Boxing promoter Blanca Gutierrez’ annual “Beautiful Brawlers” tournament has established a platform for the best female amateur talent from across the world to shine on since 2011.
With six equally successful tournaments under her belt, she is ready to take her game to the next level and write a new chapter in the Beautiful Brawlers legacy as she and Baby Face Boxing proudly present the Beautiful Brawlers Pro Female Fight Series.
The series – which will consist of four or five separate events – kicks off Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Pacifica Cages next door to Gutierrez’ Baby Face gym at 640 Crespi Drive.
While it separates itself from the traditional Beautiful Brawlers tournament by hosting professional bouts, the Beautiful Brawlers Pro Female Fight Series will continue the tradition of showcasing and empowering female fighters.
Billed “Boxing Meets Beauty,” the inaugural show will be a five-fight card headlined by former world champions and Baby Face ambassadors “Mighty” Melissa McMorrow and Martha “The Shadow” Salazar.
Gutierrez’ younger sister Lizzy – also known as YouTube sensation WhatWouldLizzyDo – will also host a special “Beauty Meets Boxing” meet and greet prior to the show from 5 to 6 p.m.
Gutierrez – a 2016 Pacifica Sports Hall of Famer – told SFBay she will have a DJ and Go-go dancers on hand as well, making the show her version of Coyote Ugly:
“We’re taking this to the next level! If you think you’re going to go to a boring show, you’re not. You’re going to see things here that no one’s ever done in the Bay Area. It’s just something that comes out of passion. Think Coyote Ugly and then you’re thinking the right way.”
Unlike the Beautiful Brawlers tournaments where she matches 30 fights, Gutierrez faced the difficulty of matching only five fights at the professional level.
Despite the challenge, she said it feels rewarding to promote her first show of this caliber:
“It’s really going to bring out Bay Area boxing, and it just so happens that it’s the best boxing in the Bay Area and it happens to be all women. I’ll say that every single time and I’ll put up anybody else’s fight card against mine because we have evenly-matched fights.”
She also said the timing of her show is perfect following the recent waves Claressa Shields made not just at this year’s Rio Olympics on August 21, but also her highly-anticipated and successful pro debut on the Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward undercard in Las Vegas on Nov. 19.
Two-time flyweight champ McMorrow, who faces Blanca Raymundo (1-15-1, 0 KOs) in a scheduled six-round bout, made the trip to Vegas and said it was exciting seeing Shields compete on the undercard of a fight the caliber of Kovalev vs. Ward.
McMorrow (10-6-3, 1 KO) also said she has plenty of hope for what Shields can do for women’s boxing:
“I’m hoping that the talent pool will just bring more visibility into boxing.”
The Raymundo fight marks the first time McMorrow has competed in the Bay Area since fighting to a draw with Gloria Salas in San Jose in December 2009.
She has since fought five times in the United States from 2010 to 2011 and fought abroad for the last four years, including five outings in Mexico.
McMorrow, who is coming off a tough decision loss to Esmeralda Moreno on Oct. 22, said she is excited to compete at home and looks forward to rebounding from her loss and putting on a great show for the crowd.
She also said she is excited to share the card with fellow boxing sisters Salazar and local amateur standouts Tope Pedro and Dalia Gomez, both of whom turn pro on Dec. 3:
“We work together all the time. Most of them are much bigger than me, so I don’t work with them directly. But we’re all here and we’re all putting the time in and we have a little family here. So I wish everybody in that family the best.”
Former WBC heavyweight champion Salazar, who recently lost her title via majority decision to Alejandra Jimenez on March 18 in Cancun, also said she is excited to compete on Gutierrez’ card and share such a wonderful moment with her:
“We’ve gone through so much nasty stuff on the way to our boxing careers that that’s why she started all these shows that she’s making right now for women and kids. I’m excited and I’m glad she’s doing it because nobody can do it in the Bay Area but her. I’m so excited and I thank Blanca for doing this and putting all the women and all this talent from the Bay Area on this show on Dec. 3.”
Salazar (13-5, 3 KOs) will reacquaint herself with Tanzee Daniel (4-4-1, 1 KO) in a four-round rematch of their November 2014 encounter where Salazar seized the vacant WBC women’s title in dominant fashion.
Her championship victory has since presented her and Gutierrez with a few career opportunities, including a recent appearance at the second-annual WBC Female Convention earlier this year.
The WBC has showed vast support for the Baby Face family recently and even sponsored some of their amateur titles for the two previous Beautiful Brawlers tournaments – further cementing Gutierrez’ belief that the WBC is the best sanctioning body in the sport.
Gutierrez considers their boxing lives fabulous and hopes to pave a road to glory for female boxing hopefuls like Junior Olympics champion Lupe Gutierrez (no relation to Blanca and Lizzy) and present them the same opportunities she and Salazar have received:
“A lot of people say, ‘(Lupe’s) your favorite.’ Well, hell yeah, she is! She put in the work. She’s a J.O. world champ. So for any of those people that say, ‘Oh, yeah, she’s your favorite,’ yeah, she is. She’s all of our favorites, because she won’t even say it to anybody that she’s a champ – we have to do that. We want to take some of those girls with that special gift that they got from God and give them something even more.”
Gutierrez said that while Saturday’s show mainly focuses on Bay Area talent, she will extend invitations for future shows to other notable talent from throughout the U.S., including the Serrano sisters (Amanda and Cindy), Maricela Cornejo, Ava Knight and Raquel Miller.
But she also believes having McMorrow and Salazar fighting on the same card – which has been a big goal of hers for quite some time – ultimately embodies what Bay Area boxing represents:
“There’s a real history there. We’re all really good friends and it’s something that when I’m an older lady, I’ll look back at this and say, ‘We did it and we did it all together.’”
Tickets for “Boxing Meets Beauty” are available online at the Baby Face Boxing website and through any of the local fighters competing on the card. Ringside sells for $75 and general admission sells for $50. Tickets for the “Beauty Meets Boxing” meet and greet are also available on the Baby Face website. Doors open at 6 p.m.