Earlier today the YuKO Fitness gym announced that WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (16-4-1 8) [黒木 優子] would be returning to the ring on December 18th to make the 5th defense of her title. In the opposite corner will be former champion, and familiar face, Mari Ando (13-9, 6) [安藤 麻里], with the two women having a rematch following their May 2014 bout. The bout will take place at the Kyuden Gym, in Fukuoka and could well see Kuroki extend what has become a notable reign.
In their first bout the then relatively unknown Kuroki scored a break out win, taking a competitive, but fair, decision over Ando who was the defending champion going in to the bout. Whilst that win put Kuroki on the boxing map it did end Ando's reign, which had only began a few months earlier when she had over-come the limited Jasseth Noriega.
Since their first bout Kuroki has really gone from strength to strength. Recording 4 defenses of the title and over-coming the likes of Katia Gutierrez, Masae Akitaya and Nancy Franco. Not only has she been scoring notable wins but she has being doing so across her homeland with bouts in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka. Those wins have seen her raise her profile in the sport, and some now view her as the #2 female Minimumweight, only behind the brilliant Anabel Ortiz.
As for Ando things have been less successful since her bout with Kuroki. She has notched up wins over Jujeath Nagaowa and Yokkao Saenchaigym but has suffered loss to Cai Zong Ju, losing a majority decision in China, and has been stopped in a Light Flyweight title fight against Ibeth Zamora Silva. The loss to Silva, earlier this year, was Ando's first stoppage loss and could well be the "start of the end" for a fight who has had a hard career, despite not having the longest of careers.
Although currently struggling for form, with 6 losses in her last 10, Ando is a former 2-weight world champion having short reigns as both the WBC Minimumweight female champion and the WBA Atomweight champion.
At the moment no details have been released about the under-card but this is an intriguing rematch and a must win for the challenger who really cannot afford another set back.
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