(AUG 4) With champion Kwang Ok Kim
indisposed and apparently unable to accede to her demand for a
rematch, "The Warrior of Neza", Ana María Torres, will be fighting
for the interim WBC bantamweight title in Veracruz on the 30th
September – possibly against fellow Mexican Jackie Nava, who will be
moving down from junior lightweight. The news comes just two months
after a split decision in Kumgansan, in which the South Korean judge
lined up with his colleague from the North, appeared to put paid to
the woman from Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl's dreams of a world title.
Torres, whose 9-2-1-1-1-0 (WKO-WUD-WSD-D-LSD-LUD-LKO) record gives
her an 8.1 average matched only by Gutiérrez and Cooper in the
bantamweight division, had the Korean down in the second, and
wincing in the seventh, with combinations to the body, as well as
bloodying her nose in the eighth, but despite a grandstand finish
that brought the two thousand spectators to their feet, she couldn't
put her away. Dominated in the early stages by the Mexican's jab and
caught repeatedly in the face by her right cross, the Korean ran and
clinched (according to the agency report) until time ran out,
confident (it appears) that the judges would rule in her favour no
matter what. Torres, who finished the fight with her right eye half
closed by a head-butt that the referee apparently didn't see, had
rather been hoping to meet Kim again – preferably somewhere other
than North Korea – but will find Nava (if it is Nava) a far more
formidable opponent: 'The Aztec Princess', as she is known, has
stopped eight opponents in sixteen fights, whereas Kim has managed
only one stoppage in five.
After being knocked out by Alejandra
Oliveras in May at the climax of what one Argentinian journalist
described recently as the best female fight he had ever seen, Nava
is in two minds about whether to accept a rematch or abandon the
junior lightweight division altogether; she can make the 118 pound
(bantamweight) limit easily, apparently, and feels she was giving
away far too much weight against Oliveras by the time the fight
began. The plan had been to recapture the super bantamweight title
(unless Rivas, who fights Oliveras in September, gets there first)
and then move down, but this offer of a crack at the interim WBC
bantamweight title may induce her to change her mind.
Oliveras's friend and training partner,
Carolina Marcela Gutiérrez Gaite (or 'Chapita' as she is known), has
recovered from the injury to her nasal septum she suffered in the
course of her fight for the WIBA bantamweight title with Mónica "La
Terrible" Acosta Siris of Colombia four months ago. The injury,
which required surgery, was reportedly the result of a head-butt
delivered in the course of an internecine fourth round by the
Colombian as she felt the fight slipping away from her. The
Argentinian, one of four world champions – two male, two female –
trained by Carlos Tello, took her revenge in the fifth: "For a
minute and a half," wrote Gustavo Zamudio in La Mañana de Córdoba, "Gutiérrez
chastized Acosta (who was virtually out on her feet) with cruel
insistence; the punishment was so severe that seconds from the end
of the round, the Colombian 'had mercy on herself' and turned away,
unable to take any more, at which point the referee, Jorge Basile,
called a halt to the proceedings."
On Saturday, in a bout to be televised by TyC Sports, Chapita
returns to the ring to face Liliane Balles of Brazil (who beat
Patricia Quirico of Buenos Aires on a split decision last time she
ventured into Argentina) on the undercard of the Narváez-Flores ("Huracán
en el Orfeo") bill in Córdoba. A minor celebrity now in Argüello,
the suburb of Córdoba in which she lives, Gutiérrez was chosen with
a group of fellow students from Córdoba's Centro de Alto Rendimiento
to model sportswear recently for a local modelling agency. For a
week after the Acosta fight, she recounts, she had women stopping
her in the street to congratulate her, men wanting a kiss, and
'sweet letters' from schoolchildren with messages like "I admire
you", "I walk past your house every day" and "I've been meaning to
say 'hello' but haven't quite plucked up the courage."
The nice thing, it seems, about being a world champion at boxing (as
opposed to flower-arranging, say, or golf) is that things other
women find scary you find 'sweet', and stalkers – up to the age of
16, at least – hold no particular terror.
Trainers in Britain have come up with a
new way of selling tickets (though I'm not sure it'll work). The
principle is simple: the fighters maintain a ladylike silence while
each girl's trainer slags off her opponent. Trash-talking by proxy,
so to speak.
By all accounts, the fight in Dagenham last month between Juliette
Winter and Shanee Martin for the British Masters title was a superb
advertisement for women's boxing ("It was a brutal, theatrical new
experience for me," wrote Lucy Powell in Time Out "What a contrast
of styles, what drama!". "The whole card was absorbing," commented
Marc Bass, "but the female fight was the pick") and not only are the
promoters now going round the gyms and colleges looking for new
female talent but interest was already building in a showdown
between the new champion, Winter, and the better-known and
media-friendly Cathy ("The Bitch") Brown (www.cathybrown.co.uk)
before their trainers began their "My dog's bigger than your dog"
routine – not that they let that stop them.
Here's Juliette Winter's trainer (Clifton Mitchell): "We want to
come to London on September 24th and defend the title against Cathy
Brown. If Cathy dares to fight her, which I doubt given her recent
track record, Juliette will give her a bashing. And I'll tell you
now if Cathy were to box Shanee then Shanee would bash her too.
Cathy's more interested in her own publicity than getting in the
ring with Juliette so she'll probably want to avoid it. I'm waiting
for the excuses to roll out from the Brown camp."
This drew not one yelp of indignation from 'The Bitch' herself, but
the following enraged response from her trainer: "I'm fuming about
what he (Mitchell) has said. They have sparred a lot and Cathy was
always the guv'nor. I had to hold Cathy back it was so embarrassing.
When they fought it was a totally controversial decision. Cathy's
had a load of title fights since then and has improved. Friendship
goes out the window as of now - Winter's going to get stopped ".
This is all very well, and people are
free, of course, to say what they like. If it's doomed to failure as
a promotional gimmick, then perhaps it's because boxing isn't a team
sport. Yes, the fighters have corner-men, the way duellists have
seconds, but essentially it's one-on-one – whether man against man
or woman against woman makes no difference to the essential drama –
and when the trainers come between the fighters in an attempt to hog
the limelight, not only is that drama dissipated but the fighters
themselves are diminished – especially if they are women, because
it's as though each fighter's trainer has arrived at the same
unspoken conclusion: "The little woman can't speak for herself."
It would be better – in my own view (and this is only my own view) –
if the boyfriends, dads and trainers all shut up. When Marcela Acuña
calls out Alejandra Oliveras – the way she did Quirico, and the way
Torres herself did Dahianna Santana a few years back – and Oliveras
responds directly, as she has (generating yards of newsprint), they
up the stakes dramatically and it's a safe bet that when, if ever,
they do fight, the stadium will sell out.
If they'd hidden behind their husbands
and trainers (whose butts, after all, aren't on the line), and it
had been 'Team Acuña' and 'Team Oliveras' trading fire, they'd have
rendered the fight less saleable rather than more.
"The Lady of the Ring", Anays Gutiérrez
Carrillo, leaves Barranquila (Colombia) tomorrow bound for Bógota
then Bueno Aires, where she will fight the aforementioned Marcela
Acuña for the Asociación Mundial de Boxeo (AMB) super bantamweight
title on the 12th. Although the Argentinian media makes their
fighter the clear favourite (although she's only lost once, Anays
Gutiérrez has scored only 2 KOs 10 fights), her manager, Pedro
Lozano Pacheco, feels she has a good chance. (See what I mean?
Interesting, isn't it?) Gutiérrez has been training in the Gimnasio
del Coliseo Cubierto in Barranquilla under the direction of 'El
Ñatico' Guzmán. Both Pacheco and Guzmán will be accompanying her to
the Cedem Nø 2 de Caseros for the fight.
Acuña, who visited a prison recently
with Jorge "Locomotora" Castro and Jorge Balbuena to fight an
exhibition ("I believe in rehabilitation" she told inmates), was
recently the subject of a documentary ("Licencia N° 1") made for
German televisión by Matilde Michanié and has been training Natalia
Orebro for her role as a boxer in an Argentinian soap opera.
"The thing is, I lack aggression," complained the actress. "If a
fist gets away and I hit her, I aplogize, and she laughs."
"Have you studied videos of Marcela?" Eduardo Bejuk asked her.
"Yes, all of them." she replied.
What she found most instructive, however, wasn't any of Acuña's
performances but that of one of her victims, the hapless Patricia
Quirico, who was kayoed in the first round. "I've been studying the
way she fell," the actress explained, "in case there's an episode in
which I lose.."
I've seen just enough (58 at the last
count) of those direct-to-video high school movies Hollywood churns
out to know the human population can be divided into two groups:
Nerds and Jocks. Jocks are boorish, good-looking (for the most
part), strong and well co-ordinated. Nerds are dorkish geeks whose
curse – less of a saving grace than a further indictment – is to be
intelligent. There are no mischlings, hybrids, half-and-halfs. You
are one or the other. Period.
I read an article once, though, that said the exact opposite: that
people who are intelligent tend to be good at just about anything
they put their minds to, whereas people who are dumb seldom rise
beyond mediocrity at anything.
I remembered this when I read a profile of Laura Serrano in a
Mexican paper last month. Serrano is so good as a boxer (with a
computer rating of 11644 compared with 2734 for her nearest
challenger) that no one will fight her. She's also a lawyer who can
write poetry – one assumes well – in two languages. (All my lawyer
writes are bills!) Jackie Nava, the only other Mexican to reach the
top spot on Dee's rankings (though she slipped recently to #2), is
another case in point: not only is she an architect, she actually
graduated first in her class.
Makes you wonder. When Stephen Hawking retires from his post as
Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge –
he's 64 according to today's Guardian – perhaps Tiger Woods should
[Sources: Box Latino, Notimex, La Mañana de Córdoba, La Voz del
Interior, British Boxing.net, Deportivo Colombiano, Excelsior]