What in the Tim Boxeo was going on Thursday night? San Jose, Costa Rica's sold-out Ciudad Deportiva Heiner Ugalde arena hosted the Golden Boy Boxing Fight Night development series featuring a local celebrity in the main event.
Golden Boy's VP of Matchmaking Roberto Diaz called it a history-making opportunity to develop boxing in Costa Rica and scout future champions for the Golden Boy stable who might appeal to Latino boxing fans. “This is a very important start for Costa Rica because from here, doors open for other boxers and for the future,” said Diaz. “Yokasta is leading a great example, and we are thankful to all our partners that helped make this happen. This is just the beginning.”
The atmosphere was electric, especially given local storms with lightning and thunder at the venue and dance performance before the final ring walk.
— Golden Boy (@GoldenBoyBoxing) September 9, 2022
In the main event, Costa Rica's IBF minimumweight world champion Yokasta “Yoka” Valle (26-2, 9 KOs) and WBO titleholder Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen of Vietnam (5-1, 1 KO) put their belts on the line in a unification title fight. Valle is known as an athlete and a reality star, appearing on her nation's “Dancing With The Stars.”
Valle didn't disappoint her many fans and made the most of the groundbreaking event, using a solid and varied offense to win a unanimous decision over Nguyen. It was a total shutout on the scorecards, 100-90 across the board. The standing-room-only crowd of 5,694 went wild hearing the results as Valle shed tears of joy at the victory.
“Of course, dreams come true. With hard work they always come true. I'm very grateful. I want to thank all my people In Costa Rica. Thank you for supporting me,” said Valle.
“It feels incredible. This victory is not only mine. It's dedicated to all my people in Costa Rica, to all the children, to Megan (her daughter). This is all for you,” said Ruiz.
Valle, recently signed by Golden Boy, moved her camp to Southern California with trainer Gloria Alvarado as many fighters do to get quality sparring. She was able to improve her defensive skills, including her head movement.
Nguyen, an accomplished amateur beyond her thin pro record, was virtually a deer in the headlights, offering little resistance to Valle, seeming content to protect herself and look for an opportunity. Nguyen needed to create one, not wait for an opening that never happened.
“I hope Golden Boy is happy.” Diaz, who was translating, replied, “We're very happy to see a whole country behind a fighter like her.”
“I want the belts. I've been saying it from the beginning, I want the WBC and WBA next, whoever has 'em,” said Valle. That would be Tina Rupprecht of Germany, who defeated Valle in 2018 with an 11-0-1 record, and powerhouse talent Seniesa Estrada of East Los Angeles.
Valle landed 193 of 466 punches (43%) against just 91 of 490 punches for Nguyen (19%), who didn't appear that busy. Valle landed 151 power punches of 299, more than half; Nguyen landed 86 of 282 power punches (30%).
Yokasta Valle hopes to be undisputed, including the RING Magazine belt, and to face Estrada someday. It's a little more complicated since Estrada signed with Top Rank, but not impossible, but Valle would love to get some revenge in a rematch with Rupprecht.
Ruiz Thrills Hometown Fans With Rematch Victory
In the co-main, Adelaida “La Cobra” Ruiz of Lynwood, California (12-0, 6 KOs) won her rematch with Sonia Osorio of Mexico City (15-7-2, 2 KOs) for a WBC interim super flyweight title. Their first bout ended in a technical draw after it was stopped due to cuts after two rounds. Ruiz won the rematch easily, dominating the open scorecards and winning the unanimous decision by scores of 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92.
“I feel ecstatic,” said Ruiz. “I am speechless. I always read those quotes about how a small step is always a step closer to your dreams, and here I am living it.
“Nothing comes easy. I worked my ass off. But here I am living my dream,” said Ruiz.
It was a solid ten rounds of effort by Osorio, but Ruiz is more skilled and used her good left hook to hold off a final blast by Osorio to try and change the outcome. Ruiz nearly doubled Osorio's punch output and connects, throwing 513 punches across ten two-minute rounds. Ruiz is on a collision course with her idol, WBC/WBA unified flyweight champion Marlen Esparza, who recently resigned from a long-term contract with Golden Boy.
Results From the Undercard: Good Times for Local Talent
On the undercard, two Costa Rican prospects got their opportunity to make a big impression In front of the cameras.
Lorenzo Garro of Escazu, Costa Rica (4-0, 2 KO) stopped Kyle Erwin of Oceanside, California (5-1) by second-round TKO.
Super bantamweight Jose Manuel Perez of San Jose (10-6, 8 KOs) wasn't as successful, losing by split decision in six rounds to American Ofacio Falcon of the Bronx, New York (8-0. 6 KOs).
With Hall of Fame champion Marco Antonio Barrera in his corner, Jose Garcia of Mexico City (16-1-1, 15 KOs) scored a second-round TKO win over Israel Lopez of Nicaragua (9-3, 7 KOs) in a youth title super lightweight bout.