Brandi ‘Babi Doll’ Montoya gets fifth straight win, first title belt

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Brandi “Babi Doll” Montoya ran through the gamut of emotions in a 72-hour period in late October.

From disappointment and anxiety to nervous anticipation to elation and relief, the 20-year-old Los Lunas boxer did it all in typical “Babi Doll” fashion, with all of those emotions visible, driving her to her first championship in a boxing ring.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Brandi Montoya, right, lands a left hand to the face of Christina Fuentes in their Oct. 27 bout. Montoya won the bout, unanimously, to claim a WIBA continental youth title. The 20-year-old is hoping to fight for a world title soon.

Montoya won a unanimous decision over Christina Fuentes of Laredo, Texas, on the scorecards of three judges. The bout, presented by Chavez Promotions, went the distance of six rounds at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque on Oct. 27.

It was Montoya’s fifth straight win after losing her first two professional bouts. Fuentes’ record dropped to 1-2 with three draws.

But 24 hours earlier, it took some negotiation to get Montoya the title shot at the vacant Women’s International Boxing Association Youth Continental Super Flyweight belt.

Fuentes easily made the weight class of 111 to 115 pounds, weighing in at 111. Montoya was 1.1 pounds over, weighing in at 116.1.

In the hour after the weigh-in, the 2011 Los Lunas High graduate did everything she could get rid of the pound, but was still over at the second weigh-in.

Her team then negotiated with the Fuentes camp and got an exclusion for the weight.

“I just had to pay a fine,” said Montoya. “I was super tired and dehydrated, and I just didn’t want to put up with anything anymore, so I paid the fines, and went on with my life.”

The amount of the fine was not disclosed.

Her angst and frustration showed at the weigh-in, but a confident and energized fighter appeared at the Kiva Auditorium, ready to go to work in the ring.

The fight was even through the first three rounds, with both fighters landing blows in the quick-paced bout. Montoya caught Fuentes in the far neutral corner on several occasions, but Fuentes emerged only slightly battered in those exchanges. She would then counter with some scoring shots in the middle of the ring.

Montoya began to take control in the third, and clearly won the fourth round. It looked as if the fight was clearly in the pocket of the Montoya corner.

But Fuentes rallied in the fifth round. Working combinations to the body, she found the opening to Montoya’s face on at least three occasions during the round.

The toll of the fight wore on Fuentes in the final round. She was clearly the more tired of the two boxers, and Montoya had a slight edge in the final round.

Montoya won as the three judges scored the fight 58-56, 58-56 and 59-56.

“Fuentes was very game, and she came here for one reason and one reason only; that was to beat me,” said an elated Montoya, showing off her new title belt.

“She did hurt me a few times actually. She caught me with some clean shots. Had I been listening to my coach, she wouldn’t have caught me, but that is beside the point.”

Montoya quickly left those feelings of gaining the intercontinental belt behind to work on her two required defenses of the belt, now at the bantamweight level. She will fight the title bouts at 116 and not be required to drop to the 111 weight.

“It feels great to have a title, of course,” said Montoya. “But, title or not, the best feeling is just to win the fight. Whether I’m a hunter or a target, I’m ready for whatever, and I’ll train hard no matter what.”

Montoya reported that she will have little time to bask in the glow of holding a title. Promoters are trying to arrange a world title fight in December or January, according to the Montoya camp.

“The details haven’t been sorted out yet, but when they are, I will keep everyone informed,” said the Los Lunas boxer, showing appreciation for her fans. “Thank you so much (everyone), for being so supportive and believing in me every step of the way.”


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.