How Alma Ibarra Went From Kidnapping Victim To Mandatory Women’s World Title Challenger
Alma Ibarra (9-1, 4 KOs) is filled with motivation. On August 20, the 33-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico scored the biggest win of her career when she soundly defeated Kandi Wyatt in a WBA women’s world title eliminator. Nicknamed “The Conqueror”, the win was more than about triumph in the ring. It represents victory and survival against what has been a whirlwind of a life beyond the ropes. She’s pushed through even as family drama and events beyond her control have threatened not only her boxing career, but her life.
A single mother, Ibarra faces a delicate balance on the home front. Her son, Mattias, was born with hemophilia, a disorder that causes the blood to clot improperly. It can lead to spontaneous and excessive internal and external bleeding from the smallest of cuts or injuries.
During an interview with 15 Rounds, Ibarra described the dance she has to go through with him. He is an active boy and wants to do everything his friends do. Unfortunately, she knows that’s not possible and can’t afford to put his health at risk.
“How can I keep him from being a kid? He wants to skateboard. He wants to fight. When I told him he can’t skateboard, that he can get hurt, he reminded me that I get punched in the face for a living. How can I be his hero and then not allow him to do the things that I do?”
FROM BAD TO WORSE
One of those incidents where Mattias’ health was in jeopardy occurred in March of 2020. As Ibarra was competing in the 2020 Mexican Olympic trials in Veracruz, Mexico, her son was involved in a minor accident that landed him in the hospital. From there, things took a horrible turn.
Before her qualifying match, Ibarra received a call from the local authorities at her hotel stating there was an apparent threat against her. Ibarra was instructed to meet with local law enforcement outside her hotel. She did what she told and stepped into an SUV, thinking she was headed to the police station. As it turns out, the alleged cops were kidnappers seeking a ransom!
A WARRIOR AT HEART
Ibarra was then taken to a nearby hotel where the abductors called her parents and friends. She asked for food, and the kidnappers tried to give her pizza. With the mindset of a disciplined athlete with boxing first and foremost on the brain, she turned down the pizza they offered. Why? As she explained, “I’m an athlete, I am fighting. I can’t eat pizza.”
That’s when things turned violent. Ibarra was roughed up, slapped around, and thrown against a wall. She was held against her will for over twenty hours. After looking at security camera footage, the real police found the SUV and eventually rescued her.
After such a traumatic and scary ordeal, “The Conqueror” amazingly snapped back into fight mode. Ibarra and her manager, Hector Fernandez de Cordova, petitioned to get back in the tournament. To their dismay, her petition was denied, and she was disqualified.
You would think that she would want to take a break to process what she has gone through. However, that’s not her mental make-up. As Cordova explained, she was adamant about continuing with her career.
“I have a son and my parents to support. I need money, I need to get back in the ring.”
Beyond that, Ibarra has personal grievances to iron out.
“I need to break someone’s nose and get this anger out of my system.”
Determined more than ever, Alma Ibarra has rebounded. In March of 2021, the Mexican warrior defeated two-time former world 168 pound title challenger Maricela Cornejo. Now she has dominated Wyatt to become the WBA mandatory welterweight challenger.
There’s one goal in mind: to step in the ring and face undisputed women’s 147 pound champ Jessica McCaskill. There is beef between Ibarra and McCaskill’s manager, Rick Ramos. Ramos trashed her fighting skills on social media. Ibarra addressed him directly following the win over Wyatt and let the world know that she wants a title shot asap.
The ultimate dream is to give a better life to her son and to become a world champion. Her story is worthy of a Netflix documentary. Alma Ibarra has survived the storm and is hellbent on achieving her goals. That spells trouble for her future opponents.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.