San Antonio’s Celina “The Sweetheart” Salazar defeated Mexico City’s Maria Elena Villalobos by majority decision after six rounds of a bantamweight fight on Saturday night.
Salazar (6-1-2) tried to outmuscle the staunch Villalobos (13-11-1) and changed tactics to pull out the victory at Gimnasio Fite Nite in Costa Rica. The match was not televised.
“She was very strong with her stance,” said Salazar, 25, who was fighting her third consecutive credible veteran opponent in Villalobos, after Ana Julaton and Melinda Cooper. “I tried to move her backwards but she was strong.”
The six-round bantamweight bout was fought overweight. Villalobos’ camp thought that Salazar would be overweight and came in at 126 pounds. Salazar weighed in at 120.
On the advice of her corner Salazar began jolting Villalobos with a stiff jab that seemed to change the complexion of the fight.
“My trainer (Arturo Ramos) told me to change things and begin using the jab, it worked,” said Salazar, who had not fought since August 17, 2013 when emerged victorious over Julaton in Cancun, Mexico on a Golden Boy Promotions card.
Before the change in attack, the fight was back and forth with Salazar deducted a point by the referee Ronald Alvarez in the third round.
“I still don’t know why I was deducted a point,” said Salazar. “She hit me with a punch and I turned things around and pushed her and began to hit her when the referee stopped it.”
No matter, despite the point deduction, Salazar began building momentum in the fight and never let up.
“I didn’t get much time to prepare but next time I’ll be a lot better,” said Salazar, adding that her timing, foot placement and defense was not as sharp as could be.
Her promoters at Arqangel Promotions said Salazar could be fighting for the bantamweight world title next month, perhaps in Costa Rica.
“I’ll be ready for sure,” said Salazar.