(MAY 1) According to reports in the Mexican press, Zulina "La Loba"
Muñoz unceremoniously crushed Magdalena Leija in Neza on Friday when
the two disputed the NABF bantamweight title. The fight was stopped
54 seconds into the second round.
For the vacant NABF bantamweight title:
Zulina "La Loba" Muñoz
San Vicente Chicoloapan (Mexico)
28th April, 2006
Arena Neza, Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl
(Estado de México)
Dennis Escobar (Empresa Desmor)
In his March profile of her, 'The hands that also heal', in
Sam Luna described Zulina Muñoz as 'the ideal woman' ('exemplary'
was the word he actually used): a nurse by day; a boxer by
night; and passionate about both vocations. She had always wanted to
be a nurse, she said; – from her earliest childhood – so when it
came to choosing a course of further education, she hadn't thought
twice. As for the other: it was her father that kept pressing her to
take up a sport, though he never imagined she would pick boxing.
A number of other profiles of Muñoz appeared in the
Mexican press in the weeks leading up to the fight. She was
described there as 'attractive' (guapa)
and 'pretty' (bonita),
but mostly what fascinated journalists was the supposed paradox of
being a nurse and a boxer at the same time (or, rather, by turns).
About Leija, nothing was written, except obliquely. "It looks like
an attractive fight," commented Notimex, the Mexican news agency.
"The championship is vacant and both of the protagonists have done
enough in recent outings to justify their right to dispute it."
Considering that both fighters had near-perfect records – according
to the Mexican sports journal Esto: 7-0-0 for Muñoz and 4-0-0 for
Leija (the only blemish in each case being a single points win in a
sequence of straight KOs) – that paper's assertion that Muñoz
started as 'clear favourite' must have stung Leija (all it came down
to, surely, was a few minutes' additional experience), and when the
'ideal woman' answered the bell for the first round, Magdalena Leija
went for her throat.
Muñoz managed to dodge or block most of her best punches, using her
jab, as best she could, to keep her at bay, but Leija was apparently
hell-bent on a first round knockout. As though the words 'opponents'
or 'rivals' were now somehow inadequate –it must have looked like
blind hatred – Esto described them here as 'enemies': Leija, the one
throwing most of the leather, and Muñoz, the one trying not to get
As the round wore on, though, the storm began to blow itself out;
Zulina caught her once or twice in the face with counters that
seemed to have a chastening effect, as well as weakening her with
powerful hooks to the abdomen; and as Leija returned to her corner
at the end of the first round, Jesús López, covering the fight for
Box Latino, sensed already that she was 'diminished'.
Whether through tiredness or a moment of inattention, Leija left
herself open as she resumed the attack in the second, and Zulina hit
her. It was a right cross – a very hard one – and Leija was hurt.
Muñoz needed no second invitation. Giving her opponent no chance to
recover – it was the density of blows, in the view of López, as much
as their power that sealed Leija's fate - Zulina buried her under a
"Have you ever had to attend to an opponent after a fight?" Luna had
asked her back in March.
Muñoz had replied that none of them were ever hurt that badly. "I do
worry sometimes beforehand," she conceded, "but once the bell goes,
all I think about is winning."
When referee Lupe García stepped between them twenty seconds later,
the woman from Coahuila was slumped against the ropes with Zulina
pounding her as though she were a carpet.
"Muñoz has three trump cards: excellent boxing skills, a very hard
punch, and the killer instinct," ran the argument upon which Esto
had based its prediction.
So, for all we know, had Leija; but Muñoz had the gumption to play
them in the order they were dealt.
The winner should be in line now for a crack at Kwang Ok Kim´s WBC
bantamweight title; (the NABF and the WBC are affiliated). In the 13
months since she made her debut with a first round KO of Miriam
Serrano, also in Neza, Muñoz has come far; but there's no talk yet
of giving up her day job. "In fact," she says, "if I had to choose
between nursing and boxing, I'd choose nursing." Fortunately she
doesn't have to. "The clinic where I work is very supportive," she
told Luna, " and I have access there to all the gym equipment I
"I believe I have many years ahead of me as a boxer."
Magdalena Leija must have thought she had, too. But now, who knows?
The confidence of an unbeaten fighter is like virginity : it can
only be lost once; since, once lost, it can never be recovered. At
least, not after this type of shellacking. The fearless aggression
with which she began the first round is gone, one assumes, for ever.
That particular 'rash fierce blaze of riot' will never be rekindled,
and perhaps she'd be wise to move on – there are, after all (rumour
has it), other things to do in life…
The hands that heal also destroy.