After holding the WBO bantamweight world title for 19 months and pulling off three successful world title defenses, Kaliesha “Wild, Wild” West will be moseying on toward a higher weight division.
“This is my last fight as a bantamweight,” said West, 24. “I felt the way Brandon Rios looked.”
West scrambled to find an opponent to defend her 118-pound weight division title belt and found one with Argentina’s rugged southpaw Claudia Lopez (18-6, 4 KOs). The two met in Rosarito Beach in Baja California, Mexico. Erik Morales promoted the fight and was ringside.
The Moreno Valley prizefighter expected a tough match but didn’t expect the title fight to be televised internationally including in the United States.
“I felt fine but the realization that I was being televised for the first time, the emotions just ran over,” said West (15-1-3, 4 KOs), adding that she had to fight the adrenaline rush before stepping in the ring.
Facing her was veteran brawler Lopez, whose southpaw stance coupled with her awkward style often resulted in head clashes. West merely fought the fight that was given her and banged away at the brawler.
“That girl was tough as heck and she was just awkward,” said West. “She could take a punch and keep coming.”
Though the Southern Californian had the speed advantage the Argentine was clever in using her right foot to keep West from moving toward the left and force her to Lopez’s southpaw alley. It worked a few times but West was able to counter every punch with two or three of her own.
Two of the judges saw it 98-92 and one had it even 95-95.
West said by telephone that making the weight was too tough to make and that she felt much more comfortable fighting at the 122-pound junior featherweight level.
“I need to move to 122, I feel so much better at that weight,” said West.
Here she comes.
Other fight chatter
WIBA junior lightweight titleholder Diana Prazak (10-1, 7 KOs) makes her first world title defense against Fatuma Zarika (23-5-1, 14 KOs) of Kenya. Prazak, who is training in Los Angeles, will be defending on Friday in Victoria, Australia.
Pico Rivera’s undefeated junior welterweight Jaime Ocegueda (4-0, 2 KOs) will deadline the fight card on Friday April 20, at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello. Also on the All Star Boxing promotion will be welterweight Alexander Prodrezov. For more information call (323) 816-6200.
A dup of middleweights led by former world champion Jermain Taylor headline a fight card in Biloxi, Mississippi on Friday. Taylor (29-4-1, 18 KOs) faces Caleb Truax (18-0-1, 10 KOs). In another match Cuba’s Erislandy Lara (15-1-1, 10 KOs) fights Ronald Hearns (26-2, 20 KOs). Both will be televised on Showtime.
Argentina’s Omar Narvaez (35-1-2, 19 KOs), who has the WBO junior bantamweight title, fights Jose Cabrera (20-2-2, 8 KOs) of Mexico on Saturday. Narvaez lost to Nonito Donaire in a bantamweight match last October, but held onto his junior bantamweight title.
WBA super middleweight titleholder Karoly Balzsay (24-2, 17 KOs) of Hungary fights Dimitri Sartison (29-1, 18 KOs) of Kazakhstan on Saturday. Both fight out of Germany where the world title bout will take place. It’s Balzsay’s first title defense.
Anthony Crolla (23-2, 9 KOs) fights Derry Mathews (29-6-1, 15 KOs) for the BBC lightweight title on Saturday. Their match takes place in Lancashire, United Kingdom. Also, Matty Askin (13-0, 9 KOs) clashes with Jon Dickinson (10-2, 3 KOs) in a cruiserweight battle.
Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) defeated Ukrainian Serhiy Fedchenko (30-2, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision on Saturday. The junior welterweight match was held in Mexico City. A very muscular looking Marquez nearly stopped Fedchenko in the last two rounds but it ended in a decision.
Heavyweight hopeful Tyson Fury (18-0, 13 KOs) stopped Martin Rogan (14-3, 7 KOs) at the end of round five to win the Irish heavyweight title. The match was held Saturday April 14 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
San Diego’s Mercito Gesta (25-0-1, 13 KOs) pounded out Oscar Cuero (15-8, 12 KOs) at 1:38 of round eight. The lightweight match was held Saturday April 14 in Las Vegas on the Top Rank under card.
Germany’s Felix Sturm (37-2-2, 16 KOs) stopped Sebastian Zbik (30-2, 10 KOs) at the end of round nine. Both were contending for some version of the WBA super middleweight title. In a female title bout, Nadia Raoui (14-1-1) defeated Eileen Olszewski (7-4-2) by decision to retain the WIBA flyweight belt on April 14.
East L.A.’s Ramon Valadez (11-1, 6 KOs) stopped former Moreno Valley resident Kevin Hoskins (6-1, 4 KOs) at 1:08 of round three. The junior lightweight match was held in Costa Mesa. Also, heavyweight Alex Flores stopped Geovanni Serran (2-4) at 2:47 of round two on Thursday April 12.
UFC 145 features UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (15-1) facing former team mate Rashad Evans (22-1-1) in a long anticipated mixed martial arts match on Saturday April 21. The Ultimate Fighting Championship card takes place in Atlanta. Also fighting will be Rory Macdonald, Che Mills, Brendan Schaub, Ben Rothwell and Miguel Torres among many others.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV