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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Aaron Zarate

Posted on July 7, 2016                                              Bookmark and Share
By: Clive Baum



Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.


Aaron “La Cobra” Zarate, the former WBF World Super Featherweight Champion, was born on October 15, 1969 in Mexico City. As boxing was a very popular sport in his neighborhood, it was the natural activity for him to devote his time to, and it turned out that he had talent for it.

Zarate made his professional debut in September of 1988, on a small show at the Arena Revolucion in Mexico City, and won the fight when he scored a unanimous decision over six rounds against another debutant called Jesus Capistran.

Later that same month he also won his second pro bout, knocking out Juan Ramirez (0-0) in two rounds, but he finished the year by losing on a fifth round technical knockout in November to another undefeated prospect in Carlos Gonzalez (3-0).

After his first set-back, Zarate went on a fifteen-fight winning streak, and was emerging among the many promising up-and-comers in Mexico. So it was quite the surprise when he was stopped by journeyman Jose Mendez (9-10) in November 1991.

It was a big blow to the momentum he had build since his first loss, three years earlier, and it would be more than seven months before Zarate made his return. But when he did, he did so in style as he stopped the very capable Juan Marchena (15-2-3) in round eight of their June 27, 1992 encounter.

In September of 1992 “La Cobra” was matched tough again, squaring off with fellow prospect Ricardo Vasquez (15-1). Zarate lost the fight on points after ten competitive rounds, and while he didn’t get his hands raised in victory he proved his level and the fight would mark the beginning of his best years in the ring.

In November 1992 he stopped former and future Mexican national champion Jesus Rodriguez (17-2) in round six. Rodriguez was on a three fight winning-run, and had gone the distance with future IBO world champion Jeff Mayweather in his most recent defeat.

Next up was Abe Gomez (15-7-1), whom Zarate beat on points at the tradition-rich Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California, USA in April 1993. In November of 1993 he captured the Mexican national title, beating Jesus Rodriguez (now 21-3) again, and at 21-3 (13) he was getting closer and closer to making his mark on the world scene.

In his next fight, in March 1994, Zarate out-pointed Narciso Valenzuela (34-14-2), who would go on to challenge Regilio Tuur for the WBO World Championship and lose on points after a valiant effort. Beating Valenzuela convincingly was a sign that Zarate was ready for bigger challenges.

In July of 1994 he defended his Mexican national Super Featherweight crown with an underwhelming draw against Francisco Martinez Laguna (19-18-1), and in November he stopped Ramon Sanchez (2-3-2) in eleven rounds to retain the title and set up his careers biggest opportunity.

By seeing off Sanchez, Zarate was ready to travel to Durban in South Africa to challenge reigning WBF World Super Featherweight ruler Ditau Paul Molefyane (28-6) at the Village Green on December 3. Making his second title-defense, Molefyane was the favorite, but Zarate had other ideas.

Fighting in the main event of a big show promoted by World Sports Promotions, Zarate was focused and determined from the start, and often forced the defending champion on the back-foot as he landed heavy shots to both body and head.

Much to the dismay of the local boxing fans, Zarate was clearly the better boxer on the night, and he was ahead on the scorecards when a disgruntled Molefyane retired before the sixth round with an eye injury. It was a marvelous performance by Zarate, who had now realized his dream of winning a world title.

Unfortunately his days as a top-level fighter would soon come to an end. After six months as world champion, Zarate lost a third fight with old rival Jesus Rodriguez (now 27-5) by close decision. The WBF title was not on the line, and Zarate seemed less hungry and focused in his approach to the fight.

That was not the case when he scored a huge victory by split decision over undefeated future IBF world champion Carlos Hernandez (21-0-1) at Caesars Tahoe in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA in September 1995. But it would be the last hurrah for Zarate, and he only won one of his next eight bouts.

He retired after losing a split decision to Philadelphia-based Ukrainian Volodymyr Katkivskyy (12-1) on May 21, 1995, with a final record of 26-11-1 (16) and never having defended the WBF title. He reached the top when he beat Molefyane in South Africa, but he didn’t manage to capitalize properly on that amazing achievement.

  Part 30: Tommy Small
  Part 29: Matthew Charleston
  Part 28: Jane Couch
  Part 27: Fahlan Sakkreerin
  Part 26: Kenny Keene
  Part 25: Yvan Mendy
  Part 24: Ronnie Magramo
  Part 23: Randall Yonker
  Part 22: Holly Holm
  Part 21: Vinnie Curto
  Part 20: Robin Reid
  Part 19: Lionel Butler
  Part 18: Mads Larsen
  Part 17: Ken Sigurani
  Part 16: Orlando Fernandez
  Part 15: Roger Turner
  Part 14: Roy Jones Jr.
  Part 13: Fitz Vanderpool
  Part 12: Steve Roberts
  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson
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