Costa Rica’s Yokasta Valle hasn’t tasted defeat in a long time.
It’s been over five years to be exact.
A ten-round decision loss to Tina Rupprecht in 2018, on the road in Germany, was her second consecutive loss. Seventeen wins in a row says a lot has changed. On Saturday, Valle defended her IBF and WBO 105-pound belts with a near shutout longtime former WBA titlist Anabel Ortiz.
Valle didn’t top her 2022 campaign this year. That would have been difficult after a year that saw Valle not only win both her titles at strawweight, but also two major titles at junior flyweight with a win over the touch Evelin Bermudez. What she did do with her last of three 2023 wins was show off the skills that make her one of the best women in the world.
As described by Jake Donovan, “Valle use(d) her superior skill set to fend off the swarming Ortiz, a former long-reigning WBA strawweight titlist from Mexico City. Ortiz applied constant pressure, though not always in the form of effective aggression. Valle used it to her advantage as she scored on several power shots on the inside. Valle otherwise used the jab to set up blistering combinations at close quarters. Ortiz was not shy about letting her hands go but often came up short with her money shots.”
Ortiz never stopped trying but she was outgunned, just like everyone else for the last half decade. It’s going to take another special strawweight to beat Valle right now.
The division has another special talent on hand.
Futures: Valle has made clear she wants a chance to be undisputed. That means a showdown with a woman she is openly calling out: Los Angeles badass Seniesa Estrada. Estrada is 25-0 and holds the WBA and WBC belts in the class. Estrada’s title accomplishments intersect with Valle already. Estrada won her WBA belt from Ortiz and handed Rupprecht her first defeat in March in a unification showdown.
Valle hasn’t avenged either of her losses, but a win over Estrada would allow her the chance to one-up the last woman to defeat her. Estrada can move deeper into the conversation with Claressa Shields and Chantelle Cameron for the pound-for-pound throne with a win over Valle. It should be a must for both competitors.
Given recent history in women’s boxing, hopes should be high for a showdown in 2024. Estrada-Valle is every bit the fight Taylor-Serrano, Cameron-Taylor, or Shields-Marshall were on paper, if not quite at the box office. The golden age of women’s boxing has more gems to deliver.
It was a pretty active weekend for one of 2023’s quiet ones…Adrian Curiel knocking out Sivenathi Nontshinga is one of the more stunning one-punch knockouts since Sven Ottke-Anthony Mundine. Curiel had four stops in 28 starts coming in. Now he has five and the IBF belt at junior flyweight…Joe Cordina got more than he bargained for from Edward Vazquez. It was no Foster-Hernandez, but it kept junior lightweight in the spotlight for another week…Ilunga Makabu might want to think about new ways to make a living after a second straight knockout loss at cruiserweight. Badou Jack stopped him for the WBC belt in February, vacated, and now Makabu failed to regain the belt, stopped in three against a Norair Mikaeljan with only eleven knockouts in almost thirty fights coming in. Remember when cruiserweight had one of its best runs since launching some forty years ago? The next wave will come.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com