"We would like to draw your
attention to the debut of a future world champion -- and by
'future' we mean the not-too-distant future," runs a note on the
web site Boxeo Uruguayo announcing this Friday's La
noche del futuro bill in the Palacio Peñarol in Montevideo:
"Chris Namús, a spectacular boxer, now 19 years of age."
Many column inches, as it happens,
have already been devoted to the 19-year-old welterweight, who
is spectacular in more ways than one.
Christian Namús – the acute accent
on the 'u' is dropped by some sources (one even substituting a
German umlaut), whilst 'Christian' (and therefore 'Chris') are
spelt by others without the 'h' – has been practicing the
martial arts since she was 6 but only came to boxing at the age
of 16 when she was spotted working the bag to lose a few kilos
(to date: 11) by Antonio Canedo, who now trains her.
A few weeks later, she found herself
in the ring in the Parque Hotel facing a woman called Ana
Martínez. "It was an exhibition scheduled for three rounds,"
remembers Namús, "but, without meaning to, I knocked her out in
the third round. I had a considerable advantage in weight; but
then, she'd had seven years of training to my three months." A
brief but successful career under Uruguayan colours followed in
the amateurs, interlarded with further exhibitions – in some
cases against men.
Then came what was certainly no
exhibition. As part of an evening of boxing in the Palacio
Peñarol attended by the President of the Uruguayan Republic (and
all the fervour of an international), Namús disputed the first
of the evening's four Uruguay v Argentina bouts with one Nara
"La India" Mastandrea.
Like her opposite number from across
the River Plate, Mastandrea was in the last year of high school
preparing for university entrance, and it was reported
erroneously that both girls were making their professional
debuts; but whereas the Uruguayan from La Teja / Belvedere
(Montevideo) was planning to become a forensic scientist, the
sights of the Argentinian from Villa Lugano (reported Jorge
Savia of El País) were set on a doctorate in law.
At 68.2 kg, the Argentinian girl
outweighed her opposite number by over three kilos, whilst the
Uruguayan had height and reach on her side; and at first, the
fight fell into a predictable pattern, with the taller girl
content to pick off her more powerful opponent with the jab –
followed, as often as not, with a straight right – and the
latter hoping to surprise her, and put her on the seat of her
pants, with a right cross. As the round wore on, though, without
ever losing her line, the Uruguayan became more aggressive, and
began spending longer and longer in the danger zone before
pulling back to a safe distance, with the result that the second
minute saw a number of drawn-out exchanges in the course of
which the two girls went at it, as Savia put it, "as though at
The Argentinian was tough, according
to Boxeo Uruguayo, but Namús had the beating of her, and began
tightening her grip in the second round. The signs of despair at
her own impotence and the effects of the pounding she was taking
could be seen by all as Mastandrea received her second
protective count of the round, and with the crowd, sensing the
imminence of the first Uruguayan victory of the night, now
willing her to victory, Namús, unaffected by the euphoria at
ringside, responded by tightening her grip still further –
coolly, as though tightening a noose – increasing not the tempo
but the accuracy of her punching as the big girl's resistance
grew feebler, and finishing her off with forensic precision and
a succession of clean shots to the face that obliged the
referee, Martín Carnevale, to stop the fight (RSCH Rd. 2).
There was a further exhibition in
March, in preparation for this week's professional debut. This
time there was no international element but the level of
intensity was much the same – at least in the second round, when
her opponent, Erondina Tabárez, who, under the capable direction
of Ramón Barrero had displayed good technique in the first round
(though the more accurate punching of the girl from La Teja was
even then taking its toll), lost her composure and began
charging her tormentor as though it were a bullfight. With her
faster footwork and quicker, harder hands, Namús was soon all
over her, and this time it was Aníbal Andrade, refereeing, that
was forced to halt the massacre.
There is little, alas, in the record
of Friday's opponent, who we learn today will be Guillermina
Fernández (though on Monday we were promised
María Eugenia López
(19)), to indicate that
she will fare any better: Fernández, who is 47 and hails from
Buenos Aires, calls herself The Amazon and likes running
(as rivers do), but besides giving away 28 years (and, at only
5'4", a good deal of height) to her Uruguayan opponent, she will
be carrying the baggage of 5 losses (a KO, 2 TKOs and 2Uds) in
as many fights – the kind of experience that is no help at all –
and Namús, now (according to the most recent profile) in her
first year of medical school and spending most of her time, I
expect, dissecting corpses, may find her sporting and academic
lives taking on an eerie similarity.
Christian Namús is the first
born-and-bred Uruguayan girl to swell the professional ranks.
"In honour of her debut," according to the announcement, "ladies
– if accompanied by a gentleman – will be admitted free."
They may need strong stomachs.
Photo links (all
Christian Namús :-
Marching as to war
Nara Mastandrea v
Christian Namús v Erondina Tabárez
Boxeo Uruguayo, El País Digital, La República