Al Bello/Getty Images

Marlen Esparza defeats Samantha Salazar in fight with three-minute rounds

Flyweight Marlen Esparza defeated Samantha Salazar via unanimous decision on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

Esparza, who claimed a bronze medal for the United States at the 2012 London Olympics but didn’t turn pro until March 23, won 40-36 on all three scorecards in a four-round fight.

The fight also offered a major change in women’s boxing in Nevada, as the rounds were for three minutes rather than the two usually scheduled for women’s bouts.

“I know it’s been done elsewhere, but tonight it feels really special doing it in this fight,” Esparza said. “I plan on staying at three minutes and not going back to two minutes, so I know we will need to be strategic about how I train and fight.”

Esparza (2-0, 0 KOs) completely dominated the fight, as Salazar struggled to keep up with her speed.

“I loved having the extra minute. When I only had two minutes, I felt like my punches were reactive rather than being proactive,” Esparza said. “The extra minute gave me time to think and be more thoughtful and strategic in my punches. It felt like a board game, where I could be able to plan and be able to go four steps ahead.

“Once I have another fight that I am happy with, I want to start calling out other fighters so I can start to make it in the rankings. I want to stay at three-minute rounds and increase my next fight to six rounds and stay there for a bit.”

[More from Excelle Sports: Claressa Shields to fight Mery Rancier in ‘Detroit Brawl’]

Esparza won her pro debut against Rachel Sazoff, also via unanimous decision, winning 40-36 on all three scorecards.

Jump To Comments