Kenia Enriquez defeats Maria Salinas to win the WBC Flyweight Title

The fight poster featured the Kenia Enriquez championship bout versus southpaw Maria Salinas of Saltillo, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico and a lightweight contest between Orlando “Siri” Salido (43-13-4) and Amphon Suriyo (18-2, 14 KOs). As it turned out, Suriyo was replaced by Aristides Perez (30-10-2) from Cartagena, Colombia, a 36-year-old with a padded record. The non-competitive Perez ended up being retired by his corner at the end of round seven.

On Saturday evening, May 27, 2017, the 23-year-old Kenia Enriquez (now 19-1, 9 KOs), fought spectacularly in the complete and utter destruction of the gutsy but much shorter Maria Salinas (15-5-3, 5 KOs) from Saltillo, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico. At the neutral site, Palenque de la Expo in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, Enriquez dominated from the opening bell. With the win, Enriquez, the former WBO World Flyweight Champion, the pride and joy of Tijuana, became the Interim WBC female World Flyweight Champion. 


Now, because of the WBC’s (World Boxing Council’s) almost flippant regard for titles/sanctions, we must put things in perspective:

On April 22, 2017, Ibeth Zamora “La Roca” Silva (27-5-1, 12 KOs), the 28-year-old reigning WBC female World Flyweight Champion from San Cristobal Huichochitlan, Mexico City, Mexico lost by split decision to 29-year-old Esmeralda “La Tigresa” Moreno (35-9-1, 11 KOs) from Mexico City. The scores were (96-93 94-95 93-96) in a very close 10 round slugfest in what was billed as a semi-final bout for the WBC Diamond Female Flyweight World Title. Since Zamora had been the reigning WBC Flyweight champion at the time, Moreno not only eliminated Zamora from the WBC Diamond female flyweight tournament, she also became the new WBC Female Flyweight Champion of the World.

(l to r) The former WBC Female Light Flyweight Champion of the World Ibeth “La Roca” Zamora Silva and the lady who managed to defeat Zamora on April 22nd of this year, the new champion Esmeralda “La Tigresa” Moreno.

After defeating the valiant Ana Arrazola (l) on May 13th of this year, Jessica Chavez (r) now gets to battle Esmeralda “La Tigresa” Moreno for the WBC Diamond Female Flyweight Championship of the World. 

Then, on May 13, 2017, the 35-year-old Ana Arrazola (26-11-3, 13 KOs) from Tlalnepantla, Mexico, Mexico, fought 28-year-old Jessica Chavez (28-4-3, 4 KOs) from Mexico City and lost by a unanimous decision. As in the Zamora versus Moreno bout, this bout was in the WBC Diamond female flyweight tournament. By defeating Arrazola, Chavez not only continued on in the WBC Diamond female flyweight tournament, she was credited with defending her WBC Female World Flyweight Title for the fifth time. How is this possible, when back on November 22, 2014, Chavez lost to the reigning champion Ibeth Zamora for the second time? Three bouts after Chavez’s second loss to Zamora, Chavez defeated Arely Mucino (21-2-2) on September 19, 2015, and was credited with winning the WBC Female World Flyweight title. So it is safe to say this WBC Female World Flyweight title has been bandied about in a cavalier fashion to maximize its monetary value.

Along comes Saturday’s Kenia Enriquez versus Maria Salinas bout, where the WBC Female Interim World Championship was on the line. Apparently, all four of the major sanctioning bodies of professional boxing (WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO) have been using this technique to increase their revenue. Granted, on occasion, the world champion of a particular weight class is temporarily unable to defend his or her title, be it a medical, legal, or other reason beyond their control and when this happens, only the two highest ranked contenders are supposed to fight for the interim title. What has transpired is we often end up with two or more champions at the same time. Instead of once the recognized world champion is able to return to action and fight the interim champion to unify the title, we have multiple interim champions. The other pitfall is when the former world champion cannot return or moves up to a different weight division and the multiple interim champions refuse to fight each other.

As a result, from time to time, the boxers and their sanctioning bodies have tended to abuse this system. For example in 2005–2006, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, the WBC flyweight world champion, defended his crown 11 consecutive times. Along came the number-one contender Jorge Arce who won an interim championship bout but instead of receiving a title shot versus Wonjongkam, he had to continue fighting other people rather than get his shot at the title. Arce then defended his interim title four times before finally vacating it in order to move up in weight to super flyweight. Wonjongkam eventually set the flyweight division record for consecutive title defenses without ever fighting Arce. This development mattered little to the sanctioning body, the World Boxing Council, who’s main concern was making money and securing multiple sanctioning fees from both Arce and Wonjongkam.

(bottom right) Kenia Enriquez has her arm raised in victory by referee Christian Curiel after her opponent, Maria Salinas was stopped in round #3. At the 1:57 mark of round three, Salinas responded with a negative shake of the head after the referee asked her if she wanted to continue. Salinas’ knee touched the canvas after Enriquez landed this powerful left hook to the body.

The author’s favorite photo of Kenia Enriquez and her father was taken on June 19, 2013 at Salon Las Pulgas in downtown Tijuana. On that night, the confident 19-year-old had just been given some last minute instructions from her father before stopping Gloria Salas of Palm Springs, Calif. to win her seventh straight victory.

That being said, long live the reign of Kenia Enriquez, the new WBC Female Interim Light Flyweight Champion, who along with her contemporaries: sister Tania Enriquez, Jackie Nava, Brenda Flores and Sandra Robles have made great strides in making Tijuana a major force in the world of female boxing. Boxing greats Ibeth Zamora Silva, Amanda Serrano, Zulina Munoz, Delfine Persoon, Mariana Juarez, Yesica Yolanda Bopp, and Anabel Ortiz would certainly agree. 

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