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Friday, February 11, 2022

Stefi Cohen Looks Impressive in Victory

Dr. Stefanie "Reina" Cohen defeated Karla "Princesa" Valenzuela by unanimous decision at the Miami Airport Convention Center in Miami, Florida, United States. Cohen, a 29 year old native of Venezuela who is based in Miami, improved upon her last fight.

In Stefi's pro debut, she overwhelmed Haidde Zappa with crude aggression to earn a TKO win. In her second fight, Cohen showed a good jab and quick feet moving in and out, but she struggled to land any punches off her jab and came away with a draw against Marcela Nieto.

The fight introductions tonight were a bit askew. Valenzuela, a 30 year old veteran from Mexico, stood awkwardly waiting for her cue to walk to the ring. She entered in silence, initially heading for the wrong corner. Cohen walked to UK emcee Stormzy's "Vossi Bop."

The fighters' weights were never announced. All the ring announcer said was the fight was a bantamweight bout scheduled for 120 pounds. Cohen weighed in at 117.8 pounds at yesterday's weigh-in. The promoter's feed cut out when Valenzuela's weight was announced. Since the bantamweight limit is 118, perhaps Valenzuela weighed in at 120 pounds.

Once the two fighters were in the ring, further introductions were apparently unnecessary, and the pre-fight instructions at center ring were skipped to the surprise of Valenzuela's trainer who was virtually pushed out of the ring.

Once the fight began, Cohen came out aggressively. She showed a nice jab. She landed with rights to the head after jabbing to the body. She used good footwork and upper body movement to avoid many of Valenzuela's sluggish punches.

Both fighters attacked each other's midsection in the second round. Stefi clearly landed the harder body blows. She connected with a counter right in the round and later with a jab and then slipped Valenzuela's counter. This was progress from her last fight.

In the third, Cohen landed a huge counter left hook. Her counterpunching was another impressive development. At one point, Valenzuela held Cohen's left arm; Stefi whacked away at Karla's hip with her right. The final round was Valenzuela's best. Cohen later admitted, "I didn't expect her to still be standing in round four." And it showed. Valenzuela let her hands go, and Cohen was not as busy as in previous rounds. But Stefi landed a short left hook on the inside that was the only harmful punch in the final period. Valenzuela landed more in the fourth, but Cohen landed the harder shots.

The judges scored the bout for Cohen: one had it 40-36 and two scored it 39-37. The Jewish Boxing Blog saw it 40-36 for Cohen. Afterward, Stefi was critical of her performance, "I'm just getting started. I have to improve on literally everything." She added, "I'm really humbled by this sport."

One area Stefi can improve is her overhand right. She has a potentially devastating one, but she doesn't set it up. It cost her a victory last fight. It didn't matter in this one, but she'll need to be able to disguise the punch if she hopes to land it. If she lands it, it could be a fight-ending punch.

Cohen may have a lot to work on, but she has come a long way. She is a dramatically more skilled fighter than she was in her debut last June. Depending on her goal in the sport, fighting more regularly would help her progress. She is now 2-0-1 with one KO. Valenzuela falls to 3-26-3 with one KO.

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