San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica's top boxer defends her title

Costa Rica’s undefeated female boxing icon, Hanna Gabriel, 27, will defend for the first time her world junior middleweight championship (154 lbs.) on Sunday at Punta Del Este Resort Casino in Uruguay.

Gabriel, (10-0-1, 6 KO’s) will fight challenger Melisenda Perez (7-2-1, 4 KO’s), a 20-year-old boxer from the United States. The bout is slated for 10 rounds and will be televised on Canal 7 at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Gabriel won the World Boxing Organization (WBO) title in Puerto Rico on May 29 when she knocked out the Dominican Republic’s Gardy Peña in 11 seconds. Gabriel has not defended her title since her victory, but her trainer, Ezequiel Obando, assured the press this week that Hanna is well prepared.

“We have worked a lot, a lot,” Obando said. “We are normal and, perhaps, much sharper than before.”

Gabriel and her team left Costa Rica on Wednesday and arrived in Uruguay early Thursday morning.

Costa Rica’s 23-year-old undefeated male lightweight (130 lbs.), Bryan Vazquez (21-0, 11 KO’s) is also scheduled to fight on Sunday in Uruguay. Vazquez will face Argentina’s Luis A. Juarez (12-3-2, 4 KOs).

Vazquez’s fight is not a title bout and is slated for six rounds.

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