Marlen Esparza and Gabriela Alaniz will run it back. has learned that a unified flyweight championship rematch is in play between Houston’s Esparza and Argentina’s Alaniz. The bout is targeted to take place on a DAZN show this March in Las Vegas. Golden Boy Promotions—Esparza’s career-long promoter—has shows planned for March 16 (William Zepeda-Maxi Hughes IBF lightweight title eliminator) and March 30 (Arsen Goulamirian-Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez WBA cruiserweight title fight).

A deal was struck between the pair of familiar foes after the WBO ordered the two to enter talks last December for a mandatory title fight rematch. Far more progress was made than when they were previously instructed last summer to negotiate terms, only to hit pause when it was believed that Esparza (12-1, 1KO) would vie for the undisputed crown.

Esparza won their first meeting via disputed majority decision last July 8 at AT&T Center in San Antonio. She retained her lineal and unified WBC and WBA championship and claimed Alaniz’s WBO title with the victory.

There was enough public support for the previously unbeaten Alaniz—who is promoted by Georgina Rivero’s O.R. Promotions—to find the grounds to file a protest with the WBO. A review of the bout prompted the San Juan, Puerto Rico-headquartered organization to demand that Esparza face Alaniz a second time.

Those talks were paused at the time when it was believed that Esparza would face then-IBF flyweight titlist Arely Mucino for the undisputed championship last October 20. It required the cooperation of Alaniz and Gabriela Fundora, Mucino’s mandatory challenger at the time. A deal was believed to have been reached, only for both mandatory challengers to have a change of heart.

Fundora went on to beat Mucino via fifth-round knockout to win the IBF title.

The undefeated California native targeted her own undisputed clash versus Esparza. However, a deal was never struck which left both boxers to explore separate title defenses.

Fundora (12-0, 5KOs) will next face Christina Cruz (6-0, 0KOs) in her first title defense this Saturday at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The winner will keep close tabs on Esparza-Alaniz II, with hopes of resurrecting an undisputed championship since there will no longer exist any mandatory title defense obligations.

Esparza–a 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist—claimed the WBC belt in a June 2021 points win over Ibeth Zamora in El Paso, Texas. Four successful defenses have followed, including wins in unification bouts over Alaniz in July for the WBO belt and legendary five-division titlist Naoko Fujioka who lost her WBA belt to Esparza last April 9 at Alamodome in San Antonio.

Alaniz (14-1, 6KOs) has not fought since her narrow defeat to Esparza.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox