Boxer Marlen Esparza has been left with a horrific gash on her forehead following a bloody grudge battle against Seniesa Estrada.
Esparza, 30, incurred the injury after an accidental headbutt from Estrada in the fifth round of their Las Vegas match. She continued to fight, banging heads with Estrada on numerous occasions and making the gory split even worse.
Blood was seen pouring down Esparza’s face as she battled on, restricting her vision and ultimately leading to her losing her World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight world title.
Eventually a ringside medic took a look at the grisly wound, and referee Robert Byrd made the decision to wave off the bout before the tenth round.
The decision then went to the judges, with Estrada winning the title by unanimous technical decision, 90-81, 89-82, 88-83.
Estrada could be seen celebrating following her victory, but Esparza has since expressed surprise and disappointment at the judges’ decision, having believed she was winning.
The sight of Esparza’s gaping head injury has led to horrified shudders amongst boxing fans, many of whom believe they could actually see her skull exposed beneath the ripped skin.
Described as ‘gut churningly bad’ and ‘a nightmare’, many simply couldn’t conceive of how tough-as-nails Esparza had managed to power through another four rounds after the brutal headbutt.
One Twitter user grimaced:
So they called off the Diaz’s fight because of that cut but Marlen Esparza went the whole match with her skull showin.
That gash on Marlen Esparza’s forehead is horrifying. I have never seen anything like that. I’m shocked that there was ANY debate about that fight continuing.
So they called off the Diaz’s fight because of that cut but marlen Esparza went the whole match with her skull showin 🤨
— Micho (@Notweezy) November 3, 2019
Marlen Esparza has an unbelievably deep gouge on her forehead in the fifth round after a head butt. WOW
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) November 3, 2019
Please DAZN – stay away from the head-on shots of Marlen Esparza's ruined forehead – it is gut-churning bad #EstradaEsparza
— Chris Bieszad (@ChrisBieszad) November 3, 2019
That gash on Marlen Esparza's forehead is horrifying. I have never seen anything like that. I'm shocked that there was ANY debate about that fight continuing. #EstradaEsparza
— A|K|A d'Jawnz (@emceereach) November 3, 2019
As per CBS Sports, Esparza made the following comments after the bout:
I was early so I was really trying to decide if it was OK or not. I’m sorry guys, I couldn’t continue, but I couldn’t see anything.
I could have stopped after the third round, fourth round, whenever it happened, but it was really hard to deal with, it was really hard to see.
It was multiple head butts. A lot of times when we were clinging, and you saw me leaning in, it was because she rushed in with the head butt.
A lot of times it was making me dizzy. There wasn’t anything I could do with her head, I really thought I was winning.
I could have gone two more rounds but I couldn’t see at all. I thought it was a bad decision. I didn’t think I lost that many rounds.
Her opponent Estrada reportedly denied the win was down to the injury, saying:
Head butt or not, I still whooped her ass every round.
I didn’t really target it too much. I felt great, I’m made for the late rounds. I can go 15 rounds, take it back old school.
There has been apparent bad feeling between Esparza and Estrada for some time, with both boxers having previously expressed a mutual dislike of one another.
In her post-bout comments, Esparza has made it clear that the feud between them is far from settled, stating:
No, the beef is not settled. Respect to her team, but I still don’t like her.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.