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Maribel Zurita


5'0" flyweight Maribel "Little Thunder" Zurita was born on January 14, 1979 and fights out of San Antonio, Texas, USA where she is trained by Tony Ayala Sr. 

She made her pro boxing debut on July 31, 2001 at Sunset Station in San Antonio, Texas, weighing in at 109½ lbs and easily winning a four-round decision over debut fighter Anna Mora (108½ lbs), also of San Antonio.

According to a ringside report from Esteban Erik Stipnieks, who took the photo seen at the left, "Maribel quickly won over the fans and dominated the fight. It was four rounds of Maribel flaunting her amateur background. Mora made it interesting by holding on and making an occasional counter but this fight was made for Zurita."  Mora hasn't fought again.

On October 26, 2001 at Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, WIBF Americas Junior Flyweight champion Juana (Jay) Vega of Austin won a clear four-round unanimous (40-36) decision over Maribel in a flyweight bout. Vega is improved to 5-0 (2 KO's) while Zurita slipped to 1-1 after a tough second match.

On January 25, 2002 at Randy's Ballroom in San Antonio, Maribel  (111 lbs) and debut fighter Gracie Olivarez (111½ lbs) of Houston fought to a majority draw over four rounds.

On January 31, 2002 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, Minnesota, Maribel won a four-round unanimous decision over Shannon Brown of Bull Head, South Dakota, who fell to 1-3.

On May 3, 2002 at Randy's Ballroom in San Antonio, Maribel (109 lbs) won a unanimous (39-37,39-37,39-37) four-round decision over Gracie Olivarez (109½ lbs) of Houston, Texas in a closely-fought bout carried live on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. Zurita kept moving forward to work inside the taller Olivarez's reach advantage but Olivarez appeared to be solving her aggressive style better as the fight went on.

On May 17, 2002 in Austin, Texas, former WIBF world champion and local favorite Anissa Zamarron returned from a two-year absence from competition by boxing Isabel Manyseng (also from San Antonio) and Maribel in two successive two-round exhibition bouts. Zamarron may have been a little rusty after her layoff, but Zurita gave her all she could handle in an exciting two rounds. 

On June 21, 2002 at Sunset Station in San Antonio, a standing-room-only crowd of about 2,000 saw WIBF Americas Junior Flyweight champion Juana (Jay) Vega (112 lbs) of Austin, Texas advance to 6-1-0 (1 KO) with a six-round unanimous decision over Maribel (112 lbs), who was knocked down in the second round.

On August 16, 2002 at Sunset Station in San Antonio, Maribel (108 lbs) won a four-round unanimous (39-37) decision over Terri Moss (107 lbs) of Athens, Georgia. Moss gave Zurita all she could handle for one round but "Little Thunder" adapted and was able to work her way inside successfully on the taller fighter for the next three rounds. Zurita asserted control in the second round and ended it with a five-punch flurry, then went to her corner waving her right fist in the air.  Zurita had Moss hurt repeatedly in the later rounds as she pressed her attack with a left hook and straight right. Moss remained winless at 0-2.

On November 14, 2002 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida,  Patricia Martinez (110½ lbs) of Miami won a unanimous (40-36) four-round decision over Maribel (110½ lbs) in a flyweight bout described as "entertaining" by my correspondent. Both had their moments in this fight but Martinez thrived on trading with Zurita, bloodied her nose in the opening round and continued to control the fight with her aggression and accurate punching. The fans loudly appreciated the effort and sportsmanship displayed by both contestants. Martinez advanced to 9-1-0 (3 KO) with the win while dropping Zurita's record to 4-3-1 (0 KO).  Patty was explosive, thrived in trading with Zurita, and forced the action throughout the bout.

On February 20, 2003 at Renaissance Hotel in Austin, Texas, Anissa Zamarron (111 lbs) of Austin won a six-round split decision over Maribel (110 lbs). Zamarron improved to 15-10-2 (5 KO). 

May 16, 2003 at Sunset Station in San Antonio, Maribel (112½ lbs) won a six-round unanimous (59-55,59-55,58-56) decision over Juana (Jay) Vega (111½ lbs) of Austin, reversing their previous result at this location. Vega fell to 6-2-0 (1 KO). 

On February 12, 2004 in Austin, Texas, Anissa Zamarron (108 lbs) of Austin won an eight-round unanimous (78-74,77-75,77-75) decision over Maribel (108 lbs) for the Texas State Junior Flyweight title. Zamarron was now 16-10-2 (5 KO).

On September 18, 2004 at Jinseon Girls' High School in Seoul, Korea, 1000 fans saw Maribel (110¾)  win a ten-round unanimous (96-95,96-94, 97-96) decision over Korea’s Shin Hee Choi (5' 5½", 111¼ lbs) for the vacant IFBA Flyweight title. Zurita finished the fight with a big final round to make sure of the decision. Choi fell to 4-1 (1 KO) with this loss while Zurita improved to 6-5-1 (0 KO)

On March 30, 2005 at Sunrise International Ballroom in Shenyang, China, Maribel lost the IFBA Flyweight title in a rematch with Shin Hee Choi of South Korea by a badly split decision under controversial circumstances. Referee Byungk Kim of South Korea, stopped the bout in the eighth round when Choi was badly cut by what was ruled as a head-butt. The bout went to the scorecards where South Koreans Kwang Woo Kim and Jaebung Kim had both scored it 68-65 for Choi while American judge Bruce Anderson had scored it 70-64 for Zurita. Many reports said that both the stoppage and the scoring were questionable and that Zurita deserved to win the fight. Maribel's manager and trainer Tony Ayala Sr. filed a protest with the IFBA to review the stoppage, and over what appeared to be illegal use of a groin protector by Choi. The IFBA agreed to review the result but awarded the title to Shin Hee Choi on an interim basis.

On August 19, 2005, at the Municipal Auditorium in San Antonio, Texas, Maribel out-hit and out-boxed Sachiyo Shibata of Japan (at left) to win the WIBA Light Flyweight title by a ten-round unanimous (99-91,98-92,98-92) decision in San Antonio's first women's world  title bout.  In an entertaining fight, Zurita landed the harder blows and worked well to the body. Shibata lived up to her reputation as a non-stop puncher and pressured Zurita relentlessly but Zurita matched her punch-for-punch and outboxed her, then finished with a final round flurry, landing hard to Shibata's head. Shibata's busy style contained many arm punches, while Zurita's were cleaner and harder.

"She's a brawler, and she just comes straight at you," Zurita said. "I felt I was in control hitting her with a couple of good shots, but she got me a couple times, too. I was excited and anxious to fight here. It's awesome. I can't believe it."

"I learned about the toughness of professional boxing," said Shibata. Zurita improved to 7-6-1 (0 KO) with the win while Shibata, a world champion kickboxer, suffered her first pro boxing loss and fell to 4-1-0 (3 KOs). 

Anissa Zamarron battles Maribel in San Antonio
© Copyrighted photo by J & P Photographers
 - Patricia Butaud and Janis Guidry. 

On November 18, 2005 at Roseland Ballroom in the Estrella Mall in San Antonio, Texas, 1000 fans saw Anissa Zamarron (107 lbs) of Austin defeat Maribel (108 lbs) by a ten-round split split decision for Zurita's WIBA Junior Flyweight title. The judges' scores were 97-93 for Zurita, 97-93 for Zamarron and 96-94 for Zamarron. Both fighters threw punches practically non-stop for 10 rounds with no knockdowns. Zamarron tagged Zurita with a hard right that sent her  careening backward in the fourth but Zurita kept her balance and battled on.  The scoring was controversial and the contract reportedly contained a rematch clause.  "It was a good fight, but I thought I landed the stronger, harder punches," said Zurita, "I'm very disappointed."  Zamarron improved to 17-14-2 (5 KO) with this win.  (See also Photo Gallery #303, Photo/MPEG Gallery #305 and #307 on the WBAN Records Member Site.)

On February 10, 2006 at the Roseland Ballroom in the Estrella Mall in San Antonio, Texas, Maribel improved her record to 8-7-1 (0 KO) with a six-round unanimous decision over southpaw Rocio Vazquez of Ciudad Acuña, Mexico who fell to 4-2-0 with the loss. Zurita had been hoping for a title rematch with Anissa Zamarron and local reports say she did not look as sharp as usual in this fight.

On September 9, 2006 at the Bördelandhalle in Magdeburg, Germany, Armenian-born Susianna Kentikian (112 lbs) of Hamburg, Germany won the WIBF Intercontinental Flyweight title with a fourth-round TKO over Maribel (111¼ lbs) who fell to 8-8-1 (1 KO) with the loss. Kentikian improved her record to 13-0  (10 KO's) with the win. According to one report of the stoppage, "Zurita got jobbed. It was a cut caused by a head-butt. They had bad luck that they had one of the worst ref's in Germany. He saw the blood, appeared to be asking Kentikian what happened, and then said it was from a legal blow. I felt sorry for them."

On April 14, 2007 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas
Maribel (114 lbs) fought to a six-round draw with 37-yrar-old Emily Kelly (112½ lbs) of Houston, Texas who moved her record to 2-2-1 (1 KO) with the result. 

Matchmaking for Zurita in San Antonio is becoming difficult. "I've talked to a lot of managers and trainers who said their girls would fight her, but only in a 10-rounder," Zurita's manager, Tony Ayala Sr. told the San Antonio Express-News.

On May 30, 2008 at the Municipal Auditorium in San Antonio, Texas, Maribel (113 lbs) won a four-round unanimous decision over Bianca Ledezma (117 lbs), also of San Antonio.  The loss dropped Ledezma to 1-2-1 (0 KO's).

On November 8, 2008  at Joy of Austin in Round Rock, Texas, Maribel (108½ lbs) won a six-round majority (59-55,58-56,57-57) decision over Mayela "La Cobrita" Perez (107¾) of Saltillo, Mexico. According to Brenda Delabra’s report for Saltillo’s La Vanguardia, “The girl from Saltillo attacked throughout the six rounds, connecting hard and often to the face of the veteran, but lamentably, the judges were not impartial and protected the local fighter. It was Mayela, though, that won the acclaim of the crowd.”  Zurita improved to 10-9-2 (1 KO) while Perez dropped to 7-8-1 (6 KO's).

To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with huge digital photos you can go to the WBAN Records Member Site

Page last updated: Friday November 06, 2015


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