Everything is set for the Oasis Hotel Complex in Cancun, Quintana Roo to host the first WBC Female Heavyweight title bout; a historic moment with the Mexican-American champion 5’9”, 46 year-old Martha “Shadow” Salazar (13-4, 3 KOs) of San Francisco, Calif. defending her title against 28 year-old, 5’11” Alejandra “Tigre” Jiménez (5-0, 4 KOs) of Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico.
What do we know about Salazar? First of all, she usually weighs around 234 pounds by fight time and has now been boxing on and off for 16 years. In her last two fights, mismatches against Tanzee Daniel and Sonya Lamonakis, they were so one-sided that Salazar took every round. Her biggest fights were against the now retired 6 foot – 6 inch, 182½ pound Vonda “All-American Girl” Ward who beat Salazar three times. In their first meeting at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Ward won a close split decision. In their second meeting on July 11, 2003, Ward won easily with an unanimous decision. In their third and final meeting, February 10, 2007, over nine years ago, Salazar again lost, this time by a mixed decision. In each meeting, Salazar outweighed her opponent by at least 50 pounds.
The comments from Salazar, the WBC heavyweight champ at today’s press conference in Cancun: “I’m not ready to give up being the world champion. It was hard getting it and I want to make it clear I am in Cancun to defend it. I am also very motivated because I am in my land. The fact that this is a historic fight card motivates me as well.”
Jimenez, who is young enough to be Salazar’s daughter, had this to say: “I am not in a hurry. I feel in great shape and more than ready for this great moment. Even though I respect my rival, I am going to win. I am also fighting where I got my start. My debut was in this city and on Friday I really hope to win the crown here. There will be a new champion.
“My speed is much better than hers. I don’t know about her punching power. I guess she’s not a puncher, because she hasn’t knocked anyone out in her last couple fights, as I did. Also, my power has increased since my last fight.”
To help improve her skills, Jiménez has been helped by welterweight Antonio Pitalua, who demands that she focus on being more accurate and faster. She’s also been practicing with heavyweights Ornar Sandoval and Martín Leal to gain even more strength.
“We have watched videos of Martha’s fights, at least three times per week,” stated Jiménez. “We’ve tried to sharpen every last detail, so now we feel we know all of her strengths and weaknesses. I’ve also focused on my conditioning. In that regard, I believe we have peaked at just the right time. I’ve been working with men heavier than myself to gain better stamina. I will be the next female heavyweight champion of the world.”
Regarding home-field advantage, Jimenez has never fought anywhere else. Every one of her five fights has been fought right there in her home state of Quintana Roo, Mexico and only one of those fights went the distance.
The show’s promoter José Alberto Gómez Alvarez, who hosted the Pre-fight Press conference, added: “We are fulfilling one of Don Jose Suliaman’s dreams. He always wanted to have a WBC Female Heavyweight championship bout. We organized the male version here years ago when we crowned Muhammad Ali as the King of Boxing, and now it is time for this fight to also shine in our country.”