Women’s action kicked off Thursday night in Oklahoma City where Jessica Rakoczy (33-3, 12 KO’s) met Ada Velez (20-5-3, 6 KO’s) for the vacant WIBA super bantamweight championship. Despite her lack of activity over the last three years, Rakoczy took a one sided decision win to claim the title. Scores were 99-90 across the board for the new champ.
Velez, a former world champion was coming off a loss to Katy Castillo in March of last year, a loss that cost her the IBF super bantamweight title she had one just two fights prior with a decision over Melinda Cooper in March of 2011. She would rematch Cooper in November of the same year, again winning by decision to retain the title, only to lose it to Castillo four months later.
In addition to the WIBA title she won Thursday, Rakoczy is also former IBA and WBC lightweight champion. She last held the NABF lightweight belt, which she defended against Belinda Laracuente in 2008 (W 10) and the title has went AWOL since. After stopping Jessica Mohs in three rounds in 2009, Rakoczy was inactive for nearly three years, but returned in May of last year to stop Brittany Cruz in four rounds, setting up Thursday’s bout with Velez.
In Argentina Friday, defending WBO and WBA super bantamweight champion Yesica Marcos (21-0-2, 7 KO’s) narrowly retained her title and undefeated record with a 10 round draw against WBC silver champ, Marcela Acuna (37-6-1, 17 KO’s). After a slow first round, the activity picked up on both sides. Marcos was the aggressor throughout, but Acuna did effective work on the outside, using her jab and footwork to create a comfortable distance and land clean head shots. While Marcos threw more combinations and landed repeated left hooks to the challenger’s body, she took some solid counters upstairs from Acuna; it was the type of fight where scoring depended in what style you preferred. Scores after 10 rounds were 96-94 Marcos, 97-93 Acuna, and 95-95.
Undefeated light flyweight Yesica Bopp (23-0, 10 KO’s) retained her WBA and WBO title belts taking a relatively one sided 10 round technical decision over Marisa Portillo (13-7-2, 2 KO’s). Portillo was game, but outclassed by the world champ and just didn’t have the power to keep Bopp away long enough to mount an effective offense. After being deducted a point in the ninth round (for pushing Bopps head down and punching her in the back), the opening seconds of the 10th round saw Portillo suffer an ugly gash over her right eye near the hairline after an accidental clash of heads occurred while Bopp was on the attack. Despite having less than two minutes left in the bout, the referee saw fit to call the bout off (a wise choice, the cut was ugly). Scoring was 100-90 twice and 98-91 all in favor of Yesica Bopp. Portillo is scheduled to fight in two weeks (no opponent named) but from the look of the cut it’s doubtful she’ll be allowed to compete again that soon.
In Chihuahua, Mexico, California’s Ava Knight (11-1-3, 5 KO’s) defended her WBC silver flyweight title against Susana Vazquez (8-8-1, 3 KO’s). This was the second time these two fought; they had fought previously in June of last year with Knight winning a 10 round decision in defense of her IBF flyweight title. Since then Vazquez had been inactive while Knight picked up a victory and the WBC silver belt from Mariana Juarez in October. As was the case in their last meeting, Knights skills were too much for Vazquez, and the champion retained her title with a 10 round unanimous decision. Gracious in victory, Knight posted on Twitter after the bout “…Susana Vazquez is the real deal. A warrior with heart and cojones!!” Knight’s last five bouts, all victories, have taken place in Mexico. She’s easily one of the world’s top boxers, and deserves more coverage in the U.S.
The much anticipated bout between top female welterweights Cecilia Braekhus (21-0, 5 KO’s) and Holly Holm (32-2-3, 9 KO’s) has been put on hold. Sauerland Boxing announced that Braekhus will defend her WBO, WBA, and WBC welterweight titles against former lightweight and junior middleweight champion Mia St. John in April. The 45 year old St. John is 2-3 in her last five outings and poses a much lesser threat to Braekhus’s undefeated record than Holm, who holds the IBA and WBF junior welterweight titles. Prior to the announcement, Braekhus-Holm, which was to be for the WBC diamond belt, was set to go to purse bid in February if the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on purse split. It’s an odd situation being that Braekhus publicly called out Holm via Facebook video in December, and the bout was said to have been mandated by the WBC just a week ago. For now the bout is off, until when…who knows?