Lourdes Juarez-Diana Fernandez WBC 115-pound title bout expected to exceed expectations
Lourdes Juarez and Diana Fernandez are bucking a trend that is taking place far too often in boxing. At a time when the best fights rarely take place – thanks to promoters, networks, or fighters themselves – the clash between Juarez and Fernandez is a reminder of what can go right with the sport.
Juarez will defend her WBC Female junior bantamweight title against mandatory challenger Fernandez Friday night at the Gimnasio Municipal “Jose Neri Santos” in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The 12-round bout will air live on ESPN Knockout (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
Juarez and Fernandez are familiar with one another, having fought once before in November 2017. That fight, which Juarez won by split-decision, also took place at the same Gimnasio Municipal arena.
Both fighters are promoted by Promociones del Pueblo. Promoter Oswaldo Kuchle presented Juarez with the opportunity for the fight take place in Ciudad Juarez, where Fernandez lives and trains. Confident that she can emerge victorious and not have judges swayed by the hometown crowd, Juarez accepted the terms.
Kuchle admires both combatants for their willingness to fight each other, but more so for their character outside the ring.
“This type of fight doesn’t happen very often in boxing,” Kuchle told The Ring Monday afternoon. “These are the two best fighters in the division and they will square off, face to face. We’re very proud at Promociones del Pueblo to promote both fighters. They have grown as fighters and their accomplishments speak for themselves. We have seen them develop as fighters and they have demonstrated they can handle the tough challenges.
“They are champions in and out of the ring.”
Juarez (31-2 1 NC, 4 knockouts), who resides in Mexico City, won the WBC title in her last bout on December 12, defeating Guadalupe Martinez Guzman by unanimous decision. It was Juarez’s first attempt at a world title belt. The 34-year-old, who is currently rated No. 1 by The Ring at 115 pounds, has not lost since suffering back-to-back setbacks during the first four months of 2014.
Fernandez (23-3, 4 KOs) also fought on December 12, defeating Mariana Mercado Ruiz by unanimous decision in a stay-busy fight. She is rated No. 4 by The Ring and has won her last three bouts since losing to then-WBC bantamweight titleholder Mariana Juarez in June 2019. The 26-year-old has won her previous four bouts.
Both fighters have low knockout ratios but make for it with aggressive styles and volume punching. Subsequently, Kuchle believes this fight could be a fan favorite.
“There will be one winner and that will be the fans watching it on television or in person,” said Kuchle. “We have the best female fighters and I can assure you that these warriors will surpass expectations.”
Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing
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