David Avila

Women’s Boxing: Cream of the Crop, Part I

Without television exposure, female prizefighting has gone largely unrecognized. Most women fight under the radar on small fight cards known as club shows. Seldom are they the main event.

It’s these factors that make it almost impossible to build a fan base or identify the best female fighters in each division.

Another pothole is that many female fighters with world titles refuse to fight outside of their hometown or country. Once they grab a world title, they build gaudy records even though many have flimsy fighting skills.

Here is a list of the three best female prizefighters in each weight division. The factors we used to make our choices: records, skills, strength of competition and willingness to travel.

This is Part 1 of a two-part series. We begin with the eight lightest weight classes.

 

STRAWWEIGHTS

SAMSON TOR BUAMAS

Country: Thailand

Age: 29

Height: 5-3

Record: 26-2, 11 KOs

Summary: She holds the WIBA and WBC strawweight and junior flyweight world titles. The Thai fighter has a 21-fight winning streak and has not lost since 2007.

 

MOMO KOSEKI

Country: Japan

Age: 30

Height: 5-4

Record: 13-2-1, 3 KOs

Summary: The southpaw lost a title fight to Tor Buamas in 2007 but hasn’t lost since. Maybe they ought to meet once again but this time in Japan. Her two losses occurred in Thailand.

 

ETSUKO TADA

Country: Japan

Age: 31

Height: 5-3 ½

Record: 10-0-2, 2 KOs

Summary: The southpaw WBA strawweight champion fought Ria Ramnarine to a draw in Trinidad and Tobago halfway across the globe. That was a gamble but she was willing and able to prove her talent.

 

JUNIOR FLYWEIGHTS

 

JASSETH NORIEGA

Country: Mexico

Age: N/A

Height: N/A

Record: 14-0-1, 5 KOs

Summary: Though she has not built up a fan base comparable to other Mexican fighters, her victory over strawweight titleholder Katy Gutierrez speaks volumes.

 

ANASTASIA TOKTAULOVA

Country: Russia

Age: 35

Height: N/A

Record: 14-11, 2 KOs

Summary: She beat Ramnarine in Trinidad and Tobago for the WBC and WIBA junior fly titles, then moved up in weight and lost to Mariana Juarez. She’s fearless. Ignore her record; it doesn’t reflect her true talent.

 

JU HEE KIM

Country: South Korea

Age: 26

Height: 5-0

Record: 16-1-1, 7 KOs

Summary: She has the GBU, WBF, WIBA, WIBF, IFBA, WBA titles. But despite all the glitter she has never fought outside of Korea, which means she lacks confidence.

 

 

FLYWEIGHTS

 

MARIANA JUAREZ

Country: Mexico

Age: 32

Height: 5-5 ½

Record: 35-5-3, 16 KOs

Summary: The WBC flyweight titleholder has fought numerous times in the U.S. and against heavier opponents. She also is a former junior bantamweight champion. Many consider her one of the top female fighters pound for pound.

 

AVA KNIGHT

Country: U.S.

Age: 23

Height: 5-4

Record: 9-1-3, 5 KOs

Summary: She has knocked out her last two opponents in Mexico, including flyweight titleholder Arely Mucino of Mexico. Knight is the best puncher in the flyweight division.

 

 

MELISSA McMORROW

Country: U.S.

Age: 31

Height: 5-3

Record: 7-3-3, 0 KOs

Summary: The resident of San Francisco outpointed then-undefeated Susi Kentikian in May in Kentikian’s home country of Germany. That’s a significant accomplishment. McMorrow is a pressure fighter.

                                                           

JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHTS

 

ANA MARIA TORRES

Country: Mexico

Age: 32

Height: 5-4

Record: 28-3-3, 16 KOs

Summary: The WBC junior bantamweight titleholder is one of the best all-around boxers from Mexico. Her two battles with junior featherweight champion Jackie Nava proved her worth. Her last two losses came in Korea. But it’s nearly impossible to win a decision in that country, where the judging and refereeing is notoriously atrocious.

 

TENKAI TSUNAMI

Country: Japan

Age: 27

Height: 5-2

Record: 18-4, 7 KOs

Summary:The WBA junior bantamweight titleholder has fought numerous times outside of her country, in Korea. She is undefeated the past five years.

 

SIMONA GALASSI

Country: Italy

Age: 40

Height: 5-5

Record: 17-1-1, 3 KOs

Summary: The IBF titleholder’s only loss was to Juarez last year at flyweight in Mexico. The former flyweight champion can really fight.

 

BANTAMWEIGHTS

 

SUSIE RAMADAN

Country: Australia

Age: 33

Height: N/A

Record: 23-1, 8 KOs

Summary: She lost to Yazmin Rivas in Mexico and then beat Alesia Graf in Australia. Ramadan showed grit traveling to Mexico, which is one reason she is on this list.

 

MELINDA COOPER

Country: U.S.

Age: 27

Height: 5-2½

Record: 21-2, 11 KOs

Summary: She had been campaigning at a heavier weight class but is actually a bantamweight or junior bantamweight. Her only losses came at 122 pounds. She has speed, tremendous power and experience fighting outside the U.S.

 

USANAKORN KOKIETGYM

Country: Thailand

Age: 24

Height: N/A

Record: 11-2, 10 KOs

Summary: Her only loss came against Torres by a close decision. She packs power but must win by knockout or risk losing by decision. She has fought in Mexico and the Philippines, most recently losing to Ramadan in Australia.

 

JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHTS

 

JACKIE NAVA

Country: Mexico

Age: 32

Height: 5-3

Record: 27-4-3, 11 KOs

Summary: She knows how to fight and has done so in Argentina and the U.S. She has a loss and a draw against Torres. Lately, she has refused to fight outside of Mexico.

 

KALIESHA WEST

Country: U.S.

Age: 24

Height: 5-4

Record: 15-1-3, 4 KOs

Summary: The former bantamweight world titleholder has moved up a weight division. She has fought in Denmark, Peru and Mexico. She could be the fastest 122-pounder and one of the most skillful.

 

KATY CASTILLO

Country: Dominican Republic

Age: 21

Height: N/A

Record: 15-1, 9 KOs

Summary: She beat Ada Velez for the world title in a tremendous upset earlier in the year. Her only loss was in Panama to the very tough Ogleidis Suarez.

 

FEATHERWEIGHTS

 

JELENA MRDJENOVICH

Country: Canada

Age: 30

Height: 5-7

Record: 28-8-1, 14 KOs

Summary: She found success once she dropped down in weight to featherweight. She beat Fujin Raika in Japan. She has back-to-back knockouts over Olivia Gerula and Lindsay Garbatt, and her most recent fight was a win over veteran Belinda Laracuente.

 

OGLEIDIS SUAREZ  

Country: Venezuela

Age: 24

Height: N/A

Record: 17-2-1, 7 KOs

Summary: She has a five-fight winning streak since moving up to the featherweight class. That includes a victory over Castillo.

 

DAHIANA SANTANA

Country: Dominican Republic

Age: 27

Height: 5-6

Record: 29-6, 13 KOs

Summary: The skillful boxer-puncher recently avenged a loss to Stacey Reile. She has fought in Costa Rica and the U.S.

 

JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHTS

 

KINA MALPARTIDA

Country: Peru

Age: 32

Height: 5-8

Record: 14-3, 4 KOs

Summary: She has lived and fought in Australia, the U.S. and Peru. She uses her reach and speed to win fights and has steadily improved. She has not lost since 2008.

 

AMANDA SERRANO

Country: U.S.

Age: 23

Height: 5-5

Record: 14-1-1, 9 KOs

Summary: She recently lost a decision to Frida Wahlberg in Sweden and has also fought in the Dominican Republic numerous times. She’s very strong.

 

DIANA PRAZAK

Country: Australia

Age: 33

Height: N/A

Record: 11-1, 7 KOs

Summary: She recently won the WIBA title by stopping Garbatt in Australia. She can both box and punch and is very strong for the division. She has been living and training in Los Angeles.

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