Tijuana’s Kenia Enriquez dominated from the opening bell to win the vacant WBO female flyweight world title by unanimous decision against southpaw Ana Arrazola on Friday in San Diego.
A packed crowd coming from Mexico and the U.S. saw the smiling Enriquez (13-0, 6 Kos) perform impressively at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Arrazola (21-11-2, 13 Kos), from Mexico City, never could get a foothold in the 10 round fight.
“It was a very complicated fight,” said Enriquez after the fight. “She would never stay in front of me.”
With the opening bell Enriquez attacked with powerful punches that seemed to startle Arrazola with their ferocity. It was clear that the former minimum weight world champion expected a more placid and deliberate fight. It was deliberate in only that Enriquez was looking for a knockout in every round.
The crowd on one side of the large hotel reception room shouted intensely every single round with instructions and encouragement. But the cheers were not needed. Enriquez was intent on proving her superiority and that she was superior in speed, power and agility. Arrazola felt the early blows and seemed surprised by the power. For the next nine rounds the Mexico City boxer seemed resigned to surviving, not winning the fight.
Even Enriquez’s jabs had power. She rammed them right through Arrazola’s guard and the power would move her back a step. Straight right leads from Enriquez snapped through Arrazola’s guard and left hooks ripped through too.
Arrazola never stood in one spot and never allowed the Tijuana fighter to pin her against the ropes. The Mexico City boxer always circled and though she never initiated an attack, she also never allowed Enriquez to put full power into her punches.
Though Enriquez smiled frequently in between rounds in her corner, she looked like a heat-seeking missile that would be satisfied with a knockout and nothing else. After five rounds of thorough domination she walked back to her corner with a smile but when the bell rang to begin the next round she slipped into another degree of intensity.
The blows came more frequently from Enriquez and from various angles in the sixth round. Arrazola used all of her technique and wisdom gained from more than 30 fights to fend off the fierce attack. She parried some of the blows and rolled with the punches to reduce the impact of the blistering right hands and hooks. It was the most intense attack of the night. Enriquez would have gained a knockout if the round was three minutes instead of two minutes. But the round ended and Arrazola had survived.
Enriquez softened her attack in the seventh then resumed another fierce attack in round eight. Though not as intense, it was still strong and Arrazola seemed surprised that Enriquez still had the energy. The Tijuana boxer seemed locked in and never seemed to tire.
In the ninth round Enriquez moved in for a knockout again with laser rights that looked beautiful in their speed and technique. A few shots to the body got a reaction from Arrazola, who was determined to not go down. The southpaw would not allow Enriquez to pin her on the ropes and would not stand in front of her for more than 10 seconds. It was a wise plan.
Though Arrazola had not been able to mount an attack at any point in the fight, she did show what could be done to survive. Remarkably the Mexico City boxer never held in the fight. Instead, she parried and circled continuously without running. It was a solid plan but she could never get a bead on Enriquez.
The final round saw Enriquez rip a right hand immediately after shaking Arrazola’s hand with a smile. Friend or no friend, the Tijuana fighter was looking for a knockout win and was taking no prisoners. When the round ended it was clear that Enriquez was the victor.
All three judges scored every round for Enriquez 100-90, 100-90 and 100-89.
“It was the most difficult fight of my life,” said Enriquez. “Whenever I tried to end the fight she would move or do something to get away. But I expect to see this type of fight again in this level.”
Enriquez has also shown that she can bring crowds from both sides of the border.