Reluctant passing of the torch from Mariana Juarez to Yulihan “La Cobrita” Luna

At their weigh-in on Friday, October 30, 2020 for Saturday’s title fight, it was the WBC Female World Bantamweight Champion Mariana “Barbie” Juárez (54-9-4, 18 KOs) (left) and the equally beautiful challenger Yulihan “La Cobrita” Luna (19-3-1, 3 KOs) (right)

On Saturday evening, at the Grand Oasis Arena in Cancun, Mexico, it was the 26-year-old Yulihan (La Cobrita) Luna (20-3-1, 3 KOs) from Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mex. soundly defeating the 40-year-old Mariana “Barbie” Juárez (54-10-4, 18 KOs) from Mexico City, a staple in the world of Professional boxing to win the WBC World Female Bantamweight Title. The loss was Juarez’s first over a three year stretch (12-17-16 to 10-12-19). This is the same Mariana Juarez who in her hay day defeated such notables as Alesia Graf, Diana Fernandez, Susie Ramadan and Melissa McMorrow.

(l) Yulihan “La Cobrita” Luna from Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mexico, became the new WBC World Female Bantamweight Champ after defeating the venerable Champ Mariana “Barbie” Juarez. (r) Luna is shown battering Juarez who by the 10th round was badly bruised.

Within a short time, it became clear which of these ladies was going to come out victorious. “La Cobrita” the 26-year-old challenger had both a height and reach advantage over the 40-year-old battle worn champion. From the very outset Luna began delivering the more damaging blows to Juarez’s face and her confidence grew. The punches kept landing at will to Juarez’s head which soon showed signs of getting puffy with blood everywhere. By the time the final bell sounded, Juarez had delivered a wide variety of scoring blows which made the judges’ decision easy. 

After soundly defeating Juarez, you would have to say it was Luna’s hand speed, height and reach advantage plus precision delivering the blows to dominate the shorter, aging veteran. Luna out-boxed her and beat her to the punch to secure her unanimous decision victory.

This was when the proud champion decided the loss couldn’t possibly be her fault and made the decision to demand that the head of officials look at Luna’s gloves for a variance in the material used or amount of padding in the gloves. The despondent former Champion was so dispirited, so angry with how things turned out, that she started pointing fingers, making these unfounded accusations. What a sad end to such an illustrious career! 

And further more… No, I won’t shut up! And she didn’t stop with her accusation of foul play.
While the new Champion was being interviewed, back came Barbie with her insinuation.
Finally back home, Team Cobrita was greeted at the Airport by family and friends and a local TV Station who had them take part in a brief 15 minute interview.

I will return stronger than ever!” so says Marina Juarez

Hoping to show people she still has what it takes, Mariana Juárez wasted little time and asked the WBC to give her a rematch with Yulihan Luna. Regarding what happened on Saturday, October 31, 2020, Juarez first offered an apology for her conduct at the end of the fight. She now realizes that in the heat of the moment, she did not react in a correct manner and explained: “At that moment, I genuinely felt something wasn’t right, things appeared strange. I congratulate Yulihan, because I recognize that she put up a great fight, but I want a rematch. If she gets the same result, then I will say goodbye to boxing. As of today, I tell you I will not be retiring. I will do as I have done in the past. I will recover and comeback stronger than ever.”

After Juarez’s accusation that there may have been some possible altering of her opponent’s gloves, the head of officials basically ripped Luna’s gloves apart to see if that claim had any validity. It didn’t.

Now that Juarez has reflected on her thoughts regarding Saturday night, she said she wasn’t all that unjustified since a similar feeling (emotional response) occurred seven years ago, when she was about to fight Riyo Togo of Japan for a second time. According to a report obtained from regarding that fight of July 13, 2013, in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico versus super flyweight Riyo Togo of Japan, Togo was found to be wearing these tampered gloves before her rematch with Juarez.

Prior to that bout, members of Team Juarez inspected Togo’s gloves and found some of the padding had been removed from the front part and the fighter’s knuckles, which had her hand wraps pressed directly against the leather of the glove. After informing the WBC supervisor, the gloves of both fighters were seized and taken to the WBC’s headquarters in Mexico City for examination before the sanctioning body made any official ruling.

Juarez then went on to win the rematch with a 10 round unanimous decision and claim the WBC International belt with scores of 98-92, 98-93, 97-93. At the time, Juarez was both surprised by the seizure of the gloves and the discovery. “I didn’t expect that. Togo’s team had moved aside the padding from the front part of the glove to attain more punching force. I then went on to win that rematch with a 10 round unanimous decision to reclaim the WBC International belt.”

Being exposed to such a dastardly deed, Juarez then wondered whether Togo might have done the same thing when she stopped her at 1:58 of round one at the Arena in Mexico City on April 27, 2013 when they first met to battle for the vacant WBC International Female Super Flyweight Title.

“On that occasion, I felt Togo’s punches were very hard. And look, I can take a punch and I’ve fought against some very heavy punchers,” said Juarez. “Before each fight, people from my camp usually check the wraps of my opponent. It’s a regulation that a person from the opposite team can be present when your hands are being wrapped. On that occasion, our first fight, the wraps were fine, but it didn’t occur to anyone to check her gloves.

“At our second meeting, the representative of the WBC, Dr. Lorenzo Soberanes Maya seized both of our gloves and ended up giving us new ones. Then, even though Togo landed some hard shots, they didn’t hurt me as they did the first time, and I won that 10 round unanimous decision. At this point, the formidable Mariana “Barbie” Juarez is (54-10-4, 18 KOs).

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