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Marcela Acuna
© Copyrighted photo by J.B.Gallegos


5'4" featherweight (125 lbs) Marcela ‘La Tigresa’ Acuña was born on 16 October 1976 in Formosa, Argentina. She began training in the martial arts under the guidance of husband-to-be Ramón Chaparro at the age of 7. By age twelve, she was a black belt, and at the age of 14, South American champion, a title she defended successfully 16 times, with 14 wins inside the distance and one draw. She began boxing after amassing a 17-1-1 record as a kickboxer, still trained by husband Ramón.

She made her pro boxing debut at Florida's Pompano Beach Amphitheater on December 5, 1997, going a full ten rounds against hard-hitting and experienced Christy Martin. Martin, who was fighting in her home state for the first time in over a year, had promised her fans a knockout. Martin (140 lbs) controlled Acuña (140¼ lbs) with her right and landed good flurries to her head and body early in the fight. Acuña's best moments came in the third and fourth rounds when she landed well to Martin's head, but Martin connected with a strong right in the fifth and Acuña's eye began to swell. Martin was rarely in difficulty in the later rounds but Acuña's skills prevented her from landing solidly enough to produce the KO that Christy had predicted. The closest that Martin came was in the final round when she dropped Acuña with a left-right combination to the head. Acuña put in a game performance in what was clearly a mismatch, but lost by a wide (99-90,99-90,100-90) margin. Martin improved her record to 24-1-2.

Her second professional bout took place on September 25, 1998 at the Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut. This time, Marcela (135¼ lbs) faced another of the world's most formidable female fighters ... Lucia Rijker (137½ lbs, 11-0) of Los Angeles ... for the newly created WIBO junior welterweight title. Rijker had been trying unsuccessfully to line up a bout with Christy Martin for a rumored seven-figure purse, and was looking for a title belt from a men's sanctioning to bolster her case. Martin vs. Rijker was widely seen as the most exciting matchup possible in women's boxing at the time. When no deal could be done, Rijker instead went about displaying her talents to the boxing world by fighting former Martin opponents ... and showing that she could dispatch them more convincingly than the “Coal Miner's Daughter” had done!

It was no surprise that the undefeated Rijker was far too much for the courageous but overmatched Acuña on September 25. Lucia established her jab in the first four rounds then went to the body in the fifth, ending the fight with a brutal hook to Acuña's body that sent her to the canvas at the end of the round. Acuña had occasional success landing her own right, but (like most of Lucia's previous opponents) she was overpowered once the hard-hitting veteran really got to work. [Video]

After this baptism of fire, Acuña took a two-and-a-half-year break from professional boxing competition. She reappeared as a featherweight on April 28, 2001 at Federacion Argentina de Boxeo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the first sanctioned professional women's boxing bout ever fought in that country. This time she was matched fairly and posted her first pro win ... a four-round split decision over Jamillia Lawrence of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 24-year-old Acuña put on a strong finish with a sustained body attack in the final round. The scores (on the half-point system used by the F.A.B.) were 39.5-38.5 and 39-37.5 on two cards, while the third judge saw it 39-37 for the American, who fell to 7-4 (4 KO's) with the loss.

Lawrence was a very credible opponent who had stopped Suzanne Riccio-Major, and had gone the distance with Mary Elizabeth Ortega, with highly-rated Canadian Kathy Williams (defeating her once) and with IFBA World Bantamweight champion Eva Jones-Young. After the fight, the American felt she’d done enough to win saying "I felt much stronger and had much more experience than Marcela, which is why I hoped when the final bell rang that they would give the fight to me. She needs to improve her speed of movement around the ring and learn how to build attacks on that.” She went on to compliment Acuña: “Her style is good and when she perfects it, ‘La Tigresa’ will be well placed to establish herself as a contender at international level.”

On June 1, 2001 at the Estadio Centenario in her birthplace of Formosa, Argentina, Marcela (125½ lbs) won a clear (60-55,60-56,60-53) decision over Luz Marina Sarabia Ledesma (127¾ lbs) of Cartagena, Colombia. Acuña showed better ring movement and more aggression than her opponent, who was soon overwhelmed by her pressure. From the second round onwards, Acuña’s right increasingly found its mark, and a KO seemed close when the Colombian was wobbled in the fifth. Sarabia fell to 4-1-1 (1 KO) with the loss (all of her previous fights were in Colombia).

On June 30, 2001 at Club Rivadavia in Desde Necochea, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela (123½ lbs) scored a second round TKO over an outclassed Andrea Pereyra (129½ lbs) of Uruguay, who fell to 3-2-1. According to reports sent to me, Acuña showed greater strength, consistency and penetration than in her previous fights, landing her right to Pereyra's face easily and precisely. A left hook followed by a straight right destroyed Pereyra's resistance and brought referee Luis Guzmán in to stop the one-sided contest. A jubilant Acuña then told reporters: “I am delighted with the enthusiasm of the public here in Formosa and many other parts of the country where they are asking to see me fight. Fortunately, tonight I was able to score the first knockout of my career against a fighter who showed plenty of courage. I want to continue to grow as a boxer so as not to disappoint the expectations I have aroused in Argentinean boxing circles. Now that the door has been opened to me, I intend to fulfill my dreams.”

On August 11, 2001 at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, Argentina, Marcela moved her pro record to 4-2 (1 KO) with a six-round unanimous (60-52,60-57,60-54) decision over Yolanda “Yolis” Marrugo of Colombia. Acuña showed her technical superiority and was aggressive from the start of this bout, landing heavily early. The Colombian fought gamely and frustrated Acuña with good lateral movement for most of the first four rounds, but she mounted very little offense. She could not hold off Acuña's attack in the fifth and was staggered by several hard punches. Marrugo spent the last minute of the fight on the ropes, barely surviving a ferocious, if untidy, assault from the Argentinean. One commentator criticized Acuña for being too predictable early in this fight and throwing the same one-two combinations, praising her nonetheless for her economy of movement and noting that she punched very hard. Acuña said that she thought Marrugo was a very good boxer who had not been able to show her skills, adding “I looked for a knockout from the beginning of the fight and she held very well.” Marrugo fell to 4-2-1 with the loss.

On September 21, 2001 in Santa Fe, Argentina, Marcela (125½ lbs) won a fifth-round TKO of Andrea Pereyra (126½ lbs) of Uruguay in a rematch that had been scheduled for six rounds. Acuña quickly took command of the center of the ring with a stream of jabs punctuated by straight rights to which the Uruguayan fighter responded sporadically. Pereyra rarely landed anything solid, so the fight followed the same basic script until 1:14 into the fifth, when ‘La Tigresa’ unleashed a straight right that sent Pereyra sprawling on her back in a neutral corner. The count was a formality as Pereyra stayed on the canvas a long time and needed attention from the ring emergency medical team. (Fortunately, she was not seriously hurt). The win earned Acuña the “80 Anniversario de LA OPINION” trophy.

On October 12, 2001 in Formosa, Argentina, Marcela advanced to 6-2 (3 KOs) with a second-round KO over Ana Dos Santos.

On January 19, 2002 at Federación Argentina de Box in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela (124¾ lbs) advanced to 7-2 (4 KOs) with a first-round KO of 40-year-old fitness instructor Patricia Quirico (125½ lbs) of Caseros for the Argentine featherweight title.

This was a much-hyped fight in Argentina and some women's boxing promoters in the USA might take lessons from the build-up that it got! Quirico, for all her 23 exhibition boxing matches and a lifetime in athletics, baseball and the Korean martial art of sipalki, was in fact making her pro boxing debut. She had chosen the title ‘La Leona’ or ‘Lioness’, “because I’m fighting to provide for my girls and give them a better life” .. her daughters Sheila (12 years) and Marlene (10) are said to be “her number one fans”. Quirico had also opined that Acuña had beaten no one of note. She had fought an exhibition bout with Acuña two years earlier and dismissed Acuña's vaunted punching power: “all I can say is that on that occasion I didn’t feel the hands of the Tigress. I know very well what I can do, I hit hard and I can take the heat up there in the ring. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m going to take the title.” Marcela, whose own children would be at ringside for the title fight, was livid that this “novice” who was “still a nobody” should be belittling her achievements ... “I’d like to see how she’d have got on against the same opponents” ... and vowed to “eat her raw”.

I'm told that the bad blood between Acuña and Quirico began because Acuña felt that the honor of participating in the first-ever Argentinean title fight (and an assured place in Argentinean boxing history) should have gone to her friend Carmen Montiel. She alleged that Quirico had backed out of a meeting with Montiel that would have decided which of them fought Acuña for the title. Quirico also infuriated Acuña with allusions to her defeats at the hands of Martin and Rijker. People from Quirico's gym added to the hype by talking about how hard Quirico hit, claiming that she had stunned male sparring partners once or twice in training and that they'd needed a pause to recover. Acuña, for her part, told interviewers “normally I try to keep a low profile before a fight, but this time, no; I'm going to teach that woman some manners”, and “Quirico has shown me a lack of respect and she’s going to pay dearly for that, that’s one thing I’m absolutely sure of. She´s going to find out what boxing’s all about when I lay on her the knockout of her life.” Quirico had arrived at the pre-fight press conference in a limousine, scowling and flanked by heavies as though she were Mike Tyson. The two women then began shouting at each other and photographers had to plead with them to pose together. Each promised to knock the other out, but Acuña's deeds in the ring eventually spoke louder than any words.


Acuña misses with a left but Quirico is dropping from a lethal rightQuirico certainly felt Acuña's hands this time as Marcela dispatched ‘The Lioness’ with her first punch barely 4 seconds into the bout! Acuña almost ran across the ring as the bell sounded, steadied herself and then speared a right cross through Quirico's guard. Quirico tried to pull her head back and closed her eyes ("she may not have seen the punch, but she felt it" commented one reporter) and was already on her way to the canvas as the following left (see picture) brushed past her cheek. Down she went, heavily, in her own corner. At four she tried to rise but staggered and referee Luis Guzmán, ruling that she was in no state to continue, counted her out on her feet at 0:14 seconds. Quirico later claimed she'd been trying to touch gloves ... a view greeted with skepticism ... and accused the referee of being biased, claiming she had been perfectly capable of continuing. Acuña saw things differently: “She was in a bad way. Her eyes were crossed and her legs were wobbly.” Qurico refused to shake Acuña's hand or even acknowledge the crowd.

Back in Acuña’s home town, with a mixture of astonishment and delight, fans following the live telecast in bars all round the city cheered as they watched replays from every angle of Marcela’s right cross exploding against Quirico’s jaw.

Having outlined before the fight how she would use her height to keep Acuña at a distance and then knock her out in the fifth, an embarrassed Quirico was left to vent her frustration in a corner of the dressing room, giving the same reply to every question: she was “fine”, she would “carry on” and she “wanted a return”. Acuña’s response was withering: “A return? No, first let her train, build up some strength, have a few fights, and then we’ll see. As for ‘revenge’ ... after a knock-out as fast as that, what possible revenge could I give her?”. Rubbing further salt into the wound, Acuña told Clarin: “I never imagined that I could win the title that quickly. I think I even frightened myself and I was a bit worried when she went down. But afterwards, I was sorry that Quirico refused to congratulate me and that she was such a bad loser. But that's life: once again I've made history and proved that I'm a serious boxer.”

On March 1, 2002 at Club Olimpia in Paraná, Entre Rios, Argentina, a full house of 1,500 saw Marcela (125 lbs) defend the Argentine featherweight title and advance to 8-2 (4 KOs) with a clear unanimous ten-round (99-87.5,99-88,99-87.5) decision over Carmen Montiel (“La Guapa”, 122¾ lbs) of Buenos Aires. Montiel, who was a former sparring partner of Acuña, was making her own professional debut. Acuña had said before the bout that she would go for another knockout, but reports sent to me said that she kept plenty in reserve and even pulled punches that could have ended it by KO. Montiel stood up to everything thrown at her and left the ring to an ovation. Asked if she had gone out to humiliate Montiel the way she did Quirico, Acuña said she had not “because I wanted to do my job, which was to keep her at a distance. Carmen is my friend; and besides, I wanted to see how well I could last ten rounds.” For her part, the 37-year-old Montiel said “Marcela has blazed a trail for all of us. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to beat her, though.”

Acuña next prepared for a shot at the WIBA world title against Damaris Pinock Ortega of Panama on April 6, but the Argentinean econonomic crisis led to the bout being postponed.

On June 29, 2002 at Rio Gallegos, Santa Cruz, Argentina, Marcela won an eight-round decision over her former sparring partner Carmen Montiel ("La Guapa") of Buenos Aires in their second bout of the year. Acuña moved to 9-2 (4 KOs); Montiel fell to 0-2.

On November 15, 2002 at Super Domo Orfeo in Cordoba, Argentina,  Alicia Ashley (120¾ lbs) of Westbury, New York won a controversial ten-round split (96-94,96-94,95-97) decision over Acuña (120½ lbs) to win the vacant IWBF Super Bantamweight (aka Junior Featherweight) title in what was the first women's world title fight to be staged in Argentina. Ashley advanced to 8-4-1 (0 KO) while Acuña's record slipped to 9-3-0 (4 KO) as she absorbed her first pro boxing loss in her own country. Acuña had said that she "dreamed of holding up the title belt with the crowd chanting my name" and that she was more confident than on previous occasions because in this (weight) category I'm not giving anything away." The judging was Terry O'Neill (USA) 96-94 for Ashley, Carlos Villegas (Argentina) also 96-94 for Ashley, Francismo Seleme (Argentina) 97-95 for Acuña.

My correspondent tells me that this was a fight in which few heavy punches landed - but, until the last two rounds when she began to fade, the Argentinean had the initiative throughout having Ashley in trouble several times with digging right hands. Ashley moved around the ring well but threw nothing of consequence - none of her seven victories has been inside the distance - one newspaper described her strategy as 'cynical'. Acuña quickly adjusted to the problems of fighting a southpaw, whose left hooks in the first two rounds presaged a danger that never materialized. Ashley´s attempts to use her superior reach to keep Acuña off are said to have faltered in the fifth round and from then until the ninth when she began to fade, it was all Acuña. The Argentinean press had Ashley winning only the last two rounds.

The Argentinean news agency DyN had Acuña winning 98-92, and the newspaper La Mañana reported that Ashley's corner told her going into the last round that she needed a knockout. Apparently angry at the Argentinean judge, Villegas, who gave the fight to Ashley, a tearful Acuña concluded: "I´m going to have to emigrate and get out this ... country in which I get no recognition whatsoever," adding in a whisper: "It´s obvious that the judges were watching a different fight." Most of the Argentinean press seemed to agree, describing the decision as ´pathetic´, a ´scandal´, ´a robbery of historic proportions´ and even ´criminal´ ... though Horacio Pagani, in Clarin, clearly no supporter of women´s boxing, took a different view, contenting himself with the following comment on the top-of-the-bill women's world title fight: "in a female spectacle that was a long way from true boxing ... Ashley demonstrated her technical superiority."

On February 21, 2003 in Buenos Aires, Marcela won the vacant Argentinian super bantamweight title with a second- round TKO of Lourdes Gonzalez, who had not seen action since her first-round KO loss to Regina Halmich in March 1999. Gonzalez fell to 10-4-0 (5 KO).

On May 10, 2003 at Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego, Marcela won a fifth-round TKO over debut fighter Ana Davila Ferreira of Brazil.

On June 14, 2003 at Complejo Republica Venezuela in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alicia Ashley (119¼ lbs) of Westbury, New York successfully defended her IWBF Super Bantamweight title by a convincing ten-round unanimous (98-92,97-92,97-94) decision over Marcela (120 lbs) in a rematch that the IWBF had required after reviewing tape of their previous bout.  In this rematch, instead of boxing defensively and relying on counter-punching as she had done in their first fight, Ashley consistently beat Acuña to the punch, and was in and out before the Argentinean could find her range with her response. Ashley even outhustled Acuña in the clinches, to the dismay of Acuña's fans. “Ashley was a hieroglyphic she had no idea how to decipher,” wrote DyN of this rematch. Ashley improved to 9-4-1 (0 KO) with the win.

On August 22, 2003 at Club Ciclista Juninense, Junin, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela (126¾ lbs) won a six-round unanimous decision over her former sparring partner Carmen Montiel of Buenos Aires (126¼ lbs). Acuña improved to 12-4-0 (6 KO) while Montiel fell to 0-3.

The fight is over!

Referee Aníbal Andrade stops the fight with Pinock Ortega

On December 6, 2003 at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela (121 lbs) won the vacant WIBA Super Bantamweight world title with a sixth-round TKO of Damaris Pinock Ortega (122 lbs) of Panama. According to a report received on fight night by WBP, "The Tigress came out with all guns blazing, as though the fact of being escorted to the ring by her two sons had given her something extra. As soon as the bell sounded, she went all out to demolish the Panamanian and was one punch away from putting her away in the first, but Pinock Ortega showed her mettle and clung on. In the second round, the Tigress calmed down somewhat and began to pick her shots, all the time building up a lead on the scorecards. In the fourth, her husband, Ramón Chaparro, told her to finish it, and 40 seconds from the end of the round, she rocked the Panamanian with a violent right. Pinock Ortega’s legs were wobbling when she returned to her corner at the end of the round. The end was not far away. The fifth was another thrashing and in the sixth, the demolition was terrible until with 17 seconds remaining, the referee rightly put an end to the suffering of Pinock Ortega, who remained courageous to the end, and crowned the Tigress champion." Acuña improved her record to 13-4-0 (7 KO) with the win while Pinock Ortega fell to 6-2-2 (5 KO). (See also the Fight Report by Ewan Whyte).

On May 26, 2004 at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela (121 lbs) won by a TKO just 0:43 into the first-round TKO over Daysi Padilla (118¾ lbs) in a scheduled 10-round defense of her WIBA Super Bantamweight world title. Evidently stung by criticism that she had taken five and a half rounds to finish off Damaris Pinock Ortega last December, Acuña wasted no time or pity on the lanky Colombian Daysi ('Demolition') Padilla. Sensing an initial hesitation on the part of her opponent, the champion moved swiftly across the ring ('like a tigress with the cage door open' as Olé put it) catching Padilla almost immediately with a hard right to the cheek that had her reeling and following up with a furious assault that forced referee Raúl Ilvento to stop the fight. Padilla, who had claimed a 14-1-0 (14 KO) record and boasted that she would ´make the Tigress dance to my tune´, lacked the experience (as ex world champion Ricardo Cardona in her corner later admitted) to cling to Acuña when she was hurt, to give her head clear time to clear. Commented Acuña: "Even dazed, Padilla managed to throw a few punches and I could feel she hits hard, but I kept beating her to the punch and she could do nothing." At midnight, Padilla was admitted to hospital as a precautionary measure, though she was perfectly lucid. (See also the Fight Report by Ewan Whyte).

On September 11, 2004 at Polideportivo Carlos Cerutti in Córdoba, Argentina, Marcela (121¼ lbs) TKO'd Ada Camila Santos (119½ lbs) in the third round of a scheduled 4-rounder.

On January 22, 2005 at Club Centenario in Formosa, Argentina,
Marcela (124¼ lbs) won the vacant WIBA Featherweight title with a TKO of Maria Andrea Miranda (123¼ lbs) of Moñitos, Córdoba, Colombia at 1:37 in the third round of in a scheduled ten-rounder. Miranda went down three times in the final round and the fight ended with the "warrior from Colombia prostrate before the Argentinian, her eyes directed towards her corner, beseeching them to throw in the towel" (see the full fight report by WBAN's Ewan Whyte).

Sharon Anyos vs. Marcela Acuña for the WBC title
Photo supplied by Team Anyos

On October 21, 2005 at Gold Coast Convention Center in Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia, 35-year-old Sharon Anyos of Australia won a ten-round unanimous (97-93,96-94,96-94) decision over Marcela for the vacant WBC Women's Featherweight title.  The hard-hitting Acuña landed the most damaging punches in this fight, but Anyos was busier and used her reach advantage to outbox her for the decision. Anyos kept her distance to take the first two rounds but got into a slugging match and took some heavy shots in the third. Anyos looked in danger of losing her composure according to Eastside Boxing's ringside correspondent Tony Nobbs, but she got back to boxing in the later rounds to control the action, holding off a strong charge by Acuña in the ninth. Anyos, who sported a badly swollen left cheek, said. "I felt strong every round. The girl can punch and she also head-butts quite well.  I felt I won at least eight of the 10 rounds which to me is all that matters. I've been to war to win the best world title you could ever be given."  Acuña said she believed she had won at least seven rounds and accused the Thai, Japanese and Australian judges of being blind. Acuña said she would consider a re-match with Anyos, but not in Australia. "Not even for a million dollars," added Acuña, who lodged an official complaint to the WBC over the decision. Acuña fell to 19-5-0 (12 KOs) with the loss while Anyos improved to 11-3-0 (2 KO).

On August 12, 2006 in Buenos Aires, Argentina Marcela Acuña (121½ lbs) won a ten-round unanimous (100-90) decision over 21-year-old Anays Gutierrez Carrillo (122 lbs) of Barranquilla, Colombia for the WBA Junior Featherweight (Super Bantamweight) world title. According to Juan E. Brignone of www.boxeo.org, Acuña dominated the fight from beginning to end and never abandoned the hunt for a T(KO) but she was unable either to break the spirit or to find the jaw of the young Colombian. Gutierrez Carillo fell to a reported 9-1-1 (2 KOs).

On October 14, 2006 at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela Acuña (120 lbs) took barely 40 seconds to retain the WBA Super Bantamweight title by demolishing 23-year-old Paola Esther Herrera Gómez (5'6", 120½ lbs) of Cartagena, Colombia. “The Tigress set out to devour her,” reads the report in TyC, translated for WBAN by Ewan Whyte : Acuña attacked; Herrera essayed a rearguard action - trying desperately to use technique to fend her off - but the champion connected anyway, and Herrera’s challenge began to unravel. Acuña finished her off with an ‘excellent combination to the head’ that left the challenger staggering helplessly and referee Aníbal Andrada no option but to intervene. Herrera fell to 2-4 in bouts verified by WBAN. The  record claimed for Herrera in Colombia contains about a dozen wins that we cannot confirm, but whatever her formal record, she was quickly exposed by Acuña in this first-round TKO.  

On December 15, 2006 in Caseros, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela (121½ lbs) won when Maribel Santana (121 lbs) of the Dominican Republic retired 37 seconds into the second round.  The two were fighting for the WBA Super Bantamweight Title. According to WBAN correspondent Ewan Whyte, "Last night in front of 4,000 spectators in the Centro Deportivo Municipal (CeDeM) Nº 2 in Caseros (Buenos Aires) and a live TV audience ... the submission ... (came) only 37 seconds into the second round when the woman from the Dominican Republic signalled unambiguously to the referee her unwillingness to continue."

On January 27, 2007 at Hotel Conrad in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Marcela won a ten-round majority decision over Maria del Carmen Potenza. WBAN's Ewan Whyte reported that "the normally implacable Marcela 'la Tigresa' Acuña of Argentina allowed her fellow countrywoman María del Carmen Potenza to survive the full ten rounds ... according to TYC Sports, the fight was little more than an exhibition."  Potenza fell to 3-5-1 (0 KO's). 

On April 20, 2007 at the Andes Talleres Sport Club in Mendoza, Argentina, Marcela (121¼ lbs) won a 10-round unanimous (100-89,99-90,99-90) decision over Jazmin Rivas (122 lbs) of Torreon, Mexico, defending the WBA Super Bantamweight Title. For a compilation of local reports on the fight translated by WBAN's Ewan Whyte, please go here.  Marcela improved her record to 24-5-0 (14 KOs) while dropping Rivas to 14-4-0 (7 KOs).

On June 29, 2007 at Club Sportivo América in Santa Fe, Argentina
Marcela (120¾ lbs) won a sixth round technical decision based on the scorecards over 38-year-old Maria del Carmen Potenza (118½ lbs) after their scheduled 10-rounder was stopped following a clash of heads. Potenza had received a standing eight count in the fifth. Scores were 60-56, 59-54, and 59½-55½.  Potenza fell to

On October 27, 2007 at Ce.De.M. N° 2 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela (121¾ lbs) won a close unanimous (77-75,79-77,78-76) unanimous eight-round decision over UBC Junior Featherweight champion Claudia Andrea Lopez (120 lbs) of Argentina in what was described as a "stellar" fight.  According to one news source, López fought with a great deal of conviction and gave a very good account of herself.   Neither woman´s title belt was at stake.  Lopez fell to 8-3-0 (0 KO).


On February 4, 2008 at the Hotel and Casino Conrad in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Marcela (123¾ lbs) won a close but unanimous (79-77,78-77,77-76) eight-round decision over Adriana Salles (123¾ lbs) of Sao Paolo, Brazil in a non-title bout.  Salles fought a hard fight and was the early aggressor, cheered on by Brazilian fans; she landed well in the middle rounds but appeared to tire in the later rounds while Acuña paced herself better. (There appeared to be some confusion about the number of rounds, which was announced as ten, but the Braziian corner stated that the contract had been for eight.)  Acuña improved her record to 27-5-0 (14 KO's) while Salles fell to 9-3-1 (3 KO's).

On May 15, 2008 at Sociedad Española in San Luis, Argentina, Marcela (126¾ lbs) TKO'd Anays Gutierrez Carrillo (129¾ lbs) of Barranquilla, Colombia at the start of the  third round of a scheduled 10-rounder.  According to WBAN correspondent Ewan Whyte, "The non-title fight ... ended in fiasco after four minutes when the Colombian, who was in any case in no shape to be in the ring, not having fought and scarcely having trained since 13th October 2006, refused to come out for the third round, complaining of nausea. She explained afterwards that she only took the fight for the money and that she was indisposed (meaning apparently that it was the wrong time of the month)." Carrillo fell to 11-4-1 (3 KO's).

On July 3, 2008 at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Marcela (120¼ lbs) easily defeated 40-year-old Canadian Danielle Bouchard (120½ lbs) of Montreal, Quebec, by a unanimous (100-90,100-90,99-91) ten-round decision while defending her WBA Junior Featherweight title. Bouchard, who had competed as an amateur for most of her boxing career, fell to 9-2-1 (1 KO) as a pro with this loss. [Video clip]


On October 10, 2008 at Ce.De.M. N° 2 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela (120 lbs) TKO'd 18-year-old Paulina "La Niña" Cardona (119¼ lbs) of Barranquilla, Colombia in the fifth round of a scheduled eight rounder. Cardona took standing counts in the third and fourth, and retired before the fifth. According to WBAN correspondent Ewan Whyte, "For a round, it seemed the 18-year-old might be able to hold her own (but) ... the Tigress, it turned out, had only been stalking her in that first round. In the second she pounced: two rights in quick succession to the face followed by a hard cross staggered the young Colombian and her trainer reached for the towel. As Acuña) picked up the pace, she trapped the visitor in one corner after the other with swift lateral movement to the right or left as the situation required, bobbing and weaving before unleashing powerful, precise crosses to the ‘high planes’ and combinations to the ‘low zones’ that began to undermine Cardona’s resistance,” wrote Enrique Rodriguez in La Prensa. The balance tipped still further in the WBA champion’s favour in the third. 'Cardona seemed unnerved by the intensity of Acuña’s attacks, unable to cope with the sheer number of punches coming at her,' wrote Enzo Dallacaminá for Los campeones en el ring. Not only was this the lightest the Tigress has ever been, it was also her best performance – if not ever, then at least since she fought Rivas back in April 2007. There was no sign of the over-eagerness that has marred her work in recent outings. Cardona fell to 12-4-3 (5 KO's).  [Video of final round]

On December 4, 2008 at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela Acuña (121 lbs) won a hard-fought 10-round unanimous (95-94,97-93,98-91) decision over her undefeated arch-rival Alejandra Oliveras (120 lbs) from Cordoba, Argentina to unify the WBA and WBC junior featherweight titles. Oliveras fell to 12-1-2 (4 KO's).

Acuña vs Nava in April 2009
© Copyrighted photo by John Harris

On April 30, 2009 in the Main Event at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Marcela won a 10-round unanimous (98-92,98-91,99-90) decision over Jackie Nava of Tijuana, Mexico for the WBC Junior Featherweight title.  According to FightNews.com reporter Lee Bates, "Nava was very game and pressured Acuña most of the fight but Acuña’s defense was very tight and she countered with head-snapping punches throughout the bout. Acuña dropped Nava with a double jab in the final seconds of the bout to put an exclamation point on her victory."  Nava fell to 19-3-2 (10 KO's).  [Video]

On August 20, 2009 at Estadio Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina Marcela Acuña (120½ lbs) won a ten-round majority (96-94,96-95,95-95) decision over Alicia Ashley (120¾ lbs) of New York for the WBC Junior Featherweight title.  Acuña had problems with Ashley's reach advantage later in the fight but Ashley lacked the punching power to make the most of her opportunities.  Ashley dropped to 14-9-1 (1 KOs).

On April 10, 2010 at Ce.De.M. N° 2, Caseros in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcela Acuña (121¼ lbs) won a ten-round unanimous decision over Maria Elena Villalobos (121¼ lbs) of Mexico City for the WBC Junior Featherweight title. Acuña dominated the first half of the fight against a courageous Villalobos. She rocked the challenger with a powerful right hook in the fifth round but the champion appeared to ease off in the later rounds. Villalobos tried to rally in the final round but Acuñawas never in danger.  Acuña improved to 34-5-0 (16 KOs) while Villalobos dropped to 6-3-0 (4 KOs).

On August 20, 2010 in Formosa, Argentina, Marcela Acuña (120¼ lbs) TKO'd Rosilete Santos (120¾ lbs, aka Rosilette Dos Santos) of Sao Jose dos Pinhais, Brazil at 1:19 in the tenth round of a bout for the WBC Junior Featherweight belt.  A WBAN correspondent told us that Acuña "took Dos Santos apart like a surgeon for 10 rounds. She tried for the KO but Dos Santos wouldn’t go down, Acuña out boxed her with her speed and movement ... the ref let it go on for 10 rounds, never thought of stopping it. Then with 45 seconds to go and Dos Santos still eating the punches but moving and throwing back and in no worse shape than she had been all fight long, he steps in and stops it.  Everyone in the ring, the two fighters and the crowd couldn’t understand it,  He lets her take a beating all that time and she hangs in giving her all hoping to go 10 and then at the last minute he pulls the plug." Acuña improved her record to 35-5 (17 KO's) while (Dos) Santos fell to 21-5 (13 KO's).  [Video of final round and the controversial stoppage]

On April 5, 2011, Marcela Acuña announced her retirement from boxing, saying that it was time for her to turn to a political career in the Chamber of Deputies in support of the government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.  In an interview she declined to name who she sees as her potential successor in Argentinian women's boxing, saying "There are many successors, in total in the country there are eight world champions. I consider myself as the mother of them and I do not choose one of my daughters. I leave a legacy that is the women's boxing in our country."

On May 19, 2012 at Salón de los Bomberos Voluntarios, General Villegas in Buenos Aires, Argentina,  Marcela Acuña came out of her announced retirement and fought a 10-rounder against Maria Elena (Mary) Villalobos of Mexico City, Mexico, vying for the WBC Silver Junior Featherweight title. Acuña won by a unanimous decision, with final scoring of 99-89, 98-90, and 96-91. Acuña showed some ring rust as she improved her record to 36-5 (17 KO's) while Villalobos fell to 12-7-1 (5 KO's).

On August 17 2012 at Club Caja Popular in San Miguel, in Tucuman, Argentina, Marcela Acuña (121¼ lbs) defeated Betiana Patricia Vinas (121¾ lbs) of Neuquen, Argentina by a ninth round Technical Decision. The two were fighting for the WBC Silver Junior Featherweight title. Acuña improved her record to 37-5 (17 KO's) while Vinas fell to 5-4-3 (0 KO's). The close fight, which had been scheduled for 10 rounds, was stopped after Vinas was bloodied high above her right eye by what was ruled an unintentional head butt. At the stoppage, two judges had the score 86-85 for Acuña while the third had it 87-84.

On December 21 2012 at Club Universitario in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina Carolina Duer of Buenos Aires won a ten-round unanimous (97½-93½, 96½-96, 98-94½) decision over Marcela Acuña in a non-title fight.

On January 25 2013 at Teatro Griego Juan Pablo Segundo in San Martin, Mendoza, Argentina, Yesica Marcos and Marcela Acuña battled to a ten round split draw contesting the WBO and WBA Junior Featherweight titles.

On May 10 2013 at Auditorio Presidente Néstor Kirchner, Mercado Central, Tapiales, Buenos Aires, Argentina Marcela Acuña (120½ lbs) won a ten-round unanimous (99-91 x 3) decision over Soledad Matthysse (122 lbs) of Trelew, Chubut, Argentina in a non-title bout. 

On July 13 2013 at Club Defensores de Villa Lujan in San Miguel, Tucuman, Argentina, Marcela Acuña (125½ lbs) won a ten-round unanimous (99-91,100-90, 98-92) decision over Melissa Hernandez (124¼ lbs) of the Bronx, New York City,  United States in a non-title bout. Hernandez fell to 18-5-3 (6 KO's).

On October 25 2013 at Club Salto Uruguayo in Salto, Uruguay, Marcela Acuña won a ten round unanimous decision over Halanna Dos Santos of Brazil for the vacant WBO Junior Featherweight title.

On March 28 2014 at Anfiteatro Municipal in Villa Maria, Cordoba, Argentina, Marcela Acuña won by a TKO in the sixth round over Estrella Valverde of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico defending the WBO Junior Featherweight title.  The bout was stopped by the ring doctor because iof severe swelling over the right eye of Valverde. Valverde fell to 9-4-1 (1 KO) as Acuña progessed to 41-6-1 (18 KOs).

Marcela Acuña once said of her boxing career: “Our lives ...  changed a great deal since we decided to leave Formosa and dedicate ourselves to this full time. It hasn’t been easy. Far from it. ... A few months before they eventually sanctioned women’s boxing, we were on the point of returning home. We’d been beating our heads against a brick wall for so long and they never even gave us an answer. Now it seems that things are changing. But it’s been a long struggle. That Christmas, we didn’t even have any money to buy Christmas presents for the kids. In the end, we had to borrow money, because the situation had become desperate.  My dream is to earn a million dollars and buy my own house so I no longer have to rent. It’s far from the case, though, that the only thing that interests me is the money. I care about boxing more than money. But I’m also conscious of the fact that it’s thanks to this sport that I can assure the future of my boys. Everyone that knows me knows that I’m not ambitious. I don’t want money for money’s sake. The only people I worry about are my boys."


“I’m not complaining because this is something I fought long and hard for. But I do feel pretty tired. I have this picture I keep always in my head of myself and Ramón and the two boys in our own home, enjoying the family life that we’ve had to push into the background.”

Husband and trainer Ramón Chaparro added “It’s difficult being the trainer of your own wife. The person up there in the ring with another woman beating each other black and blue is the mother of my children, not someone I don’t know. When Marcela fought Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker, I was nervous because I didn’t want her to lose by a knockout. Now, when I see how she’s improved, I’m not the least bit worried. What’s more, we’ve become more professional, both of us. In the ring, we forget that we’re husband and wife. The important thing is not to think about the bad things that can happen, because if you did, you’d never climb into the ring in the first place. If I believed that anything could happen to Marcela, there’s no way in the world that I’d let her get in there. But I’ve got blind faith in her.”


Her sons Maxi and Josué are also a permanent part of Acuña's team. Asked how she would respond if they decided they wanted to become fighters, she says “I will always support them. But I won’t let them neglect their studies. For the moment, though, although they like boxing, they both want to be doctors”. Maxi (at age 9) told reporters “I love it that mum’s a boxer. With the money she earns, she buys us toys. The bad part is that we don’t see her much because she’s concentrating on other things. The one good thing is that she leaves us with my elder brothers and we can make as much mess as we like.” Josué added: “My mum’s really famous: they even know her at school. I love boxing and having my picture taken with her, but I’d like to go back to Formosa and be with my friends and to be able to spend every day with my parents. At the moment, we don’t see them a lot of the time and I miss them heaps. I don’t want to be a boxer, I want to be a pediatrician.” 

Acuña's  mother reportedly wanted her  to be a ballerina, a talent that she has been able to exercise with a run on the TV show Bailando Por Un Sueño (the Argentinian equivalent of Dancing with the Stars) "'The Tigress' displays masses of commitment,"  says dancing partner Javier Riveros, "because she has a competitive nature, which you need in boxing."

Other Marcela Acuña Links

Page last updated: Tuesday April 15, 2014


WBAN Boxer Bio by Dee Williams


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