Jennifer “The Bolivian Queen” Salinas is set for the biggest fight of her career on November 16, as she takes on Columbia’s former World Champion Yolis Marrugo Franco for the vacant World Boxing Federation Womens World Super Bantamweight title at the 33.000 capacity Estadio Ramón Tahuichi Aguilera in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
With a Bolivian father and American mother, Salinas was born in the United States but moved to Santa Cruz as a young child. At fifteen years of age she returned to “The Land Of The Free”, and now holds a dual citizenship.
Salinas started boxing at age 19 in Grand Rapids, while working in a Mexican restaurant located next to a boxing gym. She turned out to be very talented, but had only eight amateur fights before turning pro due to lack of opponents in the unpaid ranks.
Now 31 years old, and a mother of four kids, she has compiled a professional record of 14-3 (4). In 2010 Salinas fought Mexican star Jackie Nava for a world championship, but lost the decision and took some time off from boxing before returning in July 2012.
Since coming back, Salinas has put together three convincing victories, and is ready to fight in Bolivia for the first time, and possibly fulfilling her dream of becoming world champion in front of her Bolivian family and friends.
Having set up training camp in Santa Cruz, Salinas is reportedly on top of her game and ready as can be, but she realises what a big occasion is in front of her, and the pressure her big homecoming fight brings, saying:
“I am nervous! I am nervous, even though I am training hard and will be well prepared for Franco, but some times I feel I am fighting for an entire country. I don’t want to disappoint anyone, and I don’t want to disappoint myself!”
In 37-year-old Yolis Marrugo Franco, 15-8-3 (7), Salinas will be facing a fighter who have seen it all and shared a ring with some of the best. While she was knocked out in one round in her 1998 pro debut, and boasted a very modest 3-5-3 record after eleven bouts, she has since rebounded well and proved to be a true world-class campaigner.
In 2004 Franco travelled to Argentina to beat Patricia Alejandra Quirico to become world super featherweight champion, a crown she never lost in the ring. In 2010 and 2011 she lost world championship fights against unbeaten opponents Yesica Patricia Marcos and Janeth Perez, before winning two non title bouts in Columbia last year.
With all her experience, Franco is in no way intimidated by the fact that she will be facing Salinas in front of a fanatical crowd cheering her opponent on:
“I do not care where the fight takes place”, said Franco in a recent interview. “In the ring we don’t win or lose due to who is rooting against us or who is cheering us on. It will only be the two of us, face to face, and I just hope the judges will be fair.”
While she is not worried about fighting in Bolivia, Franco is full of respect for Salinas but believes she has what it takes to finally win her second world title:
“Salinas is a good boxer. She has good movement, and punches well. But we have a plan and a way to counter her attacks, so I am full of confidence. I respect her, but I will definitely defeat her”
The Jennifer Salinas vs. Yolis Marrugo Franco WBF Womens World Super Bantamweight title fight on November 16 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia will be promoted by Pandora Promotions and Eventos Bolivia.