SAN ANTONIO – Winning a flyweight title was the end game for Marlen Esparza.

Becoming the queen of the flyweight division is more along the lines of a career goal she had in mind.

“I want to be known as the best and that only comes from fighting the best,” Esparza told

The 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist and reigning WBC flyweight titlist gets her wish. Awaiting Houston’s Esparza is a dangerous showdown with Japan’s Naoko Fujioka, who puts her WBA flyweight title at stake in their two-belt unification bout this Saturday, live on DAZN from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

The winner will also earn the vacant Ring magazine championship, which will leave Saturday’s winner between Esparza and Fujioka (19-2-—Japan’s lone-ever five-division titlist—as the recognized llneal flyweight champion.

Esparza (11-1, 1KO) captured her WBC belt in a ten-round decision win over Ibeth Zamora last June in El Paso. Her first title defense came in a ten-round nod over former strawweight titlists last December at AT&T Center, not too far from Saturday’s location for her most significant pro fight to date.

“I’m a champion and she’s a champion,” noted Esparza, who has won four in a row since a technical decision loss to Seniesa Estrada in November 2019. “This is what I’ve wanted, to always challenge myself against the best. I’m never looking for easy opponents to beat. I want someone who will push me to the limit and that is what I expect from Naoko Fujioka on Saturday.

“Beating [Fujioka] will prove that I belong among the best [at flyweight]. Having the Ring championship at stake just solidifies who is the best. It’s a great opportunity and I’m ready for it.”

Esparza-Fujioka serves in supporting capacity on a four-fight DAZN telecast headlined by the return of lightweight contender Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18KOs) who faces Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe (32-1, 15KOs).

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox