While she is closing in on age 40, Mariana Juarez is not showing any signs of slowing down.
The 37-year-old Juarez demonstrated why she is currently one of the top female bantamweight fighter in boxing, winning a 10 round unanimous decision over Terumi Nuki Saturday night at the Auditorio Benito Juarez in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.
Juarez successfully defended her WBC bantamweight title and improved to 46-9-4, with 17 knockouts. Nuki falls to 9-2, with 6 KOs.
Juarez has won her last three fights in a row since a unanimous decision loss to Daniela Bermudez on Aug. 27. The loss to Bermudez snapped a four-bout unbeaten streak for the fighter from Mexico City.
Nuki was fighting for the first time outside her native Japan.
If Nuki felt overwhelmed fighting before a near-sellout crowd against one of the best female fighters, she did not show it during the opening round. Nuki was able to connect numerous times, especially with right hands to the head.
It was all Juarez from the second round on, as she effectively countered the slower Nuki, with straight right and left hands to the head. Nuki continued to press the action, but Juarez battered her with repeated combinations that began to bruise Nuki's face.
During the final two rounds, Juarez switched back and forth between a southpaw and conventional stance. Juarez did this more for show as she realized she was way ahead of the scorecards.
All three judges scored the bout 98-92 in favor of Juarez.
"She was a difficult fighter who is very heavy-handed," said Juarez after the fight. "She was throwing bombs and we knew most of her knockouts were before the third round, so we had to make a few adjustments. She took a lit of punishment."
There are preliminary discussions Juarez will next face former junior featherweight titleholder Jackie Nava of Mexico.
Junior featherweight Aaron Alameda remained unbeaten in his clash against Enrique Bernache (23-10, with 12 KOs), winning an eight round split decision.
Alameda was deducted a point from referee Alejandro Lomeli in round six for opening a cut over Bernache's left eye with his left elbow as he was throwing a punch.
One judge scored the bout 77-74 for Bernache, while the other two judges scored the bout 77-74 in favor of Alameda, who goes to 20-0, with 10 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing