Just moments ago we saw Japanese veteran Tenkai Tsunami (28-13-1, 16) [有馬真波]lose the WBO female Light Flyweight title as she came up against the brilliant Seniesa Estrada (21-0, 8), in what was a brilliant bout that showcased how exciting, and action packed female bouts can be, when the best face the best.
From the off it was clear that Estrada was the quicker, sharper fighter, with the better footwork and the cleaner punches however whilst Tsunami was the bigger, stronger fighter, with a style based around bringing pressure and trying to wear Estrada. For the first half of the fight the styles gelled amazing well, with Tsunami coming forward, chasing Estrada, who landed some brilliant shots up top in flurries. The eye catching flurries were all from Estrada, but she was being caught with some solid single shots as Tsunami's pressure had moments of real success.
Sadly however after a relative competitive start to the fight, through the first 4 or 5 rounds, Estrada went through the gears and really showed her class, with huge shots in round 6 and a blistering body attack in round 7, that really took the wind out of Tsunami and limited her work rate as a result.
Following the brutal body assault in round 7 Tsunami never really looked the same. She pressed forward a lot, but really ended up just walking into fire, as Estrada landed combination after combination and clearly shook the Japanese warrior several times in the later rounds. Tsunami battled through, showing her incredible toughness, but it really was a painful final few rounds for Tsunami, who really looked tired and out of her depth as we went through the championship rounds.
After 10 rounds there really was no debating the outcome. At best you could have made a case for Tsunami to have won 3 rounds, at best. None of the judges however agreed with that, as they turned in scores of 99-91, and 98-92, twice, to give Estrada the clear, and well deserved, victory.
With this win Estrada becomes 2-weight champion, and continues her rise to becoming arguably the most valuable female fighter in the sport.
As for Tsunami it's hard to know where she goes from here, but there are still doors open if she wishes to continue in the sport, or alternatively she can retire, on the back of an excellent career which has seen her win world titles at 115lbs and 108lbs and be one of the stars of the previous generation of female boxing.
In the first of two female fights involving Japanese world champions we saw the legendary Naoko Fujioka (19-2-1, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] retain her WBA Flyweight title with a brilliant performance against the teak tough and determined Sulem Urbina (12-2-0-1, 2).
Early on Urbina looked good, she looked younger, fresher and faster than Fujioka, who struggled to pin foe down at times. It was a really good start for Urbina, whilst making for a great action start, with both fighters forced to take some big shots. From round 3 however Fujioka began to get inside, and really began to work the body of Urbina, with combinations of hard body shots.
The body shots from Fujioka continued through the middle rounds of the fight as she began to break down Urbina, who's work rate began to drop off, massively. Urbina, who is well known for her toughness and work rate, was really taking a pounding through the middle rounds relying more on her toughness than anything else. There were moments where Urbina would land a good counter, but it did little more than slow Fujioka, who quickly resumed control.
The one brief break for Urbina was round 8, where she managed to land a handful of solid counter shots, but they weren't enough to get Fujioka's respect, with the Japanese warrior continuing to shake them off and come forward with a real warrior mentality. That mentality, and incredible work rate, saw her drown out Urbina in the final two rounds, as she put any doubt about the result to bed. Urbina always attempted to fight back, but simply couldn't cope with the volume, and the body shots from early in the bout played a major role through the final 60& of the bout.
After 10 rounds it seemed Urbina had been out worked, out fought, and despite her bravery and toughness she had been beaten. She had been game, and banked herself some early rounds, but had been clearly beaten through the middle and late rounds. We then went to the scorecards.
The first card was 95-95, about as generous to Urbina as you could possible get, then the second was 99-91 to Fujioka, about as generous to her as you could get, with the third being 96-94, a touch closer than we had it but the most accurate of the three cards, giving Fujioka the majority decision win on her US debut. This was a clear win for Fujioka, yet it was also a competitive bout with some great moments by both.
After the bout Fujioka and fellow Flyweight champion Marlen Esparza had a brief back and forth at ringside, complimenting each other and talking about a potential bout, something we may well see in the relatively near future.
For those missed this one, they missed out on a great performance by a legendary fighter, and an incredibly brave showing by a tough, TV friendly fighter. Together they gave us a very, very good fight, and the type of fight that female boxing needs more of. Exciting, two way action