Interview with Shelby “Girl” Walker
Shelby Girl Ring Chronicles Part II
All the hard work and dedication by Shelby Walker has paid off. The Miami boxer will challenge Jaime “Hurricane” Clampitt for the IWBF Lightweight title on August 26 at the RI Convention Center which will be promoted by CES and televised CN8.
Clampitt, 15-3-1 with 6 KO’s of Narragansett, RI respects Walker but is confident.
“Six of her wins are by knockout, so she can punch,” noted Clampitt. “She also does mixed martial arts, so she has a lot of ring experience. But I fought the best (boxers) throughout my whole career, and as long as I do my job, I’Il be all set.
“I feel pretty confident in my skills and I feel like I’m at the top of my game. It took me a while, but I feel really good and I’m ready to fight.”
Walker was reached by phone in Miami and sounds equally confident:
“I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” Walker said. “It’s only going to get better. I’m so excited. This is going to be my big chance. I’m seizing it.”
Here’s a Q&A with Shelby Walker:
Boxinginsider.com: What do you know about Jaime Clampitt?
Shelby Walker: “I don’t know much about her but she’s had 19 fights. From what I’ve heard she’s a pretty good boxer. She’s quite a bit bigger than me. She’ll be coming down to 135 and I’ll be going up. I haven’t seen any of her fights though.”
Boxinginsider.com: They may be taking you as a pushover. Your comment?
Shelby Walker: “That’s good, I’m glad they are. They’re going to be pleasantly surprised.”
Boxinginsider.com: How do you feel about how you’re progressing under trainer Howard Davis Jr.?
Shelby Walker: “It’s amazing. I’m never…I knew I had the drive and determination to eventually become great. But I didn’t realize I would learn so much so fast. Without giving too much away, I plan on surprising everyone in Rhode Island.”
Boxinginsider.com: Can you share some of the new techniques and skills that you’ve recently added to your arsenal?
Shelby Walker: “I really don’t want to give anything away. I want everyone to see it. Howard told me not to go on record and talk about my training.”
Boxinginsider.com: In closing, is there anything you’d else you’d like to say?
Shelby Walker: “I read some of the comments she made about me not doing much modeling after the fight is over. I want to say I won’t stoop to her level because I’m above that. I think she should save all the trash talking for the ring. And I want to thank American Top Team for believing in me and keeping me on board and giving me this opportunity.”
Interview with Shelby Walker
Shelby “Girl” Walker scored an impressive and dominant KO victory last night over Mary Elena Bautista in Tustin, California. The heavy-hitting South Floridian beauty upped her record to 7-4-1 with 6 KO’s. Here’s the first of a NEW BI series called “Shelby’s Ring Dream Chronicles” which will periodically detail her personal journey in the wild and wacky world of pro boxing.
Boxinginsider.com: You won the fight…
Shelby Girl: “I did. I’m so happy. I’m so happy. I won. I knocked her down in round two. A straight right hand sent her down. It was bad, brutal. This girl was triple tough. I can’t believe the way she hung in there. She was a Mexican girl, she came into the ring wearing a sombrero with the Mexican music and everything. I got some good work. I’m very happy.”
Boxinginsider.com: What was clicking for you in this victory?
Shelby Girl: “My defense is much more on. It’s such a good feeling to know when punches are coming and to be able to get out of the way fast enough. That’s something that I never had in my arsenal. In the past I’ve always just taken punches to land my punches.”
Boxinginsider.com: Did you have any trouble or problems in this match?
Shelby Girl: “She was really strong and quite a bit bigger than me by the time the fight started. I won every round. I was putting together combinations, my punches felt crisp and sharp. I felt really, really good. Didn’t have any problems. My right hand was landing every time. I cannot believe she was still standing in the 6th round.”
Boxinginsider.com: What did your trainer Howard Davis Jr. have to say? Was he pleased with your performance?
Shelby Girl: “He was so happy. He picked me up off the ground and kissed me! His fighters went 3-0 this week, all by knockout. He’s so happy. (Davis’s son Dyah won by 1st round KO and his welterweight Said Ouali won in the 3rd, both in Boynton Beach.)
Boxinginsider.com: What was the main event at your show?
Shelby Girl: “I was! It was in Orange County, California at the Marconi Automotive Museum. It was a black tie charity event. The tables were $10,000 each. About 800 people were there. It was great. I was a little nervous. It was my first boxing match with American Top Team. A lot was on the line with me. I wanted to show everyone at American Top Team I do belong there. And I do have a future in fighting.”
Boxinginsider.com: Did you have any injuries in the match? And what did you learn from this win?
Shelby Girl: “No, I’m fine. Just a bruise on my shoulder and a small bruise on the side of my face. Other than that, I’m fine. I’m just really, really, really happy. I learned lots – hard work and dedication in the gym really pays off in the ring. I just need fights now. I’m still gonna go to the gym and keep doing what I’ve been doing, I just need fights now to get more experience. I’m gonna try to start booking as many fights as possible. To get as much experience as I can.”
Boxinginsider.com: Anything else you’d like to add?
Shelby Girl: “I had a lot of fun in my fight. On the way to the ring, Howard said, Just relax, go in there and have a good time. All the hard work is over. He was right. I really had fun. I also want to thank Boxinginsider.com and Sportsbook.com for everything they did. And Cobb28. Without them this wouldn’t be possible. They paid for my travel expenses and ring gear. And I want to say thank you to American Top Team. And Howard Davis Jr. is the greatest coach ever!”
Coach Howard Davis critiques his protege’s KO performance:
“We had a big win – knocked her out at 1:47 of the 6th round. She showed better defense. Her combinations were much more effective in this fight. Her foot movement was good. Her punches were powerful and her power punches were unbelievable. And I think her connect percentage was pretty high. (Any mistakes made?) She did drop her hands a few times. I always tell her, If you do get hit, they have to really work for it. We don’t give away anything. We have to work on combination punching. When she gets somebody hurt, she has to learn to finish it off. She had this girl hurt almost every round, two or three times per round. This girl was really tough, traditionally Mexican tough. I mean, really, really tough. I commended Shelby for her courage, she could have given up herself. (Or punched herself out?) Exactly. Because this Mexican girl never stopped giving up. But Shelby stayed focused and I commended her.”
Talkin Boxing with LeRoy Neiman
World renowned artist and boxing buff LeRoy Neiman recently discussed some current events in the boxing world with Boxinginsider:
BoxingInsider.com: Who would win Sugar Ray Robinson or Bernard Hopkins?
LeRoy Neiman: “I don’t know. It would be a hard fight. Sugar Ray Robinson was very smart. Not smarter than Hopkins though.”
BoxingInsider.com: Hagler vs. Hopkins?
LeRoy Neiman: “Hagler would make him fight, I know that. Hopkins is very defensive right now. Every time he throws a punch, he’s ready to back off. Judah gets an opponent hurt, he goes right after the guy. (He’s) young. Hopkins gets a guy set up now, he doesn’t follow it up that much. He lets you get away. It takes something to go after a guy when he’s hurt. He’s dangerous then.”
BoxingInsider.com: Do you think Klitschko will beat Rahman?
LeRoy Neiman: “Yes.”
BoxingInsider.com: What are Your thoughts on Klitschko?
: “He just will. I like Klitschko. I think he’d beat most guys. I’d like to see Monte Barrett get a shot. He’s grown into a full heavyweight now.”
BoxingInsider.com: What do you remember about Carlos Monzon?
LeRoy Neiman: “He was a very good fighter. He was a light heavyweight (who managed to make 160).”
BoxingInsider.com: Was he good enough to beat Robinson?
LeRoy Neiman: “No.”
Talkin Boxing with Tim Witherspoon
Boxinginsider.com: What do you remember from your first pro fight?
Tim Witherspoon: That I was real nervous. REAL nervous. And it was a long wait, a swing-bout. I had to wait and wait. That was rough. It was the last bout. I was 21. (Versus) Joey Adams (in Upper Darby, PA in 1979). I knocked him out in the first round – right hand. He went down a couple of times. One time he went down on his face.
Boxinginsider.com: What memory stands out from your first title fight against Larry Holmes in 1983?
Tim Witherspoon: He kept downing me, talking negative about me and my family. That made it worse for him, in my mind. Talkin’ like he was gonna knock me out, put me on welfare, negative things. He shouldn’t have did that. His mistake was he got me upset – (that) was how I heard someone say it. If I didn’t think I was gonna win, I knew I was gonna beat him up. But I knew the judges were gonna give it to him. The fans booing the split decision was cool (16,000 attended this Las Vegas title fight). It did (touch me). I won a lot of fans. They let everyone know that I really won the fight.
Boxinginsider.com: What was your first big break-throught fight, where you really first impacted the boxing world?
Tim Witherspoon: The Marvin Stinson fight, my 8th pro fight in 1981 (W10). It was a real confidence builder. I beat a guy that was one of Larry Holmes’ sparring partners. He was getting ready to fight a big CBS fight – against Tex Cobb for $50,000. I stopped that opportunity. He was the first of a line that I was gonna go after.
Boxinginsider.com: What were some memorable attempts to intimidate you in your career?
Tim Witherspoon: Only one who did that was Larry Holmes. All the other ones were intimidated by me I think. Holmes belittled me. Like he was gonna kick my butt. Didn’t work though.
Boxinginsider.com: How did you first get into boxing? You started very late…
Tim Witherspoon: The people at a job – upper class nurses and doctors at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia – treating me like I was nothing. My mom and two brothers worked there too. They treated blacks really unfair. I said I’m not gonna live the rest of my life like this. That started me training (at age 19).
Boxinginsider.com: What was your greatest boxing moment?
Tim Witherspoon: There’s two of them. Fighting Holmes. That was exciting. One of my first fights. Sometimes I was in there – I didn’t realize it was something so big. I didn’t take advantage with my mind. Happened so fast. I turned pro and four years later I was fighting for the world title. And Frank Bruno (KO 11 in ’86). The first time I was in another country. 40,000 people in Wembley Stadium. My goal was to defend the title and bring it home.
Boxinginsider.com: Was he intimidated?
Tim Witherspoon: He wasn’t scared. So at the weigh-in I told him he didn’t know what it was to get his ass whupped. I looked him in the eyes: I’m from the city. USA. You don’t know nothing. Scared him street style. It was the first time he showed me a little fear…It was a technical fight. Both of our knowledges came together. In that fight I was like, No way am I gonna lose.
Boxinginsider.com: What was your most painful moment?
Tim Witherspoon: Bonecrusher Smith (KO 1 loss in ’86). That was when I was going through the trouble with Don King. Lost the title. It was real miserable.
Boxinginsider.com: Did you have any special training secrets you picked up in your travels?
Tim Witherspoon: Chopping wood. Most fighters will do it for a day or two, then stop. ‘Cause it’s so hard. Burns. Me and Alfonzo Ratliff used to chop wood. Did it for a half hour or an hour, every other day. Started out like 20 of us chopping wood. Then just us. Takes a certain guy to stay out there chopping wood for nothing. But it helps punching power, gets you sharp, more sharp for your punches.
Larry Hazzard on Tyson’s NJ License
If you haven’t learned by now, Larry Hazzard, the head of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, decided a few weeks ago to grant Mike Tyson a boxing license. This would open the doors for Atlantic City to showcase future big-money Tyson fights.
However, New Jersey Governor James McGreevey immediately made public statements against Tyson which suggested he would try to overturn Hazzard’s decision.
While the Governor’s anti-Tyson position (dont forget, he’s an outsider to the boxing community) may seem logical to most of the population, it might actually be a very unfair one. If the Governor was more closely familiar with Tyson’s behavior and conduct lately, he might reconsider his hardline stance.
There have been several concrete examples over the last two years that show how much Tyson has changed for the better. Remember how likeable and funny he was as a guest host with Jimmy Kimmel on his ABC show? Remember how Tyson showed so much dignity and sportsmanship in losing to Lennox Lewis? Remember how kind and compassionate he was after KOing Clifford Etienne? How about when Tyson visited the Vitali Klitschko-Kirk Johnson post-fight press conference and when Klitschko noticed him and said, “I see Mike Tyson is here. And by the look in his eye, it looks like he is here to challenge me.” Tyson responded with a quiet, non-confrontational quip which seemed intended as a joke, “Only if your promoter buys me a new Ferrari.”
Another example of Tyson that was stunningly commendable is when he entered Madison Square Garden for the Byrd-Golota event on April 17th. Before taking his seat, the ex-champ circled the entire floor of the arena – to greet and shake hands and take pictures with boxing fans (this took several minutes). Tyson clearly seems to be going out of his way to become a much more positive influence on society than what he was in the past.
The bottom line is Larry Hazzard knows as well, if not better, than anyone that Mike Tyson will honor and not shame his New Jersey boxing license. Hazzard has worked with and has been a friend of Tyson’s for well over a decade. They have mutual respect.
Larry Hazzard has been New Jersey’s boxing commissioner since 1985 (appointed by Governor Tom Kean). While interviewing Mr. Hazzard, I got the feeling that he is willing to lay his reputation on the line for Mike Tyson. That’s how sure Hazzard is that Tyson will not let him or the State of New Jersey down. He is absolutely passionate about the sociological importance in granting Mike Tyson another chance.
Read on for more of what Commissioner Hazzard had to say on this matter:
Boxinginsider.com: First thing I wanted to ask you is – How is it looking regarding Tyson fighting again in New Jersey?
Larry Hazzard: “Well, I don’t know if you’re aware of the latest. As you know, I gave him the license. And you are aware of the opposition from the Governor’s office? (Yes). I expect that there will be an effort – a successful effort probably – on behalf of the Governor to have that license rescinded. Because, as you know, there’s a Board – the Athletic Control Board actually consists of three members…you know about the other member (Gerry) Gormley who was fired? (Yes.) Okay, so now there’s two members there. And the reason I say “probably a successful effort” – I think that because – those people are appointed by the Governor. Do you follow me? (Yes.)
He (Gov. McGreevey) has already promised that he is going to request that the Board look at the licensing – which is something that has never been done since the creation of this entire agency. It’s never been done, that a Governor has interfered with the licensing process. And if they succeed in rescinding the license, then the ball is going to be in Tyson’s court. I’m fairly sure that the Tyson people will challenge that in the courts.”
Boxinginsider.com: The Governor might be correct – judging on Tyson’s behavior of more than two years ago. Since the Lewis fight, Tyson has been a totally transformed human being. I have witnessed him at the press conferences, at ringside of major fights, conversing with fans, training the kids at Gleasons, and he has been nothing short of a class act. That’s my perspective as a media observer. Surely, you being a friend of Tyson for over a decade – what can you say about the way Tyson carries himself now?
Larry Hazzard: “Well, I would say that you are absolutely right. His behavior now, as a matter of fact, I based his present behavior…that’s the basis on which I gave him the license. Based on his present behavior…isn’t that the way it should be? I also took into account certain aspects of his past behavior and the fact that he has paid dearly for his past behavior. He went to jail for three years for the situation that occured in Indiana. He was fined over $3 million for the earbiting incident with Evander Holyfield. He has to do community service (training kids for 100 hours at Gleasons Gym in Brooklyn) for the little ruckus that he got into over in New York – which was probably not his fault. So, like anybody else, like any athlete, like any citizen, he has paid for his misbehavior.”
Boxinginsider.com: Has there been any specific instances – you have been one-on-one with Tyson – that really convinced you that Tyson is a changed, matured person. He realizes being bad doesn’t pay…what am I trying to say here, help me Larry.
Larry Hazzard: “He’s deserving of another chance! That’s what you’re trying to say.”
Boxinginsider.com: Yes. The loss to Lewis changed his life, his attitude. It really seems to have changed Tyson so much for the better.
Larry Hazzard: “Have you ever seen an athlete more gracious in defeat (in the post-fight interview with Lennox on TV). Okay, that was the first indication. Maybe the beating from Lewis was what he needed. They say God works in mysterious ways. Maybe that Lewis beating was what Mike Tyson actually needed, aside from the losses to Holyfield, maybe it was the Lewis beating that really changed this man’s life. And not only that, you never saw an athlete more gracious in defeat. And you never saw one more compassionate in victory – then when he beat Etienne. Remember that? So I’m saying, this guy is a different guy. Do you know what convinced me? What convinced me is when the man came to my office and had a talk with me. I could see the sincerity in his eye. I could see it in his eye. I could hear it in his voice. And then when the man said to me, ‘Please Mr. Hazzard, please commissioner, give me this opportunity. I give you my word.’
Do you understand? Just that expression right there, that did it. ‘I give you my word.’ Do you understand?
And his behavior since he has received this license is further proof to me that the man is a changed individual. Did you see the ESPN interview the other night? (No.) It was excellent.”
Boxinginsider.com: One of the concerns of the State politicians is about a “bad element” that may be attracted to a Tyson event…
Larry Hazzard: “Here’s what you have to understand. You have to base everything on the here, now. If your’e going to talk about bad elements for Mike Tyson, then you have to use the same standards for everyone else. You should not make him have to meet a separate standard. This is government. When we, the citizenry of the State or Country…we look to the government for a fair deal. We know that we may not get a fair deal in other entities in society. But when you look to government, that’s a place where everyone wants to feel that – if I’m going to be treated fairly, it’s going to be at the government level. Now, when you can’t get a fair deal at the government level, then something is very wrong with this country.”
(Stay tuned to Boxinginsider for more with N.J. Commissioner Larry Hazzard.)
Closing comment: Governor McGreevey’s knee-jerk reaction to reject Mike Tyson from boxing in New Jersey may seem wise and logical in the short-term. But with no risk, there is no reward. If the Governor were to permit Tyson to work in New Jersey again, the long term message could be much more beneficial and influential. Imagine Tyson living up to Larry Hazzard’s expectations, and – win or lose – continuing to conduct himself as a model sportsman…Tyson could very well become sort of a universal symbol…that good always overcomes evil in the end. And New Jersey can be the stage, can become a part of history in the making.