Celeste ‘Chucky’ Alaniz ‘hugely motivated’ to take Marlen Esparza’s Ring belt
Argentina has produced a group of supremely talented female boxers over the past 25 years, but very few have generated more interest than flyweight titlist Celeste Alaniz.
The 27-year-old Alaniz (whose full name is Gabriela Celeste Alaniz but goes by Celeste in her professional career) is a non-stop punching machine with above-average power and superb boxing skills, and the general consensus was that it was a matter of time before she could grab one of the many belts lying around. That day came on June 18, 2022, when Alaniz took Tamara De Marco’s WBO flyweight belt by stoppage in the seventh round, starting a championship reign that Alaniz will try to take to the next level when she faces Ring champion and WBA/WBC titleholder Marlen Esparza on Saturday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
DAZN will stream the Golden Boy Promotions card, which will be headlined by the Vergil Ortiz-Eimantas Stanionis welterweight title bout.
“It is a huge motivation to have the opportunity to be the first Argentine fighter to obtain such a prestigious title,” said Alaniz (14-0, 6 knockouts) in a telephone interview, regarding the possibility of becoming the very first Argentine woman to lift the legendary Ring belt. “I love a good challenge. That’s why I train so hard, to face every challenge and to go all the way, for everything.”
Alaniz will have quite the challenge in front of her in the form of Esparza (13-1, 1 KO), an experienced champion who has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that she will walk through fire and fight through gruesome injuries to remain in the fight and get the win. Esparza survived one of the nastiest cuts ever seen in a women’s boxing match against her nemesis Seniesa Estrada back in 2019, and it will take all of Alaniz’s power to keep Esparza at bay.
Even though she refuses to reveal her fight plan, Alaniz is supremely confident in her abilities.
“My fight plan? You will see it on that day, round by round. I will return to my country with all the titles at stake that night,” said Alaniz. “I am super well prepared and focused for this fight. Since I became world champion I said that I wanted to face the champions in my category, and Esparza is not the exception.”
The fight was supposed to happen earlier in the year but it was delayed due to visa issues.
“I heard about the possibility of this fight earlier in the year, and I didn’t hesitate,” said Alaniz. “We were told we were going to fight in April but due to a visa issue I couldn’t travel. But now everything is in place for me to compete on July 8, and I couldn’t be happier that this fight is finally happening.”
Alaniz counts on her non-stop style to force Esparza to fight off her back foot and surrender the initiative, and she has been building up her style since the beginning of her career. Her nickname of “Chucky” stems from that very style. It is taken from the blood-hungry murderous doll of the “Child’s Play” franchise series, and it is a nickname she embraces as it describes her very essence in the ring.
For now, however, she is just relishing her chance to show it all off in what will be her first trip abroad.
“I am super happy to be able to fight in the U.S., to show what Chucky Alaniz is all about,” she said. “I am happy that the fight is happening both for me and for my team. We’re always working very hard with Leandro and Cesar Ledesma. Thanks to them I am what I am.”
Diego M. Morilla writes for The Ring since 2013. He has also written for HBO.com, ESPN.com and many other magazines, websites, newspapers and outlets since 1993. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He has won two first-place awards in the BWAA’s annual writing contest, and he is the moderator of The Ring’s Women’s Ratings Panel. He served as copy editor for the second era of The Ring en Español (2018-2020) and is currently a writer and editor for RingTV.com.