The inhabitants of Tijuana call this man, Tijuana Shrek. Whenever there’s a special cause, a fundraiser for cancer or the like, you know you can count on this local hero to respond. As a result, Zanfer Promotions has Shrek, aka Hugo Garcia, on speed dial. Also, it’s a good idea to have like-minded people on hand like Wanda “the Fight Lady” Countess-Jiles of the Hall of Fame Committee and Juan Carlos Pelayo, Director of the Tijuana Boxing Commission around to act as a foil for Shrek’s shenanigans.
On Wednesday, the Grand Hotel in Tijuana welcomed with open arms the delegates to this year’s World Boxing Council Female Convention. As a result, you couldn’t look right or left without seeing the movers and shakers of the sport coming through the front door. They came from all over. Some of these travelers had been in transit for over 24 hours. You had managers, promoters, ring officials, the media plus the commissioners from the WBC and even a young lady from the WBA all hoping to get their one on one interview with the athletes.
This is a sample of what the visitors viewed on Wednesday evening when they entered the lobby of the Grand Hotel in Tijuana. Their eyes got real big as they looked around at the festivities. “Oh my gosh, is that Lonnie Ali in the hallway with the president of the WBC, Mauricio Sulaiman? Will you look at all of these fabulous female athletes.”
Like the alumni who mingle about at a high school reunion, you had all these present and past World Boxing Champions greeting one another and being fan friendly. To name drop, there was Mia St. John (the former lightweight & welterweight champion from Canoga Park, Calif., Tijuana’s Kenia Enriquez (former WBO light flyweight champ and her sister Tania Enriquez, Martha Salazar (the current WBC heavyweight champ from San Francisco, Calif., supermiddleweight Nikki Adler from Augsburg, Bayern, Germany, superwelterweight Mikaela Lauren from Stockholm, Sweden, lightweight champion Delfine Persoon from Roselare, West Vlaanderen, Belgium, super bantamweight Alicia Ashley from Westbury, N. Y., bantamweight Yazmin Rivas from Torreon, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico, minimumweight Ana Arrazola from Tlalnepantla, México, bantamweight champion Zulina Munoz and flyweight champion Jessica Chavez from Distrito Federal, Mexico City, Mexico and so on.
(top, l to r) Coach Filiep Tampere and the Undisputed Female World Lightweight Champion Delfine Persoon of Belguim. After traveling from such a faraway distance, the champion wasted little time and got right to work signing the many autograph requests. All photos: Jim Wyatt
How is it that these Tijuana boxing officials can be so serious on fight night and yet here they were clowning around at the convention with Tijuana Shrek? (l to r) Judges Carlos Flores, Sergio Lechuga, (Shrek), judge Leo Bardo Ibarra and the commission’s head of officials Alejandro Garcia.
(top) Thank goodness for this conscientious autograph seeker who was able to waylay the renown ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. who thought he could get past this member of the paparazzi. (below) We have a photo of veteran Judge Alejandro Rochin, his wife, two children plus fellow officials from the Tijuana boxing commission.
Kenia Enriguez, the former WBO Light Flyweight Champ and her undefeated sister, Tania, pose for photos. (right) The pair ambushes the renown Sportswriter/podcast talk show host Felipe Leon who reluctantly sat in the chair earmarked for Tijuana royalty.
(bottom right) boxers Jennifer Han, Maureen “The Real Million Dollar Baby” Shea, sports commentator Silvana E. Carsetti from Fox Desportes and TYC Sports, boxers Alicia “Slick” Ashley and Yulihan “La Cobrita”Alejandra Luna.
(photo, top) Put that fork down: We all joked with Zulina “Loba” Munoz about diving into the delicious birthday cake. Being such a hot property Munoz had her whole crew standing nearby (l to r) chief trainer Mauro Ayala, promoter Victor Zavalza and of course her manager Jose Luis Camarillo.
The posters and banners of the great female athletes were everywhere.
(top, l to r) Nikki Adler (super middleweight of Augsburg, Bayern, Germany and Mikaela Lauren (superwelterweight/Stockholm, Sweden) were all smiles when they met up at the hotel. Just recently Lauren had been in San Diego working out at The Arena with Danyelle Wolfe. (bottom) Light flyweight Ana Arrazola and her husband/trainer were present. Arrazola and Kenia Enriquez fought for the WBO Flyweight title back on November 21, 2014 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in San Diego. (r) Blanca Mayagoitia, Maribel Sanabria and Alejandro Centurion.
(top, l to r) Eddie Montoya, boxer Raja Amasheh from Karlsruhe, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, Wanda Countiss-Jiles; boxer Alicia “Slick” Ashley, (bottom) the charming Irma “Torbellino” Garcia, and finally two Tijuana Boxing officials Julian Palumbo and Alejandro Rochin.
(top, l to r) Boxing official Benjamin Rendon poses for a photo with his daughter Monique. Next, boxers Esmeralda Moreno, Irma Garcia and World Flyweight Champion Ibeth “La Roca” Zamora Silva; (bottom) WBC Heavyweight Champ Martha Salazar (r) and confident challenger Alejandra Jimenez; and finally Salazar, Salazar’s manager Blanca Gutierrez, Patricia Fajardo and Jimenez.
At the evening’s festive cocktail party you either heard a lively, animated conversation about the glorious past or someone was discussing the possibility of an upcoming fight. The talk of the heavyweight clash between the soon to be 46 year-old, 235 pound, 5’9″ WBC Champion Martha Elena “The Shadow” Salazar (13-4, 3 KOs) from San Francisco, Calif. and the 28-year-old knockout artist, 5’11”, 211 pound Alejandra “La Tigre” Jimenez (5-0, 4 KOs) from Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico seemed to be one of the hottest topics. Talk is, it will happen soon.
With all his free time, Eddie Montavo, Board Member/Exec. Dir. at the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame, Resource member at WBAN and Business Manager & Advisor at Boxing Lives in Tampa, Florida, was all over the place (top, l to r) with Shivana Inalsingh, chairwoman of WBA’s Female Championship Committee, bottom with newly arriving Mia St. John and WBC Chairman Malte Mueller-Michaelis and finally with Mia St. John’s daughter Paris St. John, no relation to Paris Hilton.
Fight fans were picking their favorite boxers, judge Carlos Flores said it has to be Irma Garcia, yours truly disagreed and went with Ibeth “La Roca” Zamora. (below) hanger-ons, (l to r) Alejandra Jimenez, Ismeralda Moreno, Anabel Ortiz, Sergio Lechuga, Ibeth Zamora and Cristian Curiel. Final photo (l to r) boxing official Sergio Lechuga, WBC executive Deborah Hawkins from Dallas, Texas and finally boxing judge Carlos Flores.
The WBC Convention agenda for Thursday, January 28
9:00 a.m. Official opening with all the ladies asked to wear White Outfits if possible
Noon: Departure to Valle de Guadalupe for lunch and a winery tour – more Casual attire
20:00 Talent show and social gathering at the “Tribeca disco” – again casual attire
Friday, January 29
09:00 – 13:00 is their working session
13:00 – 15:00 Lunch
15:00 – 18:00 return to the work session
19:30 – gathering in the Lobby to attend the Gala dinner and awards presentations at the Baloyan House/ Formal attire required
Saturday, January 30
09:00 – 11:00 Final working session
11:30 – 13:00 WBC Cares visit – Casual attire – 1) with representatives from the UCLA Hospital medical team offering a brain injury presentation, 2) a talk on the impact that social media has on Female Boxing, 3) a talk about the promoting of Female Boxing, 4) Dr. Paul Wallace will offer attendees a fascinating insight into the medical aspects applicable in female boxing, 5) a talk on the worldwide impact of Female Boxing with its amazing surge and recognition especially during recent years.
16:00 is the scheduled departure time from the hotel to go to the Centro de Convenciones, Rosarito, B. C., Mexico to attend the World Title fight between the WBC bantamweight champion Yazmin “La Rusita” Rivas from Torreon, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico and the challenger Catherine Phiri from Lusaka, Zambia plus they have Raja Amasheh scheduled to defend her WBC Silver Flyweight Title against the 47 year-old Eileen “The Hawaiian Mongoose”Olszewski of New York by way of Honolulu, Hawaii who is the oldest flyweight in history, male or female, to win a share of the world flyweight title at age 45. Plus, they have nine additional bouts, one features super welterweight Ramon “Inocente” Alvarez of Guadalajara, Jalisco taking on James “Shotgun” Winchester of Reidsville, North Carolina.
21:30 – Farewell informal dinner
Sunday, January 31 is for the all day departures of athletes and delegates