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Marlen Esparza vs Naoko Fujioka unification joins Garcia-Tagoe on April 9th

Esparza holds the WBC flyweight title, Fujioka the WBA

Marlen Esparza v Anabel Ortiz Photo by Kevin Estrada/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Ryan Garcia’s April 9th return against Emmanuel Tagoe may not tickle many people’s fancies, but there’s at least one interesting fight on the card. Five-division titlist and reigning WBA flyweight champion Naoko Fujioka revealed yesterday that she’ll face WBC titlist Marlen Esparza in a unification match at the Alamodome.

The 46-year-old Fujioka (19-2-1, 7 KO), who debuted at 34. has claimed belts at minimumweight, light flyweight, flyweight, super flyweight, and bantamweight during her career. She was last seen edging out Sulem Urbina on last July’s Zurdo-Barrera card in her first bout since a 2019 draw with Tenkai Tsunami.

Esparza (11-1, 1 KO) has won four straight since falling to Seniesa Estrada, including a decision over the aforementioned Urbina. Her three-fight 2021 campaign saw her controversially beat Ibeth Zamora for her current belt and defend it with a solid decision against Anabel Ortiz, who actually fell to Fujioka in a 2011 minimumweight title fight.

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