Latin Dynamic Duo – This coming July 2nd, promoter Rogelio Espino hosts a boxing card in Boquete, Panama that has added WBO and WBA women’s world 154 pound champion Hanna Gabriels for a scheduled eight round bout. The match is noteworthy for several reasons, with the most interesting one being that this is a quick turnaround for Gabriels who last fought June 18th in Venezuela where she stopped Katia Alvarino in the third round to add the vacant WBA title to her collection. Gabriels is 16-1-1 overall, and this bout shows she wants to stay busy. Neither belt will be on the line, and Gabriels will most likely compete in the middleweight division for this bout. An opponent is yet to be announced.
The event also sees the return of Bryan Vasquez, the former interim WBA world titleholder at 130 pounds, who returns after a layoff of more than a year to take on Angel “Flash” Granados. Granados is 19-9 overall and last July he returned to the ring after a five year retirement.
Both Gabriels and Vasquez are from Costa Rica, and the pair have been married now for several years. Young and charismatic, the pair could become boxing’s “first couple” if they can reach their goals. Both boxers have been spotted in Big Bear training throughout the early part of 2016 with their baby and dogs in tow, and both are committed to making a run at boxing’s elite.
Gabriels is closer to the prize at this point in their respective careers. She has held world titles in two weight classes and has been around the title picture among the elite women for the last five years. She took some time off to start a family (she and Bryan welcomed a daughter in February of 2014) but returned to the sport with an eye toward becoming the face of women’s boxing in the next half decade. Gabriels is looking to stay busy and make up for missed ring time while she waits for a fight with European top guns Cecilia Braekhus and Christina Hammer.
Vasquez operates in the lush super featherweight division. With a sterling record of 33-2 at 28 years old, he is still recognized as one of the main guns in the weight class. The first loss of his career came back on New Years Eve of 2012 in Japan against long time champion Takashi Uchiyama. A valiant effort saw Vasquez earn a shot at an “interim” world title belt shortly afterwards, which he won and successfully defended twice.
Vasquez had a bad night in his last outing, as he lost his interim belt on the scales and then lost a hard fought unanimous decision to Javier Fortuna, who has since gone on to hold a full version of the WBA world belt. He knows he has to get back on the winning track to stay relevant, and the fight with Granados is a chance to start down that path.
Gabriels and Vasquez (Gabriels chose to keep her maiden name) reached the world level preparing for fights in their native Costa Rica where they are celebrities. In January of 2016 they took the next step of upgrading their training and moved to the United States. Being high-level boxers in a small country, the two have known each other for more than a decade. They first started dating when they fought on the same card in Uruguay back in January of 2011, and now they are fighting on the same card again next weekend as they look to take their story beyond Central America.
Latin Dynamic Duo