ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In Shreveport, Louisiana, Albuquerque amateur boxer Sharahya-Taina Moreu’s relentless body attack propelled her to a victory by split (3-2) decision on Friday over North Carolinian Stephanie Simon at the USA Boxing National Championships.
She’ll face Boston’s Arika Scoog on Saturday for the Elite Division title in the 152-pound weight class.
Moreu joins Las Cruces’ Ariana Carrasco as a finalist.
Carrasco advanced to the championship bout in the 141-pound Youth Division without having fought. With only three boxers entered in her weight class, Carrasco, the No. 1 seed, drew a bye and will face Ruby Navarro of Mission, Texas, for the title.
Earlier in the tournament, Las Cruces’ Joscelyn Olayo-Muñoz defeated Californian Mia Garcia by split (4-1) decision for the Intermediate Division 95-pound title.
On Friday, Moreu took the initiative against Simon from the outset with more aggressiveness, more powerful punches and a concerted body attack.
Simon, of Holly Ridge, North Carolina, gave nearly as good as she got — hence the 3-2 verdict on the scorecards. But Moreu’s biggest problem was a bloody nose, which caused the bout to be interrupted twice in the third and final round.
Yoruba Moreu, his daughter’s trainer, said in a phone interview that the bloody nose was a result of repeated head butts. “If you have a bloody nose, per COVID,” he said, “they’re stopping the fights and cleaning the nose.”
The elder Moreu said he had concern the fight might be stopped as a result, but because the interruptions occurred so close to the end of the bout it was allowed to continue.
The possibility of an all-New Mexico 152-pound Elite final was derailed on Friday when Rio Rancho’s Jocelyn Shalaya Shade lost to Skoog by third-round RSC (referee stopped contest).
The referee had just given Shade a standing eight-count, then — to Shade’s evident surprise and dismay — ruled her unable to continue.
Shade had earned her berth in the semifinals with a victory by unanimous decision over New York’s Jillian Petrogila on Thursday.
Moreu and Carrasco both will fight during Saturday’s evening session, scheduled to start at 4 p.m. MDT. The session will be streamed at teamusa.org.
NO SUCH LUCK: If MMA fighter Jon Jones and UFC President Dana White can collaborate on an April Fool’s joke, maybe they can make a Jones-Francis Ngannou fight happen.
Or maybe not.
Late on Thursday, Jones tweeted the following from his home in Albuquerque: “I just had a great dinner and the best conversation I’ve had with Dana and (sic) a very long time, we got the deal done. Date to be announced soon.”
“Incredible night brother,” White replied.
Of course, it wasn’t true. White and Jones, the longtime UFC light heavyweight champion who gave up his title to campaign at heavyweight, have not reached agreement on money for a fight against Ngannou, the newly minted heavyweight champion.
Jones continues to say he’s being lowballed; White continues to say Jones’ financial demands are unreasonable.
Perhaps, sometime before April 1, 2022, they’ll work it out for real.
FIGHT FOR VANATTA: As widely reported online, Albuquerque MMA fighter Lando Vannata (11-5-2) is booked for a May 15 fight against England’s Mike Grundy (12-2) on UFC 262 in Houston.
Vannata confirmed the reports on his Instagram page. He’ll be dropping to featherweight (145) from lightweight (155) for this fight.
“Fighting wrestlers is my forte,” he wrote. “Featherweight debut.”