Usually when it comes to "Controversial Clashes" the controversy is something that we, as fans, can see. Be that score-cards that don't make sense, a dodgy stoppage, an ending that doesn't add up, and favouritism by an official. Today's however isn't as clear cut, and in fact even now, almost a decade later, it's still unclear what actually happened...if anything.
This is "Glovegate" before "Glovegate" became a thing.
Riyo Togo (9-4-1, 8) Vs Mariana Juarez (36-6-3, 16)
We need roll back to April 2013, when the much unfancied Riyo Togo travelled to Mexico to take on Mariana Juarez, one of the stars of Mexican female boxing. On paper this was a mismatch of huge proportions.
The 37 year old Togo was little more than a regional level fighter, but one with power. She was a natural puncher who had claimed the OPBF Bantamweight and fought as high as Featherweight. There was little on her record to suggest she belonged in a big bout, and just 9 months earlier she had lost a clear decision to Janeth Perez in a WBA female Bantamweight title bout.
Two things were clear about her heading into this bout. She could punch, and she was not a natural Super Flyweight. She was much, much bigger than Super Flyweight.
Juarez on the other hand was a star of female boxing. A good looking woman, with Mexico behind her. She had struggled early in her career, losing 2 of her first 3 bouts, but turned that around and was 27-3 in 30 previous bouts before facing Togo. Outside of boxing she was getting a lot of attention for her looks, and was mixing boxing with modelling, to increase her profile beyond that of just the sport.
The bout was set up as a WBC female Super Flyweight world title eliminator and the reward was a shot at a world title.
After 20 seconds of boxing the two women began to brawl more, a tactic that was going to suit the heavy handed Togo. Within just a minute of the fight starting Juarez was rocked back but covered up and recovered. From there on it seemed like she was aware Togo could punch, but decided to fight fire with fire. It was a mistake and with just seconds left in the round Togo landed a brutal combination to the chin of Juarez, who was dropped hard.
Juarez got to her feet but was judged as being in no fit state to continue as the referee waved off the bout. The decision gave female boxing one it's biggest ever upsets as Togo took the surprise win over the Mexican star.
Rather than getting a world title fight Togo rematched Juarez less than 3 months later. Then things took a turn.
Before the rematch Togo's gloves were confiscated by the WBC who found the padding had been removed. This lead some to believe that Togo's gloves had had padding removed ahead of their first bout, and that the knock out had been a result of that. Despite much innuendo however there is still no certainty about it. Togo's padding may have been removed, though the gloves seemingly got through all the checks from the commission suggesting they weren't.
Interestingly however Juarez revealed her team had never checked the gloves for the first contest, only checking the wraps. There is a very real chance that there was something going on with the gloves and there's also a real chance there wasn't. No one knows for sure, other than Togo's team.
Sadly for Togo the rematch saw Juarez take a clear decision over her, despite Jaurez being shaken late on. Togo couldn't repeat this win a second time around.
Given the padding was removed from the gloves in regards to a rematch you would assume some form of punishment was given to Togo from the WBC. Surprisingly however that doesn't seem to have been the case and she actually fought again the following October, in what was her final career bout, retiring at the age of 38.
As for Juarez, she went on to have a pretty damn good career in the sport after this loss, and was still holding a world title beyond her 40th birthday! In fact after this bout she has gone 18-2-1 (2) to hold a record of 54-9-4 (18).
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features