When it comes to women’s boxing there are always a few loudmouths that claim to represent the viewpoint of all boxing fans and like to bark that nobody likes women’s boxing.
It’s definitely not true.
Mexico has always had more hardcore boxing fans than its northern neighbors the U.S. and when it comes to female prizefighting, the Mexican fans come in droves. During the past 10 years the myth has been shattered that female boxing is not popular in Mexico.
Recently, in Cancun, two female fight cards took center stage. They were accompanied by one male fight on the main televised card, but it was the women that dominated the fight card. And the 8,000 fans in the Plaza de Toros arena could not have been happier.
With drums beating incessantly and people screaming encouragement throughout the fight card, it was important to notice that when two American girls clashed, the Mexican fans didn’t care. They were immersed in the boxing match and were very vocal about it.
Celina “The Sweetheart” Salazar, who fights under the Arqangel Promotions banner, traveled outside of her native country for the first time and fought former world champion Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton in a 10-round featherweight bout. It was promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Cancun Boxing.
San Antonio’s Salazar walked into the ring with only seven pro fights, but she also has experience as an amateur including winning the National Silver Gloves tournament several years ago in her weight class. Julaton was a two-time former world champion looking to get back to the head of the pack.
Behind a tight guard and bob and weave movement, Salazar pressured Julaton throughout the fight for 10 rounds and won every round according to the judges. The Texan was deducted a point for delivering a kidney punch when Julaton continued to duck low and grab ahold of Salazar’s body.
It wasn’t a good night for Julaton. Who knows what happened? It could have been over-training, it could have been the tremendous heat and humidity inside the arena, or maybe even the loss of weight. One other factor should also be noted Julaton promoted the heck out of the fight and it was through her lobbying Showtime Sport’s head Stephen Espinoza that the fight was made with Golden Boy.
Julaton’s efforts have to be noted.
A symbolic baton was passed when Salazar defeated Julaton last Saturday night in Cancun. The Texan signed a managerial contract with California’s William Bamish, who hired Arqangel to help his cause, late last year. Salazar had fought another Arqangel Promotions fighter, Melinda Cooper, in a six-round junior featherweight bout and lost a narrow majority decision. Following the fight, it was recommended to Bamish that he should sign Salazar. It’s not often that anyone can stand in front of the dangerous punches of Cooper and match her blow for blow.
“Melinda Cooper is the strongest fighter I know,” said Melissa St. Vil, who recently won the WIBA welterweight world title in New York. “She hits hard.”
Cooper won the fight and though Salazar took her first loss, it gained her recognition as an elite female fighter.
“I wanted to make something happen,” said Salazar, 24, who is trained by Arturo Ramos, an ex-fighter who fought under the Top Rank banner in the 1990s. She ventured to Las Vegas and lost the battle, but may have won the war.
Arqangel Promotions has two other elite female prizefighters and is poised to make some more noise in the boxing world with more signings. Last Saturday, Salazar symbolically carried her team’s flag with an emphatic victory thus letting the world know that the U.S. has some pretty good fighters too.
The Mexican fans were impressed. They had come to the arena thinking it was an easy fight for Julaton and left wondering when Salazar would return to their arena. Arqangel has plans for the female prizefighter from the Lone State and all of the other girls on its team too.
Arqangel Promotions is a California-based company focused on providing elite fighting women to the world and knows what it takes.
“It’s important because not a lot of people have focused on the women and a priority. They use them here and there but no one ever has put them on another level,” said James Pena, a member of the Arqangel Promotions team who added that they only represent female boxers. “Definitely television is needed and more promoters willing to put these girls on. Women always have a great fight. In the Rhonda Luna and Crystal Morales fight people threw money in the ring. I can’t remember the last time people threw money in the ring for a men’s fight.”
Pena, who formerly worked for mixed martial arts giant UFC, said that the MMA organization has the right idea regarding women fighters.
“Dana White has made Ronda Rousey a celebrity by focusing on her. There’s a bunch of girls out there that have the potential to be huge, especially in boxing. There’s a bunch of them,” Pena said.
And for those guys that bark that the women can’t fight, I’ve seen these girls knock out loud mouth guys in the ring.
That’s the truth.
Salazar proved last Saturday that the talent pool for female prizefighting is larger than most evaluated. Her win proved that a large number of female boxers are waiting to be discovered. And a large number of fans eagerly await to see them. From Mexico to the U.S. female boxing is ready to explode.
“It was different,” said Salazar about fighting in front of a television and Mexican audience in Cancun. “But it was awesome.”