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Snippets of news from around the world
By Ewan Wh
August 23, 2006


The proverbial fur should fly when María José ‘Panterita’ Núñez Anchorena, the Uruguayan based in Paraguay whose first outing as a professional inspired the immortal headline ‘The Little Panther with the Face of an Angel and Murderous Fists’, meets ‘The White Tigress’, Alesia Graf of Belarus, for the WIBF super flyweight title on the Universum ‘Champions’ Night’ card in Magdeburg on the 9th September. Having made a career out of massacring Brazilians with names like ‘Da Silva’ and ‘De Souza’ (of whose true identity one is never quite certain), Núñez is something of an unknown quantity: her stance is listed as ‘orthodox’ by Boxrec but it was her left hand that did all the damage when she kayoed the luckless Lourdes González of Argentina in her first fight, as was reported at the time:-‘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 the fight and drew a gasp of dismay from the 4,000 mainly Argentinian fans packing the arena, but fought back bravely and began 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 blows, and suddenly the Argentinian’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.’


Another of her victims, if the records are to be believed, was Carina de Souza, whom she is said to have knocked out in the first round when the two met in Caaguazú, Paraguay; but in the light of recent events, it has to be asked whether her real opponent wasn’t perhaps one Karina Britos of Argentina, who has fought once, if not twice, under the name ‘Carina de Souza’ in the last fourteen months alone, as well as usurping the identity of Liliane Balles (also of Brazil) on the televised ‘Huracán en el Orfeo’ bill in Córdoba last month. That imposture, which ended in her being knocked out by Carolina ‘Chapita’ Gutiérrez, is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Federación Argentina de Boxeo (FAB) in which Patricia Quirico and her trainer, Alberto Galli, are due to give evidence today.


Whilst denying that this is in any way an accusation of wrongdoing, the FAB has already taken the less than judicious step of suspending Gutiérrez’s trainer, Carlos Alberto Tello, and his son, Carlos Andrés Tello (who put the undercard together), pending their appearance before the same disciplinary committee next week. The fighter herself has not been suspended, although she, too, will be required to testify.


A report in the Brazilian press today conjures up images of a Jack Lemmon or Walter Matthau classic with an account of how the fighter’s uncle, Gustavo Javier Brito, who was posing as her trainer, hurried to interrupt whenever she was asked a question, in an attempt to conceal the fact that the fighter, who was supposed to be Brazilian, didn’t speak a word of Portuguese.


Though the South American press still seems to think she will be fighting Ina Menzer on the Universum ‘Champions’ Night’ bill in Magdeburg on the 9th September, it appears that Patricia ‘La Leona’ Quirico’s place there has been usurped by the Colombian Leli Luz Florez [8-2-0 (3 KOs)]. Quirico had hoped also to meet the luckless Lourdes Gonzáles Ocampo over six rounds on the Casanova-Acosta undercard in Santa Fe on the 19th August, but the fight appears to have fallen through.


Another who had planned to fight at the weekend had a suitable opponent been found was Jackie Nava, for whom a slot had been reserved on the ‘El Legado de las Leyendas’ bill in El Paso. After her traumatic defeat at the hands of Alejandra Oliveras in Tijuana on May 20th, Nava’s manager had been hoping to get her a few easy fights to rebuild her confidence; but although, supposedly, there’s one born every minute, no one on this occasion was prepared to volunteer.


Speaking of which, opponents have yet to be found for the unbeaten Julia Sahin [15-0-0 (2KOs)] and Susi Kentikian [11-0-0 (9 KOs)] on the Universum bill, despite the inducement of the WIBF interim junior flyweight, and WIBF intercontinental, titles respectively; whilst Natascha Ragosina, the WIBF super middleweight champion, who had also been scheduled to appear, has had to cry off after injuring a hand in training. If she was going to injure her hand, it’s surprising she didn’t do so earlier in the year when she caught a thief going through her handbag in the changing room of the gym where she trains. ‘The intruder,’ reported Mein Geld, ‘was despatched with a swift combination of the type with which Natascha’s opponents in the ring are all too familiar.’


Zulina ‘La Loba’ Muñoz, who failed to stop fellow Mexican Fredee González when the two met in Cuautitlán Izcalli on the 26th May, has warned her she won’t be so lucky next time. ‘I’m not making excuses,’ she told Box Latino, ‘but I was ill when I climbed into the ring for that fight.’ For the rematch on the 9th September in Acapulco, when Muñoz’s NABF bantamweight title will again be on the line, she means to be in peak condition and do the job properly. ‘She’s a thorn in my side, now,’ says Zulina. ‘This time, I aim to beat her convincingly.’


Gloria Ríos, the 34-year-old granny, has recovered it seems from the pounding she took from Ana María Torres in Mexico City in May. Esto reports that she’s back in training and looking for a fight.


 ‘Arriving at the stadium amid a huge throng, we found the entrances blocked by fans without tickets (or the requisite number thereof) assailing the ears of officials with a farrago of preposterous stories to explain the deficiency’ (Al Borde del Ring). The venue in question was the Centro Deportivo Municipal (or ‘CeDeM’) #2 in Caseros and the date, the 12th August: as always in Argentina when Marcela Acuña is fighting — even when the event is being televised live — the stadium was sold out. ‘A night of glamour that will go down in history’ Enzo Dallacamina of Campeones en el Ring called it. ‘Of course, we are talking about female boxing,’ began Carlos Irusta of Boxing Scene churlishly. ‘But, she is a Star. A real Star.’


Besides having ‘a cheek that bordered on irreverence,’ as the Reuter’s report put it, her 22-year-old Colombian opponent, Anays Gutiérrez Carrillo, turned out to be something of a showman too, and a dancer into the bargain, with an entrance routine ‘worthy of Shakira’ and plenty of slick footwork once the fight got underway.


Acuña had promised the Uruguayan actress, Natalia Oreiro, whom she trained for her role as a boxer in the telenovela ‘Sos mi Vida’ and who was sitting in the front row, she would knock Gutiérrez out; but in the event the Colombian turned out to be a very awkward customer — and an impudent little brat into the bargain, constantly sticking out her tongue, and clinging to her opponent like a frightened child whenever she came within grabbing distance. On one occasion, according to Reuters, she did the two things simultaneously, and managed the unusual feat of licking her opponent’s shoulder-blade in the clinch. At such moments, the soubriquet ‘Lady of the Ring’, which for some reason they’ve hung on her, seemed startlingly inapt.


‘When she stuck her tongue out like that, it was to tell me I hadn’t hurt her,’ commented Acuña, ‘but I knew I had, because I’d hurt myself in the process.’ According to Luis Blanco of Al Borde del Ring, the youngster demonstrated a wealth of ring savvy that belied the fact that this was only her twelfth professional fight. ‘She soaked up all Acuña’s onslaughts, replying each time only after the squall had passed and it was safe to do so.’ She even had the Tigress down at one point — it wasn’t ruled as a knockdown because the Argentinian slipped at the same time (‘you could have called it either way’ opined Osvaldo Bisbal, President of the Federación Argentina de Box in his piece on the FAB site) — and caught her on several other occasions in the face with counters, but her blows lacked power as well as being too few and far between.


Some commentators felt her tactics were of dubious legality but all concurred in describing her as exceptionally brave. ‘Directly in front of where we were sitting,’ wrote Blanco, ‘we saw her take three straight rights to the head that landed with full force, but she didn’t go down.’ ‘Perhaps I just didn’t hit her in the right place or at the right moment,’ speculated Acuña.


All those years sparring with the boys have turned Gutiérrez Carrillo into a tough little cookie. Embittered perhaps by the loss of her unbeaten record, she was ungracious in defeat. But she’s only twenty-two. (And, besides, who cares?) ‘I thought Marcela would be better,’ she paltered. ‘She showed me nothing. The truth is, I never even felt her punches. The only reason she won is that she had home advantage; if we’d fought in my country, the result would have been different...’


But the look of relief on her face, and of frustration on that of Acuña, when the final bell sounded told a different story.


Whilst commentators found the fight exciting (though hardly a great exhibition of skill) , the same criticisms were levelled at Acuña here as after her failures against Ashley and the unnecessarily drawn-out torture to which she subjected the other ‘Lady of the Ring’, Damaris Pinock Ortega, whom she had out on her feet in the first but took a further four rounds to bully into submission: she’s over-reliant on the right cross — opponents see it coming — and when she has an opponent hurt, she lacks the lucidity to step back and take her out with one clean shot, preferring instead to pound the midriff, which may pay dividends in the long run against an opponent whose defences are proving hard to breach but is totally inappropriate when they’re at your mercy, as was the case with Gutiérrez on several occasions from the seventh round onwards — at least, in the view of Ana Zunilda Rodríguez of Ring de Ideas. What has improved is her footwork. Here she did a good job of cornering Gutiérrez Carrillo; but — impatient for the kill — found herself constantly getting sucked into the clinch instead of remaining at a distance from which she could vary her angles and pick her shots.


Acuña celebrated her victory arm in arm with the actress, to the strains of ‘Porque tengo el corazón valiente / voy a quererte / voy a quererte’ (‘Because I have a brave heart, I will love you ...’) — the theme song of the series. In a future episode, Oreiro’s character, ‘La Monita’, is due to fight the ‘real’ Acuña (which presumably means Acuña playing herself). ‘We all know how that one will end,’ snorted Terra. ‘The script’s too obvious.’


‘In the world of non-fiction, though,’ the same author continued, ‘the Tigress now has the belt of one of the sport’s traditional governing bodies with which to lure Alejandra ‘La Locomotora’ Oliveras into a unification, and that’s a fight the outcome of which is rather less easily predicted.’


No sooner was the WBC belt around Acuña’s waist than the challenge was issued. ‘I want Oliveras,’ she told reporters. ‘This is the ideal opportunity to find out which of us is the better. But it has to be now, while she still has the WBC belt. If she loses it, I’m not interested. I haven’t the slightest intention of giving her cheap publicity.’


Oliveras isn’t interested at all, or so she would have us believe: ‘At the moment, I have engagements far more important than any fight with Marcela Acuña,’ she said in an interview on Radio Palermo. ‘This last week alone, I’ve received offers to fight in Italy and Germany, where they pay well, and these are far more inviting than any fight with ‘The Tigress’ — however desperate she may be to fight me.


‘Besides which,’ she added. ‘After my fifth fight, I took the microphone and asked her in front of all the spectators to please give me a chance; I challenged her; but, as the ‘Tigress’ herself admitted only the other day on TV, I was nobody at the time and she chose to ignore me. Fine. Now it’s her that wants to fight me, and I’m the one that’s not interested.’


Then she seemed to relent: ‘The truth is, I will take the fight, because I also want both belts.’


First, though, she has a fight in Rosario in October [‘possibly,’ she says, ‘against Maribel Santana of the Dominican Republic’ (not Jazmín ‘Rusita’ Rivas, then, as had been announced?)] followed by a fight with Leona Brown in Las Vegas on the 18th November on the Morales / Pacquiao III undercard. 


But the challenge from Acuña, who thinks she’s a grass snake („primero tira la piedra y después esconde la mano”), isn’t going to go away. “When she recovers from her hand injury,” she told DyN back in June, “she’d better fight me, because I’m going to pursue her through heaven and earth. I’m going to apply pressure through the media until this fight gets made. Somehow, I don’t think Oliveras is going to like it when people start calling her a wimp.”


[Sources: Al Borde del Ring, Ring de Ideas, Reuters, SportsYa, Boxeo-Boxing, Boxing.de, Mein Geld, Esta, La Voz del Interior, Superfight, DyN]

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