Despite being under the radar to many boxing fans we did have a decent amount of fights in Japan and Russia including a female WBA Light Welterweight unification bout as unbeaten Russian Svetlana Kulakova (9-0-1, 1) attempted to unify her "interim" title with the regular belt of Argentina's rough and and tough Ana Laura Esteche (10-3-2, 2). Sadly for the Russian her attempt to unify came up short but yet she did manage to retain her unbeaten record.
Early on it did look like Kulakova could have been too rangy and technically sound for Esteche as the jab and straights of the Russian kept the Argentinian at bay and saw Kulakova winning the first 3 rounds.
In round 4 the bout took a swing in favour of the Argentinian visitor who managed to slip the jabs more frequently and walked her way inside where she could get off her work and hammer the Russian fighter with damaging hooks that appeared to hurt the Russian on more than one occasion. Unfortunately for Kulakova things turned against her even more in round 5 as she was not put on the back foot by the Argentinian slugger but also deducted a point for holding as her early lead was completely eroded.
Esteche seemed to continue her run through the middle rounds with her aggression often being too much for Kulakova to handle as the Russian had another point deducted in round 8, once again it was due to her octopus like tactics which she was using to cope with the aggressiveness of the Argentinian who appeared to have been inspired by Marco's Meidana's thrilling effort against Floyd Mayweather around a month ago. Unfortunately for the home town fight the two deducted appeared to make things very difficult for her, especially considering she had lost at least several of the rounds between the deductions as well.
Having clearly fallen behind in the middle of the bout Kulakova came back well as a tiring Esteche was unable to get quite as close as she had but by then the Russian's chances of winning had diminished, especially with the deductions. She did however do enough to retain her unbeaten record with one judge favouring Esteche who has right to feel aggrieved by the laughably poor card which saw Kulakova winning 96-92. The other cards which were 94-94 and 95-93 Esteche summed up the bout moderately well but it's clear that Kulakova certainly got to make the most of home advantage here.
Despite a rematch being the "right thing" to do we're not expecting to see these two in the same ring again. It's hard to imagine that Kulakova will want any more of Esteche and, whilst Esteche may want get a win over Kulakova, it's probably not worth the hassle of going back over to Russia and possibly losing her title in a controversial decision.
With the draw we believe that not only does Esteche keep her "regular" title but Kulakova will keep her interim belt as well
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com)