In less than 24 hours California’s Tachi Palace and Casino will be the epicenter of one the most exciting nights of women boxing as Carina Moreno (17-1) defends her WBC and NABS titles against up and coming Korean boxer Dan-Bi Kim (4-0). Also on the card is a non-title bout between current NABF Female lightweight champion Jessica “Ragin” Rakoczy (28-3) and Cindy “Checkmate” Serrano (15-2-1).
In preparation for fight night, 105-lb Moreno and her training camp – lead by Rick Noble – have decided to stay close to home at Watsonville California and train at her coach’s boxing gym. “We usually go to L.A., but this time around we decided to stay home,” Moreno said.
Unfortunately for Moreno’s camp, not much is known about Kim’s fighting style; however, they are preparing for a fighter who is well conditioned. “I have a friend [Marianna Juarez] who has fought Korean [women] boxers and she said that they keep their heads down and come at you,” Moreno said.
In preparation for this kind of fighting style, Moreno’s sparing partner, Hector Vargas, has conditioned her to withstand a lot of pressure and utilize her counter punching. “We have a plan,” Moreno said. “I will be using my jab and moving to the side. Once we see what kind of style she has, we will make our adjustments and see what I need to do.” Moreno added that this is not the first time she has stepped into the ring without knowing her opponents fighting style. “When I first fought for my [WBC] title against Nanako Kikuchi [of Japan], she was the world champ defending her title,” Moreno recalled. “We didn’t know what kind of style she had. We figured she would be in great shape, staying on me and putting the pressure on. I used my jab and combinations to keep her at bay, and that worked real well for me. I think this will be the same situation.” Although Moreno’s experience and training gives her an advantage over Kim, she is careful of being over confident. “I have way more experience, more fights and been in the pros longer,” Moreno said. “But I’m definitely not taking her lightly.”
Thursday night’s fight is a very important for Moreno. Not only is she defending her title against Kim, a win would also give her the vacant WIBA title. “Once you’ve earned your world title it’s hard to maintain it and this is my third time defending it,” Moreno said. “I’m also fighting for another title, the WIBA, and this fight means a lot to me.”
Moreno is not the only fighter who has trained hard for Thursday night’s fight, 135-lb Rakoczy is expecting a war against up in comer Serrano. Although the fight is a non-title bout, lasting only eight rounds, Rakoczy is treating it like a title match. “I prepare for every fight the same and prepare for everything,” Rakoczy said.
In preparation for the fight, Rakoczy began training almost two months ago with Coach Dewey Cooper at Top Rank and Richard Steels Gyms in Nevada, California. Her training regiment consisted of runs either in the morning or at night, jumping robe, shadow boxing and other conditioning drills.
Rakoczy said that she is expecting Serrano to be in great shape and has worked with her training camp to keep her defense very tight. “I feel that I have a lot of experience and I expect [Serrano] to bring her best,” she said. Like Kim, there is no video tape available that show cases Serrano’s fighting style, but Rakoczy is confident that her last fight against former NABF Lightweight Champion Belinda Laracuente has prepared her for her fight against Serrano. “Belinda is one of the best boxers out there and I feel that our fight was a great preparation for Thursday,” she said. “There is no tape on Cindy so I’m preparing for everything.” Rakoczy added that she has followed Serrano’s career for some time. “She is actually my favorite girl fighter,” she said. “She fights like a man. She is definitely an aggressive fighter and I look up to her. We fight differently, but I hope people see me in the same level.” As the hours come closer for her fight, Rakoczy is not nervous at all and is looking forward to it. “Not that many people say they love their job but I do,” Rakoczy said. “Come fight night, I’m bringing my experience, a whole lot of drive and planning to perform to the best of my ability and leave the ring with another win. I respect my opponent a lot, but this is a business and I need to take care of mine.”