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Marlen Esparza And Gabriela Fundora Fail To Reach Terms For Undisputed Fight, WBO Orders Esparza Vs. Alaniz II Instead

Marlen Esparza And Gabriela Fundora Fail To Reach Terms For Undisputed Fight, WBO Orders Esparza Vs. Alaniz Instead featured image
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - JULY 07: Marlen Esparza (L) and Gabriela Alaniz (R) face the media at AT&T Center on July 07, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

Unified women’s flyweight champion Marlen Esparza and IBF champion Gabriela Fundora, both American, have failed to reach an agreement for an undisputed fight. In response, the WBO has ordered Esparza and Gabriela Celeste Alaniz to commence negotiations, with a purse bid slated if talks fall through.

The WBO’s directive sets the stage for a potential bout between American Marlen Esparza (14-1, 1 KO’s) defending her WBO flyweight title against Argentinian contender Gabriela Celeste Alaniz (14-1, 6 KO’s). While Esparza’s WBA and WBC flyweight titles are likely to be defended, they are not subject to the WBO’s rulings.

Esparza and Alaniz clashed on July 8th this year in a unification bout, with Esparza emerging victorious via majority decision and claiming Alaniz’s WBO title. Following the match, which featured a contentious score of 99-91 for Esparza by one judge, Alaniz appealed for a rematch to the WBO, leading to the sanctioning body ordering the rematch in August. These negotiations would fall apart, however, as a prospective undisputed fight between Marlen Esparza and Gabriela Fundora (12-0, 5 KO’s) came into the picture under the condition that the winner would face Gabriela Alaniz.

The reasons for the breakdown in negotiations between Esparza and Fundora are unclear, preventing the emergence of the first undisputed female flyweight champion, prompting the WBO to now commence with giving Gabriela Alaniz the opportunity to vie for the title she lost, due to concerns raised about the judge’s bias in their previous match, held in Texas, Esparza’s home state.

Javier Alvarez, the judge who controversially scored the match 99-91 on July 8th, resides in Texas (the home state of Esparza), likely influencing the WBO’s decision to mandate a rematch. If negotiations falter, the match will proceed to a purse bid, with a minimum acceptable bid of $25,000 already determined.

A deadline for negotiations and the purse bid proceedings is yet to be specified. Esparza is associated with ‘Golden Boy Promotions‘, while Alaniz is affiliated with Argentinian promotion ‘O R Promotions‘.