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Núñez Wins pro debut; Franco wins title
By Ewan Whyte
November 13, 2004

(NOV 13) María José "Panterita" ('the Little Panther') Núñez, 113 ¼,  got her professional career off to a successful start last night in Chajarí (Entre Rios, Argentina) when she stopped the more experienced Lourdes González de Ocampo, 113 ¼,  in the second round. Although in fact Uruguayan, Núñez has been living in Paraguay for the last seven years. González, who was stepping in for the injured Nancy Silvia Piccini and is the wife of the ex South American champion and now trainer Luis Alberto Ocampo, was the centre of controversy in Germany earlier in her career when her hospitalisation after a fight with Regina Halmich triggered a bizarre anti-boxing diatribe in Der Spiegel. She last saw action in Bolivar (Buenos Aires, Argentina) in 2003, when she succumbed with equal rapidity to the current WIBA world champion at bantamweight, Marcela Acuña. Her record now stands at 8 wins (3 by KO) and 4 losses.

In an article for ABC Digital entitled (succinctly) “The Little Panther with the Face of an Angel and Fists that Kill”, the paper’s special correspondent describes how the air of innocence and humility with which Núñez had charmed the press and public in the build-up to the fight evaporated instantly as the bell sounded, and her eyes assumed a cold stare as she set about the destruction of the local woman.

González, who had been greeted with chants of ‘Lourdes!’ and ‘Argentina! Argentina!’ as she entered the ring, was staggered by a left cross in the course of an opening exchange that signalled the future course of the fight and drew a gasp of dismay from the 4,000 mainly Argentinian fans packing the arena, but managed nonetheless to fight back bravely and begin trading punches with the debutante.

Several times more, though, in the course of the opening round, Núñez got through with the left hand, and as she made her way unsteadily back to her corner at the end of the first round, dazed and demoralized, the welts were already beginning to show on González’s face.

Smelling blood, and lacking the lucidity and experience in only her first fight to pick her shots more carefully, Núñez took longer perhaps than she needed to finish it, but in the end she got the job done. With her opponent’s right eye now closing, she connected with a succession of clean shots and suddenly the Argentinean’s head was jerking from side to side as her defence collapsed completely.

The fight ended as it had begun. Just as the Colombian referee, Dr Francisco Hernández, was about to separate them and award the TKO, Núñez pre-empted him with a peach of a left that caught González flush on the jaw and sent her crashing to the canvas in her own corner. There was no point in counting. She wasn’t getting up.

As Hernández signaled the TKO and the Argentinian spectators, sportingly, gave her a standing ovation, the Uruguayan rushed back to her corner and clasped her trainer, Marco Antonio Chea Rodríguez of Cuba, in a euphoric embrace that lasted several minutes. It was a gesture of gratitude, she explained, towards a trainer whose dedication and sacrifice over the last four months has involved getting out of bed at the crack of dawn to supervise her training and imposing on her a regime that few male fighters could withstand.

Also, Yolis Marrugo Franco (6-5-3; 1 KO y 58, 300 Kg.) won a 10-round unanimous decision and became the new  WIBA Super Featherweight Title when she defeated Patricia Alejandra Quirico (6-3-0; 5 KO's y 57, 700 Kg.). Final judges scores 97-90, 99-91 y 100-92.



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