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Yokasta Valle Ready to Rumble Friday With Seniesa Estrada

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Yokasta Valle Ready to Rumble Friday With Seniesa Estrada
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing

Five-time world champion and current IBF /WBO unified World Minimumweight champion Yokasta Valle of Costa Rica (30-2,9 KOs) is more than ready for her clash against current WBA/WBC unified World Champion Seniesa “SuperBad” Estrada (25-0, 9 KOs). Known to most as Yoka, Valle and Estrada fight for the undisputed championship on Friday, March 29 at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The entire card will stream live and exclusively in the U.S. on ESPN+.

Voka Valle successfully unified titles with her victory over Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen in Costa Rica in 2022. Photo: Kevin Luoja

Voka Valle successfully unified titles with her victory over Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen in Costa Rica in 2022. Photo: Kevin Luoja

NY FIGHTS recently had an exclusive interview with the champ, revealing unique insight into Valle’s highly competitive pedigree and intensely dedicated upbringing in boxing, which brought her to this point in her career.

“I feel ready, my body; mentally, I am also ready to be the absolute champion,” Valle said as she anxiously awaited her big day. “It’s a dream that I am a step away from making it a reality.”

Voka Valle successfully unified titles with her victory over Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen in Costa Rica in 2022. Photo: Kevin Luoja

Yokasta Valle works with trainer Gloria Alvarado in Los Angeles in preparation for her unification fight with Seniesa Estrada. Photo: Top Rank Boxing

Valle credits her discipline for bringing her to the cusp of achieving her dream while inspiring others. “It has been many years of work. Not getting complacent because it’s hard to become a champion and even harder to maintain such status.

“I have always been working hard every day, visualizing what I want to become: the absolute champion. Not just for my dream but also for my team: my promoter, Mario Vega and my trainer, Gloria Alvarado. It's also a dream and a great challenge.

“But this also serves to give a positive example that a woman from Costa Rica at 105 pounds who had everything against her is making history for Costa Rica, Central America and for women. That it can be accomplished, which motivates me more. Every time a girl says ‘Yoka, you motivate me,’ that motivates me more.”

Yokasta Valle promises she will be ready "200%" for her bout against Seniesa Estrada. Photo: Top Rank Boxing

Yokasta Valle promises she will be ready “200%” for her bout against Seniesa Estrada. Photo: Top Rank Boxing

Valle discussed her fight against Estrada to become the undisputed champion at minimumweight. “I always have to be better in every fight, I am always 200%. This fight, being the most important in my career, I am putting in even more work on top of what I always have done (in training and preparation): my soul, life, and heart.

“This is my dream. I am going to be prepared 200%. So I am more than excited,” said Valle.

Yokasta Valle Brings Costa Rican Fans to Boxing

Yokasta Valle is a huge star in Costa Rica, and regularly sells out large arenas. Photo: Kevin Luoja

Yokasta Valle is a huge star in Costa Rica, and regularly sells out large arenas. Photo: Kevin Luoja

Valle’s upbringing plays a significant role in her development.

“Costa Rica is a country that is hardcore soccer-influenced. Boxing is not a sport that people watch much or would say ‘I want to watch fights Saturday.’ No, nothing!

“I actually practiced volleyball. I like volleyball a lot. And I saw that my dad and grandfather watched boxing and that never interested me. But I noticed that they would watch it.

When I was 13 years old, my dad would go to a boxing gym in San Jose in Plaza Viquez. When I would go, I thought ‘I don’t like this.' I said, ‘This isn’t for women,'” Valle recalled, showing disgust in her face while remembering her younger self.

Yokasta Valle's ringwalks showcase Costa Rican culture with musicians and dancers. Photo: Kevin Luoja

Yokasta Valle's ringwalks showcase Costa Rican culture with musicians and dancers. Photo: Kevin Luoja

“I saw men in a really rough sport. I was really small and skinny. When I went to the gym, there were a bunch of big men, and I was really small, and I thought, ‘this isn’t for me’.

“But when I looked at my dad he said, ‘Of course you can do this.’ I would say that I couldn’t do it, but he responded, ‘Yes you can!’”  With her father's confidence, Valle began her boxing training.

Valle Hooked After First Fight

Yokasta Valle loved the rush of the ring after her first fight at age 13. Photo: Kevin Luoja

Yokasta Valle loved the rush of the ring after her first fight at age 13. Photo: Kevin Luoja

After training for about two to three weeks at the age of 13, her trainer asked her, “Yoka, do you want to fight?” and Valle agreed.

“When the day of the fight arrived, I was nervous. I was scared and thought, why did I say yes to fight,   because I previously told myself that I didn’t like this. No, no, no!

“So, the bell rang. I went back to my trainer, telling him to take off my headgear. He shook his head no. I then turned around and received the first punches. Then I thought ‘I am not going to sit here getting hit.’ My pride kicked in, then I punched back and ended up winning the fight.”

Valle: “A challenging sport”

Yoka Valle fought for her place in boxing, and for all women in boxing. Photo: Kevin Luoja

Yoka Valle fought for her place in boxing, and for all women in boxing. Photo: Kevin Luoja

Valle liked the adrenaline rush and winning. “What a challenging sport, really complex. When people have never experienced boxing, they tend to say that there is no science to it, that it’s just two people punching each other. I used to think like that.

“But after actually having trained and fought, I thought, wow! The conditioning, the footwork, the hands. There are so many things to consider and at play. I tell people to train to box recreationally, and they will find out how demanding it is.”

Valle Pushes Back The Critics

Yoka Valle will need to be at her best against the accomplished Seniesa Estrada. Photo: Kevin Luoja

Valle decided to pursue boxing. At first she received criticism. “My training colleagues told me, ‘we don’t know why you are here and chose to box. Just leave. You are going to get knocked out.’ I answered, no, I am going to do it. If you can, why can’t I? There’s no difference, just because you are men. I can do it also.

“That’s when I fell in love with boxing. I began to watch boxing and be a student of the sport,” said Valle.

Now, after 32 professional fights at age 31, and after selling out arenas in Costa Rica where she is a major star, the time has finally come. Valle has long been waiting and preparing to fight Estrada for several years. Valle and Estrada dislike each other and are motivated to take each other's titles.

History will be made Friday in Arizona, and the truth will be revealed about who is best in the division between Valle and Estrada on fight night.