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Marlen Esparza says winning Ring championship would be her peak accomplishment

Marlen Esparza has achieved much in her twenty years in addition to in boxing, yet she says bringing home The Ring magazine title would be her most noteworthy accomplishment to date.

“With The Ring belt, that is saying I’m accomplishing something other than winning battles,” said the WBC flyweight champion Esparza (11-1, 1 knockout). “It simply cements what I’ve been doing for what seems like forever and consoling that all my persistent effort is paying off. I would put it number one on my rundown up until this point, 1,000 percent.”

Hindering her is Naoko Fujioka (19-2-1, 7 KOs), the WBA champion whom Esparza will confront this Saturday at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Tex. The two will vie for the debut Ring ladies’ flyweight title on the card, which will be featured by Ryan Garcia confronting Emmanuel Tagoe in a lightweight non-title session.

The show will be advanced by Golden Boy Promotions and broadcast live on DAZN starting at 8 p.m.

Esparza, 32, of Houston, Tex. is evaluated no. 1 by The Ring, while Fujioka, 46, of Tokyo, Japan is evaluated no. 2. Both came in under as far as possible on Friday, with Esparza weighing 111.4 and Fujioka checking in at 111.6 pounds.

Esparza has not been lacking in achievements in her profession. She acquired a bronze award at the debut Olympiad where ladies were permitted to confine 2012, and a gold at the 2014 World Championships prior to turning master in 2017.

Fujioka turned professional in 2009 and has come out on top for championships in four divisions, from 105 pounds to 118 pounds. Fujioka brought home her present championship in 2017, halting Isabel Millan in ten rounds in Japan. Esparza was among the DAZN observers in Los Angeles for Fujioka’s last battle, a larger part choice success over Sulem Urbina last July.

Esparza, who had convincingly beaten Urbina by choice in 2020, says she had the option to scout Urbina some when she saw her very close face to face, yet realizes that she should be ready for anything against a top rival.

“That was a decent presentation for what she does and how she moves yet I can’t say that I know what’s in store since she is a hero for an explanation,” said Esparza, who has been prepared and overseen by James Cooper for the beyond quite a while.

“I can make the quick judgment call that she will put tension and attempt to be forceful, yet when somebody’s been in boxing for that long and been a boss in various weight classes, you can’t actually expect for something besides for her to come to win.”

One element that Esparza says she isn’t placing an excess of stock into is Fujioka’s age.

“I’m not in any event, pondering her age. I haven’t pondered it once. I don’t consider that since she’s not moving like she’s that age, and that is all I care about. She’s it she’s more youthful to move like. All things considered, her age doesn’t have anything to do with it,” said Esparza.

Marlen Esparza and Naoka Fujioka proudly wore their world title belts at the press conference for their unification and Ring championship bout on Saturday. Photo / Golden Boy

The fight is a three-hour drive from where Esparza grew up, and will be her third straight bout in her home state. Fujioka, who is making her first appearance in the U.S., says she doesn’t mind competing against an opponent who has the crowd on their side.

“It doesn’t matter to me that I’m in her hometown. I wanted to get a bigger name. I am here to represent Japan,” said Fujioka, who lost in two of her three previous trips abroad, against Susi Kentikian and Yessica Chavez.

While winning The Ring championship at 112 pounds would be a major accomplishment for her, Esparza says she still has other goals to accomplish, including avenging her lone pro defeat, a bloody technical decision loss to Seniesa Estrada in 2019, and unifying the rest of the flyweight division against the likes of IBF titleholder Leonela Paola Yudica (17-0-3) of Argentina.

“I may do a few bouts at catchweights but my goals are to get all the belts at 112. That’s my goal, defend it once or twice. I do have certain people like Estrada that I always wanted to get in the ring with and finish my career like that,” said Esparza.

Box2Grow raises funds for uniforms

Box2Grow, a project which empowers women in Colombia through boxing, is hosting a fundraiser to buy new uniforms for their boxers.

The Medellin-based project, which is run by Volunteers in Colombia, is looking to raise enough funds for 70 uniforms. Each uniform costs $28 USD, or €25, and includes a workout shirt and shorts, plus a pair of socks and shoes.

Box2Grow provides assistance to women from the impoverished neighborhood of Manrique La Honda. The women, who often come from physically and sexually abusive environments, also undergo social and emotional skills training, and participate in lessons about women’s rights, self esteem and relationships.

Founder Andrea Gonzalez says the women often work out in jeans or slippers, and that having uniforms will enable them to get the most out of their lessons.

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