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Snippets of news from around the world..
By Ewan Whyte
August 4, 2006
     
   
   
   
   

(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 apply.

[Sources: Box Latino, Notimex, La Mañana de Córdoba, La Voz del Interior, British Boxing.net, Deportivo Colombiano, Excelsior]

 
     
     
   
           
 
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