Christina Cruz gave a solid account of herself against the tall and ferocious Gabriela Fundora Saturday night in Arizona.
The Hell’s Kitchen New York native Cruz, age 41, had some moments, but IBF world flyweight (112 pounds max) Fundora, age 21, turned it up and forced a stoppage in round ten of the 10 round contest in Phoenix, Arizona.
The announcers debated the merit of the stoppage, which saw Cruz turn her back to her foe in a prelim scrap before the Jaime Munguia-Jon Ryder feature.
Me, if I’m just looking at a still, or a video snippet, I’d agree with ref Chris Flores, who declared a TKO for “Sweet Poison” Fundora, the lefty.
Made sense to me at the time, but on Sunday, a day after the tango, Cruz posted to social media her thoughts on the stop.
I followed up, because her explanation rang true for me.
”It sucks to lose like that,” the now 6-1 Cruz told me. “I would have rather lost by the scorecards or get knocked out. But I’ll take it as it is and try to get more big fights. Hopefully these girls don’t duck.”
She is lobbying on behalf of herself. “I would love a rematch. I inboxed promoter Oscar De La Hoya. Hopefully he gets back to me. I would fight her or any of the champs in my weight, 115 or 118. I’m confident in my ability. Saturday night was a misfortune. Ref didn’t treat it like a championship fight.”
Check out the feet placement, and it makes much more sense as to why Cruz turned her back on the 21 year old Cali native.
It’s crucial to know, this isn’t a neophyte who reverted to newbie form and committed a no-no sin, she’s had loads of fights.
Cruz: “I thought I was winning the earlier rounds 1-5 maybe 6. Felt she was picking up momentum but 6, 7, 8. Round nine up in the air and round 10 I believe I started off strong before the ref interrupted. In those later rounds, I felt some good clean shots from her but nothing that would make me stop. I think in round six she caught me with a hard shot on the side of my breast (kind of like a boob shot) that penetrated my upper rib but I was able to quickly recover from it. I never felt I was out the fight. I believe I would’ve won the 10th round if the ref didn’t stop it. I always finish my fights strong and know how to mentally push through no matter what. It’s what I’m best at.”
“I could see throughout the fight I was frustrating her with my movement,” Cruz continued.
“I still haven’t rewatched it yet. Gonna settle down and watch it in a few days. She’s a good fighter and a champ for that reason. I wouldn’t take anything away from her. I just thought the ref messed up big time especially in a championship fight. He wasn’t treating me of that caliber.”
Cruz impressed me with her level-headedness. I told her so. This one is a role model, I understood, at 41, fighting so capably against aging deterioration. What are her secrets to success in that realm?
1. Keep an open mind.
2. Act as if you know nothing.
3. Treat yourself good mentally and physically even when you’re not in Training Camp.
“You’d be surprised by how quick your body can deteriorate if you don’t keep your mental health, right. It’s a priority for me and keeps me young.
”Also, one thing I will say is that we live in times where we have access to so much information especially about health. Use it and apply it. You are now starting to see athletes last much longer in sport. I attribute that to “access of information.”
“Thank you for putting this out there,” said the fighter, who moved from NY to Florida to train three years ago. “I’m not much of a talker over social media or in general. I normally take things as they come and move forward, but it’s nice to see that people noticed what happened. I’ve never been afraid of losing, but I’d rather lose fairly.“