Photos: Kaliesha West Decisions Claudia Andrea Lopez
WBO bantamweight queen Kaliesha “Wild Wild” West (15-1-3, 4KOs) traveled 150 miles south from her home town of Moreno Valley, CA, to defend her crown versus the very tough and awkward Claudia Andrea “Chica 10″ Lopez (18-6, 4KOs) in a ten round championship bout held at the Ernesto Ruffo Appel Municipal Gymnasium in the coastal town of Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, last Saturday night. The fight was presented by Erik “Terrible” Morales’ Box Latino with Golden Boy Promotions and broadcast live in Mexico by Televisa and in the United States by Fox Sports Net.
West had not stepped into the ring since last August when she traveled all the way to Manzanillo, Mexico to defeat Jessica Villafranca in her second defense of the title she captured in late ’10 by stopping Angel Gladney in seven rounds. The southpaw Lopez, a veteran South American from Trelew, Argentina, was coming a unanimous decision win over Sonia Paladino in July of last year.
The reigning champion began to show off her speed early in the first despite both holding back in the round of study. Knowing that perhaps West was much quicker than her and skilled, Lopez stayed in the pocket as she tried and at times succeeded in countering West while trying to make it into a brawl by manhandling Kaliesha in the clinches. With a bruise swelling up quickly on the right side of her cheek, West looked to be having trouble in the third finding her distance while Lopez began to apply the pressure.
The action opened up in the fourth as both ladies began to throw more punches with Kaliesha being the more traditional fighter with combinations while Lopez tried to score heavy artillery. West began to find a home for her right hand in fifth as she began to score it as a lead punch and then ended the sixth heat with a huge three punch combination to the face of Lopez. Despite Kaliesha being the more precise puncher, Lopez had her moments with an all out pressure style as she kept coming forward no matter what West scored. Lopez was more effective in the inside when she was able to land the harder punches.
Lopez welcomed West to the ninth round hard straight left and Kaliesha returned the greeting soon after with an even harder straight right hand. Both women went toe to toe in the tenth and final round to finish off the show.
At the end, judges Fabricio Lopez and Ericka Contreras scored it 98-92 each while judge Sergio Caiz had it an inexplicable 95-95 giving the majority decision win to West
Ringside report and photos by Felipe Leon