Photographs Courtesy of Sue Fox, WBAN
The sweet science has been kind to San Diego in 2014 as ‘America’s Finest City’ continues to showcase elite boxing talent from the Baja to Los Angeles and everywhere in between. This fact was no different on Thursday, September 4 as Bobby D Presents highlighted an exciting night of fights from the Crowne Plaza Hotel by bringing three entertaining female bouts to the fans, which was dubbed “Dangerous Divas.”
Local boxing promoter Bobby DePhilippis, who has been recognized by the NABF for being Female Fight Promoter of the Year, had the ladies take center stage on Thursday as two-time champion Jolene “Classy Assassin” Blackshear (8-5, 3KO) looked to get back to her winning ways against the hard-hitting Susan Reno (1-2-1) from New York.
In the co-main event, undefeated rising star and Tijuana native Kenia Enriquez (11-0, 6KO), defended her NABF Light Flyweight title against Saltillo, Mexico native, Mayela “La Cobrita” Perez (11-15, 7KO) in an eight round battle.
Also on the card, a bout between two standout female amateurs looking to make the move to the professional ranks featured Hawaiian native Haley Pasion, who is cornered by former champion Jesus Salud, against former mixed martial artist Jillian Lybarger of Goodyear, Arizona, who was looking to make the transition to the sweet science.
The undercard also impressed as Bobby D presented the fans with a six-round welterweight bout between undefeated, hard-hitting Mexican slugger Miguel “Zurdo” Sanchez (8-0, 6KO) of San Diego by the way of Culiacan, Mexico, against Tijuana brawler Ivan “Oso” Zavala (6-6-2, 2KO).
In the first fight of the night local trainer and former ring warrior Tiger Smalls brought one of his standout amateurs, Mulapi Enjani of Congo, to the ring to make his professional debut against Los Angeles fighter Juan Urbina (0-2-1)
“Dangerous Divas” proved to be an important platform for women’s boxing and San Diego as a city as six brave women stepped into the ring to cement their careers, continue on the path to stardom, and for two fighters, enter the ring as professional fighters for the first time.
For local fighter and headliner, Jolene Blackshear, the opportunity to fight in her hometown in front of her family and friends proved to be special. “I hope my fans really enjoy the show. Knowing that my fans are watching gives me the motivation to perform my best,” Blackshear explains.
With the ramped up San Diego crowd ready for the main event, after four amazing fights, Jolene Blackshear entered the ring to a local cheer as she prepared to take on New Yorker Susan Reno in the main event. After an exciting night of fights, this bout would be the icing on the cake.
Main Event (6 rounds, Light Flyweight) – Jolene Blackshear (San Diego, CA) v Susan Reno (New York, NY)
Blackshear, who has a strong corner, which includes Jose Cital knows what his fighter can do inside the ring and is confident that Blackshear has many more good years left. “She is amazing. To do what she does at her age and at this level is special,” Cital tells me during our interview.
And amazing she was. With all of the anticipation and buildup leading up to the bout, you would be hard-pressed to find one person in the building who could predict what was about to happen. Blackshear on the other hand, may have known something others did not. “The plan is to be aggressive and give the crowd some fireworks,” Blackshear tells me days before the fight.
That is an understatement. After a few decent back-and-forth exchanges to get the bout underway, Reno found herself in Blackshear’s corner, against the ropes, with her hands down for a split second. When that window opened, Blackshear didn’t hesitate and landed a flush straight right on the chin of Reno. The punch sent Reno back to the ropes and Blackshear pounced with a four-punch combination that sent the New Yorker to the mat.
Reno was hurt badly and it didn’t take long for the referee to hold her down on the mat and call the fight. The crowd was on their feet and Blackshear ran to her corner to celebrate the well-deserved KO victory.
Co-Main Event (8 rounds, Flyweight) – Kenia Enriquez (Tijuana, Mexico) v Mayela Perez (Saltillo, Mexico)
The co-main event kicked off as the physical Tijuana native, Kenia Enriquez, returned to the ring to a barrage of cheers from the local fans. Enriquez, who is protecting an undefeated record, faced her toughest opponent to date as ring veteran Mayela Perez had plans to take home an upset victory.
Enriquez, who is coming off an impressive victory over headliner Blackshear earlier this year, understands what it means to stay unbeaten and appreciates the support she receives from her hometown of Tijuana and her second home of San Diego.
On her way to the ring, Enriquez was all smiles and gave her fans a friendly wave. Her opponent was focused in her corner as she has been through these types of fights before.
The fight started with good back and forth action as Enriquez demonstrated why people consider her a rising star and future world champion. Enriquez controlled the ring like a veteran, landing her jab at will, using her jab to keep distance from Perez’s dangerous body attacks and was able to use her feet to her advantage.
In rounds two through five, Perez had some moments of brilliance as she was able to use a jab to the midsection of Enriquez to shorten the distance and land a solid left hook upstairs that caught Enriquez’s attention.
Like a true technician, Enriquez was able to make adjustment between rounds and seemed to show something new as each round passed. In the later rounds, Enriquez was willing to stand in the pocket and gave the crowd something to cheer about. Both fighters gave it their all inside the ring, and with a decision looming it felt like Enriquez would pull in the decision victory.
In the end, with the local fans cheering on their hometown fighter, Kenia Enriquez remains undefeated and earns a hard-fought unanimous victory (all judges score the bout 80-72).
At the intermission to “Dangerous Divas,” fight fans enjoyed a special moment inside the ring as Bobby D Presents welcomed San Diego’s boxing elite to the ring for a special tribute. Among the representatives were local talent Brandon “Cannon” Adams, who recently fought in the ESPN Boxcino Tournament, Leon Spinks III, the grandson of legendary fighter Leon Spinks, who will be fighting at an upcoming Bobby D event later this season and former world champion Jesus Calud. In addition, the ladies were once again at center stage as Amaris “Diamond Girl” Quintana was welcomed to the ring along with amateur standout and ESPN The Magazine “Body Issue” participant Danyelle Wolf. Lastly, with the females at the forefront of the evening, Bobby D recognized WBAN Founder Sue Fox, who is a figurehead on the women’s boxing scene across the country.
Prior the main event and co-main event, “Dangerous Divas” included one more female bout and two male bouts to cap off a great night of boxing in San Diego.
Bout One (4 rounds, Super Bantamweight Division) – Mulapi Enjani (San Diego, CA) v Juan Urbina (Los Angeles, CA)
Juan Urbina (0-2-1), a tough inside fighter, made the trip from Los Angeles to take on local San Diego fighter Mulapi Enjani in his professional debut. Enjani is just one fighter who trains with former world champion Tiger Smalls at the Tiger Smalls Boxing Academy in San Diego.
Round 1: The “African Assassin,” Mulapi Enjani came out strong in round one landing hooks and straight rights at will as Urbina was unable to shake the San Diegans relentless pressure. Urbina was able to provide some good inside work towards the second half of the round, however, Enjani controlled the pressure and likely to the round.
Round 2: With trainer Tiger Smalls shouting from the corner, Enjani came out strong in the second before eating a big overhand right from Urbina that seemed to stagger the San Diegan. With moments remaining in the round, Enjani planted his feet and landed a massive right uppercut that sent Urbina to the mat. With the referee watching closely, Enjani attempted to end the fight before eating some hard punches from Urbina, who had no plans of going home early. The round ended with a flurry from both fighters as Urbina escaped the round.
Round 3: After a stellar round two, both ring warriors continued to carry a crazy pace that had the men trading blows in the center of the ring. Urbina relied on his inside game landing hooks to the body and searching for a fight-ending overhand right, however, Enjani was able to withstand the storm and outbox Urbina for most of the round.
Round 4: The crowd gave both men a roar as the fourth and final round started as it appeared Enjani may was ahead on the score cards. Urbina, sensing the need for a knockout applied significant pressure, but was out-boxed by Enjani down the stretch.
Result & Scores: Winner Mulapi Enjani, 40-35, 40-35, 40-35
Bout Two (4 rounds, Super Featherweight) – Haley Pasion (Hawaii) v Jillian Lybarger (Goodyear, AZ)
With a legendary fighter and former champion Jesus Salud in her corner, Haley Pasion looked to improve on an impressive amateur career by taking on former mixed martial artist and Goodyear, Arizona native Jillian Lybarger.
After a weight issue with Lybarger on Wednesday night at the weigh-in becoming a roadblock to the fight taking place, the parties agreed to a new contract weight of 131lbs to ensure the fight would still go on. With the issues behind them, Hawaii native and standout boxer faced mixed martial artist Jillian Lybarger from the Lab in Goodyear, Arizona in a four-round bout.
Round 1: After an early onslaught from Lybarger, Pasion found her groove and settled in landing decent combinations in the second half of the round. The first round had some good action throughout, however, it appears both fighters were feeling each other out.
Round 2: In round two, Lybarger found her way landing big overhand rights in the early part of the round. The round included excessive holding from Lybarger as she came in to punch, which expected from a mixed martial artist.
Round 3: Pasion seemed confused by the forward pressure and was frustrated with the holding, however she stayed composed and found her spots towards the end of the round. Once Pasion was able to get distance she was able to pepper Lybarger with three-punch combinations. With the round coming to a close both women exchanged big flurries of punches that was the best action of the fight so far.
Round 4: The holding continued in the final round as both women tried to close the fight out with a bang. Pasion stayed calm and stayed with the game plan of creating distance and outboxing her opponent, while Lybarger was content being overly physical and landing short punches on the inside.
Result & Scores: Winner Haley Pasion, 38-38, 39-37, 40-36
Bout Three (6 rounds, Welterweight) – Miguel Sanchez (San Diego, CA) v Ivan Zavala (Tijuana, Mexico)
In the second male bout of the night local fighter Miguel “Zurdo” Sanchez from House of Boxing San Diego faced tough, Tijuana brawler Ivan “Oso” Zavala in a six-round contest.
Round 1: Both men traded inside flurries and remained head-to-head throughout the round. Zavala was able to move well inside the ring and avoid Sanchez’s combinations throughout the round.
Round 2: With cheers from the Tijuana faithful coming from the crowd both men continued to do work on the inside, however, there were not many clean combinations that favored with fighter.
Round 3: The fight continued with decent back and forth action, but neither fighter could connect on clean combinations. Sanchez appeared to get control of the round as Zavala was slow to get back to his corner. After some conversation in the corner of Zavala, the referee called the fight from the corner as Zavala hurt his hand and could not continue.
Result & Scores: Winner by TKO, Miguel Sanchez
After an entertaining night of boxing, Bobby D Presents once again gave the local fight fans something to cheer about. “Dangerous Divas” proved to be a success and the ladies came to fight. In the end, for Jolene Blackshear, the night ended with the bang she predicted as she knocked out Susan Reno in the first round.
Special thanks to Bobby D Presents, Bobby DePhilippis, Felipe Leon and the fighters who made the event a success. Additional thanks to Jolene Blackshear, Jose Cital, Mulapi Enjani and Tiger Smalls for making the time to sit down with TheFightVoice for an interview and Sue Fox from WBAN for the photographs.