Naoko Fujioka wants to steal the show on Japan v USA challenge

The cardboard headlined by the Gilberto Ramirez-Sullivan Barrera light-heavyweight conflict, with a tasty Joseph Diaz-Javier Fortuna appetizer because the co-main, can even function an fascinating double-header of types.

Embedded in a talent-laden lineup of a couple of dozen fights, we’ll see two matchups that carry sufficient weight to have headlined a card of their very own. Give it some thought as a feminine reply to the “Tremendous Fly” extravaganza.

Or as a four-way elimination event to resolve who’s the baddest of all of them within the below 118-pound area in ladies’s boxing.

The combat that can certainly make the reside broadcast on DAZN from the Banc of California Stadium tomorrow (Friday, July ninth), might be Seniesa Estrada’s problem of Japan’s Tenkai Tsunami for the latter’s WBO junior flyweight belt.

However with some luck, we can even get to see the opposite leg of this twin Japan vs. USA all-female championship conflict, during which Mexican-born Arizona resident Sulem Urbina could have the hardest problem of your complete foursome when she meets a real legend with the WBA flyweight title at stake.

And if you’re analyzing this bout utilizing chilly numbers and statistics, the beltholder on responsibility in that combat needs you to know that you’re in for a critical shock. “Individuals speak about my age, and a few folks say I’m too outdated,” stated the 45-years outdated Naoko Fujioka (pictured above), who might be defending one of many 5 title belts she has received in an equal variety of divisions in a historic profession.

“However for me, age doesn’t matter. I do know what I can do, and I’m stronger than 10 years in the past. Additionally, I’ve an extended profession as a boxer. I do know Urbina (under) is hard and robust. She has a powerful self-discipline and is aware of what she needs to perform. It’s the identical with me.”

Fujioka (18-2-1, 7 KO, ranked No. 1 by The Ring at flyweight) turned a titleholder in her fifth combat, and has been a perennial pound-for-pound entrant since then, raking in belts in each division between strawweight and bantamweight.

Her two solely losses got here when combating in her opponent’s backyards, and all the time by shut choices. Nonetheless, on the subject of making her first trek to the US, she is satisfied that her probabilities of success lay past the results of the combat.

“I’m so excited as a result of I actually felt that boxing is a giant enterprise and leisure right here within the US,” stated Fujioka. “In Japan, feminine boxing is just not in style. I wish to make feminine boxing extra in style. Additionally, I actually need Japanese feminine boxers to be acknowledged. So, I’ve been excited about combating within the US for a very long time. It’s crucial for me, my supporters, and Japanese boxers.”

The implied reward of showcasing her abilities within the largest boxing market on the planet, win or lose, can positively be a supply of motivation for a fighter who could also be nearing the top of an extended profession. However there’s additionally the implied understanding that these two fights have bundled collectively in the identical card for a purpose. And that purpose is to behave as a chance for the “home fighter” Seniesa Estrada to start her personal assortment of title belts.

A local of East L.A. and a former strawweight titleholder already, Estrada (20-0, 8 KOs, No. 1 in The Ring’s 105-pound rankings) might be making the leap to 108-pounds to fulfill Tsunami (under).

She’s a legend in her personal proper and, at 36 years of age, probably the most skilled fighter in your complete bunch, with a document of 28-12 (18 KOs) to her credit score since her debut in 2005.

However Estrada, who’s already listed as No. 9 in The Ring’s pound-for-pound record, is on a search-and-destroy mission to seize as many titles as potential in a profession that, despite her 28 years of age, is just starting to take off.

Estrada clearly hasn’t gotten weary of the grind, you see her joyfulness overflow after having her hand raised.

Tsunami might be her first cease in that race, however logic signifies that Estrada might be trying to transfer ahead along with her profession by shifting up in weight once more as early as her subsequent combat (she already held a nugatory belt of the notorious “interim” selection at 112-pounds), and that highway will certainly lead her to the winner of Fujioka-Urbina.

Which fits Fujioka simply superb, and provides an additional diploma of motivation for her forward of her US debut. “I feel I have to carry out successfully,” stated Fujioka, understanding that a powerful efficiency in opposition to Urbina will go a great distance in securing a combat in opposition to Seniesa within the close to future. “I feel I can do this primarily based on my lengthy profession as a boxer. There may be all the time aspect and a foul aspect to all the things. However once more, age doesn’t matter in my case. I’ll reap the benefits of my expertise like youthful fighters use their youth.”

An eventual Fujioka-Estrada combat with a flyweight title at stake can be the last word crossroads combat to be made within the decrease weights in feminine boxing, with the winner both cementing her place as a pound-for-pound entrant within the case of Estrada or inflicting Fujioka to re-enter the legendary rankings in dramatic and superb style.

Fujioka, a really vocal proponent of her personal candidacy to the P4P rankings on social media, would most likely agree with this. However for now, she has set different kind of targets for herself. Geographical targets, sure, however lofty nonetheless. “My subsequent vacation spot is Las Vegas,” she stated. “So long as I really feel being stronger than yesterday, I received’t cease. If I really feel I can’t be stronger than yesterday, perhaps it’s time to cease. I’m unsure about it but.”

For feminine boxing to realize a foothold in Sin Metropolis, the place male boxing already reigns supreme, extra than simply a few nice fights on Friday might be wanted. And Fujioka is aware of the collective accountability of all feminine fighters to proceed delivering thrilling fights in aggressive matchups time after time earlier than claiming their place on the huge desk.

“Feminine boxing needs to be extra dramatic and dynamic,” she stated. “I do know some folks don’t like feminine boxing. They are saying, ‘feminine boxers are too sluggish,’ or ‘it’s boring.’ For my part, it’s not true. Feminine boxing is just not the inferior model of males’s boxing. They’re simply completely different. For instance, feminine boxers have a tendency to return too shut. Feminine boxers want a distance. If you happen to preserve sufficient distance, you’ll be able to punch more durable and quicker. This makes boxing matches extra thrilling. We will present extra ways and robust punches reasonably than clinching.”

On Friday, the mixed kinds and observe data of those 4 feminine fighters might be on show, and there might be loads of ways, sturdy punches and pleasure for them to clinch a everlasting spot in all future huge boxing playing cards, in Vegas or elsewhere. And with some luck, a brand new legend might be born – or an outdated one will add yet one more achievement to her already stellar Corridor of Fame credentials.

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