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Han successfully defends her title against Martinez

Gaby Velasquez





In a battle in front of 2,000-plus attendees, IBF World Female Featherweight Champion Jennifer Han retained her title, taking a 100-90 decision. She won nine out of 10 on another card for 99-91, and eight of 10 rounds on the third judge’s card, 98-92.



The Don Haskins Center had numerous fans from all around, gathering together to stand behind their own hometown’s rising athletes—the ring featured talents from not only the Sun City, but fighters from just down the highway, in Las Cruces, and bruisers who made their way from across the border.



Ricky Vasquez kicked off the night full of battles with a victory against Saul Gomez. Vasquez was the bigger and more physical slugger throughout the match. He was solid enough to gain the advantage on the two of the judges’ scorecards, 40-36, throughout the four-round fight.


Augustine Banegas, the undefeated boxer out of Las Cruces, earned his ninth win of his young career against Alejandro Moreno. Banegas’ youth and quickness was too much for the veteran, Moreno, to handle—he now has 36 losses on his resume.


After the preliminary matches were handled, the fans made sure to get their drinks, snacks, and bathroom breaks out of the way. There was no way anyone in the crowd of the 2,314 attendees were going to miss what they call came to see—Han defend her title.


Han came in the fight with the crown in her possession, and a 13-3-1 record. Her opponent, Lilian Martinez, was not new to big fights. She walked in the ring as if she was the best boxer in the building. Martinez’s record before the fight was 20-15, and she was fighting for everyone back home in the Dominican Republic.


Chants were heard all around the stadium—“Let’s go Jenny, let’s go.” Han was in front of her own people; she knew she had fans to please.


The UTEP alumni, Han, was figuring out how to slow down the wild-punching Dominican. She used the first round as a feeling out process to get to know her enemy.


Han throughout the main event landed the greater percentage of her attempts, and Martinez’s game plan wore her out early in this fight. She was swinging for the knockout more than she should have, her energy seemed low in the middle rounds of the brawl.


The uppercut of Martinez was unorthodox, an obstacle that the defending champion had to jump through to complete the perfect ending.


“It was different, something I wasn’t used to, but it didn’t devastate me,” Han said.



Once the fourth round had crept up, Han had read Martinez like a book—everything that was coming in the direction of the El Paso native was anticipated, or countered.


El Pasoans had gotten their money worth, with every penny spent on this fight. Han did not let up and gave the fans much to leap to their feet about, she provided many “ohh’s” and “ahh’s” for her people to express themselves with.


After the fight, Han could not express how frustrated the head-butts she was receiving all evening were making her—she pointed out that the only visible damage on her face was from the illegal head-to-head hits.


“I expected her (Martinez) to box more. I didn’t expect the holding and the head-butting,” Han said. “I’m assuming it was accidental, but I felt like I was still the better boxer, regardless. I didn’t get hit all fight.”


Jennifer Han was not hesitant to praise the people who have made her the boxer she is, and why she was very successful in controlling the flow of the fight.


“I have the best sparring partners in the world. Hands down. They’re amazing, they give me their best, and that’s why I was ready for everything thrown my way,” Han said. “I love them. Their strength, techniques, and speed have helped me a lot.”


By unanimous decision, from the three judges, with the scores being 98-92, 100-90, and 99-91 all were in favor of El Paso’s sweetheart, Jennifer Han.


This being her second match, with the title on the line, she is now 2-0 in defending the Crown.


Han let her fans know how much their support was key in the victory, the first words out her mouth on the microphone, “El Paso, I love you. And guess what, I’m still the champ.”


She admitted that her first title defense was much more difficult, a doubt never went through the mind of El Paso’s prized fighter.


“(Silgado) was the better boxer, she’s cleaner—a lot cleaner. She was the more skilled boxer,” Han said. “This one, I got cut up just because of the head-butts, it’s a little disappointing.”

A masterpiece was formed on the ring, and the hometown fans got a taste of what a true champion looks like. She was flooded with supporters from all around the arena, and could not take a step without being asked for a picture, autograph, or a hug.



“I don’t know what they (her managers) plan on doing, but let’s do this,” Han states. “As soon as I’m ready to get back in the ring, I will be ready for anyone.”




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Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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Han successfully defends her title against Martinez