Yokasta Valle faces Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen in a minimum weight unification on Thursday.
Golden Boy Promotions returns on Thursday with a special event live on DAZN from Cuidad Deportiva Heiner Ugalde, Hatillo, San Jose, Costa Rica. The main event features IBF minimum weight champion Yokasta Valle (25-2) going up against WBO champion Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (5-0) from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This unification will be a first for Costa Rica, making this bout much more important for the two women stepping in the ring that night.
The IBF champion Valle’s story is interesting as she was born in Nicaragua but lived most of her life in Costa Rica. Although she lives in Costa Rica, Valle often makes it out to Nicaragua to see her grandfather, who still resides there. Lately, she hasn’t made that trip since the pandemic but enjoys visiting because of her family, the food, and the culture her home country offers. Although she spends most of her time in Costa Rica, she is incredibly proud of being from Nicaragua.
Valle’s introduction to boxing was different, and something she admitted wasn’t love at first sight. Valle told FanSided, “In the beginning, I didn’t enjoy boxing even though my father and grandfather were fans of the sport. I used to watch fights from guys like Oscar (De La Hoya) & Alexis Arguello, and I just didn’t see the excitement of boxing (laughs). My father had five kids who were all girls as he seemed to be trying for a son (laughs), but since he didn’t get one, he decided to get his daughters into boxing. My father got me and my older sister to box. I was 13 years old the first time he took us to a gym, and I immediately noticed that there were no women there. The gloves and gym smell made me think this wasn’t for me. But to please my father, I decided to try it out.”
Yokasta Valle vs. Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen minimum weight unification will be streaming live on DAZN
‘Try it out,’ she did, and it was two weeks before her trainer called for young Valle to step into the squared circle to see what she had. “I tried it out for two weeks, and then the trainer asked me if I wanted to get in the ring and fight someone. I said yes but deep down inside, I was terrified, like ‘what am I doing’ (laughs). The bell rang, and I told the trainer to take my headgear off. He spun me around, pushed me towards my opponent, and I was caught with the first few shots. Once I felt that someone punched me, I told myself I wouldn’t let this go on, and that’s when the real me came out,” Valle recalled.
Valle continued, “I ended up finishing the fight, and my hand was raised, which was a surprise because it was my first fight. I fell in love with the adrenaline, and that’s when my love for boxing began. I told myself I wanted to be a world champion and knew the journey wouldn’t be easy, but I was willing to put in the hard work.”
Valle worked through the amateurs and then turned Pro back in 2014. Although she captured titles in two weight classes, the one thing that was missing occurred this past June: to fight in the U.S. “It was a dream come true. I have been a world champion since 2016 and have fought in Japan, Germany, Spain, and the only place left was the U.S. I was very emotional that night, but it was something I had envisioned happening for a while now. Everything I wished for in life as a child has come true. I still want more and don’t want to settle for just being a champion. I want to keep making history and elevating women’s boxing,” said the 30-year-old Valle.
While appearing on that card as a fighter for MarvNation, it also served as a showcase for the Golden Boy Promotions’ brass who were looking on. All in attendance were impressed, and a co-promotional deal with Golden Boy was announced days after the event. Now that the agreement is in place, Golden Boy decided to make Valle the main event on their popular Thursday Night series to elevate her status in Costa Rica and expose her to a wider audience. The pressure is now on her to perform against another champion in her division.
Considering what is at stake, Valle decided to head to Los Angeles, CA, where her trainer Gloria Alvarado resides. Not only for that reason but also to get the type of sparring she hasn’t been able to get in Costa Rica for her previous training camps. Valle told FanSided, “We had an excellent camp with great sparring. That is one of the things that have cost me training in Costa Rica, as sparring wasn’t available, and we had to always bring fighters in from other countries. Here in Los Angeles, there is an abundance of sparring available from all different levels. I have grown so much from the sparring experience here in L.A.”
Although her opponent Nguyen has only five pro fights, she had an extended amateur career, so Valle knows not to take her lightly. Although Valle knows what she is up against, her motivation is at an all-time high as she continues to look for unification opportunities. “I don’t want to just stay with my IBF title; I want them all. Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen, at fives fights, was able to become a champion, which says a lot about her. She has a lot of experience, and I don’t underestimate anyone. I have trained so hard to give the fans a great performance. The titles are great but having the satisfaction of fans leaving the fight saying, ‘Wow, Yoka was great. I want to see her again’ is what I aim to do.”
Aside from the accomplishments inside the ring, Valle prides herself in being a positive role model to the people back in Costa Rica, which has become her home away from home. When she isn’t partaking in the sweet science, Valle is part of an environmental group called Grupo Mutual which looks to preserve the environment in Costa Rica and she also takes part in social groups for women in abusive relationships. She is passionate about both as one helps to indirectly increase tourism while the other makes a difference in the society of that country. Valle feels that for the latter, as long as she gets people communicating that the help made a difference, that is all the satisfaction in the world for her.
Shifting the focus back to Thursday night, which is a huge unification fight, Valle wants to ensure fight fans leave the arena or their couch thinking, ‘I want to see her fight again.’ Valle wants to leave the fight fans a message before she enters the ring attempting to win another world title. “Don’t miss out on this fight on September 8. You will see a more aggressive and technical Yoka on that night. You can’t miss this fight. It’s champion vs. champion, and once that bell rings, you will stay for the whole fight. Again, I have trained so hard to give you all a spectacular fight.”