San Francisco Boxer Ana Julaton To Defend Title After Weekend Loss

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From the moment Bay Area boxer Ana Julaton dropped into Toronto in the days before her WBA world title fight Saturday night against the city's hometown champ Lisa Brown, Julaton  was heralded, as one newspaper wrote, like the "conquering hero." The Filipina American beauty charmed at radio appearances and press conferences, and nabbed a series of spots in the Filipino press. Then Canada's highest-circulation newspaper, the Toronto Star, put her on the front page.

It was coverage even the fight's big-time promoter, Allan Tremblay of Orion Sports Management, couldn't believe: "The front page of the Star? You've gotta be kidding me, that probably hasn't happened since Muhammad Ali fought George Chevalo in the '60s," he told the Weekly, which ran a cover story earlier this month on Julaton's struggle to legitimize her sport. While the match was broadcast on Filipino and Canadian networks, no U.S. channels were interested.  

Yet despite the hype, Julaton got a beating in the ring by Lisa "Bad News" Brown on Saturday night in Casino Rama in Ontario, losing the WBA world championship in the super bantamweight category by unanimous decision. The judges handed the match to Brown, 99-92, 99-91, 100-90. It wasn't pretty. As a Toronto Sun's sports writer put it: "One thing's for certain now. Julaton won't be doing any photo shoots for a while."

Julaton walked away with blood streaming from two cuts above her eyes and onto her white sports bra and shorts, which an emergency room surgeon stitched up later that night. (Grisly photos are floating around the Web.) Julaton's manager, Angelo Reyes, says ESPN's E:60 canceled its feature on Julaton that was supposed to run next month.

But Reyes says Julaton is already planning to defend one of her two world titles this summer. Tremblay says he'll likely be flying to the Bay Area this week to work out details for a second fight in Canada for Julaton, who he calls a "marketer's dream" despite her loss. 

"Ana Julaton is going to be the Joan of Arc of women's boxing," Reyes told the Weekly. There's no doubt the Filipina American showed courage on Saturday. Julaton got her first cut over her left eye in the fifth round, another cut under her right during the sixth. A doctor looked her over, and Reyes asked her if she wanted to throw in the towel.

Julaton didn't give in. "She said no, don't stop it, because there's 90 countries watching this and I want them to know how good women's boxing is." Reyes says since she was losing on points, she changed her game plan to just knocking her opponent out.

Tremblay says her perseverance will make her a bigger star. "I think she was reacting to the hype and saying all that's been put on my shoulders in terms of women's boxing recognition, she was going to go until someone killed her I think. [It's] tremendously admirable, and the courage and the rationale she put out there I think will make her star continue to shine." 

This time, he says he'll reserve some tickets on consignment for the Filipino community. By the time Julaton got on the card for Saturday's fight, most of the tickets were already sold out, and so Filipinos only made up about 10 percent of the audience.

Tremblay says many folks are probably writing Julaton off as more of a babe than a fighter after Saturday's defeat, but "The more people that do that, when she does eventually beat [Lisa Brown] the bigger the statement."

For now, no re-match is planned.    
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