Resilient atomweight Denise Castle retires at 51 after fifth-round loss to Sana Hazuki

Denise Fortress (proper) fought valiantly in opposition to Sana Hazuki however was stopped within the fifth spherical of their atomweight bout in Thailand. (Picture by Wasim Mather)

Japanese atomweight (102 kilos) Sana Hazuki (10-8-1, 4 KOs) secured victory over England’s Denise Fortress (3-4, 3 KOs) immediately in Bangkok, Thailand, after Fortress’s nook — her husband and coach, Lorne Fortress — made the robust resolution to retire her after the fifth spherical because of a major hematoma forming over her left eye.

The story of Denise Fortress is certainly intriguing, because the resilient Englishwoman is at present 51 years outdated, along with her 52nd birthday simply across the nook.

Hailing from Bournemouth, positioned 94 miles southwest of London, Fortress launched into her profession as a Muay Thai fighter, attaining success within the sport of eight limbs whereas claiming the WBC and S1 world atomweight Muay Thai titles alongside the best way. “I proved that I used to be one of the best atomweight Muay Thai fighter,” Fortress shared with me. “The president of the WBC, Mauricio Sulaiman, made me the obligatory challenger for the WBC atomweight world title in boxing. I all the time knew I used to be a robust puncher in Muay Thai and wished a brand new problem.”

Fortress made her skilled debut in 2014 on the age of 42, securing a knockout victory in opposition to Dorkmaipa Keangpompetch (3-3) in Bangkok. After yet one more battle, she confronted then-Japanese atomweight champion Momo Koseki (24-2-1, 9 KOs), however was stopped within the eighth spherical. Subsequently, Fortress remained inactive for 4 years till she had the chance to face Fabiana Bytyqi (20-0-2) of the Czech Republic in 2018 for the vacant WBC atomweight title. “The battle with Fabiana was implausible; it was even voted because the WBC ladies’s battle of the 12 months in 2018,” Fortress proudly famous. Bytyqi is currently rated No. 2 by The Ring.

At 51 years outdated, Fortress is unable to acquire a license from the BBBoC (British Boxing Board of Management), which prevents her from competing within the U.Ok. I had the possibility to talk with promoter Rico Langbay Santig and requested about his resolution to permit Fortress to battle. “I promoted a present the place she challenged for the vacant WBC Silver atomweight title in Dubai final 12 months,” he stated. “I lobbied the WBC in Thailand, they usually agreed to let her battle after she handed the medical exams. She is match and robust, so why not?”

Hazuki, a 39-year-old resident of Fukuoka, Japan, had beforehand challenged twice for the IBF strawweight title however fell quick on each events. Regardless of her seemingly misleading file of 10-8-1, she has by no means been knocked out or stopped in a battle, having confronted robust opponents alongside the best way. Hazuki expressed confidence in her preparation going into the battle, stating, “Preparation has been good, and we’ve centered on distance management. If I get previous this battle, I need to pursue the WBC world title belt.”

Hazuki’s correct punches piled on the harm because the rounds handed. (Picture by Wasim Mather)

The battle kicked off at a brisk tempo, with each fighters aggressively participating, trying to land looping left hooks. Hazuki discovered success with robust physique hooks within the first spherical as Fortress pressed ahead. Within the second spherical, Hazuki employed a totally completely different sport plan, boxing from a distance behind a strong jab and using lateral motion whereas attacking Fortress with highly effective combos to the top and physique. Fortress aimed to regulate the middle of the ring, however Hazuki started to seek out her mark along with her proper hand.

Hazuki celebrates her victory. (Picture by Wasim Mather)

By the top of the third spherical, Hazuki transitioned to relentless strain and mixture punching, delivering laborious left hooks to Fortress’s physique and head. With Fortress now bloodied, the referee, Thawuth Pluemsamran, known as for the physician to look at Fortress’s nostril, however the battle was allowed to proceed. Within the fourth spherical, Fortress, now in a southpaw stance, had recovered properly, and her nook suggested her to double up her jab. Fortress appeared to have gained a second wind and had some success along with her jab and proper hand. Nevertheless, Hazuki continued to land exact proper arms and employed efficient footwork and angles.

By the fourth spherical, Fortress gave the impression to be absorbing an extreme quantity of punishment. Within the fifth, swelling started to kind over Fortress’s left eye, and Hazuki dominated with correct combos. On the finish of the spherical, the judges’ scorecards revealed Hazuki main on all three playing cards, 36-40. Within the nook, Lorne Fortress waved off the battle on the conclusion of the fifth spherical. Hazuki picked up the WBC “silver” belt with the victory.

Hazuki’s staff talked about that she would now probably face Bytyqi, the reigning WBC titleholder. As for Fortress, she left every little thing within the ring at 51 years outdated, having confronted among the greatest within the boxing world, difficult twice for a world title and wining a WIBA title alongside the best way. She by no means fought in her homeland because of licensing, however after her battle with Hazuki, Fortress introduced her retirement. She remarked, “Sana was an excellent opponent and, actually, higher than me at the moment. I’d have most popular to lose on factors, however I couldn’t proceed with that hematoma obstructing my imaginative and prescient. I’ve had an unbelievable journey within the sport, and despite the fact that I misplaced, it was to a worthy and honorable opponent, which makes it straightforward to just accept.”

The battle card featured one other noteworthy second when Armenian featherweight Mikael Arutyunyan, who was initially set to battle for the WBC Silver bantamweight title, shocked many by displaying a Russian flag on the weigh-in. The battle was canceled.

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