Julie Platner / KPCC
LOS ANGELES, CA: July 9, 2012 - The countdown has begun for Saturday's match between World Boxing Champion Mariana "Barbie" Juarez (right, with fist raised) and her challenger Champion of the Asian-Pacific, Japanese boxer Shindo Go (left), at a Lunch-Press Conference, Monday July 9, at "Plaza de la Cultura." The ten-round fight, to be held on Saturday July 14th, will benefit the "Mundo Maya Foundation", whose leader Sara Mijares, says that she’s, "Very excited to have the support of the Boxing Champion Mariana "Barbie" Juarez to support us as migrant women."
Boxing, like all contact sports, is hugely popular in Mexico. Promoters of a match in Ontario this Saturday between Mexican and Japanese female boxers are hoping to draw crowds from local immigrant communities.
The upcoming fight is being billed as one of the biggest between international female boxers in the States, featuring young women from two countries with large immigrant populations in: Mexico and Japan. It’s the main event on a card that includes other women as well as male boxers.
There wasn’t a single Japanese person at the press appearance other than a translator and promoter for boxer Shindo Go. Mariana Juarez, also known as “La Barbie,” said she is happy to return to L.A. to pursue her 13th consecutive World Boxing Council win.
“I used to live here in L.A., from 2002 until about 2007," La Barbie said. "I came here looking for my dream to become a boxer — this is where I started my career; where I first became a world champion. I have since returned to Mexico, but I owe a lot to this city.”
The fight at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario is the first stop in a promotional tour for these two flyweight boxers. Promoters say they’re strictly targeting immigrant and working-class families, charging a fraction of what a fight in Las Vegas would cost. There are reportedly hundreds of women who box professionally.