Yokasta Valle traveled to the U.S. this time last year in search of a career-defining fight.

That moment will now come in the comfort of her own hometown.

The two-division and reigning IBF strawweight titlist eagerly embraces a DAZN-headlining showdown with WBO titlist Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (5-0, 1KO), which takes place this Thursday at Ciudad Deportiva Heiner Ugalde in San Jose, Costa Rica. The unification bout is the first ever in Valle’s home country, an opportunity she once thought would have to come on the road.

“I have always envisioned making history for Costa Rica,” Valle told BoxingScene.com. “But I always thought I would have to leave home to make my mark in the sport. To be a part of the first-ever championship unification here is a dream come true.”

Valle (25-2, 9KOs) once pursued such a fight with WBA strawweight titlist and pound-for-pound entrant Seniesa Estrada (22-0, 9KOs). She even traveled to Estrada’s Southern California home base last summer in hopes of securing the dream fight, again calling for the showdown earlier this year.

It never came to pass, as Estrada has since parted ways with Golden Boy Promotions. Fittingly, it came shortly after Valle shortly appeared on the company’s June 11 show in Anaheim, California, a win over Lorraine Villalobos in her most recent bout and U.S. debut.

“Seniesa left and I stayed. Change of plans, I guess,” quipped Valle. “But seriously, it’s an honor to be part of Golden Boy and to have a fight like this take place in my home country in front of all my people.

“Now I have to show up! They presented me with this huge opportunity and responsibility. It’s my turn to deliver.”

Valle briefly held the IBF atomweight title—a female-exclusive weight division with a maximum 102-pound limit—before moving back up in weight. Her lone two defeats came back-to-back, both in bids to become a two-division champ as she lost to the legendary Naoko Fujioka in a December 2017 WBO junior flyweight title fight and to unbeaten WBC strawweight titlist Tina Rupprecht on June 2018 on the road in Munich, Germany.

Twelve wins have followed for the 30-year-old Valle, including a ten-round, split decision over Joana Pastrana to win the IBF strawweight title in August 2019 on the road in Marbella, Spain.

Four of her five title defenses have taken place in her adopted home country, where Valle moved with her family age seven from Nicaragua and has emerged as the face of boxing in Costa Rica.

“I would love to come back to the U.S., defend my championship and win more titles,” noted Valle. “For now, though, my focus is on Nguyen and winning in front of my fans at home, continuing to be the people’s champ.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox