It is often metaphorically said that athletes or teams with big local followings has a whole city or area behind him, her or it, but in the case of World Boxing Federation (WBF) Womens World Strawweight Champion Anne Sophie Da Costa, this is literally the case ahead of her title defense on November 9 against Mexico’s Yesenia Martinez Castrejon.
Born and raised in Reims, France, Da Costa (15-0, 7 KOs) turned professional in December 2012 in her home town. After fighting regularly in Reims, the November 9 bout will be her tenth time as a professional, she now has a loyal fan base that always turns up to support her when she enters the ring.
But besides the fans, the actual city of Reims has embraced Da Costa to such a degree that its council has decided to financially support her title defense against Castrejon, recognizing her accomplishments and importance to the community. In economically challenging times, this is truly a significant pat on the back.
Working as a teacher specializing in children with learning disabilities, Da Costa took her boxing career to a new level in October 2012 when she won a clear unanimous decision over Thailand’s Teeraporn Pannimit to win the vacant WBF World title.
She returned to action the following December, stopping Hungarian Bettina Granasi in two rounds of a non title fight, and was scheduled to make her first title defense last June in Reims. However, the fight was cancelled when Da Costa suffered a hand fracture during sparring in Germany with current WBF World Super Flyweight champion Raja Amasheh.
Now fully healed and back in top shape, the big home-coming of the local world champion is highly anticipated in Reims, and at least on paper it looks like Da Costa will get a stern challenge from the very experienced 24-year-old Yesenia Martinez Castrejon (15-12, 9 KOs).
Castrejon has no less than eight championship bouts under her belt, three of which were failed attempts at world championships, and has shared a ring with some of the best in the world from Strawweight to Flyweight. She has fought in front of hostile crowds before, so going to France will not intimidate her the slightest:
“Anne Sophie may have the support of her entire community, but that will make no difference on Saturday”, said Castrejon before departing Mexico. “As the saying goes, when we are in the ring it is only the two of us and the crowd cant fight for her!”