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Muñoz Wins NABF bantamweight title
By Ewan Whyte
July 20, 2006


Champion: Zulina "La Loba" Muñoz
San Vicente Chicoloapan
(Estado de México) MEXICO


Challenger: Martha Leticia Arévalo

Date:                  15th July 2006

Venue:     Mercado Benito Juárez (open air market), Toluca

Promoter:  Mauro Ayala

Referee:    Laurentino Ramírez


Murder in the marketplace


What had taken Jazmín Rivas (who stands first in line to challenge Alejandra Oliveras for the WBC super-bantamweight title) twenty-two hard rounds of boxing and Jackie Nava (who gets second dibs in October if Rivas fails) eight, took 19-year-old Zulina "La Loba" Muñoz less than one round on Saturday, when she stopped Martha Leticia Arévalo of Guadalajara in the Mercado Benito Juárez in Toluca. Making a nonsense of the Jaliscan's reputation as a tough nut to crack, the NABF champion chewed her up and spat her out in 1 minute 20 seconds flat.


According to Esto, it wasn't a fight; it was a thrashing; and it had become a dangerous one by the time referee Laurentino Ramírez called a halt to the proceedings, with the youngster connecting at will with both hands, and the veteran, hurt several times in the first minute, now out on her feet. "I hit hard," Muñoz told Rodolfo Rosales Salinas of El Independiente last week. "Everyone tells me that — even the boys I spar with in the gym."


"She looks anything but a boxer," mused Salinas. "She has a willowy figure and the face of an angel, gladdened by a natural smile." Golden Gloves champion in 2004 and with nine fights already under her belt in the paid ranks, "her face bears no trace whatever of her hard profession," though she greets the suggestion that she could make a living more easily as a model with disdain: "The fact is, I like boxing. It's a sport of challenges; though I'll only stick with it for a while. My aim is to resume my studies and become a doctor."


Doctor Jekyll, I presume.


Muñoz camps up the supposed paradox between her daytime role as a carer — she graduated last year as a nurse — and the killer instinct that led team-mates to christen her "The She-Wolf" : "The great thing," she explains archly, "is not to confuse the one job with the other. When I'm in the ring and I see my opponent bleeding, I'm never tempted to offer assistance. I close in and finish her off — after all, the object is to win; and by all means possible.


"And when I see her on the canvas, I exult."


The referee intervened, of course, on Saturday before she could put Arévalo on the canvas, but there was in any case no further kudos there to be gained. This was a voluntary defence. Zulina's manager (Mauro Ayala)'s strategy is to keep the youngster busy — she was fighting here for the tenth time in seventeen months — and he was inaugurating a new venue at the same time, with a bill that combined the pulling power of the pretty teenager with the attempt of a local fighter, Gabriel Pérez, in the co-main event, to wrest the Fecarbox super-bantamweight title from Armando Cardona; but he must have expected Arévalo — and her fellow Jaliscan, Cardona, too, for that matter (since he only lasted one round longer) — to put up a better showing than she did. The idea was to give Muñoz a workout, not throw her a bone; but the champion was mindful — like Myriam Lamare, headlining for the first time that same evening in France — of her obligation to entertain.


"Some of these American fighters enter the ring intending all along to leave it to the judges," Lamare told Canal+ in a pre-fight interview. "I'm not like that. I'm fighting in front of my own people here. I want it to be spectacular. And I want it to be quick."


Whether or not it was spectacular in Toluca, it was certainly quick. Embarrassingly so, in fact. From the outset, Zulina just fell on the veteran and kept hitting and hitting her. "She was intransigent," wrote Jesús López of Box Latino; and imbued, evidently, with an icy determination to put the challenger in her place.


"When the bell sounds," the same writer added, "she becomes an authentic she-wolf." And whilst the authenticity of this transformation isn't something I've been able to verify from this side of the Atlantic, I do know, I suspect, what he means :  He means that in place of the girl you'd like to take home to meet your mum, she becomes the girl you'd like to introduce to the little thug who used to empty your Thermos of cocoa onto the pavement on the way to school. That's what he means.


Of course, knowing the school I went to, the gentleman in question's probably a bishop by now. But what difference? A bully with a bleeding heart is still a bully.


Go get him, Zulina!


sources Esto, El Independiente, and Box Latino

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