2012 Olympic bronze medalist, Marlen Esparza (4-0, 0 KOs) will headline Golden Boy Promotion’s latest edition of the LA Fight Club, against Philly challenger Laetizia Campana on April 6 live from the Belasco Theater.
Esparza, the first female fighter signed to Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions, is now as a professional but has yet to score her first knockout. Just days before headlining her own card for the first time, Esparza has guaranteed a knockout.
Esparza is no stranger to pressure situations, whether it was on the Olympic stage, national championships, or being one of the main faces of women’s boxing. With every obstacle thrown in Esparza’s path, she finds a way to overcome and silence her doubters–this scenario will be no different.
“I’ve always had a target on my back,” said Esparza. “I’ve grown used to it so much at this point that I’m over it. I’ve been in the ring with so many talented fighters that there really isn’t anyone or anything I haven’t seen before.”
While Esparza oozes confidence and poise in the ring, it’s her lighthearted and charming persona that has secured her some of the most well-known sponsors in the game such as Nike, Chobani, and at one point Cover Girl.
What makes this fight unique for the Houston native, besides headlining for the first time as a pro, is that this will be her first fight since the loss of her older brother and biggest fan, Diego Esparza. Esparza’s older brother Diego was tragically killed in a car accident in early January and the unfortunate accident took a toll on Esparza.
“My brother was a big supporter of my boxing. He was at three out of my last four fights,” said Esparza. “I know some people wanted me to take more time to grieve before getting back into fighting, but my brother took so much pride in my boxing that it has helped me turn this into motivation to win this fight for him.”
In speaking with Esparza, her motivation and focus were palpable. Not many fighters, either men and women, are cut from the same cloth as Esparza and with every fight, she looks to set herself apart and into her own category of superstar. 2018 could prove to be a milestone year for the 27-year-old fighter if she accomplishes the goals she has set out for herself.
“First and foremost, I want to put on a great show April 6,” said Esparza. “Next, I want to try and stay very active this year. I want to give people the fights they want and I know a fight people want to see is me against Seniesa [Estrada] and it’s a fight I want to make happen this year.”
If Esparza continues her path of victories, there are very few limitations in her way. A fight with fellow Golden Boy fighter Seniesa Estrada could make for a stellar year and put Marlen Esparza on everyone’s must-see list.
Header photo by Julio Sanchez/RBRBoxing
Peter Nieves is a sports journalist who's been writing for Round By Round Boxing since 2012. When he's not covering the sweet science, he's busy twirling his mustache and writing a screenplays. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @pnieves90