Wednesday, July 17, 2024  |


Yulihan Luna decisions Mayeli Flores in first WBC 118-pound title defense

Yulihan Luna vs. Mayeli Flores
Fighters Network

Yulihan Luna defeated Mayeli Flores by unanimous decision to successfully retain her WBC female bantamweight title Saturday night at Gimnasio Miguel Hidalgo, in Puebla, Mexico.

Scores were 95-92, 95-91 and 99-89 for Luna, who improves to 23-3-1 (4 knockouts) and is ranked No. 2 by The Ring at 118 pounds in its female rankings.

Saturday marked Luna’s first defense of her title but it was anything but a walk in the park as Flores came to fight, creating action-filled exchanges as the bout progressed.

In the opening round, the shorter Flores knocked Luna’s mouthpiece out with a left hook upstairs. Sensing Luna was hurt, Flores was about to move in but referee Laurentino Ramirez immediately stepped in to have the mouthpiece put back into Luna’s mouth, causing Flores’ corner to become upset as an opportunity was missed to follow up.

Momentum swung in Luna’s favor midway through the second round as a left hook to the chin dropped Flores to the canvas. Flores was visibly hurt and fought back as the action resumed. Both fighters had their moments as Flores did her best to walk Luna down and connect to the head and body.

Luna, who resides in Gomez Palacio, Mexico, was inexplicably deducted a point by Ramirez during the fifth round for holding when a warning was never given earlier in the fight. Flores was correctly deducted a point during the sixth round as an accidental clash of heads opened a cut above Luna’s left eye. The WBC is the only sanctioning body that enforces a rule that a fighter is deducted a point when the opponent suffers a cut from an accidental headbutt.

As the fight progressed into the later rounds, Flores found success getting inside Luna’s guard, connecting to the head with left hooks and right crosses. Luna landed an array of uppercuts and counter right hands to the head. Although they looked tired, both women emptied the tank, giving the fans in attendance and watching on ESPN+ stellar exchanges until the final bell sounded.

Luna won the WBC title by defeating longtime titleholder Mariana Juarez in October 2020. She had two stay-busy fights since then against fighters with losing records.

Flores, who resides in Mexico City, drops to 8-1-1 (3 KOs).

In the co-feature, lightweight Oscar Duarte, of Parral, Mexico, stopped Argentina’s Fernando Cancino (11-10-1, 3 KOs) in the fifth round.

After a slow start, Duarte (22-1-1, 17 KOs) finally let his hands go with authority in the third round. He hurt Cancino with a left hook to the head, sending him reeling against the ropes. Midway through the fifth round, Duarte battered Cancino, dropping him to the canvas, prompting the referee to stop the fight at 1:47.

Junior featherweight Bryan Mercado, of Mexico City, improved to 21-1 (16 KOs) by dropping Cancun’s Pedro Tut (22-2, 6 KOs) twice en route to a stoppage win during the opening round. Mercado dropped Tut twice with right uppercuts to the head. After the second knockdown, the fight was stopped at 1:56.

Flyweight Saul Rivera (4-0, 3 KOs), of Puebla, thrilled his hometown fans by making quick work of Mexico City’s Pedro Marino (0-2), dropping him twice before the fight was stopped at 1:16 of the second round.

Bantamweight Agustin Perez, another fighter from Puebla, defeated previously-unbeaten Edgar Gonzalez (8-1, 4 KOs) by unanimous decision. Scores were 59-56 twice and 58-56 for Perez, who improves to 7-3-1 (3 KOs).

Saturday’s card was co-promoted by Promociones del Pueblo and Cancun Boxing.



Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.