Ibeth “Roca” Zamora successfully defended her WBC light flyweight crown against challenger Esmeralda “Joya” Moreno, in a sensational fight, which brimmed with action and in which both fought flat out for the entire ten rounds, more than fulfilling the prior prediction of barnstormer.
A huge crowed numbering more than 6,000 fans came to Metepec, State of Mexico, eager to see who would win their third encounter, as both had notched a pervious win against the other.
Hooded Esmeralda was up in the ring first, and then it was Ibeth’s turn, sporting a green, white and red featered headdress.
The boisterous, noisy, good natured crowd hushed, quietened and then joined in, as sensational young singer Bridget Gonzalez sang the Mexican National Anthem in a lovely, clear pitch perfect voice, which brought tears to many eyes, as emotion was already welling up in the build up to this so important and potent decider battle.
Ibeth who’d declared she wasn’t going to allow or give space to Esmeralda’s boxing skills, swarmed forward during round one, to be caught, confounded and stung by some accurate pitch perfect left jabs, which held her at bay. She’d yet to range find.
But by the next round, Ibeth’s sheer willpower reduced and then levelled the distance and it’d become an intense fight, in which Esmeralda was returning fire with some effective left hook counters. The pattern was established. Ibeth was bulldozing in with a high volume of punches, while Esmerala was often choosing hers’ landing accurately to the head, but having to weather a pummeling body attack.
After four rounds Ibeth was ahead and as the announcement boomed out, it visibly energized Esmeralda who grimly launched a blistering attack in response. Unlike so many of Ibeth’s opponents, Esmeralda wasn’t wilting in the face of an unremitting firestorm onslaught. Rather, she was trying to maintain distance to get leverage on her punches, but also alternating by standing her ground and slugging back.
Roca’s legendary strength and stamina were evident in the closing rounds. Yet its gloss was not all there throughout. In the Tuesday press conference prior to this classic confrontation, her nomal oval shaped face appeared gaunt and drawn. Making the light flyweight category limit, appeared to have been appreciably more of a struggle and strain for her than for Esmeralda.
Roca’s ruthless relentlessness peaked in round nine as she willed herself to significantly up her punch rate. Joya simply refused to buckle and fought back mgnificently. “It takes two baby.”
Roca punctuated the beginning of round ten with a withering left uppercut, but then ran into jarring left jabs from Joya who backed it up by long range combinations to the head.
It had been a very hard bout. Both fighters are proud warriors and neither stubbornly wanted to concede one jot or iota. During much of the action, Roca had fought open mouthed. She had winced as cracking straight punches had snapped her head back, but never flinched in delievering a welter of her own answering blows which proved decisive. Unbowed and defiant to the final bell, Esmeralda who hadn’t lost this title in the ring, and was coming back from being a Champion in Recess, had shown her Champion’s class. She had pushed her friend Ibeth to the absolute limit. It brought out the tremendous best in both, to produce a magnificent and a memorable contest. What a fight!
The thousands of fans fully and duly recognized they’d seen combined greatness and they were ready with a standing ovation. The scores of the Judges were: 97-93, 96-94, 97-94, all for Ibeth.