French Super Flyweight Nadya Hokmi is a living example that persistence pays off. A setback is just another opportunity for a comeback, and after five failed attempts at World Championships, some of which could easily have gone her way, she finally succeeded when she won the World Boxing Federation Women’s World title in June 2010 with a unanimous decision over American Elena Reid.
After a lengthy lay-off, Hokmi, 18-6-1 (8), is set to defend her WBF title on June 7 in Marrakech, Morocco when she takes on Argentinean Marisa Johanna Portillo, 11-5-2 (2).
Prior to the triumph against Reid, Hokmi had lost close world title bouts twice to Bettina Csabi in Hungary, to Anita Christensen in Denmark, and twice to Susi Kentikian in Germany. All losses were on points, against opponents with a combined 101-0 record, and all were away from home.
On top of that, Hokmi also drew with undefeated Italian Simona Galassi (in Italy of course) for the European title in 2007. Most people thought Hokmi won that fight clearly, and called it an outrageous hometown decision, so it is safe to say that she has not been used to having everything her way.
After the second loss to Kentikian, in December 2007, Hokmi has won eight straight bouts. In 2009 she captured her first professional title, the French national Bantamweight crown, and in 2010 she registered a nice victory over current WBF World Bantamweight ruler Renata Szebeledi in a non-title encounter.
Later that year she was finally rewarded for her persistence with the world title-victory over Reid. It was a long time coming, and if there was ever a deserving world champion it must be Nadya Hokmi. And at almost 35 years of age, she is still willing and able to take on all comers.
Twenty-four year old challenger Marisa Johanna Portillo will be looking to take a page out of the Nadya Hokmi-book of perseverance. Despite having lost five of eighteen bouts, she proved that she belongs among the world’s elite when she lost a world title challenge in Mexico last year, to Ana Maria Torres, on points after a game effort, and prior to that she had dropped a decision to current World Super Bantamweight champion Yesica Patricia Marcos.
This past March she returned with a victory over fellow Argentinean Marta Soledad Juncos in Santa Fe, an opponent nowhere near the level of Hokmi. Never the less, Portillo will have high hopes that she can continue the good form she has shown the last couple of years and pull off the upset.
And she only has to look at the champion’s record to see that losing in the past doesn’t mean you can’t win in the future!