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Carina Moreno Copyrighted photo taken by Jesus Sanchez


5'0" 106-lb Carina Moreno is the shy girl with big eyes and a big smile who warms tortillas and runs the cash register at her family's Tacos Moreno taqueria in Watsonville, California. She is also the winner of multiple national amateur boxing titles ... and a rising star in the punishing world of professional boxing.  

Carina was born in Watsonville on October 9, 1981. When she was about seven, her mother María used to take Carina and her three brothers to the house of a cousin who boxed. One day the cousin said he would show Carina how to defend herself, and taught her how to hit the heavy bag he had set up in the garage. 

A couple of years later, Carina scored her first knockout ... in an accident where she ran into a boy with her forehead and the collision cost him some teeth. “It wasn’t on purpose,” says María, although Carina concedes that “when I was little, I used to fight ... I used to always be fighting guys”.

When Carina was a teenager, her brothers took karate, which she didn't enjoy "because it wasn’t as aggressive as boxing".   She ran cross-country and track while in high school.  Nearing age 18, after looking for a real boxing gym, she enrolled in a cardio kickboxing class at a fitness center. Her instructor offered her extra classes for a more intense workout, and soon offered to train her for amateur kickboxing competition.

On March 23, 1999 at the Fair Grounds in Vallejo, California, Carina (112 lbs) defeated Marilyn Gil (108 lbs) of San Jose, California, by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26 and 30-26) in an IKF International Rules amateur bout

On December 22, 1999 in Fresno, California, Carina (109 lbs, then 4-1) fought Monica Mendoza (119 lbs, 0-1) of Fresno in an exciting three-round exhibition bout. The promoters had tried to book a real match for her, but nobody wanted to go up against her in a bout which could have been for an IKF California State Title.

Hoping to get more competition as a boxer, Carina switched from kickboxing to boxing under the guidance of trainer Rick Noble, who also trains Kelsey Jeffries. Noble's first impression of Carina was “she was extremely quiet.” 

"Me and my friend thought we were ready to fight already when we got to his gym", says Carina. "Rick saw us, and he said not yet. He said we needed about eight months. We were like ... ‘Eight months? This guy is crazy, we don’t need eight months!'  Every day we would ask him, ‘When can we fight? When can we fight?’  He’d say, ‘Are you guys running?’ We said 'no' and he’d say, ‘Then add another month to it.’ He finally took us to a place called Smokers in San Francisco, where anyone who wants to go in and spar can go. I did really good. From there, it took me less than eight months before I was ready for my first fight."

Carina began boxing in January 2000. In April of that year she entered the USA Boxing Everlast National Championships at the Chaparral Center in Midland, Texas. She won her 106-lb semifinal bout on April 13 with a 42-1 decision over Catherine Herway of San Antonio, Texas. On April 15, Carina defeated two-time defending national champion Linda Carrillo of South El Monte in the final by a 17-11 margin.

"I was really up for it," said Moreno of her bout against the 30-year old TV anchorwoman, "I knew I could take her and I knew I was stronger than her and had more speed than she did. Even though she was the number one in the nation, I couldn't let that get to me." Moreno's youth and speed were the main difference in the bout and she said she felt in control throughout it. 

After the 2000 nationals, Moreno and seven other female boxers were chosen to represent the USA in the international Feenix Box Cup in Turku, Finland. Also on that USA team were Maricela Ortiz (100 lbs), Julia Day (119), Stella Nijhof (125), Melissa Florentino (139), Desiree Mistretta (147), Jill Emery (156) and Leatitia Robinson (165).
Carina won the gold medal in the 48-kg division of the Feenix Cup, defeating  Krisztina Belinszky of Hungary by a 5-0 score in the quarterfinal on May 5 (see above), Aroussia Hadjam of France by RSC-2 in the semifinal on May 6 (at right, Moreno in red), and Jamie Behl of Canada in the final by an 18-16 score. Carina was also selected "Best Fighter of the Tournament".

On August 11, 2000 in the 106-lb Open Division Semi-Finals of the 2000 US National/international Golden Gloves in Augusta, Georgia, Carina won a 3-2 decision over Tisha Luna (Hartford, CT). On August 12, she won a 4-1 decision over Vaia Zaganas of Burnaby, BC, Canada in a toe-to-toe battle that might have gone either way. Zaganas took the decision by shaking her head in disbelief and claimed that she had been robbed. ``It was close", said Moreno, "but I thought I won because I landed more jabs and had the more effective blows''.  Moreno was now undefeated in 10 amateur starts.

On September 3, 2000 in the Senior 106-lb Division of the 15th Annual Blue and Gold Invitational at Esther Snyder Community Center in Baldwin Park, California, Carina again defeated Linda Carrillo of South El Monte, California, this time by a 3-2 score.

On December 13, 2000 in the 106-lb open final of the 2000 Police Athletic League Championships in New Orleans, Louisiana, Carina stopped Abner Mares of Gardens, California by RSC at 1:40 in the first round.

In the 2001 US National Golden Gloves competition in Augusta, Georgia, Carina again competed in the 106-lb open division, winning her semifinal bout on August 10 with a 5-0 decision over Samantha Sanchez of Illinois, and her final on August 11 over Alicia Avila of Colorado by a 5-0 decision.

At the 2001 USA Boxing National Championships at the Marine Corps Base at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina in September 19-22, 2001 Carina won her preliminary bout in the 106-lb division over Mandi Matigli of Canton, Ohio by a 25-4 score, and the final over Linda Carrillo of South El Monte, California by a 18-4 margin.

On October 13 2001 in the 106-lb division of the Women's Pan-American Boxing Championships in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Carina defeated Monay Mincy of New York by a 13-6 score after previously defeating her in the semifinal by a 22-4 tally.

Carina vs. Zhao LiAt the inaugural AIBA World Amateur Women's Championships at the High School in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2001, Carina lost to eventual world champion Hulya Sahin of Turkey in the 106 lb/48 kg semifinal by an 11-4 score. She had previously won her preliminary bout over Zhao Li of China by a 23-13 margin. (Sahin is now boxing professionally as Julia "Sunshine" Sahin.)

Carina was named "Female Amateur Boxer of the Year" by WBAN in 2001.

On August 2, 2002 in the 106-lb division at the 2002 USA Boxing National Championships in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Carina defeated Monay Mincy of New York, NY by a 13-12 score in the final. In her preliminary bout on July 30 she had defeated Alicia Avila of Colorado Springs, Colorado by a 19-5 decision and on August 1 she had defeated Samantha Sanchez of Aurora, Illinois by a 24-5 score.

On August 24, 2002 at the US National Golden Gloves in Chicago, Illinois, Carina defeated Samantha Sanchez of Aurora, Illinois in the 106-lb open final after winning another decision over Monay Mincy in the semifinal.

Carina fought in the 106 lb/48 kg division at the second AIBA Women's World Championships held on October 21-28 2002 in Antalya, Turkey, but lost in the quarterfinal under some controversy. She won her preliminary bout over  a Romanian boxer (I don't know the name of this opponent) on October 22, but then lost to Tatyana Lebedeva of the Ukraine on October 24.  The scoring of the bout was controversial. Lebedeva's amateur status was also questioned because she had competed professionally in the Ukraine in 1998. (Lebedeva herself lost to North Korea's Ri Yong-Hiang, who was voted the best boxer in the tournament, in the 48-kg final.)

On April 16 -19, 2003 Carina competed in the 119-lb division of the Golden Gloves in San Francisco, California, defeating Valerie Evans of San Jose, California by a 5-0 score. She defeated Jennifer Nguyen of Palo Alto, California in the final, also by a 5-0 score, and was voted Best Boxer of the tournament.

Carina with amateur beltsMoreno's goal had been to compete in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece if those had included female boxing. When it became clear that they would not, Rick Noble told her it was time for her to take the next step and start over as a professional.

With her strong amateur record of 36-2, Moreno had trouble finding professional opponents willing to take her on at first, according to promoter Jerry Hoffman. "Finding an opponent for Carina has been one of the toughest matches I've ever had to make. She's so good that nobody wants to fight her," said Hoffman. "She might be able to beat veteran fighters like Mary Duron or Marilyn Salcido, but it's not right, at this point, to put her against somebody with 10 pro fights. Finding a quality, competitive opponent with a similar level of experience who is willing to fight Carina has been a real challenge."

Unable to find an opponent at her usual 106 lbs, Carina made her pro debut on July 3, 2003 in a 110-lb bout with southpaw Cecilia "Boom Boom" Barraza of Chicago in front of a sold-out crowd at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Monterey, California.  "I'm very happy to be making my pro debut in Monterey," she said in a pre-fight interview. "It's nice that people from my home town have a chance to come watch me. A lot of them have never seen me fight, so I'm very excited for the opportunity. We just couldn't find anybody who wanted to fight me at 104 or 106 pounds, so I'm moving up to 110 pounds for this one," said Moreno, adding "those four pounds are really a difference. I'm pretty sure Barazza walks around at 115, 116, maybe 119, so this is going to be big change. I walk around at about 108, but I'm almost up to 110, now, and I'm feeling very strong."

Moreno (in white) bloodies Cecilia Barraza in her pro debut
© Copyrighted photo taken by Jesus Sanchez

Carina weighed in at 109½ lbs, and won a four-round unanimous (40-36) decision over Barraza (109 lbs), who fell to 2-1-0 (0 KO). Moreno  attacked for the full four rounds, taking charge early and dominating Barraza with an effective jab followed up by two- and three-punch combinations. Barraza’s nose began to bleed in the second from the mounting barrage of straight rights and lead-off left hooks. Moreno's  ring movement and combinations kept Barraza off balance in the third, and Carina almost finished her off when she drove her into a corner late in the third. Moreno went for a KO and punished Barrazza from all angles in the fourth. With 12 seconds left, the referee asked the Chicago fighter if she wanted to continue; Barraza nodded 'yes' and Moreno waded in with one last huge right to Barraza's nose. The crowd was noisily behind Carina with every punch but Barraza showed lots of heart by hanging in until the final bell with a broken nose. (For more photos of this bout by Mary Ann Owen and Jesus Sanchez see WBAN Photo Galleries #76 and #77 on the WBAN Records Member Site.)

After the fight, Moreno explained that Barraza's team had told hers that the Chicago southpaw was actually a right-hander. "We had people back in Chicago," said trainer Rick Noble, so Moreno had adjusted by training with southpaws. "When I entered the ring, I was bouncing all around, and I looked into her eyes," said Moreno. "I was just thinking, she tried to pull a fast on me, and I was going to make her pay." 

On September 25, 2003 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, Carina (113½ lbs) won a first-round TKO over badly overmatched Brittney Conan (112½ lbs) of Broomfield, Colorado, who fell to 0-4.WBAN correspondent and photographer Jesus Sanchez reported that Carina landed a solid right hand and Conan turned her back and quit. 

Carina splits the defense of Michelle Gatewood
© Copyrighted photo taken by Jesus Sanchez

On November 29, 2003 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Monterey, California, Carina (110½ lbs) won the semi-main event by a TKO of Michelle Gatewood (107½ lbs) of Spokane, Washington at 0:57 in the third round. Gatewood fell to 1-2-0 (1 KO) with the loss. WBAN correspondent Jesus Sanchez reported, "This bout was all Moreno as Carina gave Michelle no real opportunity to do any damage. Carina's ring movement and combinations were too much for Gatewood. There were no knockdowns but the referee, acting on the advice of the doctor between rounds, stopped this bout 57 seconds into round three."  For more photos of this bout by Jesus Sanchez see WBAN Photo Gallery #125 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

Moreno vs. DobbsOn June 12, 2004 at San Jose State University Events Center in San Jose, California Carina (111 lbs) won her first-ever six-round fight with a unanimous (60-53) decision over Stephanie Dobbs (110 lbs) from Moore, Oklahoma. Moreno was set to fight again three weeks later, so she was looking to escape a tough physical battle with Dobbs uninjured. She stuck Dobbs repeatedly with a long left jab, then peppered her with effective combinations. Moreno used ring movement effectively and stung Dobbs occasionally with a lead right in the opening round. She snapped Dobbs' head back with a left hook 30 seconds into the second, then followed with an effective combination 10 seconds later. Dobbs went to the canvas just before the second-round bell, but leaped to her feet immediately. Dobbs insisted to referee Marty Simmons that she had been pushed, but Moreno was credited for a knockdown. There were several head clashes that made both fighters pull back.  "She was coming in with her head a lot, and with another fight coming up, I didn't want to get cut," Moreno said. "I didn't get my punches off as well as I wanted to tonight, and she definitely showed she could take a punch."  Dobbs, who had taken the fight at short notice, didn't dispute the decision, but disagreed with the judges giving Moreno every round. "I know I won at least two of those rounds, and there's no way she knocked me down," said Dobbs,"that was definitely a push."

Rick Noble was pleased with his fighter's first six-rounder. "She did a good job. Carina picked it up in the fifth and sixth rounds and put a lot of good punches together, like she normally does. And this girl was a good test for us."

Moreno was also pleased, but said "I think I could have knocked her out if I had worked the body more in the earlier rounds. I could tell she was starting to slow down a little bit in these last two rounds. I felt good throughout the fight and I think I did pretty good ... I feel I could go four or five more rounds."

Carina backs Dee Hamaguchi into a corner
© Copyrighted photo taken by Jesus Sanchez

On July 3, 2004 in Monterey, California, Carina won a six-round unanimous (60-54,60-54,60-53) decision over Diedre Hamaguchi of Harlem, New York, in a 106 lb bout. Carina dominated the tough but badly outgunned Hamaguchi, using her jab to set up her right hand. By the fourth round Hamaguchi’s nose was badly bloodied. Carina appeared to be going for a knockout with straight rights in the final round, but Deidre gamely hung on to force a decision. Hamaguchi took this fight at less than a week's notice. For more on this bout, see the fight report by Jesus Sanchez  and WBAN Photo Gallery #188 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

Carina Morena vs. Maribel Ocasio Soto
Carina lands a left to Maribel Ocasio Soto
© Copyrighted photo taken by Jesus Sanchez

On August 14, 2004 at the Sports Complex, Salinas, California, Carina (109 lbs) advanced to 6-0-0 (2 KO) with a six-round unanimous (60-54) decision over Maribel Ocasio Soto (112 lbs) of Puerto Rico who fell to 4-8-2 (0 KO). According to WBAN correspondent Jesus Sanchez, Maribel was overmatched and constantly held Carina throughout the fight but the referee did not warn Maribel or deduct any points for the constant holding. Carina landed her straight right almost at will but there were no knockdowns. For more photos of this bout, see WBAN Photo Gallery #193 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

Carina Moreno vs. Yvonne Caples
Carina vs. Yvonne Caples in November 2004
© Copyrighted photo taken by Jesus Sanchez

On November 27, 2004 at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California, Carina (107 lbs) won an eight-round shutout (80-72 on all scorecards) decision over Yvonne Caples (5'4", 108 lbs).  Moreno made it look easy against the experienced and taller Caples, a former IFBA world Junior Flyweight champion who had stepped in to take the bout at short notice. Caples, a southpaw, used a busy right jab and accurate left crosses in the first round and generally tried counterpunching tactics against the aggressive Moreno ... but Carina dominated the later rounds with her own jab and outworked Caples with quick combinations to the body.  She bloodied Caples' nose in the fifth and appeared to get stronger and more confident as the fight went on with the crowd chanting "Carina-Carina". Caples had her moments in the fight, but they were too few and far between. "The girl loves to give bloody noses," said Moreno's trainer, Rick Noble, adding that "Yvonne took this fight on short notice but she's been training. You've got to figure she's going to come here and win three or four rounds against us, at least, but she didn't do that tonight."

"This was a huge win for me," Moreno told Monterey Herald reporter Dennis Taylor, "She's one of the best in the world, and to come out on top in a fight like this makes me so happy. We were not trained for a lefty, and she holds her hands low, and she's a little bit awkward, all of which made her difficult."

"She was a busy fighter," said Caples. "I'd have to say she's right up there with anybody I've fought."  For more photos and video of this bout, see WBAN Photo Gallery #227 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

Carina was scheduled to fight Nongmai Sor Siriporn of Thailand for the WBC Straw-weight title on November 7, 2005. The bout was held in the Klong Luang Prison in Pathum Thani, Thailand, in an outdoor arena next to where Siriporn was serving a four-and-a-half year prison term for dealing drugs. Carina withdrew from this bout for medical reasons and was replaced by Nanako Kikuchi of Japan, who won the bout and the title handily over the inexperienced Siriporn.

On November 19, 2005 in Monterey, California, Carina instead TKO'd 30-year-old Sandra Ortiz of Topeka, Kansas in the second round.  Isaiah Guzman of the Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote that "Moreno bloodied Sandra Ortiz's nose in the first round, then spread it across her opponent's face with stiff jabs and crosses until referee Marty Sammon stopped the fight 1:12 into the second round." Ortiz fell to 4-3-1 (4 KOs) with this loss, her first by a stoppage.

Carina battles Wendy Rodriguez
© Copyrighted photograph taken by J & P Photographers

On January 21, 2006 at Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, Louisiana Wendy Rodriguez (4'11", 105¾ lbs) of Los Angeles won by a split decision over Carina (108¼ lbs) after the scheduled ten-rounder ended in the sixth due to an accidental head butt that Rodriguez had received. The tiny Rodriguez had trouble with Moreno's reach advantage in this fight, as she had to work her way in past Moreno's strong jab. After several close rounds, Rodriguez found the way inside in the fourth and was able to back Moreno up with a strong body attack, but Moreno came back well in the fifth.  After Rodriguez suffered a deep cut over her right eye, the fight was halted and went to the scorecards where the tally was 58-56 for Moreno, and 59-55, 58-56 for Rodriguez. Moreno disputed the decision, saying that the gash over Rodriguez's right eye was caused by a punch. Wendy Rodriguez won the IBA Junior Flyweight title with this decision, and improved her record to 17-2-3 (2 KO's) while Moreno suffered her first pro loss and fell to 8-1-0 (3 KO's). For more photos and video of this bout by J & P Photography, see WBAN Photo Gallery #319 on the WBAN Records Member Site. Also see Photo gallery #321 by Alan Messick Photography.

On July 20, 2006 at the Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, California, Carina (107¼ lbs) won a clear (80-72 on all cards) eight-round unanimous decision over Stephanie Dobbs (107 lbs) of Moore, Oklahoma for the vacant Women's NABF Light Flyweight Title.  According to Isiah Guzman of the Santa Cruz Sentinel: "Moreno barreled straight forward at the opening bell. She slowed only after a head butt late in the sixth round opened a half-inch gash over her left eye that required stitches. The smaller and trimmer Moreno backed up Dobbs early and often with constant combinations. When Dobbs, nicknamed "All Action," tried to stop and throw back, Moreno beat her to the punch or broke through her defense with straight rights and lefts. The fight remained like that, Moreno pursuing, while Dobbs backed up and side-stepped ... to Dobbs' credit she never did seem wobbly, even after flurries from Moreno caught her flush and left her left cheek and forehead swollen." Go here for a slideshow of photos of this bout taken by Mike Harris. Dobbs, who was a late replacement for Marianne Chubirka, fell to 21-23-4 (13 KOs) with the loss.

On September 14, 2006 at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, California, Carina Moreno (106 lbs) won a six-round unanimous 60-54 decision over 19-year-old Valerie Rix (106 lbs) from Sanford, Florida. Moreno, who was shaking off a cold, looked sluggish compared to her top form, but still out-punched and out-moved the less experienced but boisterous Rix, who was nevertheless able to draw Moreno into short-range battles at times.  Rix shook her head as if to say 'I'm alright' after Moreno caught her with a hard overhand right in the sixth, confirming that the action was the learning experience that she said she had anticipated when she took the fight. "I moved up a couple weight classes fighting her," said Rix. "I've been hit harder but she had decent power."

"I felt terrible out there," said Moreno after the fight. "I've been sick. I've been coming down with a cold and when we got here it got even worse with the hot weather. ... I give myself a C- or a D."   Moreno improved to 10-1-0 (3 KO's) while Rix, who has also competed at the national level as an amateur, slipped to 4-1-1 (1 KO) in her pro career.

Suszannah Warner vs. Carina Moreno
© Copyrighted photo taken by Alan Messick

On February 22, 2007 at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, California, Carina won a clear 10-round unanimous (100-90,100-90,100-90) decision over Suszannah Warner of New York City for the WBC Interim Straw-weight title. Moreno dominated the action from the opening bell, chasing Warner around the ring and landing solid combinations whenever she could get inside.  The bout set Moreno up as the mandatory challenger for Nanako Kikuchi of Japan for the full WBC title. Kikuchi traveled to the US to see Moreno in action in this fight. "I don't think I put on the great performance I wanted to," Moreno said. "I wanted more of a fight. I kept telling her, 'Come on, come on, let's fight.' I'm the kind of fighter who likes to mix it up."  Moreno improved to 11-1-0 (3 KO's) with the win while Warner fell to 7-4 (2 KO's). For more photos of this bout by Alan Messick, see WBAN Photo Gallery #412 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

Nanako Kikuchi vs. Carina Moreno
© Copyrighted photo taken by Alan Messick

On May 17, 2007 at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, California  a sold-out crowd of 1,450 saw Carina (104½ lbs) defeat Japan’s Nanako Kikuchi (104½ lbs) for the WBC Strawweight title by a ten-round unanimous (100-90 x 3) decision in the main event. A ringside observer reported to WBAN that “Kikuchi is a warrior. She just kept coming forward and took a tremendous amount of punches from all angles, but she kept pressing the fight. Carina was just too sharp, and clearly won the rounds but it was obvious from the onset that Kikuchi was not going to leave the ring until all 10 rounds were completed. They went non-stop for 10 rounds and had the crowd on their feet.”  For more photos of this bout by Alan Messick, see WBAN Photo Gallery #427 on the WBAN Records Member Site. Carina improved her pro record to 13-1-0 (4 KOs) while the 32-year-old Kukuchi fell to 7-2-1 (1 KOs).

On September 27, 2007 at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, California, Carina won every round on all three judges' scorecards in a ten-rounder with 22-year-old Hollie Dunaway of St. Louis, MO for her WBC Straw-weight (105-lb) world title. Moreno went forward all night against the former WIBA straw-weight champion who seemed reluctant to stand and trade with her and tried to tie Moreno up in clinches whenever the action got to close quarters. "Carina likes to engage, but Dunaway really didn't want to," said trainer Rick Noble. "She did a good job of stepping back all night — each time Carina would take a step forward to throw a punch, Hollie would take a step-and-a-half backward — which wasn't the fight we expected, and it wasn't the fight we wanted. But a win is a win, and this one was a shutout".  Moreno improved her pro record to 14-1-0 (4 KOs) with the win. Dunaway, who was coming off wins over Mary Ortega and Wendy Rodriguez and a split decision loss to Hulya Sahin for the WIBF Jr Flyweight title, fell to 20-6-0 (10 KOs).

Carino vs. Emily Kelly in November 2007
© Copyrighted photo taken by Jesus Sanchez

On November 8, 2007 at the Tank in San Jose, California, Carina (108½ lbs) dominated 37-year-old Emily Kelly (5'6", 108½ lbs) of Houston, Texas, and their scheduled eight-rounder was stopped between the second and third rounds. According to reporter I.A.Stewart, "Moreno spent much of the first round feeling out her opponent, though she did move in for a good left to the Texan's chin near the end of the first. Then the bell rung for the second round, and the carnage began. Moreno unleashed a barrage of quick lefts, mostly to Kelly's head and face, to set up a right handed shot that she threw every ounce of her frame into. With about a minute left in the second, Moreno threw a series of left-right-left combos, landing nearly every shot, until Kelly was staggering back to the ropes. It looked as though Kelly might not make it through the round, but the bell sounded just before Moreno could finish the deed."  The fight was stopped after Armando Garcia, executive director of the California State Athletic Commission, spoke to the ring physicians between rounds. The doctor visited Kelly's corner, talked briefly to the fighter and advised referee Ray Balewicz to stop the fight, which was declared for Moreno.  Kelly, who took the fight at short notice, said she wasn't hurt when the fight ended, but she recognized she was not prepared to take on a fighter of Moreno's caliber. "She stunned me with a couple shots," said Kelly, "but I just felt like it wasn't going to get any better for me",

According to Moreno, "In that second round, I caught her with a right, followed by a left hook, and I could tell it stunned her. She was holding onto me real tight, I could see she was in trouble and when the round ended, I looked toward her corner and could see she didn't want any more. "I went over to tell her she fought a good fight, and she told me I was just too much for her".  Moreno improved to 15-1-0 (5 KOs) with the win while Kelly, who was coming off a draw with Maribel Zurita in April, fell to 2-3-1 (1 KOs).

On December 6, 2007 at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, in Lemoore, California, Carina won by a 10-round unanimous decision over Suszannah Warner of New York City in a rematch for Moreno's WBC Straw-weight title. Warner fell to 7-6-0 (2 KOs).

On June 13, 2008 at the Isleta Casino and Resort in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Carina (107¾ lbs) won a 10-round unanimous (100-90,100-90,97-93) decision over Eileen Olszewski (107¾ lbs) of New York for the vacant IFBA and IBA Junior Flyweight world titles.  Moreno improved to 17-1-0 (5 KOs) with the win while Olszewski, who had a long career as an amateur boxer, suffered her first pro loss and fell to 5-1-1 (0 KOs).

On August 21, 2008 at the Tachi Palace Casino Hotel and Resort in Lemoore, California, Carina (104½ lbs) won a 10-round decision over Yahaira Martinez, (106 lbs) of Puerto Rico. Moreno's fight was made a non-title bout for the WBC due to Martinez not making weight.  Ed Pearson of the WBC said in a press release: "Moreno was prepared to fight for the WBC World female Strawweight title (but it) went ahead as a non-title fight because Yahaira Martinez failed to make the weight."  "Martinez weighed in 2.8 pounds over the 105 pound limit. Another reason why we have to have the 30 and 7 day weigh in results. Some people don’t seem to think it’s a big deal, but sometimes, like this, it comes back to hurt them when they don’t do it. Had Carina Moreno lost the fight, the title would have been vacated. Carina Moreno won a unanimous decision with scores of 100-90 (x2) and 97-93", added Pearson. Martinez dropped to 7-3 (4 KO's).  For photos of this bout, see WBAN Photo Gallery #489 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

On October 23, 2008 at the Tachi Palace Casino Hotel and Resort in Lemoore, California, Carina (104½ lbs) retained her WBC and WIBA Strawweight titles with a TKO of Jodi Esquibel (104½ lbs) of Albuquerque, NM at 1:36 in the ninth round of a scheduled ten-rounder. As reported to WBAN by Moreno's publicist Mario Serrano, "In the opening round, Esquibel used her lateral movement to escape the pressure of Moreno. Making adjustments, Moreno came into the second round with a game plan that saw her throw more overhand rights. But it was a powerful straight right hand that landed flush on the nose of Esquibel that changed the fight for good. Esquibel would end the round with blood oozing from her nostrils. For the rest of the bout, Moreno would land combinations with pin point accuracy, with the overhand right being the most effective. The referee would halt the action in the middle of the rounds as blood continued to pour out the nose of Esquibel. At 1:36 of the ninth round, the referee put an end to the thumping."  Esquibel, who was also cut over her left eye, had been checked out by the ringside doctor multiple times during the fight but she refused to quit.

According to Moreno, "I came into this fight knowing that Esquibel was going to be in the best shape of her life. I too was in great shape and it paid off. After the first round, my corner told me to let my hands go. Once I saw the blood coming from her nose, I knew she was in trouble. I just kept applying pressure making it hard for her to breath. She showed a lot of heart making it to the ninth round. I give her a lot of credit, she's a tough fighter."  Esquibel fell to  5-3-1 (2 KO's) while Moreno improved to 20-1 (6 KO's) with the win.

On February 6, 2009 at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, California, Carina (109¼ lbs) won an eight-round unanimous (80-72,80-72,78-73) decision over Sharon Gaines (5'2", 109¼ lbs) of Las Vegas, Nevada who fell to 11-12-1 (3 KO's) with the loss.

Moreno vs Ortiz 2009On October 31, 2009 at Gimnasio Del Imcufide, Toluca, México, Anabel Ortiz (104¾ lbs) of Tepic, México won a ten-round unanimous (96-94 x 3) decision over Carina (104¾ lbs) for the WBC Strawweight title.  Ortiz improved to 5-1 with the win, while Carina suffered her second pro loss and her first loss in almost five years. "I couldn't get my punches off," said Moreno. "I felt a bit lethargic after the first few rounds. I take nothing away from Ortiz, she's a great fighter. I've been promised an immediate rematch from promoter Ignacio Huizar. I'm hoping we can fight again sometime in December."  Carina's trainer Rick Noble added that "It's very tough to fight in this elevation. I take full responsibility for this loss as I know I over-trained Carina. Ortiz was ready to go and we take nothing away from her. We're looking for a rematch, preferably in the U.S."

On January 29, 2011 at Polideportivo Municipal in Monte Hermoso, Buenos Aires, Argentina, unbeaten Yesica Bopp (106 lbs) of Wilde, Buenos Aires won a ten-round unanimous (100-91,99-91,98-92) decision over Carina (106¾ lbs) for the WBA and WBO Junior Flyweight titles.  The bout, which featured excellent skills and in-and-out movement by both boxers, was more closely fought than was indicated by the scoring. Bopp was adept at blocking and countering Moreno's attacks and also in picking when and where to throw her own punches in bunches. Bopp's well-timed overhand rights also raised a swelling under Moreno's left eye after the fifth round. “Yesica Bopp is a great champion and she won the fight,” Moreno said in a post-fight press release“It’s very difficult to travel thousands of miles away from home and get the victory. When I get back, I’ll look at the fight and see where I can improve.”  

Bopp improved to a perfect 14-0 (5 KO's) with the win while Moreno fell to 21-3 (6 KO's).

On October 28, 2011 at Sherwood Hall in Salinas, California, Carina (112 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (59-55,58-56,58-56) decision in an undercard rematch with Sharon Gaines (111 lbs).  Moreno who had been sidelined with severe flu for two weeks in September, seemed a shade slower than usual and appeared to tire late in the fight but she picked up her pace in the final round to secure the win.  Gaines fell to 11-13-1 (3 KO's) with the loss while Moreno snapped her two-fight losing streak.

On August 24, 2012 at Omega Products International in Corona, California, Carina Moreno dropped a 54-60, 54-59, 55-59 six-round unanimous deciision to Sindy Amador of Riverside, California. Amador remained undefeated at 9-0 (1 KO) while Moreno fell to 22-4 (6 KO's).

On December 1, 2012 at Burg-Waechter Castello in Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, Carina Moreno (112 lbs) won a ten-round split (96-94,96-94,93-97) decision over Susi Kentikian (111 lbs) of Hamburg, Germany for the WBA Flyweight title.  Former world champion Yvonne Caples, who now lives in Germany, reported to WBAN that: "Carina used a quick double jab to frustrate Susi and kept a steady barrage of punches coming. Although every punch that Susi landed was punctuated by the crowd’s cheers, Carina answered with 4-5 punches."  Moreno, who had lost four of her previous five fights, improved her record to 23-5-0 (6 KO's) with this win, which also earned her a share of WBAN's "Biggest Comebacks of 2012" Award. Kentikian's trecord fell to 29-2 (16 KO's) with her second straight loss to a boxer from California. [Full report and video]. 

Carina Moreno was also named WBAN's FIghter of the Month for January 2013 in recognition of her December win over Susi Kentikian.

Moreno trains hard. She runs three or four miles every morning starting at about 6 a.m., and trains with weights three times a week (between 12-30 bench-press repetitions, generally with 75-85 pounds. She can lift 120). She trains in the evenings at gyms in Watsonville, Gilroy (with world champion Kelsey Jeffries), San Jose, Los Angeles and Reno, Nevada, often sparring with men who outweigh her by as much as 20 pounds. In between, she attends business classes at Cabrillo Junior College in Aptos, and works at the family restaurant. Carina hopes eventually to go into the restaurant business with her brother Juan, who describes his sister as “a sweet girl.”

Trainer Noble says that her emphasis in training sessions has been on learning to sit down on her punches to get more power.  "She's also been improving her defensive techniques, her counter-punching, her footwork. She's pretty strong for her size and spars with a lot of people who are bigger than her," he says. "They all say, 'boy, she's strong!  People love to watch (Carina) box, because of her technique, her speed, her endurance. She's beautiful to watch," he adds.

Asked what she likes best about boxing, Carina says "You’re out there, and you’re putting on a show for the people ... showing them the skills and letting them know females can also do boxing. I strongly believe that whatever a man can do a female can do as well." 

As for how she's making transition to the pro ranks, Carina is frank. "The difference between pro and amateur (boxing) is that amateur is test of skill. In pro, it’s a test of punishment. That person is trying to hurt you. As a professional, there’s blood, there’s head butts, there’s cuts. I don’t know ... I just like it."

Carina talks about her training in these videos provided by Jerry Hoffman of 12 Sports Productions.

To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with huge digital photos you can go to the WBAN Records Member Site

Page last updated:  Tuesday February 5, 2013


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