On Sept. 18, 2021, CoreSports presented Fight Night 3 in Dubai, UAE, headlined by the main event bout between 2018 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Hafthor “The Mountain” Björnsson and Devon “No Limits” Larratt. The undercard featured eight bouts. In the Featherweight division, powerlifter Stefi Cohen stepped into the squared circle for her second professional fight against Marcela Nieto.
Fight Night 3 — Stefi Cohen vs. Marcela Nieto
- Judge One — 38/38
- Judge Two — 38/38
- Judge Three — 37/39
- Decision — Majority Draw
Cohen and Nieto went toe-to-toe for four two-minute rounds culminating in a majority draw. Nieto entered the ring with an unblemished record of two wins with one knockout. Cohen won her professional boxing debut against Haydee Zapa of Colombia by knockout (KO) to push Zapa’s record to 4-4-0. In the 52- and 56-kilogram weight classes, Cohen holds the all-time records in the squat. At 52, 56, and 60 kilograms, Cohen holds the all-time records for the total and deadlift as well.
View this post on Instagram
[Related: 8-Year-Old Weightlifter Rory van Ulft (30KG) Deadlifts 90 Kilograms]
Cohen’s official body weight for the bout was 56.8 kilograms (125.2 pounds). Nieto’s official body weight was 55.1 kilograms (121.5 pounds).
Both fighters spent the first round feeling each other out. Cohen took early command of the center of the ring with her jab. Then, she landed a right cross that failed to connect, but Nieto fired back and put Cohen’s sharp head movement to work. Cohen stayed in a low and balanced position which added to the height advantage that Nieto had.
The first spark of the round came via a big right hand to the chin of Nieto who dropped her hands. Nieto walked through the punch, seemingly unphased, and took control of the center as Cohen danced around the outside. Cohen’s plan appeared to be to get in with some shots while staying light on her feet. Nieto wanted to stand and bang.
A flurry of punches flowed from both fighters in the final seconds of the round with Nieto getting barely getting the better of the exchange. It was a relatively clean round with the only highlight being that big right from Cohen early on.
The pace was noticeably different at the start of the second round. Nieto showed more aggression and Cohen matched it. Nieto unloaded some heavy-handed throws, but Cohen parried well and landed some solid counters. Cohen took advantage of her stronger footwork to combat Nieto’s longer reach. Nieto appeared more active in the round, but neither boxer landed any substantial shots.
Both fighters kept the pace the same in round there, seeking any opening they could find, but no one took any unnecessary risks. Nieto habitually dropped her hands which allowed Cohen to clip her with a few punches. However, Nieto did not give much sense of how impactful they were as she smiled when given some space.
View this post on Instagram
Nieto finally connected with Cohen’s chin. It was a short but jarring moment for the powerlifter. Cohen remained in control, but Nieto’s power shone through. The height and reach advantage proved fruitful but it remained a close bout.
Cohen made a few early attempts to get inside but to no avail. She continued to pick her spots but only found success when Nieto moved forward, exposing her chin. Nieto’s stiff jab was arguably the biggest factor in the fight, but Cohen appeared technically sound. The broadcast team mentioned how they would have liked to see a few more rounds and the judges seemed to agree as the scorecards deemed the bout a majority draw.
On to the Next Bout
Who would have emerged victorious had Cohen and Nieto battled for a few more rounds is up for debate. Nieto’s power started to move Cohen back, but Cohen seemed better prepared for a war of attrition as fatigue set in.
It is not clear when Cohen will step into the boxing ring next. However, it is clear that her technique in the ring is strong, and the potential for a career in the sport is promising. In the caption of her Instagram post that featured ringside photos of the fight, Cohen wrote, “Loved every second,” so we expect to hear an announcement for her third professional fight in the near future.
Feature image: @steficohen on Instagram