Yokasta Valle (proper) lands a punch on Lorraine Villalobos (left) Photograph by Brandon Rivas/ MarvNation Promotions
The month of September on this yr of 2022 is destined to be one of many greatest months in historical past for girls’s boxing, with a handful of title bouts promising a number of the finest motion that girls’s boxing can supply.
And one of many first of such occasions will characteristic the return of probably the greatest fighters within the decrease divisions when IBF strawweight titlist Yokasta Valle (25-2, 9 KOs) returns to motion in her hometown of San Jose, Costa Rica to face her undefeated WBO counterpart Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (5-0, 1 KOs) of Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, Vietnam.
The ten-round conflict that would be the first-ever unification match within the nation’s historical past, and can happen at Ciudad Deportiva Heiner Ugalde, Hatillo, San José, Costa Rica on Thursday, Sept. 8. The bout will broadcast reside on DAZN, the Golden Boy Boxing YouTube web page, and the Marvnation YouTube web page beginning at 6:00 p.m. PT / 9:00 p.m. ET.
And though this might be simply one other protection so as to add to the earlier 4 defenses that Valle had in her adoptive nation (she was born in neighboring Nicaragua some 30 years in the past), this time it feels completely different.
“To start with, having Golden Boy is a good assist and an incredible motivation,” mentioned the champ, mentioning her ties with the L.A.-based firm, which began in her final bout again in June. “This can be a nice accountability that I take as an incredible motivation to proceed being a champion. I’m all the time coaching and preparing.
“I had solely a brief discover earlier than my first battle (beneath Golden Boy, towards Lorraine Villalobos) however I mentioned “sure!,” and went on to defend my title. I’m all the time prepared, I’m all the time coaching, and I wished to display who’s Yokasta Valle. I do know that if they only give me a possibility they are going to fall in love with me (laughs).”
Valle’s profitable protection towards Villalobos earned her plenty of followers within the States, regardless of her foe’s lackluster efficiency.
“I knew I used to be combating an area fighter and she or he had her folks there, however after the fourth or fifth spherical I knew I had her, and I knew the folks preferred it as a result of they had been watching an incredible battle. I demonstrated what I’m product of. And now, combating in Costa Rica is an enormous accountability however I don’t see it that manner. It’s a historic scenario for Costa Rica, to indicate that such a small nation can have a champion, and that we’ve got so many different champions that I do know are arising.”
Preventing at house with a world-class firm behind her and together with her battle being broadcasted by a world platform like DAZN is a welcome change in her routine. After failing to win a title in her first two tries overseas again in 2017 and 2018, Valle discovered her third-time allure in Spain when she lastly defeated Joanna Pastrana in Spain in 2019 for the belt she remains to be holding. And now, having the possibility to lastly add one other belt in entrance of her hometown followers carries a particular feeling.
“In my profession I’ve all the time managed stress rather well,” mentioned Valle, who all the time managed to go away an incredible impression overseas even in her defeats. “It isn’t straightforward, however each time I get within the ring, I by no means take into consideration this. I by no means go ‘oh, now I’ve to win, and do that or display that,’ nothing like that. I got down to get pleasure from it. I’m all the time assured due to my nice preparation, my nook. I all the time stand up there in combating mode, prepared to present all of it and luxuriate in it, each second of it.”
The opposite aspect of being a globetrotter who fought a few of her most necessary fights overseas is that Valle is aware of fairly properly the form of mentality that Nguyen will deliver into this battle, and what it takes to neutralize it.
“After all. I’ve been in her place, and being the customer one could be very motivated, since you all the time assume that to be able to win overseas it’s a must to win each spherical,” mentioned Valle. “And for me it’s the identical. Even when I’m combating in my very own nation, anyone would assume that I’m relaxed. Quite the opposite! I’ll go away the whole lot within the ring from the primary spherical, and I don’t wish to go away something within the judges’ arms. I’m recognized for being an aggressive fighter who throws plenty of punches. I’ve practiced rather a lot on my accuracy, and I do know it’s going to be an incredible battle, it’s a type of fights that excite me. What excites me is giving folks an incredible present, not solely Costa Rica, however all around the world.”
The danger of getting a foul evening in entrance of her folks is just too massive to take it evenly, so Valle has studied her opponent completely.
“We studied her rather a lot. Since she has a mode rooted in Olympic-style boxing, she exhibits pauses and areas if you throw plenty of punches. We now have to land our combos on her. Plenty of footwork, numerous jabs. She’s good at that, she’s nice at establishing a distance. Her jab is her energy. We now have labored on all that, footwork, bobbing and weaving, simply holding her guessing and throwing punches to the air.”
For Valle, not solely the 2 belts at stake are what motivates her. There may be additionally the big-picture prospect of getting a mega-fight for all of the marbles towards reigning WBA titlist Seniesa Estrada, a bout that seemed to be on its manner when Valle signed with Golden Boy, however has now grown tougher to make since Estrada’s departure to High Rank.
Valle dismisses these roadblocks immediately.
“I do know that the battle towards Estrada will occur quickly,” says Valle. “She desires to unify world titles, I wish to try this too. It’s a battle that we can’t simply permit to not occur. If she desires to face the most effective, right here I’m. Proper now I might be combating Nguyen, and hopefully it will deliver me my second world title. She is a good fighter, she deserves all my respect. She is a world champ for a cause. And though she has solely 5 skilled fights… meaning rather a lot! I see her as a form of Vasyl Lomachenko sort, as a result of she grew to become champion with just a few skilled fights however she has plenty of novice fights. I’ve been coaching actually arduous in Los Angeles with my new coach Gloria (Alvarado), simply so I can get pleasure from myself when I’m within the ring.”
All that motivation to get that additional belt towards Estrada leads additionally to a different belt that’s awaiting the winner of that battle. Since Estrada is rated No. 1 by The Ring at strawweight and Valle is No. 2, an eventual conflict between them would crown the inaugural Ring journal champion at that weight.
The importance of that achievement just isn’t misplaced to Valle.
“Sure, the one I would like, and the one I’m nearly able to get!!,” exclaims Valle, on the mere point out of the fabled “Rocky” belt. “What extra motivation do I want? Since I noticed ‘Rocky,’ I mentioned ‘wow, that is the title I would like, the one from The Ring!’ It has a lot status. I wish to make historical past, I wish to be the primary to have it at 105. I would like it badly, and I already visualize it in my arms. I do know I can do it, and that’s why I’m coaching so arduous for this battle and keep rated so I can win it. It’s plenty of motivation to win this battle, consider me.”
Diego M. Morilla writes for The Ring since 2013. He additionally wrote for HBO.com, ESPN.com and plenty of different magazines, web sites, newspapers and different shops since 1993. He’s a full member of the Boxing Writers Affiliation of America and an elector for the Worldwide Boxing Corridor of Fame. He has gained two first-place awards within the BWAA’s annual writing contest, and he’s the moderator of The Ring’s Ladies’s Rankings Panel. He served as copy editor for the second period of The Ring en Español (2018-2020) and is presently a author and editor for RingTV.com. Comply with him on Twitter @MorillaBoxing