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The 10 best boxers to have emerged from Tijuana

Erik Morales
Erik Morales fires a shot at Marco Antonio Barrera during their 2002 fight (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
As Alejandra Ayala returns to Tijuana to begin her new life, we take a look at some legendary fighters to have emerged from that part of Mexico

1 Érik Morales

Without doubt the jewel in the Tijuana boxing crown, Morales is a beloved figure the world over, having become the first Mexican in history to win world titles in four different weight classes: super-bantamweight, featherweight, super-featherweight and light-welterweight.

2 Antonio Margarito

Though born in California, Margarito grew up in Tijuana from the age of two and fought under the name ‘The Tijuana Tornado’ his entire career. At welterweight, he held multiple titles, including the WBO belt from 2002 to 2007, the IBF belt in 2008, and the WBA belt from 2008 to 2009.

3 Raúl Pérez

Pérez became the WBC bantamweight champion when outpointing Miguel Lora in 1988 and defended this belt seven times before losing against Greg Richardson in ’91. He then beat Luis Mendoza later that year to become a WBA champion at super-bantamweight.

4 Jaime Munguía

Tijuana’s newest boxing star, Munguía is currently 40-0 as a pro and a former WBO super-welterweight champion. At 25, his best days are still very much ahead of him.

5 Luis Nery

A controversial figure with both weight and PED issues, Nery is nonetheless a capable fighter who has lost just one of 33 pro fights. He won the WBC bantamweight title when stopping Shinsuke Yamanaka in 2017 and in 2020 won the WBC title at super-bantamweight.

Jaime Munguia
Munguia represents the new generation of Tijuana warrior (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

6 Antonio DeMarco

Not unlike Margarito, DeMarco, though born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, learned to box in Tijuana, where he moved during his adolescence. As a pro, he beat Jorge Linares to win the WBC lightweight title in 2011 and defended it twice before being dethroned by Adrien Broner.

7 Alejandro García

In March 2003, García knocked out Santiago Samaniego inside three rounds to claim the WBA light-middleweight title. After that, he forced Roshii Wells to retire before round 11 in his first defence, only to then lose the belt against Travis Simms in defence number two.

8 Juan José Estrada

Estrada won his WBA super-bantamweight title at the Plaza de Toros in Tijuana in 1988, beating Bernardo Pinango via split-decision. He then defended the belt in Japan, stopping Takuya Muguruma in 11 rounds, before losing it against Jesus Salad in defence number four (due to disqualification).

9 Jackie Nava

A world champion in two weight classes, having held the WBA bantamweight title in 2005, the WBC super-bantamweight title twice between 2005 and 2015, and the WBA super bantamweight title twice between 2012 and 2015, Nava is Tijuana’s most successful female boxer to date.

10 Diego Morales

Though always in the shadow of his older brother, Érik, Diego still compiled a 37-2 pro record and won a WBO super-flyweight belt in 1999, retiring Victor Godoi in the 11th round.

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