Our one-on-one interview with undefeated boxer Kenia Enriquez as she looks to earn a second title Friday, November 21, 2014 at Bobby D Presents “Dangerous Diva’s II.”
As a lifelong boxing fan, I have witnessed some memorable bouts in person and enjoyed countless battles on the television that helped mold my love for the sweet science. Prior to April, the depth of my boxing viewership and knowledge started and ended with men’s boxing. It wasn’t until April, when I attended a live Bobby D Presents show in San Diego that I gained a true appreciation for what the female boxing contingent brings to the sport. Like they say, there is a first time for everything.
On Friday, November 21, 2014, nationally recognized boxing promoter Bobby DePhilippis, who has earned a reputation for highlighting women’s boxing, will add another first to San Diego’s storied boxing history. Kenia Enriquez (12-0, 6KO’s), a skilled boxer hailing from Tijuana who also calls San Diego home, will make history against her toughest opponent to date in veteran Ana Arrazola (20-10-3, 13KO’s) as both women will square off in the cities first ever Female Title Fight for the vacant WBO Female Flyweight title.
The first time I saw Enriquez fight was six months ago, when she engaged in a bloody battle against another local fighter and two-time champion, Jolene Blackshear. I heard the hype about Enriquez for months and wanted to see her in action for myself. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. With an engaging smile, sound technical skills and the willingness to throw punches with bad intentions, Enriquez possesses the total package.
In 2014 alone, Enriquez has amassed a perfect record earning five wins and the NABF Light Flyweight title. For Enriquez winning her first championship was something she will never forget and an accomplishment that made the hard work and commitment worth it.
“Winning the title was the best emotion I ever felt . . . when I won, I felt that it was all worth it,” she explains. As a young adult, Enriquez has taken a very different path than most women her age. Her dedication to the sport she loves shines through when talking to her and validates that she is here to stay. “It is hard getting up every morning, making the 1 hour commute to the gym, not going to parties, or staying up late,” Enriquez tells me.
For Enriquez, being a normal young adult is fine for some, but for the Tijuana native, believing and dreaming big have been engrained in her since she strapped on the gloves. “I haven’t stopped training, dreaming and wishing for another belt, and here I am only six months later coming back for a bigger title and with more determination than before,” she explains.
Enriquez’s last two fights were very different for many reasons, however the one consistency that is apparent in her game is that she is continuing to learn and grow as a fighter. In her April bout against Blackshear, the pace was fast, engaging and physical due to Blackshear’s reputation for being a volume puncher. In that fight Enriquez welcomed the style and imposed her size on the smaller Blackshear in a bloody fight that ended with Enriquez winning in the seventh round due to referee stoppage.
Just five months later, Enriquez was in a much different fight with a veteran Mexican fighter, Mayela Perez, who took Enriquez to the scorecards. Enriquez won the bout unanimously with an eight-round shutout on the cards and looked sharp in doing so. The maturity gained between both fights over a short five month period is a testament to her natural ability, willingness to learn and growth as a fighter.
“Every fight has helped me evolve. I have improved in certain technical and physical areas, with my mental focus and even my maturity. Also I changed trainers. I now have Romulo Quirarte in my corner, who has had success as a coach and has made many great Mexican champions,” Enriquez tells me.
Still undefeated and still very young for the sport, Enriquez knows that title fights also bring tough opponents. This year alone she has beat a handful of respectable fighters and will face another tough, battle-tested fighter in Ana Arrazola from Mexico City. With over thirty fights under her belt, Arrazola is a southpaw who has experience in ten round bouts, and will be Enriquez’s toughest test to date . . . a challenge Kenia Enriquez is more than ready for.
“The most difficult thing is her experience . . . she’s fought 10 rounds, she’s had titles and has been on big cards. Also she is a southpaw, but I’ve sparred with south paws all my life . . . my sister and my gym partner are both southpaws so I feel I am ready,” Enriquez tells me.
A dominant win against Arrazola will cap off an exceptional year for Enriquez and cement her name on the female boxing landscape for the 2015 season. Even Enriquez would agree that a win at “Dangerous Diva’s II” will create bigger and better opportunities down the road. “I feel it’s an opportunity to demonstrate that I can take her on and that I’m ready for the big bouts and big title fights,” she explains.
Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Enriquez has been around boxing for some time. She shares the love of the sport with her younger sister who also an up-and-coming fighter and for the Enriquez sisters being a mere 20 miles from San Diego opens a huge window of opportunity for their careers in the sport that they love.
“I feel very special ever since I came to San Diego to fight. The city has opened its arms to me as if it was my home and I now feel that it is my second home,” Enriquez explains. She continues, “Tijuana will always be my first home, but I feel this is where I will start to build my career . . . where people will get to know and recognize me.”
Perhaps the biggest benefit Enriquez and other female fighters can gain from fighting in San Diego revolves around the fact that legendary boxing promoter Bobby DePhilippis is an advocate for women’s boxing and has even been recognized by the NABF for his work in promoting the sport. This fact shines through when you consider that San Diego has never hosted a title fight for female boxers. That will change Friday night and Enriquez will be the first to express her appreciation for her promoter.
“I am very grateful for Bobby D Presents, my promoter, because almost no one believes in female boxing, which is a reality. At one time the only female boxer I knew of was Amaris Quintana. But this year alone we had fights that included myself, Amaris (Quintana), Jolene (Blackshear) and at least four other female fighters,” Enriquez tells me.
Promoting women’s boxing can be a challenge, but with a talented pool of exciting, marketable fighters, the potential is there for the taking. “I think this will set the pace for other female fighters and bring other title fights to San Diego,” Enriquez explains.
Bobby D Presents has accepted the challenge to highlight women’s boxing in a sport historically dominated by men. This Friday, the door to bigger and better things for women’s boxing and for the San Diego boxing scene may be punched wide open. And Kenia Enriquez may be the fighter to walk through that door first. Like they say, there is a first time for everything . . .
The Crowne Plaza Hotel is located at 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego. “San Diego Fights” is presented by Bobby D. Presents with Mossy Automotive Group, Pepsi, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, DGS Construction and Car Czar. Doors open at 6:30pm with the first punch thrown at 7:30pm. For more info, please dial (619) 420-8866 or visit BobbyDPresents.net.
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