On October 17 in Costa Rica, fan favorite Hanna Gabriels (14-1-1, 10 KOs), in her home country, will host Kali Reis (7-4-1, 3 KOs) of Providence, Rhode Island, in an attempt to retain the WBO World female super-welterweight title. It will be the first title defense for the 32-year-old Gabriels who is enjoying her second reign as the WBO super welterweight champion. Her previous reign lasted 38-months encompassing four successful defenses. Gabriels won the title in December 2014 blasting out an overmatched Paty Ramirez (10-1) in two rounds.
During the introductory phase of her career, Gabriels bested Christy Nickle, Yvonne Reis, and drew with the hard-punching Rachel Clark. Gabriels was knockdown in the fourth round against Clark but gained the nod from two of the three assigned judges (MD-6).
Gabriels won the WBO super welterweight title by stopping journeyman-brawler Gabriela Marcela Zapata in four rounds. In her fourth defense of the strap, Dakota Stone, a rough-n-tough, forward-moving fighter was enjoying success in the later round against a noticeably tired champion before a controversial stoppage (TKO-8) caused Gabriels’ hand to be raised in victory. Gabriels, as a result of her attacking style, is better against boxers than aggressive sluggers who are more successful in solving her fight-style.
She lost the title when she engaged in a slugfest with an 18-year-old raw slugger named Oxandia Castillo. Gabriels was knocked down in the second round by a right cross from which she never recovered fully prompting a stoppage by the referee.
Although Reis, 29, has dropped three of her last five bouts, the losses were suffered to long-time middleweight champion Christina Hammer, current WBC super-welterweight champion Mikaela Lauren, and Tori Nelson, who is widely considered one of the best currently campaigning at welterweight where she holds a minor title. The losses to Hammer and Nelson were ten-round world title bouts and the loss to Lauren of the eight-round, non-title variety. Losses aside, Reis is improving as a fighter.
Sandwiched between losses to Lauren and Hammer is an impressive knockout victory over former middleweight world champion Teresa Perozzi (TKO-3). Reis also holds a round-round decision victory over current super-welterweight contender Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (13-3-2, 1 KO) and drew with former welterweight contender Sarah Kuhn (7-4-1, 1 KO).
Gabriels is an aggressive ambush fighter who because of limited endurance, must be overly selective when she engages her opponent. She owns pronounced punching power but has significant chinks in her otherwise impressive armor.
Stone employed lateral movement and cut-off punches to force Gabriels to engage when she wished to evade. Due to the inability of Gabriels to employ a ‘Plan-B’ the fight progressed into a quagmire that Gabriels was fortunate to win.
Styles make fights, and Reis has the versatility to make this fight interesting. She can box or slug and boasts underrated power in her right hand. In her WBO middleweight title fight against Hammer, she waited too long (10th round) before unleashing the right hand. Reis was thoroughly outboxed over the first nine stanzas losing each on the score cards but knocked Hammer down in the 10th. Against Gabriels, she must show aggression early and not let the champion grow in the fight.
In the end, Reis must be able to withstand the power of Gabriels and impose her own on the champion. Gabriels can best be described as chinny, but she is the host, and Reis is not capturing the title via decision. Reis, as in her knockout victory over Perozzi, must start fast and take the fight to Gabriels to secure the title; otherwise, Gabriels holds on and finds a way to victory.
Quality of Opposition- Reis
Age/Career mode- N/A Both are in the prime part of their career.
Intangibles- Gabriels * Home country
Prediction: Reis KO-6 * you can’t hide a weak chin forever.
Result: Gabriels UD-10 Reis