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2010 was an interesting year for 3-time Women’s Boxing World Champion Ana ‘The Hurricane’ Julaton. The Daly City native was reeling off a strong 2009 campaign wherein she became the WBO and IBA female super bantamweight champion after defeating Donna Biggers in December and Kelsey Jeffries in September.
Julaton was poised for her breakthrough fight last March against the tough and rugged veteran Lisa Brown at the Casino Rama in Ontario, Canada. It would be Julaton’s biggest test to date. A win meant rising further up into mainstream recognition with an ESPN feature waiting in the wings as well as adding another world championship belt in the form of Brown’s WBA belt. All eyes were on the beautiful and well-spoken Filipina-American heroine.
Alas! Plot twist.
Despite her status as the underdog for her fight against the veteran Brown, many were banking on Julaton to overcome the odds and fulfill her destiny, for Julaton is a figure in women’s boxing unique to herself. In an afflicting sport desperately needing a face and figure that can help capture the everyday fans’ attention, Julaton more than fits the bill. Because behind that pretty face, big smile and her talents in pugilism is an intelligent and articulate personality that can represent women’s boxing in the US and serve as the beacon the sport desperately needs right now.
CLICK HERE FOR ANA JULATON’S 2010 CAMPAIGN IN PHOTOS
Unfortunately however, it was not to be. Brown’s aggressiveness, experience and rough tactics proved to be too much for the upstart Julaton who prior to the fight had all but 8 professional fights under her belt. Brown was also the first southpaw Julaton fought, and an early cut which impaired her vision throughout the fight didn’t help her cause either. Julaton dropped a unanimous decision loss after all was said and done.
Just like that, all she had worked on and built up was pulled from underneath her like a rug. ESPN cancelled their feature on her, and the skeptics were beating their drums even louder. But instead of finding excuses, she gave credit to her more seasoned conqueror and worked on what she needed to do to get on that level. She smiled in the face of her darkest hour, because as much hype as she had coming into the fight, the expectations only added to the disappointment of defeat. But instead of feeling sorry for herself and finding alibis, Julaton stood her ground and gracefully took the loss as a learning experience. In return, fans have responded to her favorably despite the setback, admiring her guts and ‘never say die’ attitude.
Proof of this was seen in her next fight against Maria Villalobos last July back in Canada at the site of her loss to Brown. TV Ratings for that fight topped any other boxing card shown in the Philippines on the weekend it aired. Ratings for that fight was17.5% and was the number one watched program in the country at that time. (Source: Kantar Media)
The replay shown 3 weeks after the fight in Canada actually went up against the AJ Banal fight labeled Philippines vs South Korea promoted by ALA promotions in the Philippines shown on Philippine TV giant ABS-CBN and Solar Sports. The JuanMa Lopez vs Bernabe Concepcion fight card shown live on Philippine TV at the same time slot and featured other Filipino fighters like onito Donaire Jr. and Eden Sonsona on July 10th got a rating of 6.5%.
Those favorable ratings for Julaton only mean one thing: The girl not only turns heads, people care about her. Her personality, looks and skills combined with her story and quest to become one of the best female boxers in history is something that attracts people’s fascination. All it needs is the backing of a major network or a big promoter like Top Rank and Golden Boy. Women’s MMA phenom Gina Carano proved in 2009 with the help of Ken Hershman and Showtime that female fighters can sell out arenas and do huge Pay-Per-View buys. Why not give Julaton a shot on HBO or Showtime in 2011?
The Filipino Athlete 2010 – A review of the year’s headline makers: Nonito Donaire Jr.
The Filipino Athlete 2010 – A review of the year’s headline makers: The Azkals
The Filipino Athlete 2010 – A review of the year’s headline makers: Mark Munoz
And despite everything she had already accomplished, Julaton has barely scratched her surface. Yes, she is now a three time world champion. Yes, she has had wars with the best female fighters in the business. Yes, she is one of the torch bearers of women’s boxing. But one thing people often forget is that she’s done all that and then some in just 10 pro fights.
And those 10 fights Julaton was in were all-out wars. The combined records of all her opponents stand at 103-42, but before I bore you with my stats, I’m sure you get the point I’m trying to make. This girl has done so much, so soon. I won’t be surprised if she’s got a stack of speeding tickets as it is apparent that she prefers to be on the fast lane.
Against Villalobos, Julaton practically used one punch to reclaim her WBO super bantamweight title. Julaton jabbed beautifully when she chose to, controlled the fight for the most part, and she did it against a tough and heavy hitting opponent who was also the #1 ranked contender. Let’s be real here. Julaton is not a knockout artist by any stretch of the imagination. She’s had 1 KO wins in 10 fights. Imagine going to war with an AK-47 when your enemy is carrying a bazooka. That’s pretty much what Julaton has to go through every time she fights, and last night was no exception.
When Julaton got hit by Villalobos’ combinations and power punches, she felt it. Even her left eye suggested that she did as it was almost closed shut. After the sound of the bell in the fourth round, Villalobos swung and tagged her with what was clearly a late hit. She got pushed down, grabbed and wrestled and was invited to the bar brawl all night.
Instead of giving in to her instincts and slugging it out though, Julaton showed the world she was ready to mature. The baby is now ready to be a lady- so to speak. At a moment when she’d usually toss the game plan in the trash bin and go toe-to-toe against her opponent, Julaton held back and upheld the instructions laid out by her cornerman, the legendary Freddie Roach. There were moments that she did get stuck in the middle and still wanted to trade blows, but for the most part, she was disciplined enough to box, jab and control the fight. Quite honestly, had she not, the results could very well have been different.
In title fights and wars against top competition, the slightest mistake can make a world of difference. In Julaton’s case, those mistakes are becoming less and less. She definitely has the tools to be an all-time great, all she needs is a little bit more seasoning which she is getting from these tough wars. As good as she is now, the exciting thing about Julaton is that she promises to even be so much more with each fight. Seeing her work ethic first hand is also something that amazed me. In terms of hard work, she trains as hard, if not harder, than any elite fighter I’ve seen.
Julaton was also busy helping other in boxing in 2010. She welcomed the Philippine National boxing team when they came to the Bay Area last year and trained with them on top of providing inspiration and support. She also debuted as a boxing trainer when she trained and cornered White Collar Brawler’s Nate Houghteling to victory last December. 2010 was definitely an interesting year for the female fighting pride of the Philippines. And guess what, 2011 promises more of the same.
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Dennis ‘dSource’ Guillermo is a freelance sportswriter. You can contact him through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org (CHECK OUT WWW.DSOURCEBOXING.COM)
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