Yokasta Valle and Maria Santizo weigh in for their Sept. 16 IBF/WBO 105-pound title bout. Promoter Oscar De La Hoya was on hand. Photo by Cris Esqueda / Golden Boy
The fighting pride of Costa Rica, Yokasta Valle, defends her IBF and WBO 105-pound titles against Maria Santizo on Saturday at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, California. The 10-round title bout will serve as the co-feature to the William Zepeda-Mercito Gesta main event, streamed live on DAZN.
Valle, The Ring’s No. 1-rated strawweight, hopes to one day challenge for the undisputed championship against her nemesis Senisia Estrada, the Ring Magazine champion of the 105-pound division, who holds the WBC and WBA belts. However, Estrada injured her right index finger during her last fight en route to a hard-fought decision over Leonela Yudica and is currently recovering from surgery.
That showdown, one of the best women’s matchups in boxing, will be placed on the shelf as Estrada recovers.
“Injuries happen all the time in the sport. I’m just wishing her the best and a speedy recovery,” Valle told RingTV.com.
For now, Valle is focused on Santizo of Guatemala.
“I’m excited, I can’t wait till that bell rings and I get in the ring. I have had a great camp and I’m just ready,” said Valle (28-2, 9 KOs), who trained at the famous Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California for Saturday’s title defense.
“My coach Gloria Alvarado is a friend of Freddie Roach and working in that atmosphere was great, everything is at another level,” Valle said. “Sparring was great, and Freddie enjoyed watching me. There was some advice he had to offer, and I am grateful for it.”
Valle knows she needs to be in top shape for Santizo (11-3, 6 KOs), a tough contender who has been in the ring with the likes of Estrada, Anabel Ortiz, and, in her most recent bout, she dropped a unanimous decision to Gabriela Fundora.
“I never underestimate an opponent; she has a lot of experience and has had great sparring and fought for a world title,” Valle said of Santizo. “She is hungry, my titles are on the line, and she wants to take them.”
The 31-year-old three-division titleholder won her first world title (the IBF 105-pound belt) in 2019 via split decision over Joana Pastrana in Spain. In making five successful defenses of the title, she also made her U.S debut last year with a decision over Lorraine Villalobos. Valle unified belts, picking up the WBO minimumweight title by shutting out Thu Thu Nhi Nguyen, a little over a year ago in Costa Rica.
Since making her U.S debut last year, Valle has gained the attention of hardcore fans and has even received the approval of Mexican fans in Southern California, in part from being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
The first female world titleholder to represent Costa Rica, Valle joined Hannah Gabriels and Bryan Vasquez as the country’s only boxing champions.
“The reception has been great here; this is my third fight in Los Angeles,” Valle said. “Fans have been great here and have been very supportive. I can’t wait to go out there and give them a great fight.”
While waiting for the opportunity to challenge Estrada, another potential significant fight in the meantime could come against Germany’s undefeated WBC/IBF interim titleholder Sarah Bormann (17-0, 7 KOs). But Valle knows Santizo comes first.
“I’m just focused on my fight this Saturday and I’m ready,” she said.
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