Featured the co-main event is El Paso’s only world champion ever, Jennifer Han. Han’s World title defense against #1 World Ranked Lizbeth Crespo, originally scheduled for January 27, has officially been moved to the February 17 card to avoid any conflict. Han vs Crespo will not be televised by the FOX network.
Gallery+Story: Unanimous! Han Retains Belt in 10 Round Decision at Haskins Center
El Pasoans had to wait well past midnight to see their hometown champion Jennifer Han defend her IBF Featherweight Championship; and after 10 rounds, Han would win by unanimous decision in her third title defense.
Han would retain the title regardless of the outcome inside the ring due to her opponent, Olivia Gerula, not making weight–but that didn’t change Han’s strategy.
“It was very frustrating, because I was worried that this wouldn’t count as a title defense, but I had nothing to worry about, because I did my work, I did what I had to do and made weight,” Han said. “This was a successful defense for me. It is what it is.”
The 33-year old Han, headlining her sixth consecutive bout in El Paso, improved her record to 16-3-1, with one knock out.
“I’m so blessed and i’m so excited about what’s coming next,” Han said. “It’s hard work, but June, July–sometime very soon, big things, big things and hopefully here in El Paso.”
Gerula, 36, would get knocked down in the fifth round, something she preferred to call a slip.
“It was a slip, I’m sorry. A hundred percent, she caught me moving and it just caught me at the right angle–down I went,” Gerula said. “Power is not her thing, she was definitely slick, couldn’t keep her trapped anywhere to hit her. She was very elusive, good fighter.”
After knowing she hadn’t made weight, Gerula had hopes of winning the match to later get a rematch for Han’s featherweight championship. Han added that she knew they had a tough opponent, but also an opponent that was less skilled saying, “Not better than I am.”
“We already knew that she was strong and that she was going to come with those big over hands,” Han said. “She fought exactly how her style is so (trainer) Louie (Burke) gave me the best boxing strategy–movement and try and connect with those good, short jabs.”
The Canadian Gerula, said after the fight that she had never missed weight in 20 years of boxing adding that her scale was giving her lighter weight than the official weigh-in number, missing the mark by just over a pound.
After the fight Han said event coordinator, Lester Bedford, is looking to schedule a bigger promotion for her hoping it will be televised.
While boxing has been a male-dominated sport for centuries, it has been yet another fight for Han to become a top commodity in the sport.
The card featured six bouts, with Han’s listed as last in line. Three of the previous five fights were televised by Univision Deportes, all male fighters, showcasing 34 rounds of boxing as they all went the distance. All but one bout was decided unanimously.
The main event for Univision featured a lightweight bout between Peru’s Jonathan Maicelo (25-2, 12 KOs) and Mexico’s Jose Felix, now 35-2-1, in what turned into an upset as Maicelo knocked down Felix five time en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Despite not having her bout televised, Han was pleased with the turnout at the Don Haskins Center of approximately 3,000.
“It’s special, did you see the crowd today? It was awesome. El Paso came out to support,” Han said. “I hope that I made them proud tonight.”
Gallery by Andres Acosta, Chief Photographer El Paso Herald-Post
Sports Reporter Daniel Ornelas was born and raised in El Paso is an Avid hiker, food lover and fitness enthusiast. Daniel is a class of 2012 UTEP Alumni and was the Sports Editor of The Prospector (2012)FULL BIO