By Jackie Kallen
Nearly 33 years ago a young girl was born in San Francisco to a proud Filipino family, Named Luciana Bonifacio Julaton, she was spunky and beautiful. When she was little, her father got her interested in martial arts. She was a huge success at it and loved it. Thus began a saga that is continuing–and growing–to this day.
As she strolled through the MGM Grand for the May Day weekend, fight fans and writers recognized the beautiful, petite fighter. She signed autographs, posed for pictures, and seemed truly happy to meet each fan who came up to her.
At 32, Ana is taking the boxing world by storm. Names like Mia St, John, Laila Ali, Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker are icons in the female boxing world. Ana Julaton wants to add her name to that list.
She was not interested in boxing when she was younger. She strictly loved martial arts. But she got introduced to boxing by trainer-manager Angelo Reyes. It was a perfect fit. She had her first amateur fight in 2004 and was a natural. It was like a duck taking to water. She won Silver in the San Francisco Golden Gloves. Pretty impressive.
Champ Carina Moreno took Ana under her wing and further built up her game. Along with Moreno’s trainer Rick Noble, the two gave Ana wonderful advice and helped her grow and progress. She finally turned pro in 2007 against Rita Valentini, beating her easily.
In a sport where many of the female fighters are not necessarily attractive, Ana’s looks are definitely an asset. Like Mia St. John, she turns heads when she walks into the room. On top of that, she is articulate and can whiz through interviews like a pro.
She has never been knocked out, but she has tasted defeat three times. In 2008 she lost a close decision to Dominga Olivo in Lemoore, CA and in 2010, Lisa Brown took her to school in a WBA title fight. Not getting discouraged, she went after the WBO belt and got it three months later. She lost it last year in a battle with Yesica Marcos in Argentina.
She has fought–and won–twice since then. Basically a rather shy and soft-spoken person, Ana has become loved and revered in her parents’s native country. Like Manny Pacquaio is the face of men’s boxing, Ana is the inspiration to all the women in the Phillipines.
Being mentored by Al Bernstein, she is shooting for a career in broadcasting. There is no telling how far this dynamo will go in the boxing world–both inside and outside of the ring.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen