A rags to riches story that is so often seen in boxing, Yenifer ‘La Chica Feroz’ Perez hails from the city of Bogota, Colombia.
Yenifer’s talent in the fistic arts was obvious right from the start. They were spotted in high school by Hector Sanchez, a teacher who just happened to moonlight as a local boxing coach. Sometimes, such meetings are serendipitous.
Yenifer was a quick study and like her nickname suggests, was a ferocious competitor. She didn’t even like to lose in sparring. That internal drive made her want to push to be the best, to put in the extra effort to perfect her game, becoming a true ‘gym rat.’
Under Hector Sanchez, Yenifer learned his style of boxing, a defensive style that is much different from the usual style found in much of Latin America. However, Yenifer took to it well, using her natural agility and good reflexes to stymie her opponents and when the opportunity struck, to unleash hell. Never the most powerful puncher, Yenifer could overwhelm an opponent with furious combinations, the accumulation of punches doing the damage.
After a perfunctorily brief time in the amateurs, Yenifer turned pro, hoping to use her talents to take her and her family out of poverty. Success came quickly. The local circuit had no answers for someone as talented as Yenifer, and she quickly outgrew the competition in her country. Mexico was the next stop, and there she did receive her first loss. Like the best losses, this one taught her a valuable lesson. Yenifer came back stronger.
By the age of 23, Yenifer had racked up an impressive 13-2 record, and it was then she finally came to the attention of an American-based promoter. She was then booked to fight in the promised land – the United States, where the crowds (and the money) were much better. It was here that Yenifer began to lose her way.
Encouraged by her promoter, Yenifer adopted her now signature look – resplendent in pink and green, and she broke with her trainer, Hector Sanchez, wanting a new, more fan friendly style that would bring in the fans, and the money. She was successful on the latter count, often getting into wild wars with opponents, and pushing herself into title contention. Yenifer would win the WBU Featherweight title by Round 7 stoppage, and establish herself as a star.
Confident and popular, Yenifer became absorbed by her fame and new fortune. Understandable for someone coming from such humble means, but not a recipe for success in the boxing world. Yenifer made two defences of her title before getting knocked out by Hee Jung Park in the second round. A comeback fight against Kayleigh Parsons ended similarly disastrously.
The former champion returned home, and reunited with Hector Sanchez. Now a veteran of the sport that truly understands how to get to the top, and maybe for the first time in years, fully dedicated to boxing again, Yenifer wants another reign at the top.