DAVAO CITY — Filipina world champion Gretchen “Chen-Chen” Abaniel will be challenging the reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) World female minimumweight champion Zong Ju Cai of China on July 12 in Shenzhen, China.
will be the first title defense for Cai, who wrested the crown by dethroning Japan’s Etsuko Tada by a split decision last January 30 at the Cotai Arena of the Venetian Resort in Macao.
The 25-year-old Cai (9-1-0, 1 KO) has also won in the past the vacant IBF Inter-Continental Female minimumweight title, WBC International female minimumweight title, WBC International female minimumweight title , vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council female minimumweight title, WBC International female minimumweight title and vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female minimumweight title.
Abaniel (17-8-0, 6 knockouts), on the other hand, has already won many titles including the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) World and Global Boxing Union Female World minimumweight crowns.
The native of Puerto Princesa, Palawan won both titles via a unanimous decision against Saowaluk Nareepangsri (6-2-0) last July 2, 2016 at the Club Punchbowl in Punchbowl, New South Wales, Australia.
The 31-year-old Abaniel first captured the vacant WBC International female minimumweight title via a unanimous decision against Lily Kokietgym in 2007 in Manila.
She later stopped Thailand’s Nongnum Mor Krungthepthonburi by a 9th round technical knockout on February 7, 2014 in Laguna to win the interim WIBA world minimumweight title.
Abaniel, however, lost in her next two title fights held outside the country. She first bowed to Japanese Kumiko Seeser Ikehara by a split decision on September 20, 2014 in Osaka, Japan for the vacant WBO World female minimumweight title.
Abaniel then dropped a unanimous decision to Zong Ju Cai on February 22, 2015 in China for the two vacant titles WBC International female and WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental female minimumweight.
Abaniel bounced back with a split decision win over then-unbeaten Oezlem Sahin (19-0-1) on November 7, 2015 in Germany to pocket the vacant Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) World minimumweight title and Global Boxing Union Female world minimumweight crown. Lito delos Reyes/PNA-northboundasia.com