By Joe Koizumi
By the end of this year we will see still no less than five world title bouts scheduled here in Japan. Japanese female speedster Mari Ando (10-6, 5 KOs) will face Mexican Jasseth Noriega (16-2-1, 5 KOs) in a quest for the vacant WBC 105-pound championship today (Saturday) in Osaka, Japan. The #3 ranked Ando previously held the WBA light-minimumweight (102-pound) belt but lost it to compatriot Ayaka Miyao last year, and failed to win it back from Miyao by a hairline decision in a rematch this year. The #4 rated Noriega, two years her junior at 23, arrived here this Monday and has had a good condition to get acclimated with the weather and atmosphere in Osaka.
At the weigh-in ceremony of today Ando tipped the beam at 104.25 to 104.75 for Noriega. It will be refereed by Ms. Kyoungha Shin, a Korean university lecturer, with the WBC supervisor Major Lee.
It will be a typical confrontation between the boxer (Ando) and the puncher (Noriega). The belt had been relinquished by unbeaten Japanese Naoko Fujioka, who recently jumped up three classes by ten pounds and impressively acquired the WBA 115-pound belt by dethroning compatriot Naoko Yamaguchi this November. It is getting cold in winter here, but we look forward to watching a hot competition of the speedy female tigers today.