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Acuña to face Dionicius in the reopening of Argentina’s fabled Luna Park Stadium

Fighters Network

It is unusual to see the announcement of a fight being upstaged by the name of the venue in which the fight will take place, but this is definitely such a case.

The legendary Luna Park Stadium in Buenos Aires, one of only a handful of venerable and historic boxing venues worldwide, is reopening its doors to boxing after eight years to host a card headlined by a fighter with a venerable past of her own.

Marcela Acuña, Argentina’s first holder of a female boxing license and a multiple champion in her own right, will be facing fellow former titlist Debora Dionicius in a 12-round featherweight bout on Saturday, Nov. 20, broadcasted live by TyC Sports Play worldwide.

“I earned this spot as a headliner when I became a world champion in 2003,” said Acuña, (50-7-2, 20 KOs), when asked about the daunting task of topping the bill in the historic venue, which held its first boxing match in 1932 and proceeded to host boxing cards weekly until the mid-80s. Many of the country’s greatest champions such as Carlos Monzon, Nicolino Locche and Victor Galindez had some of their best nights there.

Ever since the death of Hall of Fame promoter Tito Lectoure, the reopening of the Luna Park to boxing has always made the news, and it has fueled a renewed interest in boxing at large in a country that has produced dozens of great fighters. People usually flock to see a live boxing match in a place that has been romanticized to exhaustion in Argentine boxing lore, with memories of local and foreign fighters alike being associated with a place in which legends such as Archie Moore, Kid Gaviland and Muhammad Ali fought exhibitions, and where local contenders must validate their ambitions in front of the most demanding boxing audience in the country before moving on to greater challenges.

Acuña is no stranger to stepping into the lion’s den and coming out victorious. She was the first woman to set foot there when she won her first title in 2003 against Panama’s Damaris Pinock Ortega, and has fought there seven more times, many as a headliner. “La Tigresa” (The Tigress) also became the country’s first woman to receive a license in 2001 after chaining herself to the gates of the local Argentine Boxing Federation to demand the regulation of women’s boxing in the country. To make her case, she had traveled to the US to start her career a couple of years earlier, facing future first-ballot Hall of Famers Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker in her first two professional bouts.

Since then, Argentina has generated dozens of female champions, and Dionicius (31-3, 6 KOS), is one of them. “La Gurisa” (The Kid) was a long-reigning junior bantamweight titlist routinely considered as one of the best pound-for-pound in her best years.

Together, they will headline an event promoted by Osvaldo Rivero’s O.R. Promotions, which has recently suffered the departure of many of its most promising fighters to other rival companies. Still, a number of up-and-coming talents will be featured in the undercard.

Light-heavyweight Braian Suarez (15-0, 14 KOs) will be facing Colombian Juan Boada (11-2, 5 KOs) in the co-main event. Previously, Kevin Muñoz (12-0, 5 KOs) will be defending his South American bantamweight belt against Nicolas Aquino (8-4-1, 3 KOs).

Alan Chaves (4-0, 3 KOs), cousin of former titlist Diego Chaves and part of a long dynasty of fighters tracing their roots to the most glorious era of the Luna Park, will also be featured in the undercard.