Marlen Esparza (13-1, 1 KOs) and Gabriela Celeste “Chucky” Alaniz (14-0, 6 KOs) are set to fight on Saturday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The bout will be the co-main event of the evening, where Virgil Ortiz is taking on Eimantas Stanionis for the WBA World Welterweight title.
Both women are looking to unify three flyweight titles. Esparza holds the WBA and WBC straps, while Argentinian Alaniz brings her WBO belt into the ring.
Esparza has an impressive resume, being the first American woman to qualify for boxing at the Olympics, she went on to win the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. She was the first female boxer ever to be signed by Golden Boy Promotions, and is determined to continue her reign by becoming the undisputed champion of the flyweight division.
Esparza’s only career loss came when she was defeated by Seniesa Estrada in November 2019 for the WBA Interim World Flyweight Title. In that singular career defeat to Estrada, the fight was stopped in Round 9 after Esparza suffered a cut from an accidental head clash, with the victory awarded to Estrada unanimously on a technical decision.
Esparza will turn 34 just three weeks after this fight and hopes to celebrate that landmark with a third world title.
12 of Esparza’s 13 career victories have been claimed by UD, including each of her last eight. All four of her world-title wins have taken place in her home state of Texas.
Consequently, this will be Esparza’s fifth consecutive fight in her home state of Texas, after contesting her first 10 career bouts on the road, between California (6), Nevada (3) and Michigan (1).
The Houston native expects her opponent to come into the ring with an aggressive style, especially since “Chucky” Alaniz has won her last three fights by technical knockouts.
“I`m expecting this to be entertaining and full of action, but there will also be a lot of strategy involved. I know she’s going to fight hard, because she`s got nothing to lose.
“Gabriela won’t be that strategic herself, but rough, trying to use her strength. Let me tell you, it’ll need a lot more than athleticism to defeat me. It’s taken me my whole life to get this far, and I’m taking it very seriously!”
The bout was originally set for April, but fell through due to issues regarding the Argentian’s visa status.
“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.”
Her ring name “Chucky” is a tribute to her fierce and captivating style, drawing inspiration from the bloodthirsty doll of the “Child’s Play” franchise. She proudly embraces the nickname, as it encapsulates her unique essence within the ring.
Currently, she is savoring the opportunity to showcase her skills on an international stage, as she prepares for her inaugural journey overseas.
“I am super happy to be able to fight in the U.S., to show what ‘Chucky’ Alaniz is all about.
“I am happy that the fight is happening for me and my team. We’re always working very hard with Leandro and Cesar Ledesma. Thanks to them, I am what I am.”
Alaniz enters this fight on the best KO streak of her career with three successive stoppage victories, whilst “Chucky” has won six of her last eight fights by KO, after her opening six wins were all taken by UD.
All six of Alaniz’s KO victories have been recorded in Round 4 or beyond, meaning that all 14 of her professional fights have lasted at least four rounds.
Alaniz looks to continue her knockout streak as an undefeated fighter, but this fight is definitely going to be her biggest challenge thus far.