we wanted in this weight class might be even farther away than the aforementioned Mrdjenovich vs Serrano. Cindy’s younger sister, Amanda, has done what she promised and jumped to MMA with mixed results. Now she is looking for a sixth title at 140 pounds so a fight against the legendary Marcela Eliana Acuña of Argentina is nothing more than a fantasy.
The fact that the 41-year-old Argentinean lost her last fight against new super star Daniela “Bonita” Bermudez didn’t help. Despite the loss and the 21-year pro career, it doesn’t seem Acuña has any plans of retiring. Now Bermudez is positioned as quite possibly the best 122-pounder in the world.
A fight between her and Serrano would be epic.
It looks like the Mariana “Barbie” Juarez vs Jackie Nava fight is a done deal for August, more than likely in Mexico City. Although the fight probably will happen at a catch weight of 120 pounds, it falls in this division. These two legendary Mexican fighters do what champions do, give the fans the fight they want to see without regards of anything that might stop the fight from happening. Both fighters are north of 35 years of age and in the twilight of their careers but that doesn’t erase the fact both of them are willing to leave it all in the line. Despite all that the great Ana Maria Torres accomplished in her career, the winner of this fight goes down as the greatest Mexican female fighter of all time.
Though the wish list for the 115-pound division is not likely going to happen, Tyriesha Douglas vs Susi Kentikian, it doesn’t matter. Douglas is a true warrior fighting the best opponents she can find without any fanfare, television slots and quite possible a purse that matters. She takes on the tough Helen Joseph in her next fight. Hopefuly the winner of this fight gets what she just deserves and her next fight on a stage that matters.
Heck, the loser should get it too.
The only fight that matters in this division is one that has been talked about for at least a year if not a bit more. For 2018 to be one of the best in recent memory in female boxing, Marlen Esparza has to face Seniessa Estrada. The fight got a bit closer when Estrada signed with Golden Boy Promotions earlier this year while the trash talking between the two did not slow down despite both being under the same banner. This fight deserved the biggest platform it can get and that is not buried on the non-televised undercard of Golovkin vs “Canelo” II but on ESPN.
The one thing that needs to happen in this division is for a number of foreign fighters who have expressed an overwhelmingly desire to fight in the United States, to get their wish before their careers come to an end. Topping the list is the trail-blazing Yessica “Tutti” Bopp of Argentina, Japan’s Naoko Fujioka and Yokasta Valle of Costa Rica.
On the heels of the World Cup that is being broadcast in the United States, it is about time U.S. audiences get a chance to see how global female boxing is.
It is hard enough to be a 105-pound boxer, male or female, with the division getting hardly any attention at all. For years the biggest name in the division has been Mexican Anabel “Avispa” Ortiz. But she has slowed down considerably fighting only once so far this year and no new fight announced. Recently with the retirement of long-reigning atomweight champion Momo Koseki, who traveled north to 105 pounds to capture the WBC title, a new crop of names have emerged like newly crowned Tina Rupprecht of Germany and Joana Pastrana of Spain. Any mismatch of the champs is what we want to see.
Like it was mentioned Momo Koseki retired. She had held the WBC title since 2008 and in her swan song went up to 105 pounds and captured that title too. Who will take her place as the queen supreme of the 102 pounds? Maybe nobody, the WBO champ is fellow Japanese Nao Ikeyama, who has not fought since July of last year, with the WBC and IBF titles vacant. Maria Milano of Venezuela, the WBA champion, is in recess.