Last night in Mexico fight fans were able to see WBC female Light Flyweight champion Yesenia Gomez (15-5-3-1, 6) narrowly retain her title, thwarting the challenge of Japanese fighter Erika Hanawa (10-4, 4) [塙英理加].
Hanawa, fighting in her second world title bout, brought the heat and applied pressure early on to Gomez, who relied on her movement to tray and get away and land jabs at range. Gomez managed to find her groove a bit more in round 2, though it was still Hanawa with the intensity and fire in her belly. The Japanese visitor seemed know this was a great opportunity and her training wasn't going to go to waste as she continually brought the fight to the champion.
Gomez managed to build her way into the fight, but was constantly under pressure until Hanawa began to tire. When that happened the superior boxing skills, and significant size advantage, of Gomez allowed her to do more than just neutralise the Japanese fighter's aggression, and she ended up returning fire with a lot more purchase than she had earlier in the bout. The later rounds seemed to suit her well, but the question had been whether she had started her charge early enough.
Sadly for Hanawa she was to come up short on the cards, with Gomez's fight back being enough to take her the win, with scores of 97-93, twice, and 95-95. Despite the loss the fight certainly showed that Hanawa could compete at world level.
Late last night Mexican fans so local starlet Ibeth Zamora Silva (25-5, 10) successfully defend her WBC Light Flyweight title, as she became the first fighter to stop Japan's Mari Ando (12-9, 5) [安藤 麻里], who had sought a title in a third division.
From the early moments it seemed clear that Ando was up against it with the crowd firmly behind the champion. Not only was the crowd against Ando, but so to was the Mexican who used he jab early to establish control of the bout. That control allowed Zamora to see what Ando had, before upping the tempo herself.
As Zamora upped the tempo it became clear Ando had no answer, and the more Zamora went through the gears the more Ando struggled.
Although Ando tried to answer back when the Mexican let her hands go she really began to take a bit of a hammering in round 3 as Zamora's accuracy and work rate began to be too much for Ando, who was backed on to the ropes several times.
By round 5 Ando was starting to look like a beaten woman and her team seemed to realise it, throwing in the towel in round 6 as Zamora continued to dominate the brave, but completely outmatched challenger, who was unable to match the skills, or work rate of the very talented Zamora
(Image courtesy of Pepe Rodriguez)