Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
After months of frustration and three fight cancellations, Alicia 'Slick' Ashley, the Jamaica-born World Boxing Council (WBC) female super bantamweight champion, will defend her title against Panamanian Chanttall Martinez on April 20, at the Roberto Duran Arena in Panama City, Panama.
She last fought on March 17, 2012 in Mexico City, when she made a successful title defence against Mexican Maria Elena Villalobos.
Ashley told The Gleaner that she was "happy and relieved that there has finally been an agreement" and that she will be able to defend her title again. She said there were a lot of discussions over the past year and she had gone into training for fights, only to have them cancelled after a few weeks, for various reasons.
"In this case, we have all signed our contracts, they seem to be serious, and I am looking forward to the fight," she said.
Her opponent is an aggressive 22-year-old fighter, who has an 18-5 record with five knockout victories to her credit. She has been knocked out once. Unlike Ashley, she had a very busy 2012. She fought Jackie Nava for the World Boxing Association (WBA) super bantamweight title on January 28 and lost by unanimous decision. She was floored by Nava in the fifth round and was outclassed.
She bounced back, however, and had three more fights, all of which she won. The last fight was on December 1 last year when she scored a unanimous decision over Migdalia Asprilla over 10 rounds. Reports from her camp state that they are very confident, and will be well prepared for the challenge.
Ashley, who is 45 but looks much younger, has a 18-9-1 record. Asked how she felt about her opponent, she told The Gleaner that she was not worried about either her opponent's age or record.
"The important thing is what happens on fight night. I am really disappointed that I did not have more fights last year, but the fault was not mine. I was ready to fight, trained for fights and then they fell through. I will be up and ready on April 20 and she had better be ready too," she added.
She said her training is on schedule and she could not be happier at this time.
"Just knowing that I have a fight and will be able to do what I like best, which is to get into the ring and take care of business, makes me very happy every day. I am enjoying my training," she exulted.