This weekend, there were two more spirited and contentious female title fights. On Friday evening at the Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton, Alberto, Canada, you had the Canadian Jelena Mrdjenovich bloodied face and all exhibiting tremendous stamina and courage while winning back her WBC & WBA World featherweight titles from the tough Argentinian, Edith Soledad Matthysse (Matthysse being the sister of both Lucas “La Máquina” Matthysse and Walter “El Terrible” Matthysse).
After 10 hard fought rounds, Mrdjenovich won a close unanimous decision victory, receiving a 96-93 score from judge Craig Metcafe, a 97-92 score from judge Ed Pearson and a 96-93 score from judge Joel Scobie. Unlike their earlier title fight back on August 1, 2015 all three of Friday’s judges were from the Edmonton, Alberto area and two had judged at least eight of Mrdjenovich’s previous fights.
Back on August 1, 2015, at the Caseros Auditorium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Matthysse was in the driver’s seat and won by a unanimous decision. All three judges at that contest had Matthysse winning: Stanley Christodouou from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa scored the bout 97-93, Gustavo Padilla from Panama City, Panama had it 98-92 and Samuel Conde Lopez from Puerto Rico scored it 96-94, all for Matthysse.
After pummeling each other for nine rounds, it appears the tenth and final was the decider of who won this match. In that final round, with Mrdjenovich biding her time to land the difference maker, Matthysse suddenly slowed a bit while throwing this short right cross. As a result, she left herself open for this perfectly timed three punch counter ending with a left hook that stunned Matthysse enough to have her drop to the canvas. Though visibly shaken, Matthysse wasted no time and got right back on her feet to convince all parties that it was just a flash knockdown and no more. As we look back at the scorecards it appears that one 10-8 round made the difference. The three judges scored the bout 96-93, 96-93 and 97-92 all favoring Jelena, who with the win improves to (36-10-1, 19 KOs) and of course regains her title. If the knockdown in the final round hadn’t occurred, there’s a distinct possibility Matthysse would have earned herself a draw.
On Saturday night, March 12th, 1,991 miles almost directly south of Edmonton, at the Jose Santos Neri Auditorium in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the 28 year-old Zulina “La Loba” Munoz of Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico, the current WBC World Super Flyweight Champ faced the 41 year-old Christina “Lightning” McMahon (7-1, 3 KOs) of Monaghan, Ireland to defend her title. This bout also went the full 10 rounds as Munoz had a time of it trying to deal with the awkward style of the valiant McMahon.
In the end, the strong and well conditioned Munoz had made the eighth defense of her WBC title. The scorecards had her winning 97-94, 96-94 and 96-94 which makes it sound like it was a close fight, but it wasn’t. The punch stats should prove Munoz landed far more punches, especially to the midsection and not once or twice, but five times the wild swinging McMahon was warned after hitting Munoz on the back of her head. That being said, the most startling punches in the fight came from the southpaw McMahon who landed these wild left hooks and looping rights while Munoz remained more disciplined and her punches went straight at McMahon.
Prior to the bout, Munoz had made a point of mentioning how she was going to go all out to show her appreciation for the support she had received from the residents of Juarez. That fan support became more and more evident as this 10 round battle unfolded. While politely applauding the young lady from the Emerald Isle, the partisan crowd roared each time Munoz landed a punch.
As mentioned Munoz didn’t have it go her way as easy as she predicted. At various points, McMahon’s power punches got through Munoz’s defenses and had the champion’s head snapping back. However, the busier Munoz never lost her composure and responded each time McMahon mounted a rally. Munoz was always in command of the fight. With the win, she improved her already impressive record to 46-1-2, 27 KOs, while McMahon dropped to 7-2, 3 KOs.
Next Friday, March 18, 2016 is the WBC’s first Female World Heavyweight Title fight between Alejandra “La Tigre” Jimenez and Martha Elena “Shadow” Salazar in Cancun, Quintana, Mexico. We will keep you posted.