Later today we'll be getting a mouth watering female world title unification bout as WBA female Flyweight champion Naoko Fujioka (19-2-1, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] takes on WBC counter part Marlen Esparza (11-1, 1) in a truly brilliant match up between two outstanding fighters who will also be battling for the Ring Magazine title.
Yesterday, ahead of the bout, the two women took part in their weigh in for the bout, and both fighters made the 112lb limit with absolutely no issues at all.
On the scales Fujioka, the first and so far only, 5 weight world champion from Japan was around 111.5lbs, well under the limit, whilst Esparza was even lighter, close to 111.4lbs for the bout.
After making weight Fujioka explained she is ready, didn't care how she was going to win, but was going to win. She seemed incredibly focused on picking up the win here and further securing her place in female boxing history. It should however be noted that Esparza is fighting in her home and is the much, much younger, fresher fighter and the betting favourite.
Related - Fujioka and Esparza clash in Flyweight unification!
Last September we saw Naoko Fujioka (19-2-1, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] make her US debut, successfully defending the WBA Flyweight title in a fun and action packed bout against Sulem Urbina. Today it was announced that Fujioka would be returning to the US, to have a unification bout in San Antonio, Texas with WBC champion Marlen Esparza (11-1, 1).
The bout was announced via an online press conference by Fujioka, who announced that the bout would be taking place on April 9th at the Alamodome. That means the bout will take place on the under-card of Ryan Garcia's bout with Emmanuel Tagoe.
At the press conference Fujioka stated the bout was the best she could make right now, and admitted that she has little time left in her career, and was wanting to fight the best opponent that she could. She also explained that that this match made sense, given that Fujioka's last bout was in the US, and it seemed at the time that this was the bout that she wanted after beating Urbina.
Interestingly it was also revealed that bout had been planned to take place in Los Angeles in March, but has been changed to Texas, and pushed back. It's also worth noting that Fujioka's departure date from Japan hasn't yet been organised due to her not yet having her visa sorted for the bout.
Later today we'll see Japanese female boxing standout Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] make her US debut, and look to make her latest defence of the WBA female Flyweight title as she takes on the tough and exciting Sulem Urbina (12-1-0-1, 2).
Yesterday, ahead of their bout, the two fighters took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the 112lb limit with no issues.
On the scales Fujiuoka, who has won titles from 105lbs all the way up to 118lbs, was 111.8lb and looked in good shape. Given she's now in her mid 40's and hasn't fought in well over a year it's clear she's still got the desire to make the most of her career and has come in in great shape.
Interestingly Fujioka seems to have made weight incredibly easy for this bout, explaining that she was able to eat without stressing, which is often a problem for fighters when cutting weight.
Urbina on the other hand tipped the scales at 112lb exactly, weighing in on the limit, and looked in good shape whilst also looking the naturally bigger fighter. Despite never making a mark at the higher weighs she looks like the fighter who could have come down a weight class or two for this fight.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be streamed live on the Golden Boy Promotions Facebook page later today.
Related - Fujioka makes long awaited US debut as she takes on warrior Urbina!
In just a week's time we'll see legendary Japanese female fighter Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] make her US debut as she looks to defend her WBA female Flyweight title against the always fun to watch Sulem Urbina (12-1-0-1, 2). Notably Fujioka left Japan for that bout yesterday, and before leaving she gave comments to the media.
The 5-weight world champion, and almost certainly the greatest Japanese female boxer ever, stated that she was planning to put some final touches to her preparation in Los Angeles and improve her condition whilst getting used to the environment in the US and the time difference, which is sometimes a major issue for Japanese fighters fighting in the US.
Notably it was also announced a few days ago that this bout would be streamed on the Golden Boy Promotions facebook pace, rather than being shown live on DAZN, as the main bouts on the card will be.
For those who haven't seen Fujioka in action before we've included her 2018 bout with Irma Sanchez below.
We reported earlier today that Golden Boy had announced that Japanese veteran Tenkai Tsunami (28-12-1, 16) [有馬真波] would be defending her WBO female Light Flyweight title against against the brilliant, exciting, and unbeaten Seniesa Estrada (20-0, 8) on July 9th. It's now been revealed, thanks to the excellent Carlos Toro, that Tsunami won't be the only Japanese female fighter on that show, as she will be joined by WBA female Flyweight champion Naoko Fujioka (18-2-1, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子].
As revealed in Carlos' tweet Fujioka will be up against American based Mexican fighter Sulem Urbina (12-1-0-1, 2) who gets her first world title fight.
The talented Fujioka, Japan's first ever 4 weight world champion, not Kazuto Ioka, and the only Japanese fighter to ever win world titles in 5 weight classes, has been one of the most important female boxing figures in Japan since making her debut back in 2009. Sadly however she hasn't fought since 2019, when she actually fought to a draw with Tsunami, and is now well into her 40's. Sure female fighters seem to age slower than their male counterparts, but she will turn 46 in August which is older for a fighter, male or female. Notably however an opportunity like this is somethign she has long waited for, and it will be her US debut. One final thing for her to tick offf the checklist for her career.
Urbina on the other hand is 30 years old, fit in two fights last year, including a loss in October to Marlen Esparza, and will be stepping up massive. She's not a bad fighter, but she would be a huge under-dog against a prime version of Fujioka. Saying that shee may well be getting the Japanese legend at the perfect time, and this could be a very, very good bit of match making from Golden Boy for Urbina.
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