When people think of the most impressive boxers, their mind rarely turns to Costa Rica. This Central American nation only sometimes gets the recognition it deserves on the sporting stage.
Aside from having excellent teams in various sports, such as soccer, Costa Rica is also emerging as a place where many outstanding individual talents make it to the professional level. Boxing is one of those sports where Costa Rica shines, both in the men’s and women’s divisions. Below is a rundown of the top four most exciting boxers to represent Costa Rica in the boxing ring or the MMA octagon in the past few decades.
1. Yokasta Valle
A world champion in two weight classes and the boxer who often has the best odds to win in any matchup, Yokasta Valle is doing her nation proud in the ring. A world champion in two weight classes, Valle has held the IBF female mini flyweight title and the IBF female junior mini flyweight title.
She has competed in the ring 28 times, winning 26 fights and knocking out her opponent nine times. Valle only has two losses to her name, which occurred in late 2017 and early 2018.
Aside from those defeats to Naoko Fujioka and Tina Rupprecht, Valle has been flawless in her career. She was ranked among the top 15 female boxers in the world in late 2022.
2. Hanna Gabriels
A professional Costa Rican boxer, Hanna Gabriels has a glittering career that has seen her rise to the top of her sort. The 40-year-old veteran has held championships in four weight classes, showing versatility.
Gabriels is the daughter of athletes; her entire family is sport-obsessed, and her brother is a professional footballer in the Costa Rican Primera Division. The discipline needed to be a professional sportsperson is in her nature and has been nurtured.
Gabriels won the WBA female light middleweight title, the WBA female light heavyweight, the WBC female heavyweight title, and the WBA welterweight title over the years.
Since making her debut in 2009, Gabriels has a hugely impressive record in the boxing ring. She has fought 24 bouts, winning 21 of them, drawing one, and only losing twice. She has 12 wins by knockout during her career, which showcases that outlasting her opponent is her greatest strength in the ring.
3. Carl Davis Drumond
Another outstanding boxer from Costa Rica was Carl Davis Drumond. Now aged 48, Drumond has long retired from the sport, but his achievements in the ring stand tall compared to any other male boxers from Costa Rica.
Drumond challenged for the world heavyweight title at his absolute peak. He had an impressive record of 37 total fights, 32 wins, 25 wins by knockout, and only five losses. While many of those devastating losses cost him the chance to win titles, Drumond can be immensely proud of how his career panned out.
He won his first 26 matches as a boxer, a streak that took him to Ruslan Chagaev in a WBA Heavyweight Title clash in Rostock, Germany in 2009. After losing that fight, Drumond could never find the same consistency again. His last three fights were two losses and a win.
4. Bryan Vazquez
The most extraordinary moment in the career of Bryan Vazquez arrived in 2011 when he defeated Santos Benavides by a unanimous decision in a title match. Vazquez was crowned the new WBA Super Featherweight champion at the time.
He went on to have an equally impressive 2012, where he beat Jorge Lacierva and then got a match against the WBA World super featherweight champion of the time in Takashi Uchiyama.
When the two finally competed in 2012 in Tokyo, Japan, the game was billed as one for the ages. While the contest was exhilarating from start to finish, it did not end how Vazquez had hoped.
While he eventually lost that fight and has not won a title since Vazquez is still competing at the top end of the sport. He is 35 and believes he has many good years remaining in his career.
The popularity of boxing and MMA has exploded across Central America over the past decade. Great South and Central American personalities in these sports have led to many young boys and girls wanting to fight in the boxing ring or octagon. Costa Rica is now reaping the rewards of that surge in interest, as they have many outstanding talents competing at the top end of men’s and women’s boxing and MMA. There is no doubt that ten years down the line, there will be many more champion boxers and MMA fighters from Costa Rica.