Women's boxing seems to be rising up all over the world, and right now Europe and Latin America are leading the way with skilled women fighters on a world championship level.
The Europe vs Latin America rivalry in women's boxing was evident on Friday, April 1st in Cournon D'Auvergne, France as Argentina's Ana Laura Esteche put her WBA Super Lightweight title on the line against France's Farida El Hadrati.
Esteche (13-4-1) won the belt back in January of 2014 when she defeated fellow Argentine Monica Silvina Acosta, who was 19-0-2 at the time. She defended the belt in Russia, walking away with a draw against Svetlana Kulakova, so she is road tested, but she has been inactive, fighting just once in 2015. In that fight, she dropped a decision to Adela Peralta in an eight round bout she was expected to win.
In El Hadrati, Esteche was facing a fighter who was undefeated through nine fights. Just three of her career opponents had winning records, so Esteche was considered a major leap in class in terms of opponents.
From the start El Hadrati proved to be up to the challenge. She was beating Esteche to the punch and in the third round, she earned a standing eight count from the referee.
Esteche, however, kept coming forward and the fight deteriorated into an ugly affair with a lot of clinching. It appeared to be El Hadrati who was controlling the fight. In the ninth round, the referee took a point away from Esteche for holding.
In the end, it appeared that El Hadrati had done enough to win, as even the Argentine announcing team had the unofficial score for the French fighter 97-93. The local judges saw it differently scoring the fight a draw. El Hadrati angrily pulled her hand out of the referee's grasp and left the ring as the decision was announced to a chorus of jeers.
Women's boxing gets a lot of support in Argentina, and this fight aired on TyC Sports in that country.
There you have it. Esteche retains her WBA Super Lightweight title with her second draw in a row on foreign soil. Very controversial decision, we will see if a rematch materializes.