Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa Ends The Debate On Women’s Boxing
By: Hans Themistode
There’s nothing more you can say about women’s boxing. Well, there probably is but it doesn’t matter at this point. They have effectively ended the misconception of their sport.
Women’s boxing has constantly taken a backseat. The narrative surrounding them is that they can’t sell tickets, no one tunes into their fights on television and the fights itself just isn’t exciting. None of those statements are true .
On Friday January 10th, at the Ocean Resort Casino, in Atlantic City, history was made. Or rather, HERstory. Claressa Shields defeated Ivana Habazin to secure the vacant WBC and WBO Jr Middleweight world titles. With the win, Shields became the fastest boxer regardless of gender to win titles in three different weight classes.
Also featured on the card was Alicia Napoleon-Espinoza and Elin Cederroos. The two women turned in the absolute fight of the night as Cederroos defeated Napoleon-Espinosa via razor thin unanimous decision. Each judge watching the bout scored the contest 95-94 in favor of Cederroos.
When two fighters produce such a classic battle, it has become cliche to say that neither person loses. In this case, it fits the circumstances perfectly.
Since the very beginning, Napoleon-Espinosa has been an advocate for women’s boxing. The outrageously low pay coupled with the minimum amount of exposure was something that she just wouldn’t stand for.
Napoleon-Espinosa wasn’t asking for a handout. She was simply asking for an opportunity to prove her worth. Well, at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, she showed why women’s boxing is undervalued.
For much of the night, the combatants who entered the ring gave a good account of themselves. The crowd cheered and applauded for the efforts of everyone that was given. Yet, something seemed to be missing. The crowd was engaged but the energy wasn’t quite at the level that it needed to be. Both Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa and Elin Cederroos quickly changed that.
From the moment the bell rang, both women met each other in the middle of the ring and threw heavy leather. Cederroos gained the upper hand early. It wasn’t surprising. She did after all possess a five inch height and two inch reach advantage. Cederroos used her physical edge to bully the smaller Napoleon. That narrative however, was short lived.
After getting buzzed by a series of hard shots in the first and second rounds, Napoleon-Espinosa came roaring back. Somehow she forced her much bigger opponent back and landed her huge shots all night long. The crowd in attendance stood on its feet for much of the contest. This is exactly the sort of excitement they were looking for.
Once the bout was over, the air in the arena was slightly flat. That’s not to say that the men who followed their contest didn’t put on a show, because they did, but something was missing. Cederroos and Napoleon-Espinosa gave us a war for ten rounds. A performance like that just isn’t easy to follow up.
If a fighters paycheck was determined by their actual performance, then Napoleon-Espinosa should easily have been the highest paid fighter on the night, but she wasn’t. It wasn’t even close.
The always loquacious Napoleon-Espinosa seemed reluctant to state her case yet again for women’s boxing, but for she felt compelled to anyways.
“I’m just going to let my fighting do the talking but God has a plan,” said Napoleon-Espinoza shortly after the fight. “I’m in God’s hands. All of us women in this sport are in God’s hands. I see the hearts changing. I’m getting paid more but not where I want to be. I’m not where the men are getting paid at but I know it’s going to come. By me not quitting and continuing to do this and fight the way I fight, take the opportunities and push and break open those doors and keep being a voice saying we need to get paid, then it’s going to change. All my blood, sweat and tears are for the women now and the women that are going to come up after us. I’m doing this for all of us. I’m just going to keep performing and keep putting my heart on the line and I will reign and be champion again.”
After a war like that, the stock of Napoleon-Espinosa should be on its way up but her weight on the other hand, could be on its way down after fighting such a huge opponent.
“We’re just going to have to regroup, comeback stronger and better, probably drop down in weight because I walk around at 168 tops. We were successful there for two years but now it’s time to drop back to where I really should be at 154 maybe 160 tops. I can even get down as low as 147.”
Whether it’s 168, 160, 154, 147 or hell if she can make it down to 140 than so be it. The fans just want to see her back in the ring as soon as possible.
Women’s boxing is still a long way from getting the recognition and respect that the men do, but with women like Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa stealing headlines and putting butts in the seats, their time might be coming sooner than you think.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Shields vs. Hammer
By: Oliver McManus
Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City will be the location for Claressa Shield’s attempt to become the undisputed champion of the world. This Saturday, in only her ninth professional contest, T-Rex will look to add the WBO Middleweight title to her already impressive collection. Of course Shields is just one half of that contest and, in the other corner, Christina Hammer will be confident in her own ability to pull off a perceived upset.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Hammer, born in Kazakhstan and living in Germany, has been a professional since her opponent was just 14 years of age. In ten years of professional boxing Hammer has been at the forefront of European female fighting. Cecilia Braekhus is the obvious flagbearer – and, indeed, the only other undisputed champion – but Hammer has been regularly showcased on German terrestrial television and was one of the first female fighters to gain mass media attention.
A bona fide world champion since 2010, she has subsequently been involved in 15 world title fights in which she’s unified – at one time holding both WBO and WBC belts – and became a two weight world champion.
The 28 year old naturally boxes from range with, genuinely, light and bouncy footwork. She tends to work her way sideways around the ring, as opposed to just marching forward, and peppers away with the left jab. A fighter who looks to control the fight and pick off the rounds instead of chasing the finish, Hammer uses her height to advantage and doubles up on her punches well. A real highlight, for me, is a rolling right hook that often breaks through the guard of her opponent.
Shields, the betting favourite at 1/4 (Hammer can be found at 3/1), is equally methodical in her approach to each contest with three of her last fight bouts ending in shut-out victories. Flak has been attracted for such an approach with critics labelling her fight-style as ‘boring’ but, evidently, it’s effective and continuing to flourish for the American.
Two times an Olympic champion, Shields is no stranger to dominant success and has found herself at the top of the women’s game pretty much since she turned professional in 2016. Self marketed as “The Greatest Woman of All Time”, here she is headlining the fourth televised card of her career – something unprecedented a mere five years ago.
It is likely that she will box reactively, as opposed to proactively, come Saturday night and respond to the work-rate of her German opponent. In doing so she will be able to take a measured approach to nullify the threat posed by Hammer. Fireworks are unlikely but this is a genuine “super fight” of women’s boxing and it’s by no means a foregone conclusion.
The undercard features two exciting heavyweight contests – and I’m not talking about Samuel Peter vs Mario Heredia – with Jermaine Franklin taking on Rydell Booker and Otto Wallin fighting Nick Kisner. Both contests will be over 10 rounds.
Franklin will be looking to record the 18th victory of his professional career, after nine months without a fight. The Saignaw-fighter has been doing the media rounds ahead of this particular contest and recently declared himself “the best heavyweight prospect, period”. That statement is questionable given the meteoric rise of talents such as Filip Hrgovic and Joe Joyce.
The unbeaten fighter is determined to vindicate Dmitry Salita, who signed the heavyweight last year, and start proving his worth at the top end of the heavyweight division. Booker, 13 years older at 38, will look to record his fourth consecutive win and advance his record to 26-1. That single loss came at the hands of James Toney, in a WBC title eliminator, back in 2004. His career stalled in the aftermath with a lengthy spell in prison for drug-related offences. A win against Franklin would put his name back on the map of American heavyweights, who seem to always stumble into fights they rarely deserve.
Otto Wallin is a big, angry Swedish fighter who has been knocking around the European scene for a while, now. Hopes have been high but, for varying reasons, we’ve yet to see Wallin really kick on. Now based in New York, signing with Salita Promotions, he’ll look to crack the American market. 20-0, the 28 year old’s best win was in his last fight, 52 weeks ago, against Adrian Granat. Wallin controlled the, all-Swedish, contest with considerable ease and displayed his ability to box and move, whereas in previous fights he has been boxed in as a brawler.
Having given up a mandatory challenger position for the European title – against Agit Kabayel – he won’t be looking to hang around and Nick Kisner, let’s have it straight, is merely an opponent designed to ease Wallin back in after over a year out. Having campaigned almost exclusively as a cruiserweight, don’t expect him to be able to live with the physicality of his southpaw opponent.
Shields vs Hammer, then, to become the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. Boardwalk entertainment, befitting of Broadway.
Samantha Pill: From Toughman Competitions to Professional Boxer
By: Bryant Romero
Samantha “Leggz” Pill will put her undefeated record on the line when she takes on her biggest challenge to date against the respected Maricela Cornejo on Friday July 13 in what should be an interesting fight between two big women in the super-middleweight division. Like Cornejo, Samantha took up the sport of boxing late with not much of an amateur background. The-31-year-old found her passion for fighting through a toughman competition, which sparked a professional boxing career. Boxinginsider recently caught up with Samantha to talk about her passion for fighting, how she juggles boxing with a full time day job as an ER supervisor, being a wife, a mother, and what she would like to accomplish in the sport.
“Boxing didn’t’ come into late in my life,” Samantha said. “I grew up in a small town in West Virginia. I played varsity basketball, but didn’t do any athletics in college. I just went straight into nursing. I started working as a registered nurse in 2007 and I have been at the United Hospital Center since then. I got married later that year and had a couple of kids.”
Photo Credit: Samantha Pill Facebook Account
But it wasn’t until after the birth of her daughter that Samantha would take the first step that would spark her boxing career by entering a toughman competition that would get her hooked to fighting.
“I wanted to do the local toughman competition,” Samantha told me. “It was something that I was always interested in but I just never had the right time to do it. I met my trainer Keith Barr. January 2015 was my first toughman contest and I haven’t stopped since then. I pretty much just got hooked,” she said.
Samantha took the same path that Christy Martin did towards the professional ranks as Martin also competed in the local toughman competitions in West Virginia. Like Martin, Samantha found success in the toughman contest by recording 5 knockouts in 9 bouts with two championships. However, because her toughman fights were considered semi-pro bouts, Samantha had no choice but to progress forward with her career by turning professional.
“I’ve had no USA boxing matches, but I had 9 semi-pro fights with 5 knockouts on my way up before I turn pro,” Samantha said. “I had my first professional match in April of 2017 and now I’m 3-0.”
Working a full time day job, being there for her family, and still finding the time for a strenuous workout regimen for boxing hasn’t been easy for the 31-year-old. She admits it can be tiring juggling these different responsibilities which has affected her training, her home life, and with her passion still growing by the day for fighting, so far she’s found a way to make it work.
“It’s a little tiring. My house isn’t as clean as it should be. I haven’t gotten my new fence built. Some things do have to take a backseat and some sacrifices do have to be made.
“I still have to do my job and still have to be a mom and be here for my family, but my passion also is still growing and we just find a way to make it work,” Samantha said.
As for her next fight, Samantha is well aware of her next opponent and has even been fan of Cornejo watching much tape on her as well as the other big girls in the division to employ some of what they do into her style.
At 6 feet tall, she is towering for a woman that could pose potential problems for Cornejo with her size and length that she brings to the table. Whatever happens next Friday, Samantha envisions a tremendous fight between them and is confident of victory.
“I wouldn’t have been willing to take this if I didn’t know that there was something in me that could pull this off,” she told me. “I think we make a great match in general. With my size vs her size, she’s use to being the longer person, so maybe she’s has to make some adjustments to me.
“I’ll have to make some adjustments to her with her experience and she is also the tallest person that I have fought against. But I wouldn’t have been willing if I didn’t think it was possible. Even though I’m not able to do the things and train the way these other pro fighters are. Part of me knows they wouldn’t be able to do what I have to do either.
“If everything goes well, I would like to continue fighting for a few good more years. Just turning pro last year, I didn’t think we would be where I am right now getting ready to take this next big step. But I’m willing and I imagine the doors that it’s going to open. I’d be willing to go wherever,” Samantha said.
Interview with British Female Boxer Hannah Rankin
By: Oliver McManus
As has been well documented over the last 12-18 months, British boxing is in the middle of a purple patch with success stemming directly from the amateurs and flowing all the way to the top. It’s a situation whereby everyone has benefited and no scene less so than the women’s game.
Go back to before London 2012 and you’d have been hard-pressed to name a single female boxer who’s galvanized public attention but in the wake of women’s boxing debut at those London Olympics, there’s been a definitive boom.
Nicola Adams, Katie Taylor, Chantelle Cameron, Savannah Marshall, Hannah Rankin to name just a few are all leading the way forward for the sport, bringing in the punters and the television numbers as they seek to inspire a whole new generation of young boxers, female and male, to pursue the dreams without limitation.
I was fortunate enough to speak to Hannah Rankin in the week, an exceptional fighter who was unfortunate to lose her undefeated moniker at the hands of Joanna Ekedahl in Norway of October last year but by her own admission that controversial defeat has only served as extra motivation on her journey towards the top.
Earlier this year frustration struck again when her history-making Commonwealth title fight – she would have been the first such women’s champion had she have won – was cancelled due to visa issues with the opponent but the small silver lining came when the WBA ranked her in their Top 10 meaning a title tilt of her very own is now no longer just a dream.
The reality of Rankin is that she can punch, she can move and, heck, is she one down to earth person. Outside of boxing she plays the bassoon – now, I had no idea what that was – and she was gracious enough to forgive my stupidity and explain just what the instrument could do.
Here we have, then, a boxer and a bassoonist which for many years was her Twitter account “BoxinNBassonin” and the reason I mention that is because she’s had her fair bit of back and forth on the social media platform between Claressa Shields but it’s a sign of her faith and belief, rather than any arrogance, that she can challenge those at the very top.
Trust me, she’s going all the way so I’m going to stop rambling on and just let her take it away;
Hannah, great to speak to you, you’re 4 and 1 as a pro but I just want to go back to the start, how did you first get into boxing?
I got into boxing when I moved to London. I was doing Thai boxing just to keep fit and my trainer left and handed me over to Derek Williams who started to teach me to box and I fell in love with it! I wanted to compete and that’s when I started training with Noel Callan my trainer now because he could corner me for white collar fights and we hit it off. The three of us are a great team.
And when did you first think turning pro was a possibility?
I first thought about turning pro after my 5th white collar fight. I was struggling to get opponents and Derek and Noel said if I wanted to take it further I could go down the amateur route or the pro route. I wanted to stick with my team so I decided to go pro and that’s me been a pro for just over a year now.
As I say you’re 4-1 and everyone always says you learn more from defeats than wins, has that proven to be the case for you?
It’s definitely true to say you learn more from your defeats, especially when you know you actually won a fight but the decision doesn’t go your way. It’s harder to come to accept a loss that you feel was unfair because if you lost you can take away from the fight the things you didn’t do well, that made you lose, and work on them. However, it did make me more motivated to prove the loss wrong and I worked even harder for the next fight and won my first belt, the International Challenge Belt at York Hall.
That fight was in Norway, what did you make of that opportunity?
Fighting in Norway was an amazing opportunity and one that I will never forget. I boxed on PPV TV in front of thousands of people on the undercard of a Unified welterweight championship fight between Mikaela Lauren and Cecilia Braekhus and did the Ring walk with Mikaela who is a training partner of mine and a good friend. Not many people can say they have done that in their first year as a pro! It was awesome!
Now earlier this year you were meant to be in a history making fight for the Commonwealth belt, it got postponed for various reasons, how frustrating is it for you when fights get cancelled through no fault of your own?
My Commonwealth Title shot getting cancelled was very frustrating! I’d had an amazing camp and was really ready to take that title and for it to fall through in the last week was devastating. It was also disappointing for friends and family who were all looking forward to me fighting for the title at home in Scotland.
Is it easy to keep motivated in those moments?
It’s hard to stay motivated when you hear at first as you feel quite deflated about the whole thing. But Noel and Sam Kynoch soon had me confirmed for the June the 16th MTK Scotland Show so I had some time off and then started getting ready again with the new date in mind.
Of course the women’s game is still growing, is it hard to get opponents for you?
Yes it is hard to get opponents. From super welter weight up there are not as many girls in those weight classes to choose from which is why you often see them fight each other more than once. It’s not the same as the guys where there are lots to choose from and you can have learning fights.
You’ve had a bit of back and forth with Claressa Shields on Twitter, do you back yourself in that fight were it to happen?
With regards to Claressa. I’m not scared to test myself so of course I back myself in that or any fight, otherwise there’s no point in trying to get to the top!
Being ranked by the WBA is great recognition, how long will it be until we see some titles coming your way?
Getting ranked by the WBA was awesome and great recognition for me. Title wise- watch this space!
Outside of boxing you play the bassoon, it might be a stupid question but what is a bassoon? I thought it was an animal!
So outside of Boxing I’m a classical musician and I play the Bassoon in orchestras and I also teach. It’s a woodwind instrument that’s quite quirky! Not quite an animal! Ha! though it usually gets the interesting characters to portray in the music!
ShoBox Preview: Claressa Shields vs. Tori Nelson, Hernandez vs. Garza
By: William Holmes
On Friday night one of the biggest attractions in women’s boxing, former Gold Medalist and current IBF/WBC Super Middleweight women’s World Champion Claressa Shields will be defending her titles against Tory Nelson.
This bout will be the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation airing on Showtime live from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Photo Credit: Terrell Groggins/Salita Promotions
Super bantamweight Angel Hernandez and Super Lightweight Shohjahon Ergashev are expected to compete on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the Hernandez vs. Garza fight and the main event between Claressa Shields and Tori Nelson.
Jesse Hernandez (10-1) vs. Ernesto Garza (9-2); Junior Featherweights
ShoBox has a long history of putting on “crossroad” fights between two young and upcoming prospects. A win for a boxer will usually catapult him to bigger and better opportunities. A loss for a boxer will usually derail any hopes of him obtaining a future world title fight.
The fight between Hernandez and Garza is a perfect example of that.
Hernandez is twenty seven years old and is two years younger than Garza. He will have about a three and a half inch height advantage and about a two and a half inch reach advantage.
Dmitriy Salita is the promoter of Hernandez and he’s been very active the past two years. He fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016. Garza has also been active, but not as active as Hernandez. He fought three times in 2017 and once in 2016.
Hernandez has seven stoppage victories in comparison to the five stoppage victories of Garza. Hernandez debuted in 2009 but had a five year gap in between his second and third professional fight.
Hernandez has two big wins on his resume. He defeated Glenn Dezurn and Vladimir Tikhobnov. They were both undefeated at the time.
Garza’s only notable win was against Edward Kakembo. His two losses were to undefeated boxers, Jon Fernandez and Neslan Machado.
ShoBox fights are usually hard to pick a favorite due to the series’ history of putting on competitive fights between up and coming prospects that have yet to be tested. However, the physical advantages for Hernandez appear to be too great for Garza to overcome.
Claressa Shields (4-0)vs. Tori Nelson (17-0-3); IBF/WBC Super Middleweight Titles
Claressa Shields is one of Women’s Boxing Biggest stars. Her upside is so high that she’s headlining Friday’s ShoBox card and became a world title holder in only her third professional fight.
She’s a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and won it in 2012 and 2016.
Her opponent, Tori Nelson does not have the amateur pedigree of Shields but women’s amateur boxing did not exist in the Summer Olympics prior to 2012.
Shields is still incredibly young at the age of twenty two. Nelson is nearly twice her age and is forty one years old.
Shields has only fought four times as a professional but already has 2 TKO/KO wins. Nelson has twenty professional fights but only has 2 wins by stoppage. Shields has the clear advantage in power.
Shields was thrown to the fire almost immediately upon turning pro. She defeated Nikki Adler in only her third professional fight and was able to win both the IBF and WBC titles. She has also been active, and has fought three times in 2017 and once in 2016.
Even though Shields fought three times in 2017, she feels like she took some “time off” after he last match, in an era where many champions only fight once to twice a year.
She stated at a recent media workout, “”I am calm – focused – but still hungry like a challenger with the added confidence of being a world champion. I took some time off after my last win but I look forward to getting busy again in 2018.”
Nelson only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016. Her biggest victory to date was a TKO over Mia St. John, but Mia St. John was 46 years old at the time of that defeat.
Shields appears to be aware of the experience that Nelson possess and has been training hard for this fight. “This training camp I did eight weeks instead of six. A lot of camp has been extremely hard. But I’m so focused and determined on 2018 and starting great and staying busy. I expect my opponent to apply pressure, and to use some dirty tactics. She has more experience, but not that much when you speak of her amateur experience”.
Unfortunately for Shields, women’s boxing is not deep with talent, especially at the higher weights where she competes. This should be an easier win for Shields, especially considering the advance age of Nelson and Nelson’s lack of amateur experience.
But some big fights await Shields if she’s able to emerge victorious. Christina Hammer is a big name in the 160lb division in Women’s boxing and she may be next on Shields agenda. Chris Cyborg of the UFC has also been talked about as a possible future opponent.
As far as her future, Shields stated, “In 2018 I expect great fights against the best contenders. I expect to make history again on SHOWTIME and also looking forward to dropping to 160 to fight against [Christina] Hammer mid-2018. January 12th will be the beginning of great things to come”
The Real Fight of 2016
by B.A. Cass
The fight between Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido, which seemed to be just about everyone’s pick for 2016 fight of the year, was certainly a good fight. But thirty seconds into Round One and the two men were already in their first clinch, something that turned into a bizarre twirl. A minute later, Vargas was walking Salido back as if they were partners in an intermediate ballroom dance class. Yes, there were moments of intense onslaught by both men, and yes, the majority of the fight was brutal and entertaining. However, it was nowhere near as thrilling as the best fights of the past.
Over the week I watched nineteen fights, both female and male, from 2016. I had originally intended to watch twenty-four, but five of the female fights were not available online. (Click this link to get the full list of the fights I watched: http://bit.ly/2x65wKk.) I had two criteria for judging these matches. The first was that the opponents had to be well matched, meaning no early round knockouts or clear domination. The second was that that the fight had to be thrilling from beginning to end. This, unfortunately, disqualified Amanda Serrano, who KO’d Olivia Gerula in the first round of their fight. And while it was a pleasure watch the skilled Jelena Mrdjenovic, she was the more talented fighter in both her fights that I watched. On the male side, I was impressed by all of what I saw except by the Dillian Whyte vs. Dereck Chisora fight, which seemed to me just like two really big guys punching each other in slow-motion.
And while I was deeply impressed by the Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santo Cruz bout (I gave it runner up), one fight stood out from all the rest. And that’s Heather Hardy vs. Shelly Vincent, my pick for “2016 Fight of the Year.”
The public animosity between these two fighters has been well-documented. Vincent spent years trying to secure a fight with Hardy, going so far as to show up at Hardy’s fights to taunt and ridicule her. Their fans exchanged vicious words. Hardy’s mother may have even been involved in a physical altercation with Vincent at The Roseland Ballroom, though that has not been confirmed. In other words, this was the real deal, an epic fight three years in the making.
But put aside all that, and put aside the historic nature of the fight. (It was the first female boxing match televised in the US in over 20 years.) In fact, put aside everything and anything that didn’t take place in the ring that night at Coney Island’s Ford Amphitheater because it was, from beginning to end, a spectacular fight. There was no clinching, not a single moment when either fighter tried to save energy. Hardy and Vincent simply gave everything they had from the first bell to the last.
The New York based Hardy won by split-decision, which didn’t surprise Vincent, who had traveled from Providence to take the fight. “It being in New York, I knew from the gate that unless I knocked her out, I wasn’t going to get a W over there,” Vincent recently told me. “I had it six rounds to four. And two rounds she beat me. I admit that. She beat me those two rounds. But clearly I dominated. I kept moving forward.”
Devon Cormack, Hardy’s trainer, obviously doesn’t agree with Vincent’s analysis: “At no point did I feel Heather was losing the fight,” he told me over the phone. “She made the adjustments as the fight went on, more than Shelly did.” Still, Cormack acknowledges that it was close. “It wasn’t a perfect thing having a split decision, but I didn’t think it was that far removed, which is why I thought it made for an excellent fight.”
Vincent’s trainer, Pete Manfredo Sr., can’t figure out why there hasn’t been a rematch. All he knows is that it should have been done already. “It was the fight of the night, and it even had Errol Spence on the card that night. I thought Vincent/Hardy was a much better fight for the crowd, even the television crowd.”
Let’s be honest, though: if a rivalry like this occurred between two male boxers and their much-anticipated, widely-viewed fight ended in a close, split-decision win, the rematch would have already happened.
Still, Hardy remains hopeful for the future of women’s boxing. “If you put Holly Holm with someone like a Katie Taylor, or one with Cecilia Brækhus, that would be a huge money fight—maybe not in America but it would be a huge money fight because so much of the country follows MMA. Even when I had my first MMA fight, I got tens of thousands of new followers. I was on the MMA radio show with Ariel Hawani and like a hundred people had tweeted it out. And so the more public demand, the more popular it gets, the easier it will be.”
Let’s hope Hardy is right. Let’s hope that the gods of the boxing world come together and align the stars to make this rematch happen. In the meantime, you can see Shelly Vincent fight in person at the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on September 15th. (Buy your tickets here: http://bit.ly/ShellyVincent). And, though her opponent has yet to be announced, Heather Hardy is set to return for her second Bellator fight on October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
Ann Wolfe Interview: “I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep!”
Ann Wolfe Interview: “I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep.”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Ann Wolfe is best known as “the baddest woman on the planet”. She was a professional boxer from 1998-2006. Wolfe amassed a professional record of 24 wins, 1 loss (which she avenged, twice) and 16 wins by way of knockout. She did all this while holding 4 weight class titles simultaneously. Ann Wolfe’s story is one of poverty, crime and destitution. Boxing became her salvation and she became, arguably, the greatest female fighter of all time.
Most recently, Ms. Wolfe starred in the box office smash hit “Wonder Woman”, where she was specifically casted by director Patty Jenkins to play the role of “Artemis”. Jenkins announced on Twitter when Wolfe got the part, “Who else should be one of the greatest warrior Amazons, but the best female boxer in history”.
We were able to speak with Ann Wolfe about her humble beginnings, her thoughts on the state of boxing, Wonder Woman, and being a role model for young females.
Boxing Insider: What was it like filming a big blockbuster movie? Did you enjoy the filmmaking process?
Ann Wolfe: It was OK. As long as I have something to do, I’m happy.
Boxing Insider: Did the people on set know you are this great boxer or did they just think you were some unknown actor?
Ann Wolfe: No, Patty Jenkins personally looked for me. She wanted me to play Artemis. Her husband was a Thai boxer and they wanted me. So she looked for me, so I didn’t cast for Artemis.
The other actors knew who I was, because Patty filled them in. Gal (Gadot) would walk up and talk to me, she was really nice. Chris (Pine) was also very nice. Gal looked at me and then at Patty Jenkins and said “that is Artemis”. They knew, and it was weird because they are actors and big Hollywood stars and they were excited to meet me.
Boxing Insider: Did any of your boxing training help translate to your role as Artemis?
Ann Wolfe: Yes, all of it did. Because using a sword, in boxing you are taught to keep your hands in tight, but with the weapons they wanted you to be more open. It was easy because I was able to use the balance that I have,to use the Axe really well.
Boxing Insider: As an ambassador for female boxing, why do you think it hasn’t caught on in the same way that the UFC female fighters have?
Ann Wolfe: Number one, the UFC is a little more engaging. It’s a new sport itself, so you don’t have to have a lot of skill. Boxing is the sweet science. So if you want to begin in the grass roots of boxing where women are on the same level as guys, you are talking hundreds of years. Men have been boxing everyday all day for a hundred years. So it will take some time. You will need to bring more young girls into the gym starting at 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. And it would have to be 100,000 of them. If you look at MMA, you don’t have an amateur MMA. You have some of these young men like James Kirkland who had 140 amateur fights, I had 3. My skill level was I was just powerful as hell, I didn’t know how to actually box in the beginning. I was just punching them, the skill level wasn’t there. You will have one or two females that are really skillful, but who are they gonna box to get better. MMA is just more exciting because you kick and throw people on the ground and whatever. But people tuned into a fighter like me because I put people to sleep.
Boxing Insider: Who are some of your favorite fighters?
Ann Wolfe: Its gonna sound weird, but Glenn Johnson is one of my favorite fighters, because he was one of those throwback fighters that could lose a fight, and then come back and win. I like Andre Ward, I like Alfredo Angulo, he had a great passion. Most people would think that I don’t like Floyd Mayweather, but I like Floyd. He understood on how to keep winning, I don’t care what anyone says, he kept the passion in his boxing and in his training to win. A lot of people lose that. They get the money and they don’t want to train and Mayweather trained the same as when he had no money and persisted to win. And my favorite fighter is the greatest fighter to ever walk on this earth, and that is Sugar Ray Robinson.
Boxing Insider: Do you expect a call from the Hall of Fame pretty soon?
Ann Wolfe: No, I am already inducted into the female boxing hall of fame and I don’t know if the International Boxing Hall of Fame has any females in it. I don’t know and if I don’t, I’m ok with it. At this time in my life I understand that. I never want to say I’m the greatest fighter as a female, but if you go back and look at my career. I have 3 or 4 amateur fights and in two and a half years I cleaned out the entire, from welterweight to Super Heavyweight. Everybody doesn’t understand that I was going down to 152, up to 175, down to 168. I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep. If you look at what I was doing and how I did it, I just don’t see no one doing what I did. I held and defended 8 titles in 4 different weight classes. That is like a 106 pounder fighting someone at 175. If I would have just stayed at Jr. Middleweight I wouldn’t have made it exciting, because I’m 150lbs and I’m fighting the Super Heavyweight champion of the world and knocking her out. That’s what people don’t realize, we were never the same size. So I was putting middleweights, Light heavy’s, heavies and Super Heavy’s to sleep. And it got to a point where no one would fight me, so I retired. I will never box again because I went 2 years and no one would fight me at all, zero. That’s when I started training fighters.
Boxing Insider: So what is next for Ann Wolfe? Will we see you return to training fighters or is acting now a serious thing?
Ann Wolfe: I really want to turn toward the acting, because I liked it and a lot of kids can get, what people don’t realize I have put 160 kids through school. I had a gym full of children. Some of those kids slept in the gym. Some of those kids lived in the gyms. I went to those kids schools. I think with the training, I can’t make a fighter have that passion that I have, and it takes years to develop a fighter. Right now I don’t have it in my heart to pour out all of me into that one person, because you don’t know if they are gonna have that same passion when it’s time to have it. I’ve never trained anyone that I haven’t known as a child. I knew Kirkland when he was 12. Every one of them I started training when they were kids. This is not about just the fight game for me. It is a sport for troubled children that are drawn to violence and that type of life. Boxing has that violence part in it, but it also has structure and dedication and the whole nine yards. You get that little bit of violence that you were drawn towards, but it can save a lot of kids.
Boxing Insider: Whatever happened to Vonda Ward after that famous KO?
Ann Wolfe: She had to go to the hospital. I sent a lot of ladies to the hospital. If you go and look at my record, a lot of the people I knocked out never fought again, or maybe one time and that was it. Valerie Mahfood was my only loss and I came back and beat her twice. She said that was the hardest she had ever been hit in her natural life, man or woman.
Hundt picks opponents and officials, waives anti-doping test for Tissen
Hundt picks opponents and officials, waives anti-doping test for Tissen
By: Ron Scarfone
On April 29, 2016, an article that I wrote was posted by East Side Boxing titled From a Beating to a Robbery. That article has detailed and thorough information about the triangle of corruption and collusion consisting of the officials (judges and referees), GBU President/WIBF Vice President Jurgen Lutz, and trainer/manager/promoter Maiki Hundt who are all involved in prolonging Tissen as world featherweight champion of the Global Boxing Union (GBU) and Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF). My previous article revealed that Hundt controls and selects who Tissen defends her titles against, but this decision is supposed to be made by the GBU/WIBF sanctioning bodies. This article will focus on the selection of the officials in Tissen’s fights and the waiving of the anti-doping test for Tissen. The chronology of this article begins in May 2016 which was when I began writing this follow-up article after receiving more information from the World Boxing Federation (WBF).
In my previous article, Lutz admitted to me that Hundt makes the decision as to who Tissen defends her titles against. Lutz also admitted that Tissen is not a world-class boxer. Tissen has been a world champion for several years which means that the main reasons why Tissen has accomplished this are because of the overall mediocre quality of her opponents and the officials consisting of judges and referees who are biased in favor of Tissen. When I asked Lutz about the biased judging, he said that the German Federation BDB (Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer) which is one of the major boxing commissions in Germany was responsible. However, the WBF claimed that the BDB did not select the judges for the Elina Tissen vs. Gabriella Busa fight in June 2015. The WBF was planning on sanctioning the fight along with the GBU and WIBF, but decided to pull out of the event because of the officials being selected by Hundt and also because of the required anti-doping test being waived.
According to the editor of East Side Boxing, my previous article about Tissen and Hundt received a ton of views from Germany. On the day that my article was posted, the website was viewed about 20 times as much as on normal days. That sounds to me like it was viewed tremendously, especially in Germany. Hundt felt the need to make a video response about it on Tissen’s Facebook page possibly because of the amount of people in Germany reading it. I believe that there was another reason though. After the article was published, I contacted all of the companies that sponsor Tissen. Below is the message that I sent to them.
To Whom It May Concern:
Your company sponsors female boxer Elina Tissen of Germany. I wrote an article that takes 90 minutes to read which describes the corruption involved with her career due to the sanctioning bodies of her titles and her trainer. I highly recommend that you read the article in its entirety since you are a sponsor of Tissen and she is endorsing your products and wearing/advertising your company logo. In the near future, there will be more articles written by me about Tissen which will state the companies that continue to sponsor her.
I provided a link to the article in my message. The vast majority of Tissen’s sponsors ignored me and did not reply. I received only one response. I received a reply from WFA Manufaktur (manufactures bathroom fixtures) which is one of the companies that sponsors Tissen.
Dear Mr. Scarfone,
Our CEO Maiki Hundt says Thank you for this nice article and wish you all the best!
Hundt is the CEO of one of Tissen’s major sponsors??? Therefore, Tissen is just a billboard for his business in order to provide publicity for it. That is all she is because she is not a real world champion and she is a mediocre boxer. I believe that Hundt owns the company too. It was surprising to me because I was told by Lutz that Hundt has no money. Saying that Hundt does not have money is like saying that Big Bird does not have yellow feathers. I saw a photo of a Rolex watch on Hundt’s Facebook page. I saw on Tissen’s Facebook page (which I believe is controlled by Hundt) that a new factory was built for WFA Manufaktur. There is another division to the company called WFA Industries which makes the blades and other parts for radio controlled model helicopters. They also seem to be getting blades from Spinblades which is another company that sponsors Tissen. WFA Industries puts their own designs on the blades like $100 bills with Benjamin Franklin’s face. I saw Hundt in a video on Facebook flying a model helicopter which was huge compared to the average toy one. These are not model helicopters that you can buy at Toys “R” Us for 20 dollars or 20 euros. I do not know if they actually make the whole helicopter as well as the parts for it, but the helicopters do have the WFA logo on them. ASO Safety Solutions, Taxofit, Thunder Tiger, Optifuel, Rosi’s Mobildisco, White Security Service, and Sportsdentist are her other sponsors. Paffen Sport is another sponsor and the company makes boxing equipment, so that may be all that they provide and no financial assistance.
Obviously, the companies are aware of my article because I informed them of it or they were told about it by other people. They still continue to sponsor Tissen knowing the truth about her career and the collusion/corruption between Hundt who is her trainer/manager/promoter and Lutz who is the GBU President and WIBF Vice President. I have heard through the grapevine that anyone who is critical of Hundt, he threatens with a lawyer. Lutz also told me this when I interviewed him. Lutz is afraid of being sued by Hundt and his lawyer which is why he allows Hundt to do whatever he wants regarding choosing the opponents, officials, and waiving the required drug test in the GBU/WIBF world title fight. Of course, the other reason is because Lutz wants to collect the sanctioning fees when Tissen defends her GBU and WIBF titles. Obviously, Lutz is allowing Hundt to select the officials so that Tissen will continue to win and remain as world champion and then Lutz can collect more sanctioning fees in the future.
There are two reasons why I believe that the companies still continue to sponsor Tissen. One reason is that Tissen is photogenic and does not have any massive moles on her face like someone whose name rhymes with Bundt. The other reason is that she holds two world featherweight titles, although they have less significance now that the major sanctioning bodies are involved in women’s boxing. Tissen’s fights are not televised, but she and Hundt are in videos for publicity and interviews that are uploaded to Facebook and YouTube. The sponsors would be getting much more exposure if Tissen’s fights were televised. Since Hundt rarely allows videos of Tissen’s fights to be seen by the public, you can only see all of Tissen’s fights in their entirety if you attend them. People in Germany know that Tissen is a counterfeit world champion and not really a world-class boxer. Tissen’s rating on BoxRec.com is fake and inflated due to the biased decisions that she has received in her favor. The choice of opponents is another reason why people are not attending her fights like they have in the past. Tissen has not fought a legitimate contender since Fatuma Zarika on 7-23-2011. That is more than five years ago.
Hundt makes videos periodically in order to address the fans who still care about Tissen and he keeps them updated on what is happening or going to happen in her boxing career. Hundt decided to make a video response regarding my article on Tissen’s Facebook page. Most of Hundt’s approximately four minute response was in German. I do not understand German, so I had someone translate it for me. Hundt said in German that I was contacting Tissen’s sponsors and for her fans not to be concerned about it. He then spoke in English: “Mr. Scarface, fone. What do you mean you can destroy the career of Elina Tissen? We don’t think so you can destroy because all that you write is nice, but everybody knows this exactly and that is the reason that we can say have fun.” I decided to have some more “fun” and write a follow-up to my previous article.
Of course, Tissen is going to have a boxing career in Germany. That is the only place on Earth that she can have it. Hundt was basically saying that it does not matter that everyone in Germany knows what I wrote was the truth. Everyone in Germany knows that Tissen is not a world-class boxer and even GBU President Jurgen Lutz said this to me. Everyone knows that Hundt and Lutz collude in order to maintain Tissen as GBU/WIBF featherweight champion. Everyone knows that Tissen has rarely fought legitimate contenders. Everyone knows that Hundt picked the officials for Tissen’s fight against Busa because the WBF publicly stated this in a WBF Statement which is one reason why they pulled out of sanctioning the event. It was supposed to be a unification fight among the WBF, GBU, and WIBF. Since the WBF pulled out, only the GBU and WIBF approved and sanctioned the fight.
There was another reason though that made the WBF want to pull out of the event which was not stated in the WBF Statement. I emailed the WBF a link to my previous article after it was published. I received a reply from WBF Executive Director Olaf Schroder. Although Schroder is not the WBF President, he is near the top of the WBF hierarchy. Schroder lives in Germany and he is very knowledgeable about what is going on in boxing, especially in Germany. Schroder is familiar about Tissen’s career and her trainer Hundt. Schroder informed me in his reply by email to me and in a conversation we had on the phone that the officials were not of the standard that the WBF expects from officials. This was discovered by the WBF just one day before the fight and the WBF pulled out of sanctioning the Tissen vs. Busa fight because of it. Schroder also revealed that the promoter (Hundt was acting as the promoter) selected the officials and also waived an anti-doping test for the boxers. Hundt was acting as the promoter and not Miriam Bohn who was still the promoter of Tissen at the time.
WIBF President Barbara Buttrick told me that the BDB selected the officials when she was actively involved in Germany. Why was Hundt allowed to select the officials and have the anti-doping test waived? I thought that world title fights were required to have some sort of drug test. What kind of anti-doping test did Hundt want waived? Was it a blood test, a urine test, or both? Was the test supposed to be done before the fight, after the fight, or both? Was the drug test required by the BDB and/or the GBU/WIBF for world title fights? Schroder requested that I email him a list of questions rather than have an interview through conversation. Schroder preferred to answer the questions in writing. Although his English is sufficient and better than Lutz for discussions, Schroder felt that this is a hot topic and therefore he felt that it was best to write his answers to my questions after careful thought and consideration. I emailed Schroder the questions that I wanted him to answer. Schroder emailed me his responses.
Scarfone: You said to me that the WBF has a full list of complaints that the WBF internally had against the GBU/WIBF. Could you provide me what those complaints were either by stating them in an email or in an actual document(s)?
Schroder: When the Unified (WBF, GBU, WIBF) titles were disposed off, the WBF gave a statement on our website. We don’t want to publicly indulge in any more details because we prefer to concentrate on our business and don’t comment on the actions or non-actions of other organizations or private companies. Let me just add that the WBF as a matter of principle would not want a relationship to any organization or company which sees no point in abiding to the (Muhammad) Ali Act and thus register with the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions). Yes, it means a lot of work to fulfill all the requirements of the Ali Act, but for the WBF this is of paramount importance. If people just want some belt strapped around their waists, fine, there are many around. But we always encourage anyone to investigate with whom they “get in bed” and unfortunately, this is not done often enough.
Scarfone: You stated that the BDB sometimes bends the rules in order to get more shows because they have less shows than their competitor the German Boxing Association (GBA). Through my research, I have found out about a few questionable incidents involving the BDB. With the Tissen vs. Busa fight, this is the information I have based on our conversation and I just wanted you to confirm this. You stated that Lutz said the BDB would be choosing the officials for Tissen vs. Busa. You told Lutz that the officials cannot all be Germans. When you judge a world title fight, you are supposed to have some history on BoxRec. Lutz said that two of the officials used to work for the GBA. You called the GBA and they never heard about these people. One of the officials was a good friend of Hundt. According to you who inquired about the officials to the BDB, the BDB did not appoint anyone as an official for the fight. That was the last straw that made the WBF stop sanctioning the unified titles (WBF, GBU, WIBF) with them (the GBU and WIBF). The BDB stepped aside for Tissen vs. Busa and allowed Lutz to control how the officials were going to be selected. Lutz then allowed Hundt to select the officials. The BDB had no idea who the officials were for this fight, so it seems that they did not appoint them even though it shows on BoxRec that the BDB was the commission that had jurisdiction over this fight. The rules of the BDB stipulate that anti-doping tests be used for world title fights. Just a few days before the fight, they sent the WBF an anti-doping test waiver in order to relinquish the requirement that the test be used for the boxers participating. The WBF was asked to sign this waiver with the agreement that no test of this kind would be conducted for “financial reasons.” The WBF declined to sign that. If the WBF would have signed it, then Tissen and Busa would not have received any anti-doping tests which would have tested their urine.
Schroder: Yes, that is correct.
Scarfone: It is my opinion (and I stated this in my previous article) that Tissen is a fake world champion. Lutz even admitted to me that she is a good European boxer, but not a world-class boxer. Can you share your opinion of Tissen and/or what you think most people’s opinion of her boxing ability is?
Schroder: How I personally rate Ms. Tissen is irrelevant. However, it is speaking for itself when a boxer with 12 successful so-called “world” title fights stretched over almost eight years has only had four opponents with positive records among the dozen. If you take away Busa (3-2) and Kavulani (14-11-2), it basically leaves just two opponents with good records. Everybody can use those facts to form his or her own conclusion. (Tissen also lost to Esther Phiri who had a 7-1-1 record, but this was before she won her first world title. That fight was in Africa and not in Germany. That was the only time that Tissen fought outside of Germany.)
Scarfone: I searched all of Tissen’s fights on BoxRec and the BDB was the commission for the last three Tissen fights. However, the GBA has done several of Tissen’s fights previously. The GBA was the commission for the only two times that Tissen fought legitimate contenders in Germany. Because the judging was so biased in these two fights, I am wondering if you know of any history of bias from judges appointed by the GBA. (It is possible that the GBA did not select the judges for those fights.)
Schroder: The WBF or myself have no experience with any of the judges who worked on those two fights which makes it impossible to answer this question.
Scarfone: I have discovered that Hundt selects Tissen’s opponents and that Lutz agrees to whatever opponent Hundt selects. I find this highly unusual to have this happen repeatedly for a world champion. I thought that the sanctioning body was supposed to decide the challenger for a world title. Do you think that this is very unusual and unethical for Hundt to be selecting all of Tissen’s opponents while she is champion of the GBU and/or WIBF?
Schroder: How can you blame Mr. Hundt for doing something that probably everybody would do – providing he can get away with it? Actually, if the sanctioning body does not order a mandatory, he is free to select a challenger. However, whether the sanctioning body approves that challenger is another matter. With the statistics quoted above, it is completely obvious that the WIBF agreed to whatever opponent was brought forward by Mr. Hundt. The WBF in fact had a huge problem with Gabriella Busa in 2015, but because of Mr. Lutz forcefully begging us to go along with her, our Championship Committee members relented (a.) in order to not endanger the “Unified” cooperation, and (b.) because we were promised a higher standard by Mr. Lutz for the next Tissen defense. (In my previous article, I thought that the WBF did not have a problem with the chosen opponent Busa because they initially agreed to sanction the fight in 2015. Based on Schroder’s answer, the WBF did have a problem with it. The “Unified” title was an agreement between the WBF, GBU, and WIBF to form a “unified” title with these three sanctioning bodies.)
Scarfone: Do you feel that Tissen is on or has been on any performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) based on the fact that the WBF was asked to sign a waiver of the anti-doping test?
Schroder: The only answer I can give to this question is that, based upon a phone conversation with Mr. Hundt on this subject, my honest impression was that the cost of the anti-doping test was his only concern. I have no reason whatsoever to believe Ms. Tissen has ever taken any forbidden substances.
That was the end of my questions to Schroder. The commission that sanctioned each of Tissen’s fights can be looked up on BoxRec.com. The BDB boxing commission is in competition with the GBA. I looked up all the fights of Tissen to see the commissions that were involved for each of Tissen’s fights. She only had one fight outside of Germany and she lost that one. Four of Tissen’s fights were unsanctioned: three of these were against boxers making their pro debuts and I believe the other fight was unsanctioned because the opponent weighed less than what she was supposed to for a featherweight title fight. I know the answer that Schroder gave to my question about the anti-doping test and I know that Hundt tries to save money whenever he can, but I have to investigate for myself. Is Hundt in that much of financial distress that he cannot afford to pay for one mandatory post-fight anti-doping test for two boxers in a world championship? I called the BDB to speak to BDB President Thomas Putz. He was not available, but I did talk to someone else who works there. I initially did not know who I was talking to. This BDB employee is a woman. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Scarfone: Can I talk to BDB President Thomas Putz?
Poeske: No, he is not in the office today. He’ll be back in Germany on Saturday, but the office is closed on Saturday.
Scarfone: I guess I’ll call back Monday.
Poeske: Who is speaking?
Scarfone: I’m Ron Scarfone. I’m from America. I write for a boxing website.
Scarfone: I’m calling about Elina Tissen and her fight against Gabriella Busa last year. The BDB was the commission. I found out from the World Boxing Federation (WBF) that the BDB did not appoint the officials, although the BDB was the commission regulating the fight.
Poeske: Okay, we are the commission for the event. The sanctioning bodies make their own appointments for the officials. We do not appoint the officials for the international (world) title fights.
Scarfone: That’s not what I heard (from WIBF President Barbara Buttrick). It has always been that the BDB would choose the officials.
Poeske: For our (German) national title fights, we do.
Scarfone: Has the BDB ever chosen the officials for a world title fight?
Poeske: We make suggestions maybe if we are asked, but we do not choose the officials.
Scarfone: But that’s contrary to what I heard from WIBF President Barbara Buttrick. The BDB did choose the officials when she used to work in Germany. I’m getting different information from you and her.
Poeske: I cannot do anything for what people say. Who is she? (I just told her.)
Scarfone: She is the President of the Women’s International Boxing Federation, the WIBF, which is one of the belts that Elina Tissen has. She (Buttrick) doesn’t live in Germany, but she used to work in Germany. She lives in America, so she would fly back and forth on a plane.
Scarfone: There was an anti-doping test that was waived for the Tissen vs. Busa fight. That’s what the WBF told me.
Poeske: Are we talking about the WIBF?
Scarfone: No, the WBF. Different organization, the World Boxing Federation. They were initially involved in the sanctioning of this fight. They pulled out because of GBU President Jurgen Lutz. Do you know him?
Poeske: Yeah, sure.
Scarfone: Well, he promised the WBF that the officials would be selected by the BDB, but that was not true. The WBF was given a waiver to sign so that the anti-doping test would not be given to Tissen. The WBF refused to sign it and that was another reason why they pulled out of the event. Is that usual for the anti-doping test to be waived for a title fight?
Poeske: You can if all parties agree. It depends also on the national federation regulations.
Scarfone: And what are the BDB Regulations (regarding anti-doping tests)?
Poeske: Normally, we do (require anti-doping tests). It depends on the kind of title fight. If it is a national title fight or a minor title fight, there are different regulations.
Scarfone: Well, tell me what the regulation is for a world title fight with the BDB commission. Does the BDB require anti-doping tests for world title fights?
Poeske: If it is recognized as a title fight of our (German) federation (BDB), then yes. If it is not, then we leave the choice to the federations because there are a lot of federations that make world title fights. I don’t know if this (Tissen vs. Busa) was recognized as a world title fight.
Scarfone: It was. It was the GBU (Global Boxing Union) and WIBF (Women’s International Boxing Federation) world title fight. Yes.
Poeske: I need to look it up. I cannot say at this point.
Scarfone: Are you saying that the sanctioning bodies for the world title fights decide? It’s optional whether they want to have a urine test for drugs or not?
Poeske: Well, maybe they do. They say it’s optional or not required and then they leave the decision to the national federations.
Scarfone: The national federations. Like the BDB?
Poeske: The sanctioning bodies have their own regulations. Some such as the WBC (World Boxing Council) generally require the anti-drug test for their title fights. There are others such as the WBO (World Boxing Organization) who leave the decision (regarding whether to do anti-doping tests) to the national federations.
Scarfone: I see. The BDB did not choose the officials for Tissen vs. Busa and you said before that they don’t have to choose the officials. So what do they do then? They are there as the commission.
Poeske: I don’t understand the question. Let’s say there is a world title fight of the WBO. They don’t choose officials from the national federation. We cannot tell them which officials they have to choose.
Scarfone: So you’re saying that when Tissen fights for her world titles, the BDB is there and they’ll choose the officials for the undercard fights that are not for world titles, but for Tissen’s fight, they don’t choose the officials.
Poeske: We generally do not choose the officials for international (world) title fights which are not our (BDB) national titles.
Scarfone: I have to find out about it from the sanctioning bodies because I’m getting conflicting information. So you’re saying the drug test isn’t required?
Poeske: I cannot say this because some federations do require a drug test and others don’t.
Scarfone: Well, they (WBF, GBU, and WIBF) require it obviously because they wanted the WBF to sign a waiver that would relinquish the requirement for that title fight. (WIBF President Barbara Buttrick told me that a post-fight urine test is required for WIBF title fights.) I’m assuming it is a requirement because if it wasn’t a requirement, they wouldn’t have tried to make the WBF sign a waiver. The WBF was told that they (Hundt) did not want to do the drug test because of the cost, because of financial reasons. They were saying that they could not afford the anti-doping test. Do you know what the cost is for that urine test?
Poeske: For one fight, it’s about 850 euros (about 900 U.S. dollars), more or less.
Scarfone: For one boxer or for both boxers?
Poeske: For two boxers after the fight, urine test, the taking of the samples and the analysis.
Scarfone: What about before the fight? I thought they were supposed to be tested before and after?
Poeske: It is all up to the involved parties. If they agree on a drug test before the fight, they tell the federation or whoever is in charge that they want to do it, but it’s not required.
Scarfone: Both boxers getting tested after the fight costs about 850 euros?
Poeske: Yes. Normally, this is what it costs.
Scarfone: What’s your name?
Scarfone: What’s your last name? Are you Poeske?
Scarfone: You’re Beate Poeske. You used to work for Universum (boxing promotions company) or do you still?
Poeske: No. Universum doesn’t exist anymore.
Scarfone: So now you’re working here. Is there any way that you can look up the past fights to see whether the drug test was waived when the BDB was sanctioning a fight that Tissen fought in? I see here (on BoxRec) that there were several fights that the BDB sanctioned in her career. I’m wondering if you could look those up for me.
Scarfone: Okay. I want to know about all the fights of Tissen that the BDB sanctioned. I know which ones they are.
Poeske: Can you send me an email? It’s easier for us.
Scarfone: That’s true. What is your email address?
Poeske: (Poeske gave me her email address).
Scarfone: All right. I’ll email that to you. You’re saying that the BDB never chooses the officials for a world title fight of Tissen. They have never chosen the officials.
Poeske: Well, (I’m) not sure. Maybe some of our officials are in the title fights because the sanctioning body chooses to use them for the title fights, but we do not command the sanctioning bodies to use these officials (from the BDB).
Scarfone: I see. Okay, I’ll email you that and I’m wondering if your (BDB) President (Thomas Putz) can give me some time as well. I’d like to talk to him sometime on Monday if that’s possible. Is he available on Monday?
Poeske: I think so.
Scarfone: Okay. Well, thank you for talking to me, Ms. Poeske.
Poeske: Okay. You’re welcome.
After the interview, I sent Ms. Poeske an email: For the following fights of Elina Tissen, I want to know whether the anti-doping tests were waived. If they were not waived, I want to know if Tissen tested positive for any performance enhancing drug (PED) or anything else that is not permitted. I also want to know whether the BDB selected the officials for each fight or whether the officials were chosen by an outside source such as GBU President Jurgen Lutz or Tissen’s trainer Maiki Hundt. I listed eight events that the BDB was the commission for when Tissen was on the fight card. I was hoping that Poeske would be able to send me the information that I requested before Putz returned on Monday. The reason was that I found an article about the BDB not informing the European Boxing Union (EBU) that German heavyweight boxer Erkan Teper tested positive for a banned substance after his fight against Newfel Ouatah in June 2014 which was for the vacant EBU heavyweight title. Teper tested positive for a banned substance again when he fought for the vacant EBU heavyweight title against David Price in July 2015. I called Poeske a couple of days later to find out if she made any progress in obtaining the information that I wanted. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Scarfone: Hi, is this Beate Poeske?
Poeske: Yes, speaking.
Scarfone: Hi, this is Ron Scarfone again.
Poeske: Hi, how are you doing?
Scarfone: I just want to know that you got my email, right?
Poeske: Yes, I got your email.
Scarfone: And when do you think that will be done by?
Poeske: Oh, um, I’m not sure because we have a public holiday here (in Germany) tomorrow and I’ll be back in the office on Monday, so I guess I should be able to work on this by then.
Scarfone: You mean it won’t be done until next week?
Poeske: I think so, yes, because we have three promotions this coming weekend and we really have a lot of work.
Poeske: I’m not even sure if all these fights were under our supervision.
Scarfone: I checked on BoxRec. They are. You said (previously) that the commission (BDB) regulates the event overall, but sometimes for the world title fights, they don’t select the officials. Is that right?
Scarfone: So basically what I’m saying is on BoxRec, it shows that the BDB was the commission for those fights, but the officials were not necessarily chosen by the BDB.
Poeske: Exactly. For the title fights. For the undercard fights, yes.
Scarfone: But still, because it says (on BoxRec) that the BDB was the commission, would the BDB know about any anti-doping tests that were waived?
Poeske: Probably, yes.
Scarfone: Okay. And would it also be on record what officials of the BDB were used for those title fights of Tissen or not?
Poeske: Yeah, I’m not sure what BoxRec has got in the records.
Scarfone: It (BoxRec) only says the names of the judges and the referee. It doesn’t say whether they are BDB officials or not. That’s the information that I want.
Poeske: Okay, okay. I’ll work on it as soon as possible.
Scarfone: And also, if any anti-doping test was waived and also if there were any positive tests for anything not allowed.
Poeske: Okay, that’s certainly not because she (Tissen) has never been suspended as far as I know.
Scarfone: If a boxer tested positive for something after the fight, would they sometimes still allow the result to stand or would they take away the win (if the boxer won)?
Poeske: If it’s confirmed about the B sample.
Scarfone: The B sample. Are there two samples?
Scarfone: So they pee twice or something? I don’t understand.
Poeske: Do you know how this works? Anti-doping procedures?
Scarfone: Not exactly. I know that there is a urine test or a blood test.
Poeske: I don’t really get what is your concern in this. Are you working as a journalist?
Scarfone: Yes, I’m a journalist.
Poeske: Okay, but you don’t know the anti-doping rules?
Scarfone: Not exactly. I’m going to do more research on that. I’m still new to this. Can you briefly tell me about sample A and sample B? (I researched later on the BDB website which states that the BDB regulates the doping controls in and out of competition and in particular German championships and national and international events. It does not state specifically that professional boxers have to be tested. The samples of urine shall be filled in two vials. One vial is for the A sample and the other vial is for the B sample. The vials are labeled and sealed. The board of the BDB will notify the boxer if there is an adverse analytical finding of the A sample. The boxer may require an examination of the B sample within ten days of receipt of notification of the adverse analytical finding in the A sample.)
Poeske: You know the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)?
Poeske: Well, you can look it up at their website.
Scarfone: Would Mr. Putz have any problem with me trying to get this information?
Poeske: I don’t think so. Why should he?
Scarfone: I read on the Internet that (positive results of) an anti-doping test was not revealed by the BDB in the past.
Poeske: As far as I know, no.
Scarfone: That’s why I really wanted you to get it done before he (Putz) arrives back, but I guess that’s not going to happen. I’d like to talk to him anyway. Thank you for keeping me updated on what’s going on.
Scarfone: Thanks. Bye.
After doing some research, I found out that Germany is regulated by NADA (anti-doping agency of Germany). NADA stands for the Nationale Anti Doping Agentur. NADA is an affiliate of WADA. I emailed NADA regarding anti-doping test records and Eva Bunthoff who is the head of NADA responded to me: “We are not working together with GBA or BDB as both have not implemented the WADA Code and are conducting tests outside the international anti-doping rules. As well, GBA and BDB are doing the results management outside the international anti-doping rules since they have not implemented the WADA Code. As Germany has a strict data protection law, we are not communicating single tests from athletes. But of course, athletes can communicate their own data if they wish to do so. For all sports in Germany where we do test and are responsible for the results management, the records can be found in our annual report.” Bunthoff stated that the GBA and BDB are not complying with the WADA Code when anti-doping tests are conducted. The BDB has rules regarding sample A and B, but they are not complying with the WADA Code. Therefore, how can we be sure that the tests were conducted properly and that there was no tampering with the samples? The BDB and GBA may not even require that professional boxers be drug tested in world title fights. Poeske who works for the BDB told me to search for the information on how the anti-doping tests are done on WADA’s website, but the BDB does not follow the WADA Code.
I read an article about the German Boxing Association (GBA) which was the commission for a super middleweight fight between Cagri Ermis and Juergen Doberstein. In Berlin, Germany on February 27, 2015, Ermis defeated Doberstein by a close unanimous decision with judges’ scores of 115-113, 115-113, and 115-112. Doberstein was not happy about the “doping tests.” Doberstein’s team checked with NADA who replied that NADA has never conducted any doping tests for any GBA sanctioned event. The boxers were charged 1,000 Euro for each “test,” but the “tests” were really not approved or done by NADA.
I also did research on the A and B samples used in the drug testing for athletes. In an article by the Associated Press titled WADA calls “B” sample testing unfair, the director of WADA suggested that the collection and testing of the backup B sample should not be done in order to save money and time in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). The article stated that an athlete’s blood or urine sample is divided into two samples which are A and B. These samples are sealed in separate bottles. If the A sample is tested as positive, the athlete can request that the B sample be analyzed. WADA director general David Howman said that the number of times that the B or second sample contradicts the A or first sample is “almost zero.” When that happens, Howman said it is either because the B sample has disintegrated over time or due to manipulation by the athlete. If sample A is found to be positive, the athlete is notified before sample B is tested. If sample B is also found to be positive, the organizations involved are notified whose responsibility it is to decide what bans or penalties will be imposed. Basically, the B sample is used to confirm that an anti-doping rule violation occurred. However, Howman stated that the test results of the A and B samples rarely contradict each other unless there is degradation of the B sample or foul play is involved. Therefore, a boxer could test positive in sample A, tamper with sample B in some way to cause sample B to test negative, and then the boxer would not have any consequences from the positive test in sample A. However, the test results of sample A and sample B if it was tested should be on record. That is what I wanted to find out about Tissen. However, these anti-doping tests for fights in which the BDB was the commission are not being done according to the code of WADA or NADA, so how can boxers be sure that the tests are reliable and accurate?
I emailed Ms. Poeske again to inform her that I wanted the test results of both the A and B samples of Tissen in the fights that the BDB was the commission for. I decided that I also wanted the anti-doping test results of Tissen’s opponents to see if they are being tested even if the test is waived for Tissen. If Hundt is waiving the drug test for Tissen while also the opponent still has to be tested, then it would prove that Hundt is not waiving the drug test for Tissen to save money. This would show inconsistency and favoritism towards Tissen if her opponent was tested whereas Tissen was not tested. I also had another request. I wanted the test results of the post-fight urine sample for another fight that did not involve Tissen.
An article written by Trish Hill (also known as Trisha Hill) of the United States was posted by WBAN.com in May 2004. Hill stated that she participated in the WIBF featherweight title fight against Silke Weickenmeier of Germany in February 2004. According to BoxRec, the fight was originally a TKO victory for Hill in the seventh round. Hill was stripped of the title later because of the anti-doping test results and the title was given to Weickenmeier. Hill stated that both before and after the fight, Hill had participated in drug testing. Results of her post-fight urine sample showed her Norandrosterone which is a naturally occurring substance in the body of females had exceeded the limit of 5ng/ml. There was no mention of the pre-fight urine sample, so I assume that it did not test positive for any banned substance. Did someone tamper with Hill’s post-fight urine sample which caused it to test positive?
Hill had a list of complaints against the BDB which included whether proper testing protocol was followed, whether security measures were taken to protect the urine samples, and also Hill stated that she was not given the test results of her opponent. Hill appealed the decision to strip her of the title to the WIBF headquarters in Florida. Therefore, Hill was appealing the decision to WIBF President Barbara Buttrick. Apparently, the appeal did not help her get back the title. Hill hoped that there would eventually be one consistent set of rules and procedures regarding anti-doping tests. More than a decade later, it has not happened in professional boxing. However, amateur boxing in the Olympics does have a set of rules and procedures that are followed. Hill was tested before and after this WIBF featherweight title fight, but Tissen was not tested at all in her title fight for the same WIBF belt supposedly due to financial reasons.
An article from August 2014 titled Drug Testing in Boxing – Is there any hope? asked that question. The article states that Olympic Style Testing (OST) is governed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the United States. OST is conducted by collecting both blood and urine samples in, during, or out of competition without notice at any time of the year. OST conducts random drug testing which boxing commissions do not do. There are no standardized rules and procedures for drug testing in professional boxing. The article states that testing, if conducted, is usually done by getting urine samples which is a method considered to be ineffective by most experts and easy to manipulate. Hundt must really want to save money to not want to pay for one post-fight urine test. Perhaps Hundt was concerned about what would be revealed from an anti-doping test. Hill was tested before and after her fight against Weickenmeier, but Hundt would not let Tissen be tested at all for her fight against Busa.
In an article titled USADA’s Travis Tygart: Current drug testing done by state boxing commissions ‘a joke,’ USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart was interviewed. Tygart oversees drug testing for U.S. based Olympic athletes. Tygart is an advocate of both blood and urine testing. Tygart said that there are certain things that cannot be found in blood that you can only find in urine such as steroids and Erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is banned by sports organizations internationally. EPO can be used to boost strength, speed, and endurance, especially when competing in contests that either do not have doping tests or if the doping tests are waived. Since boxing organizations consider themselves to be private entities that exist outside the jurisdiction of WADA, it is difficult to have uniform and widespread drug testing in professional boxing.
I attempted to contact the GBA which is a competitor of the BDB. I went on the GBA’s website and saw the GBA championship belts and then I saw the phone number and email addresses of their staff. I saw that the GBA President is Jorg Milcke. I called the GBA a few times and no one answered. It was just a recording in German. I emailed Milcke and received no response. I was able to get another phone number for the GBA and called that number. I talked to Jens Kluge whose job title is Board Administration. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Scarfone: Hi. My name is Ron Scarfone. I’m from the United States. Do you work for the German Boxing Association?
Scarfone: Is the President (Jorg Milcke) available today or is he off work today? I called and no one answers.
Kluge: Can I help you?
Scarfone: Yeah. I want to ask you some things about the GBA. Do they require drug tests for the world title fights?
Kluge: We work with the IBF and IBO for world title fights.
Scarfone: You also work with the GBU and WIBF though, right?
Scarfone: Do you require drug tests for their title fights, for the GBU and WIBF?
Scarfone: You do.
Kluge: Of course, yes. (The drug tests that the GBA uses are not regulated by NADA or WADA.)
Scarfone: Do you have records of the drug tests for past fights? Do you have the (records of) previous drug tests that you had when you sanctioned fights for Elina Tissen? Do you have the drug test results for her title fights when the GBA was sanctioning them?
Kluge: You must ask the President. You must ask Jorg Milcke. I don’t think we worked with Elina Tissen. I don’t think so.
Scarfone: Yes. It’s on BoxRec that several of her fights you’ve done in the past.
Kluge: I don’t think for her next fights. I don’t think so.
Scarfone: No, not for her next fights, but for previous fights, you have done them. I have seen them on BoxRec.
Kluge: Okay, yes.
Scarfone: Do you know why they (Hundt) stopped using the GBA and they use the BDB instead? Do you know why?
Scarfone: No, I want to know why. Do you know why?
Scarfone: You don’t know?
Kluge: I can send you the number for the President, for Mr. Milcke, and you can talk with him.
Scarfone: I have the number here. Let me make sure this is correct. (I told Kluge the number and he verified that it was correct.) He does not answer (his phone when I call). What’s his email address?
Kluge emailed me Milcke’s email address and then I emailed Milcke. Milcke replied to me in German and wrote “Thank you, speak German? (translated from German).” I assume that he does not speak English because he responded to me in German. Olaf Schroder of the WBF later informed me that Milcke speaks no English at all. I emailed Kluge again to reiterate that I wanted those anti-doping test results and I wanted to know if the tests were ever waived for Elina Tissen’s fights when the GBA was the commission. I also stated that I know that the GBA does not follow WADA Code or NADA Code when the anti-doping tests are conducted. Who is doing the tests? Is there an independent agency doing them or does the GBA get Dr. Dolittle to do them? Kluge replied to me by stating that Tissen is a BDB licensed boxer now. Kluge also stated that the GBA does not provide reports to anyone outside of their commission and that they must abide by German data protection rules. This is the same thing that NADA stated to me about the data protection laws in Germany. NADA stated to me that they do not communicate single tests from athletes.
I did not hear from Poeske for a few days, so I emailed her about the status of the information that I requested. Poeske replied that the BDB is a small federation and she is the only employee. I assume that she means other than President Thomas Putz. Poeske sent me another email later. Poeske stated that for drug tests conducted for boxing events under supervision of the BDB, the results of the tests have been reported to NADA. She also stated that the tests are being carried out by a NADA authorized agency and analyzed by NADA authorized laboratories. Poeske stated that if there is a positive result, both NADA and the federation (sanctioning body) are being reported to. Poeske stated that the BDB is not supposed to report on any drug tests and their results to any third parties which I assume is due to the data protection laws in Germany. For any questions regarding this, Poeske recommended that I refer to the involved sanctioning bodies. Regarding my question about the officials used in international title fights in which the BDB is the commission, Poeske stated that the BDB does not choose or decide on such officials. She stated that national (BDB) officials are used in world title fights sometimes, but that this decision lies within the discretion of the sanctioning bodies. I decided to call Poeske about her email to me and to ask for another request. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Scarfone: Hello Beate. This is Ron.
Poeske: Yes, hello. Good morning.
Scarfone: Hi. So I got your email. I’m assuming that I’m not going to receive any information regarding the drug tests. I know if they test sample B, sample B could sometimes show nothing and then they (the boxer) would not be in trouble for the sample A that tested positive.
Poeske: Sample B is only analyzed if there is a positive sample A.
Scarfone: I know.
Poeske: If the boxer requires the sample B to be analyzed which means that he (or she) does not accept the result of the first sample A result, this is the boxer’s decision. If he (or she) does not require the B sample to be analyzed, then he (or she) automatically accepts the result of sample A.
Scarfone: I understand. I read that. Now you told me in the email that NADA is regulating these tests, but NADA told me that they do not regulate any tests for the BDB or the GBA.
Poeske: It’s different for all federations. They (NADA) do not carry out the tests, but they are reported on the tests. The laboratories are authorized by them (NADA).
Scarfone: No, that’s not true. They (NADA) told me that the BDB does not follow WADA Code and NADA is an affiliate of WADA.
Poeske: For example, the WBO, the WBA, et cetera, they have accepted the WADA Code. So they (the tests) are reported directly by the lab. There is a system called ADAMS. It is an online system and all the federations which submit to the WADA Code have access to this online system and they can log in and see the results of their testing.
Scarfone: But that’s not possible for the tests that are asked for by the BDB because the BDB doesn’t follow WADA Code.
Poeske: But that’s not absolutely necessary. We (BDB) do have our own doping regulations like other federations have too. Once we extract the agencies, they are only authorized to furnish the samples to WADA authorized laboratories and once they do the testing, they automatically report to WADA or NADA and to the federations that are doing the result management.
Scarfone: So you’re saying that the tests that are authorized by the BDB to be done, they (the samples) are sent to WADA approved laboratories?
Poeske: Yes. Otherwise, we have no other possibility. There are only two (WADA approved laboratories) left here in Germany who are able to do this analysis.
Scarfone: NADA told me that you (BDB) do not follow WADA Code. How can they (NADA) say that when you’re sending the samples to WADA approved laboratories?
Poeske: That means that we (BDB) have our own regulations. For example, they (WADA) provide a suspension of maybe two years or so (if a test is a positive result). Some federations have their own regulations concerning the anti-drug test, a difference maybe in the length of the suspensions, et cetera.
Scarfone: Okay. It doesn’t really matter to me about the length of the suspension. I don’t understand. If you (BDB) send it (the samples) to WADA approved laboratories, why don’t you (BDB) just follow WADA Code?
Poeske: There are many reasons for that. For example, it’s also concerning training, testing, et cetera which has to be paid (for) and this is one of the problems because we (BDB) are a small federation. This is also a financial question. For our boxers, promoters, et cetera, they would have to submit too. It’s not only the (BDB) federation. This is one of the reasons.
Scarfone: Do you keep the records on file?
Poeske: For some time, yes, sure. We have to.
Poeske: The test you are referring to from 2004 (Hill vs. Weickenmeier), we do not have on file anymore because it is more than 10 years (ago).
Scarfone: Okay. I guess you can’t tell me the results, right? You’re not allowed to do that because of data protection laws in Germany. Is that right?
Poeske: Sure. This is why I told you we are not supposed to report to any third party.
Scarfone: Do you know for the United States athletes, is it the same laws as here (in Germany)? Is there that strict of data protection laws regarding the drug tests?
Poeske: I’m not sure because there are so many different federations. Every state or almost every state has different laws, so maybe it’s different. I don’t know. (I called and left a message for the United States Anti-Doping Agency and I sent a message to the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on its website. I received no response from either of them as to whether there are similar data privacy laws for United States athletes).
Scarfone: I’m not going to be able to get the (anti-doping test) results, but can you tell me whether a test was waived? I know for a fact that it was waived (for Tissen) in the Busa fight (because the WBF informed me of this). Do you know if it was waived for her opponent (Busa) and do you know if it was waived for any other time, any other fight of Tissen in which the BDB was the commission?
Poeske: I have to look this up.
Scarfone: I want to know for any fight (of Tissen) that you have on record if the drug test was waived.
Poeske: I can try to find out. I have to check with the sanctioning bodies if we’re supposed to.
Scarfone: What do you mean? You’ve got to check with Jurgen Lutz then? Barbara Buttrick is not really involved. It’s basically the GBU with the WIBF and (WIBF Vice President/GBU President) Jurgen Lutz is the one who is running that right now (in Europe). I would assume you’re going to have to call him.
Poeske: I have to check first. Yeah.
Scarfone: I’m not asking for the records. I’m just asking if the test was waived. That’s all I’m asking. That’s not something that’s private information, I don’t think.
Poeske: It depends on the kind of championship also. If it was a world championship or whatever it was, I cannot say.
Scarfone: They are world, world, as in…the whole world and she (Tissen) is the champion supposedly of the featherweight division. She’s the world champion of the GBU and WIBF. I know the test was waived at least once (for Tissen) in the Busa fight (in 2015). I want to know which fights it was waived for, if any others. Now with the officials, you were saying that the BDB does not pick the officials at all in the world championship fights, right?
Scarfone: Okay. I was told differently. I was told by Jurgen Lutz (and Barbara Buttrick) that the BDB picks the officials.
Poeske: You were talking about if they use national (BDB) officials. Yes, they do. All federations do, but we do not command the sanctioning bodies to use our own officials. For example, in the UK (United Kingdom), you have international championship fights with only British officials. But we do not do this here in Germany. It’s common procedure. Generally, we do not tell the international federations to use our officials. We can suggest. Sometimes, federations have certain officials which are sanctioned by them in countries and they might use them. Say if it’s a continental fight and there are two German boxers involved, then they may use local officials, at least part of them, two maybe. We can only say we have this and this and this and you may choose it or you may leave it.
Scarfone: I understand that typically the sanctioning bodies want their own officials (for world title fights). I understand that. I know that Maiki Hundt, the trainer of Tissen, picked all German officials which he was not supposed to do. Is that against the rules? You’re not supposed to pick all German officials when the world championship is in Germany?
Poeske: If it’s in Germany and both fighters are German or if the WIBF or whatever federation it may be, if they say it’s okay, then it’s up to their discretion. We do not have to meddle with that. If they (the boxers) are fighting for a certain title, then they automatically accept their rules. They (the boxers) have to sign at the rules meeting or wherever that they accept the rules.
Scarfone: So the rule about not picking all German officials, then that is not a BDB rule. That must be a GBU/WIBF rule. Is that correct?
Poeske: Yeah. If both parties or whoever agreed on that, then maybe. I don’t know.
Scarfone: I guess maybe they agreed on that beforehand and then Hundt violated the rule (agreed on) by picking all German officials.
Poeske: I wasn’t present. I don’t know. They had a rules meeting. Everybody was informed I guess who the officials would be and if there was no protest or whatever, then they agreed on that.
Scarfone: Yeah. Of course they are going to agree. They are saying we don’t want all German officials because one girl is Hungarian and the other girl is German. I can understand why they would say we don’t want all German officials. But then, Hundt picked all German officials when he wasn’t supposed to do that. That’s my point.
Poeske: I don’t know that.
Scarfone: Well, I do know that. The WBF told me and they put it in a public statement. Also, I want to know who is picking the officials. You’re delegating the decision of picking the officials to the sanctioning bodies for world championships. Am I right?
Poeske: We don’t delegate. It’s not our business.
Scarfone: It’s not your business.
Poeske: They tell us who will be there and that’s it.
Scarfone: So that means that the GBU/WIBF is in charge of picking the officials. Am I right?
Scarfone: Okay. Do you know if Jurgen Lutz delegates that decision to Maiki Hundt to pick the officials in Tissen’s fights? Do you know that at all?
Poeske: No. I don’t know.
Scarfone: Are there any records that verify whether Lutz delegated that decision to somebody else?
Poeske: No. We don’t get this kind of information. We are not the ones to be informed about this.
Scarfone: I see.
Poeske: They have their officials which have a license from their federation. I don’t know how they choose them.
Scarfone: So the officials could just be licensed with the GBU/WIBF. They don’t have to be licensed with the BDB in order to be a referee or judge.
Poeske: They can choose their officials. Yeah.
Scarfone: They can choose whoever they want basically. They don’t have to have even worked in boxing before. They can just choose anybody off the street.
Poeske:…Actually, yes they could.
Scarfone: Yeah. And they have done that, I think. (In the WBF Statement, it stated that Lutz admitted that he had allowed the management of Tissen to pick all of the officials for Tissen’s fight against Busa last year and that two of those officials had no traceable connection to professional boxing. Furthermore, these officials were all from Germany.)
Poeske: All federations do this. If they have made their decision and say we choose this official because of these and these reasons, (then) yeah. If you look around, there are a lot of officials who do not have a local license.
Scarfone: Right. I see. Okay. By the way, the GBA told me the same thing. They are not going to release any records due to the German data protection laws. You basically said the same thing they did.
Poeske: Yeah. That’s the rule. Apart from bad food. (laughs)
Scarfone: I know the food in Germany is not very good. I understand that.
Poeske: It depends on where you come from. If you’re German, then you like it. If you’re American, then you don’t like it.
Scarfone: Well, you’re German and I think you don’t like it. You’re German, right?
Poeske: I am. Yes.
Scarfone: Do you like the German food?
Poeske: Of course I do. (laughs)
Scarfone: Oh, you do.
Poeske: Otherwise, I would starve.
Scarfone: (laughs) But you were saying that the German food is bad. (laughs)
Poeske: Well, I think every nation says this of other nations. I think it’s normal. (She said this about food in Germany which is her own nation.)
Scarfone: Universum gave food vouchers and the food was really not that great.
Poeske: I think Universum was famous for being very generous with everybody. Even though it has been closed for quite some years, people still say to me “Well, I remember the good old days,” so I think it was okay. (I remember the good old days too. Boxers rarely won against their opponents who were promoted by Universum even though they sometimes deserved to win.)
Scarfone: When do you think you can get me the information regarding the (anti-doping) tests possibly waived?
Poeske: It depends on when the fights took place.
Scarfone: Can you just tell me over the phone whether a drug test was waived? Just verbal. I don’t need it written.
Poeske: But I don’t have it here in my office. I have to go to the archives.
Scarfone: All right. I call and sometimes you don’t answer. When do you think I can call you?
Poeske: Monday is a holiday here in Germany.
Scarfone: Oh God. Not another holiday.
Poeske: I should be in the office from Tuesday to Friday.
Scarfone: How many holidays are there in Germany? You just had a holiday like a week ago.
Poeske: We work a lot, so we have a lot of holidays.
Scarfone: (laughs) You have a holiday every week? (laughs)
Poeske: Yeah. (There are four German national holidays in just the month of May: May Day, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, and Corpus Christi.)
Scarfone: I wish I lived in Germany (I’m kidding. What food would I eat?) We have holidays here in America, but not that often.
Poeske: Yeah. Well, maybe you should work faster. Then, you (would) have more holidays.
Scarfone: I can’t control the holidays. It’s the (U.S.) government that controls the holidays.
Poeske: Yeah, it was a joke.
Scarfone: Yeah, I know. (German humor I guess.) Anyway. All right. If you want to let me know when you get it done, maybe you can email me to notify me that you got it done or should I just call you on Tuesday?
Poeske: Yeah, you can try and call. Otherwise, I am going to reply by email.
Scarfone: Okay, about the waived drug tests. That’s basically it, those things.
Scarfone: Thank you very much for your time, Beate.
Poeske: Okay. You’re welcome.
News about athletes testing positive for banned substances is becoming more prevalent as the frequency in testing increases. As the name of VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) suggests, athletes voluntarily agree to be tested by VADA. VADA does not force any athlete to be tested by its organization. VADA tests athletes in boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA). VADA states that few athletic commissions perform testing of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). VADA further states that testing is not usually comprehensive and is not a deterrent. VADA states that sports regulators do not have the manpower, time, and money to thoroughly carry out the task. VADA provides an opportunity for athletes to demonstrate that they are committed to a clean sport. The risks involved when athletes take PEDs who participate in combative sports are more than for other sports simply because it is fighting and is dangerous even without the use of PEDs. An athlete who uses PEDs can have the capacity to hurt his or her opponent even more. However, athletes probably will not be deterred from taking PEDs even if they face suspensions because an athlete’s earning potential is more if PEDs enable the athlete to win. To some athletes, the rewards outweigh the risks to their health and/or the threat of being suspended. On January 1 of this year, WADA added more substances to its banned list such as meldonium. A spokesman for WADA said the revised statute of limitations in the WADA Code allows WADA to pursue anti-doping violations for a period of 10 years from when any violation had occurred.
I decided to send a message to VADA on its website. This message is edited for brevity and clarity: I am a boxing writer and I am currently investigating female boxer Elina Tissen. A post-fight anti-doping test which was required by the sanctioning bodies involved in her world title fight was waived because of “financial reasons.” The trainer/manager of Tissen was apparently acting as the promoter and was allowed to waive this requirement even though it was supposed to be required. Because of Germany’s strict data protection laws, reporters and journalists are not allowed to see the results of the anti-doping tests. The German Boxing Association (GBA) refuses to provide any information to me and they refer to the data protection laws in Germany as the reason. The Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer (BDB) which is the other major boxing commission in Germany also says the same thing. Now, I am only trying to obtain the information as to when the anti-doping tests were waived for Tissen in fights in which the BDB was the commission. Can you tell me if the United States has similar laws regarding the confidentiality of anti-doping test results for athletes? The BDB and GBA do not adhere to WADA code, although the BDB told me that they send samples A and B to WADA approved laboratories. I read a recent article which stated that anti-doping agencies are going to examine the past 10 years of samples. I am wondering that if the samples of Tissen were sent to WADA approved laboratories, would these samples be sent to WADA and stored which would allow additional testing of the samples to be done in the future? The article stated that anti-doping agencies are going to reexamine urine samples collected since 2006 to see if athletes were using any PEDs that were added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substance list. Thank you for any information that you can provide to my questions.
I provided my name and email address so that VADA could reply to me. I received no reply from VADA.
The World Boxing Association (WBA) stated on its website that usage of PEDs has increased by elite athletes due to three factors: testing for drugs has increased, laboratory testing has improved, and most of the tests for drugs are conducted only on athletes who have reached the finals in a sport or athletes competing in world championships. WBA Medical Advisory Committee chairman Dr. Calvin Inalsingh stated that there is competition between the manufacturers of the drugs and the laboratories that test for the drugs. Dr. Inalsingh recommends that random drug testing be conducted on all athletes because it would be a deterrent to drug use. He also stated that it is folly to test for drugs only for the international sporting events because thousands of athletes who did not qualify for the finals/world championships may have tried to qualify by using drugs.
I wanted to know more about the GBU and if it does have anti-doping test requirements for its title fights. I called WIBF President Barbara Buttrick and she told me that a post-fight urine test is required for WIBF title fights. Tissen holds both the GBU and WIBF featherweight titles. I was able to obtain the contact information (phone number and email address) of a friend of GBU President Jurgen Lutz. His name is Rainer Gottwald. Gottwald has worked as a judge for the GBU, WIBF, and WBF and he is also the manager of current GBU/WIBF super bantamweight champion Caroline Schroder (no relation to Olaf Schroder of the WBF). Before I called Gottwald, I wanted to do some research on him. I found an interesting article on the German news website Die Glocke titled Tissen: ‘Schroder shirks fight’ (translated from German). Shirk means to avoid. Tissen was saying that Schroder was avoiding a fight with her. Was it really true? I translated the entire article in Google Translate. “‘He does not even know the rules of the associations…,’ says Maiki Hundt annoyed. ‘He is unsportsmanlike and disrespectful,’ rants Rainer Gottwald. Both are boxing managers and currently archenemies…‘I have in writing from…(GBU President and WIBF Vice President) Jurgen Lutz…that Elina anytime can box for both titles,’ clarifies Hundt. ‘No matter what weight class,…Schroder has no chance…against Elina,’ says Hundt” (translated from German). I still did not understand what the argument was about, so I called Gottwald to ask him about Hundt. Were they really archenemies as the article stated? What did Hundt mean by saying that Tissen can box for both titles? Is he referring to the GBU and WIBF featherweight titles or the GBU/WIBF titles of the super bantamweight and featherweight divisions? This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Scarfone: Hello, Mr. Gottwald?
Scarfone: Hi, I’m Ron Scarfone.
Gottwald: Hi, nice to meet you.
Scarfone: Nice to meet you too. Did you read my (previous) article? Did you know about the article that I wrote for East Side Boxing?
Gottwald: About one of my fighters?
Scarfone: No. About Elina Tissen and Maiki Hundt.
Gottwald: Oh my god, Maiki Hundt.
Scarfone: Did you read it?
Gottwald: No, I know nothing about it.
Scarfone: I’m writing a follow-up article and I want to interview you for it. Is that okay?
Gottwald: I don’t know this man (Hundt) personally, so I cannot give any statement about him.
Scarfone: I know that you have a little bit of a rivalry between you and him because of your boxer (Caroline) Schroder.
Gottwald: No. That has nothing to do with that. When it comes to the point that there’s a fight (scheduled), there’s all this blah blah. What he doesn’t understand is that his fighter (Tissen) is a featherweight and our fighter (Schroder) is a super bantamweight. What he should know is that no fighter can be a world champion in two weight classes.
Scarfone: What you’re saying is that he wanted Tissen to not only hold the (GBU/WIBF) featherweight titles, but hold the (GBU/WIBF) super bantamweight titles at the same time?
Gottwald: Both. Yeah.
Scarfone: I see. And then your fighter (Schroder) won the vacant (GBU/WIBF) super bantamweight titles, so they (Tissen and Schroder) were supposed to fight (against each other), but he (Hundt) wouldn’t let them because he wanted both titles (from both weight classes).
Gottwald: Yes. There were other things. I don’t want to hear his (Hundt) name in my life anymore. I don’t want to have any conflict at all. I just want peace. I am very peaceful actually.
Scarfone: So you work as a judge?
Gottwald: When Jurgen (Lutz) asks me, I go to help him. My main thing is sports management. I have no time to be a part of the GBU.
Scarfone: But you’ve been a judge for the GBU title fights, haven’t you?
Gottwald: Yes. When I have time and somebody needs me. Most of the time, I have no time.
Scarfone: Do you know anything about the drug testing involved in the GBU title fights? Is it required for them to give drug tests?
Gottwald: Actually, yes. You know that the WIBF was the first and oldest female worldwide sanctioning body under Barbara Buttrick. The GBU followed. Ten years ago, there was money. Regina Halmich was there and the German TV (network) said this is a star and people were looking at her. Then, the WBO, WBA, WBC, and IBF decided to (do women’s boxing). (Former WBC President) Jose Sulaiman said never women’s fighting in WBC. Finally, they saw there is money to make. They copied the WIBF rules and then they make female fighting which means that immediately, many female titles (from GBU and WIBF) were worth nothing anymore because you (now) had 8 or 9 female world champions. (Gottwald was saying that the involvement of the major sanctioning bodies in women’s boxing diluted the value of the titles from women’s boxing sanctioning bodies.) This is a shame. A man (Lutz) who did so much for female boxing in his life and to see him suffer like this, it’s very sad.
Scarfone: He (Lutz) admitted to me that he lets Hundt pick the opponents of Tissen. He’s struggling. He’s basically trying to do anything he can to keep these shows going.
Gottwald: It is not easy for him.
Scarfone: Is he putting in his own money to keep it going?
Gottwald: All the time for years. The big money makers (promoters) are Sauerland and SES. We have two big promoters that are making money with boxing. The rest are only doing it because they love boxing like Jurgen (Lutz), like the old guys. They hope that they will get the recognition they deserve.
Scarfone: I have to admit though that Lutz does allow Hundt to control who Tissen fights. Do you know about the picking of officials? Does the BDB pick the officials for the world title fights?
Gottwald: Yes, most of the time it is BDB officials.
Scarfone: Okay. But the BDB said to me that they do not require that they are the officials for these world title fights.
Gottwald: All the officials I know, 90% are BDB members.
Scarfone: It was found last year (in the WBF Statement) that Lutz did not let the BDB pick the officials. I assume that Maiki Hundt picks the officials.
Gottwald: I have no idea.
Scarfone: But the BDB usually has its judges in the world title fights (when the BDB is the commission for the event), but it is not required that they are used.
Gottwald: But usually, it is like this.
Scarfone: So the judges and referees are either working for the BDB or the sanctioning bodies.
Scarfone: I was told though by the WBF that Hundt picked one of his friends to be an official for one of Tissen’s fights, so that’s not allowed.
Gottwald: This thing, I don’t know about. I just want to have peace. I never met him (Hundt) in person. I want to live in peace. Maybe I made mistakes in my life, but I was never a bad person. I’m just a normal person. I’m not rich.
Scarfone: Buttrick was telling me with the (minor) sanctioning bodies struggling like they are, a lot of times they have to do what the promoter wants.
Gottwald: Yeah. For Barbara (Buttrick), there were also better times with Klaus-Peter Kohl. (Kohl was the Universum promoter who had fights televised on ZDF channel before they lost their contract. Olaf Schroder of the WBF told me that Universum often had bad matchups with boxing that was not world-class. This led ZDF to stop doing business with Universum.) That was good money.
I thanked Gottwald for his time and our conversation ended. Lutz said to me in my interview with him that “when the WBC, WBA, IBF come in, the bull**** comes.” I think he really meant that when the major sanctioning bodies got involved in women’s boxing, the competition comes. The WIBF was the first sanctioning body for women’s boxing that is still in existence and was founded by WIBF President Barbara Buttrick. She became business partners with Lutz and they decided to form another sanctioning body called the GBU. Lutz was named the GBU President while Buttrick was the GBU Vice President. Lutz told me about the amount of sanctioning bodies now involved in women’s boxing. “I am not happy about this bull**** about women’s boxing. I don’t like this. There is too much in the market.”
I understand about the competition that Lutz faces and his frustration with losing business due to the major sanctioning bodies getting involved in women’s boxing. He was making money with Regina Halmich before she retired. Lutz was still making money when Universum was the promoter for WIBF title fights that were televised by the German TV channel ZDF. The inaugural WBC female featherweight title was formed in 2005. The WBC began unifying their featherweight title with the WIBF featherweight title in 2008. In 2012, the WBC featherweight title was vacant. The WBC unified their featherweight title again with a title from a different women’s boxing sanctioning body. This time, it was the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) featherweight title. In the WBC featherweight title defense which also occurred in 2012, only the WBC featherweight title was at stake. Once the WBC got more established in women’s boxing, they did not need to join forces with any women’s boxing sanctioning body.
I know that it is more difficult for the minor sanctioning bodies to make money in women’s boxing because of the increase in competition. The sanctioning bodies solely for women’s boxing were necessary in the past because the major sanctioning bodies were unwilling to get involved in women’s boxing. Now, that is no longer the case. In fact, all four major sanctioning bodies (WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF) sanction world title fights for women’s boxing. The major sanctioning bodies have taken most of the top talent. As a result, the women’s boxing sanctioning bodies such as the WIBF are far removed from their earlier status. Because the WBC is based in Mexico, it has an advantage over the other sanctioning bodies because Mexico has become a hotbed for women’s boxing. Most female boxers would rather fight in Mexico than anywhere else in the world because they can earn much more money and fight better opponents. Women’s boxing in Mexico is being televised and the female fights are sometimes in large arenas in Mexico. There is only so much money to go around and everyone wants a slice of the pie. The reality is that the WBC has a very large slice of pie in women’s boxing because it is based in Mexico where women’s boxing is popular and televised.
I decided to send another email to Jens Kluge of the GBA regarding the anti-doping tests to see if the GBA would at least provide me with information as to whether the tests were waived for Tissen in world title fights that the GBA was the commission of. I know that there are data protection laws in Germany, but I believe that whether a test was waived should not be private information. Beate Poeske of the BDB is gathering this information for me and I wanted the GBA to do the same. The GBA later informed me that they have no positive doping tests on Tissen. Oh, thanks for the information. I am completely satisfied now. (Not really.) That could mean anything. Did she have any tests? Were they ever waived in the fights in which the GBA was the commission? The GBA would not provide me any further information.
Poeske of the BDB told me that she had to ask Lutz permission just for her to be able to tell me whether an anti-doping test was waived. Not the test results itself, not whether Tissen tested positive or not, but whether Tissen was tested at all. I decided that I had to call Lutz who would know if Hundt picked the officials and waived anti-doping tests, but I knew that getting this information out of Lutz was not going to be easy. I recall from my previous interview with him that he changes the subject or says he does not remember if he wants to avoid answering a question. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Lutz: Yes, hello?
Scarfone: Hi, Jurgen. It’s Ron. The BDB told me that they don’t pick the officials, so I am wondering, does Hundt pick the officials? Who is picking the officials in Tissen’s fights? Who is picking the judges and the referees in Tissen’s fights? It’s not the BDB. The BDB said they don’t pick the officials (for world title fights).
Lutz: We have only BDB officials in our fights. Only BDB, we work.
Scarfone: But they told me they don’t pick the officials. In Tissen’s fight with Busa (last year), the BDB did not pick the officials. Hundt picked the officials. Do you pick the officials or does Hundt pick the officials? The BDB said they don’t pick the officials, so who does?
Lutz: Mmm hmm.
Scarfone: Who picks the officials? Who selects them?
Lutz: When the fight is in Germany.
Scarfone: I’m talking about for Tissen’s previous fights. In your fights that you sanction, who decides who the officials are going to be? Is it you? You’re the sanctioning body. You’re supposed to make that decision. Do you delegate that decision to somebody else like Hundt?
Lutz: ……Oh oh. I don’t know exactly what you mean.
Scarfone: Do you let Hundt pick the officials?
Lutz: ……Oh, sure.
Scarfone: You let Hundt pick the officials, right?
Scarfone: Okay. One more thing because I know that he (Hundt) waived the drug test for Tissen in one of her fights. Does Tissen always get the test waived, like she doesn’t take the urine test, the anti-doping test?
Lutz: We make the doping test.
Scarfone: Well, why was it waived?
Lutz: We have the (anti-doping test) company in Cologne (city in Germany).
Scarfone: Does Tissen ever take a drug test or is it always waived? I know it was waived for one of her fights.
Lutz: There is not a lot of money for this. (I know. Poeske says it costs 850 euros. That is the equivalent of about 900 U.S. dollars. Hundt can afford this. Money should not be an issue. A post-fight urine test for both boxers is required in GBU/WIBF world title fights.)
Scarfone: Who pays for the doping test? The promoter or somebody else?
Lutz: The promoter pays.
Scarfone: Okay. Hundt was (acting as) the promoter and he didn’t want to pay though for one time. Why did he not want to pay for it? The drug test was waived. The WBF (World Boxing Federation) told me that it was waived. It wasn’t done.
Lutz: The WBF know nothing.
Scarfone: The WBF told me it was waived (which is one of the reasons why it pulled out of the event in addition to the officials being chosen by Hundt).
Lutz: I know this is political. (It is not political. It is the truth.)
Scarfone: I want to know why it was waived though.
Lutz: This is no problem for us, the doping test. We have doping tests.
Scarfone: It’s supposed to be done. Does Tissen always have a drug test waived?
Lutz: I don’t understand. The WBF was not there for that fight from Tissen.
Scarfone: They were there. They pulled out.
Lutz: I take the money from the promoter and give it to NADA from Cologne.
Scarfone: In the other fights, does Tissen always take a urine test or not? Does she ever take a drug test?
Lutz: Yeah, everything.
Scarfone: But one time, she didn’t take it. Was there ever another drug test waived for Tissen? Just tell me that. Was there ever another one waived?
Lutz: Tissen has the promoter. He (Hundt) must make the drug test.
Scarfone: I just want to know how many times she (Tissen) has not done a drug test. I know of one (test waived). Were there any more or you don’t recall or you don’t know?
Lutz: Everybody looks for mistakes from the other federations. The drug test is 850 euros. What is the problem?
Scarfone: Yeah, I know. The WBF said that Hundt didn’t want to do it because of money.
Lutz: We have two WBFs (World Boxing Federation and World Boxing Foundation). This is bull****.
Scarfone: I don’t think they (the World Boxing Federation) are lying to me.
Lutz: All this bull**** with the federations. We (the WIBF) were the first federation (women’s boxing sanctioning body).
Scarfone: I know you’re the first federation. The WIBF is the first women’s boxing federation, but all these other sanctioning bodies are competition. The major sanctioning bodies took away a lot of the top talent…as you know.
Lutz: Okay. I must go to my office. I have people there. They wait for me.
Scarfone: Thank you for talking to me, Jurgen.
I could not verify whether Tissen had any more waived drug tests in addition to the one I found out about from the WBF. However, I believe that it was not the first time that it happened. Lutz said that it is not a lot of money for the cost of a drug test, but that is the reason why Hundt said he did not want to do the drug test for Tissen. If the price of the test is the reason for waiving it, then the test could have been waived more than once for Tissen. I know that Hundt is a tightwad (unless he wants to spend money on things for himself like huge radio-controlled model helicopters and Rolex watches), but he had a mandatory anti-doping test (which is a post-fight urine test) waived for Tissen for her fight against Gabriella Busa last year.
Positive doping tests seem to be increasing among world-class athletes. The pressure and desire to win and make money causes some athletes to cheat with their urine samples such as through dilution or even switching the samples with “clean” urine samples. Tissen did not even take a urine test after her fight with Busa. If an athlete is not in his or her prime anymore and is declining in athletic ability, then there is the possibility of that athlete taking a banned substance in order to continue performing at the level that he or she previously did. Based on the answers to the questions I asked Lutz in my two interviews with him (this article and the previous one), Hundt gave Tissen the advantages of having the opponents and officials picked by him.
I want to emphasize how Tissen was able to obtain her championship belt collection. There were three sanctioning bodies involved and they are all based in Germany: Global Boxing Council (GBC), Global Boxing Union (GBU), and Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF). The WIBF also has an office in the United States where WIBF President Barbara Buttrick resides, but WIBF Vice President/GBU President Jurgen Lutz is running the business himself in Germany. The GBU and WIBF are within the same company. The titles that Tissen has won in her pro career are the GBC featherweight title, the GBC and GBU super bantamweight titles, the GBU featherweight title, the interim WIBF featherweight title, the WIBF featherweight title, and the GBC super featherweight title. The total record of Tissen’s opponents when she won these titles is 38-36-4 which is barely a winning record. If you calculate the winning percentage of these opponents of Tissen at the time that she first won these titles (not counting title defenses), you have to divide the number of wins (38) by the total number of wins and losses (38+36=74). 38 divided by 74 equals .514 or a winning percentage of 51.4%.
The only way that Tissen could have become a world champion is if the sanctioning bodies that are based in Germany made it much easier for Tissen to accomplish this. In any other country besides Germany, Tissen would have had to fight better opponents and the judges would not have been biased in her favor. Out of the six opponents that she fought in order to win these titles, only two had winning records. As you can see, Tissen’s accomplishment of being a “worldchampionesse” in three weight classes is not impressive. Pardon me while I borrow a proverb from Jurgen Lutz: “This is bull****.” Elina Tissen being a world champion in three weight classes is the biggest hoax in the history of women’s boxing. It also may be the biggest hoax in the history of boxing which includes the men.
I believe that the biggest hoax in the history of men’s boxing is when Zsolt Erdei of Hungary was the WBO light heavyweight champion for several years. Like Tissen, Erdei benefited from biased judging and did not usually fight world-class opponents when he defended his title. When he did fight boxers who were world-class, the biased judging was apparent. Even the television commentator was appalled by the blatantly biased judging in Erdei’s two fights against Hugo Hernan Garay which were won by Erdei by majority decision and split decision. Another fight I saw was stopped by referee Joe Cortez while Erdei’s opponent George Blades was still on his feet. Blades staggered a little from a punch, but it looked like a very premature stoppage to me. Erdei moved up to cruiserweight and won the WBC cruiserweight title against Giacobbe Fragomeni by majority decision. Again, it was a biased decision and Fragomeni should have won.
I think that Tissen being a world champion in three weight classes is a much bigger hoax than the situation with Erdei being a world champion in two different weight classes. Tissen is a mediocre boxer whose opponents usually were not worthy of a title shot. Erdei was not mediocre and he may have been world-class at some point in his career, but he never was truly a top ten light heavyweight. His opponents were not usually of world-class caliber, but he did fight more world-class opponents than Tissen. Also, he always fought opponents with winning records when he was a world champion. Bear in mind that when I state that Tissen’s reign as a world champion in three weight classes is the biggest hoax in boxing history, that is saying a lot considering that boxing does not have a pristine reputation because of the scandals and corruption that have occurred throughout its history. I truly believe that her boxing career is the biggest hoax. There is nothing else that comes close to it. Tissen was allowed to fight mostly mediocre opposition in her title fights throughout her career and benefited from biased judging. Tissen is not a world-class boxer and Lutz even said this to me in an interview for my previous article. I have confirmed that Hundt who is Tissen’s trainer/manager/promoter is picking the officials for her title fights. I have confirmed that at least one anti-doping test was waived for Tissen. I believe that there are probably more waived tests. It is possible that Tissen never took an anti-doping test for fights that the GBU and/or the WIBF sanctioned considering that there was collusion between Lutz and Hundt.
Tissen’s sponsors do not seem to care about how Tissen became a world champion and retained her title(s) for several years. Currently, they have a smiling pretty face who is a world champion in boxing to endorse their companies and products. They have a world champion that wears their company logos and/or uses their products. Do you think that these sponsors of Tissen care if she doesn’t take a mandatory anti-doping test? Do you think that these sponsors of Tissen care if her trainer/manager/promoter selects all the officials and opponents? The end justifies the means, right? All of the companies ignored me when I sent them messages except for the one that Hundt is the CEO of. The companies that sponsor Tissen will only care if enough people are aware of what has happened in Tissen’s career and complained about it to a point that it would affect their business from making money. Because these companies continue to sponsor Tissen, they are essentially condoning the cheating that has been done throughout Tissen’s career. They don’t care how she has become a world champion or how she has maintained it. They just care that she is a world champion.
One of Tissen’s major sponsors is ASO Safety Solutions and the company posted an article on their website. The article stated that Tissen was training on the “SpeedCourt” which was developed by ASO Safety Solutions and GlobalSpeed. I saw photos of it. It looks like a flat surface with squares on it that the athletes step on. The article states that the “SpeedCourt” was used to enhance Tissen’s speed and agility. I have news for the ASOles at ASO Safety Solutions. Your technology is not the reason why Tissen is a world champion. Tissen is a world champion because of two reasons: inferior opponents and biased decisions. Also, there is a waived anti-doping test and possibly more tests that were waived. It has become more frequent this year that boxers are testing positive for banned substances and Tissen did not even take the test. Obviously, the GBU/WIBF agreed to waive the test and Lutz just needed permission from the WBF as well. After the WBF pulled out, Lutz could have the test waived without asking for permission from anyone else.
The opponents that Tissen has fought when she won her WIBF featherweight title and defended her WIBF title have all been inferior or mediocre. In fact, Tissen won the WIBF featherweight title against two boxers with losing records: Juliette Winter (4-7-1) for the interim title and Doris Koehler (8-9-1). The only boxer with a winning record that Tissen fought in a WIBF featherweight title fight was Gabriella Busa who had a 3-2 record. The last time that Tissen faced a legitimate contender was in 2011 when she fought Fatuma Zarika and that was for a GBC title and not a WIBF title. Lutz should be selecting the mandatory challengers for Tissen. Lutz has delegated that responsibility to Tissen’s trainer/manager/promoter Maiki Hundt.
Tissen had a rematch against Busa on December 3, but Hundt did try to get a better opponent than Busa. However, Hundt could not because he does not like to spend money unless he wants to buy something expensive for himself, his company, or the people he cares about. He is extremely cheap when it comes to making offers to Tissen’s possible opponents. Brian Cohen is a manager of several female boxers and three of them are featherweight contenders. Cohen told me that Hundt wanted Nydia Feliciano to be Tissen’s opponent. Feliciano is rated No. 9 at featherweight by BoxRec and her record is 9-8-3. Feliciano has no wins by knockout. Hundt obviously does not want Tissen to fight anyone who could knock her out so that biased judging will enable her to win. Cohen informed Hundt that Feliciano would be unavailable, but instead offered Carla Torres who has a record of 5-3 and also has no wins by knockout. Torres was rated in the top ten by BoxRec, but is not currently rated due to inactivity of more than one year. Hundt would have accepted Torres as the opponent, but the sticking point was the amount of money for the purse.
Hundt stated to Cohen that he has a small promotion and blamed a lack of money on not having a television contract. Tissen has a new major sponsor though. It is a furniture store in Germany called Mobel Brameyer. In one of their ads, Tissen is lying on one of their beds smiling and wearing Paffen Sport boxing gloves. Tissen’s fights are not televised, so Hundt has sponsors to defray the cost of promoting the events even though Hundt apparently has enough money to buy Rolex watches and he is also CEO of WFA Manufaktur which is another sponsor of Tissen. Hundt made a paltry offer of $2,500 to Cohen which would have been paid to Torres. Hundt also only offered to pay for two plane tickets which means that Torres would only have one cornerman in her corner. Cohen replied that he would not let anyone that he manages get on an airplane and fight for that small of a purse. Cohen then made a counteroffer of $5,000 with three plane tickets for Tissen to fight Torres in the United States which would have been on November 10. Hundt rejected the offer and stated that Tissen had a fight on December 3. Hundt was looking for an opponent at the time, but he does not want Tissen to fight anywhere except Germany where Hundt can pick the officials. Therefore, Hundt stated that Tissen has a fight on December 3 and used that as an excuse to reject the better offer made by Cohen. Hundt later was able to get Busa to agree to a rematch against Tissen.
Tissen’s previous fight before that was against Jasmina Nadj on November 28, 2015. The WIBF rules state that WIBF world champions must defend the title within one year or be stripped of the title. Therefore, the deadline for Tissen to fight was November 28, 2016. Tissen’s rematch against Busa was a few days later on December 3. This fight should not have been sanctioned by the WIBF, but it was. Lutz allowed it to be sanctioned which was against the WIBF rules. Tissen should have been stripped on November 29 which was a day after the year deadline for her to make a title defense.
I looked on BoxRec to see what boxing commission was involved in this “event” on December 3. There were only two fights on the card. Tissen was fighting Busa who had a losing record of 4-6. The undercard was just one fight. Nermin Bahonjic made his pro debut against a boxer with a winless record of 0-5. Bahonjic won by knockout. Tissen won by unanimous decision with judges’ scores of 100-90. All three judges scored the fight identically and Busa did not win a single round. In Tissen’s entire pro career, the combined record of Tissen’s opponents at the time she fought them is 114-114-16. This is a winning percentage of 50%. Collectively, Tissen’s opponents win only half the time. The boxing commission was one that I never heard of before. It is called Bund Deutscher Faustkampfer which translates to “Bunch of German Pugilists.” Of course, it sounds ridiculous. I expect nothing less from Germany. I found out that the Bund Deutscher Faustkampfer (BDF) is the third and latest professional boxing commission in Germany. I sent an email to Artur Ellensohn who is the Vice President of the BDF. I asked him if Tissen took the required post-fight anti-doping test for this event in which the BDF was the commission. Since Tissen had the requirement waived for her previous fight against Busa, I wanted to know if it was waived again.
Ellensohn replied to me that the Tissen vs. Busa fight on December 3 was sanctioned by the WIBF and GBU. Ellensohn also stated that all of the officials for this fight were assigned by these federations: the supervisor, the judges, the referee, and the timekeeper. Ellensohn stated that “Nobody from the BDF was involved.” Ellensohn stated that he was not even present there at the fight. Once again, we have the same situation as in Tissen’s first fight against Busa which was in June 2015. The BDB was not involved in selecting the officials for that fight even though it was the commission for the event. For Tissen’s rematch against Busa, the BDF was not involved in selecting any of the officials. Since Tissen had the required anti-doping test waived for her first fight against Busa, I believe that the anti-doping test was waived again for the rematch against Busa. Obviously, the boxing commissions in Germany are there only for the undercard fights and have no control over Tissen’s world title fights.
Jurgen Lutz who is the GBU President and WIBF Vice President has the authority in Tissen’s fights which are sanctioned by the GBU and WIBF. Lutz again allowed Hundt to use his friends as officials for Tissen’s fight on December 3. Two of the judges have never judged a fight before. They have no record of ever being a judge prior to December 3. The third judge was also the referee! Hundt was so cheap that he didn’t want to pay for a separate person to be the third judge. The name of this judge/referee is Ibrahim Barakat who apparently is a good friend of Hundt. He has a history of judging fights in Germany which includes several of Tissen’s fights. He was the referee/judge for Tissen’s fight against Fatuma Zarika in 2011 which was the last time that Tissen fought a legitimate contender. He was the referee/judge for Tissen’s fight against Jane Kavulani in 2012. He was the referee/judge for Tissen’s fight against Doris Koehler in 2013. He was the referee/judge for Tissen’s two fights against Jasmina Nadj in 2014 and 2015. By the way, I don’t think having a referee as also one of the judges is abiding by the rules for a world title fight. There should be three judges and one referee who should not be the same person as one of the judges.
An article about the Tissen vs. Busa rematch was posted by the German news website Westfalische Nachrichten. Busa’s coach said “There is no better boxer anywhere in the world (translated from German).” He was referring to Tissen. When Tissen fights boxers with losing records, how can anyone say that Tissen is the best boxer in the world? The article described Tissen as having “…a slightly tired look. The ten rounds have cost strength. It was not a high-class fight…(translated from German).” The article also stated that Busa “…proved to be a tough opponent as in June 2015 (translated from German).” Busa’s record is now 4-7. Busa’s only win against an opponent with a winning record was a first round knockout against Karine Rinaldo of France. Because of that win, Busa has a decent rating on BoxRec. Busa is currently No. 17 in the super bantamweight division. You are probably wondering why Busa is rated at super bantamweight when she just recently fought in a featherweight title fight. Busa weighed just one-fourth of a pound over 121 pounds for the rematch against Tissen. Busa did not weigh at least 122 pounds which is the featherweight minimum. Busa was not within the required weight range and yet the fight was sanctioned as a world featherweight title fight.
Tissen was previously rated the No. 25 featherweight in the world on BoxRec.com. After Tissen’s win by unanimous decision against Busa on December 3, Tissen’s rating improved dramatically to No. 5. Tissen’s rating is now No. 4. Tissen’s Facebook page is bragging about the “accomplishment.” It is a total fraud and a fallacy. Tissen’s wins against legitimate contenders were the result of biased judges and referees. Biased officials were involved in probably all of her title fights in Germany, even when her opponents were mediocre. That is why her rating is so high. I have heard from a reliable source that the BDF was not pleased that Hundt was permitted to choose his friends to be the officials. Two of them were not qualified to be judging a world title fight and have no record of ever judged a professional fight before. Barakat has a history of being a biased judge for Tissen’s fights whether he is solely a judge or a judge/referee.
Because of my previous article about Tissen, I became friends with WIBF President Barbara Buttrick who lives in Miami Beach. I made Buttrick aware of the corruption that is going on with the sanctioning body that she created. Buttrick read the previous article, but it did not change anything. Lutz is still allowing Hundt to do whatever he wants. The WIBF and GBU are actually within the same company. The GBU was formed afterwards in order to have a base of operations in Germany. The GBU sanctions men’s and women’s boxing. The WIBF just sanctions women’s boxing. The intention of this agreement between the GBU and WIBF was that Buttrick was going to run the WIBF in the United States and the GBU would be run by Lutz in Germany. There were WIBF title fights in America, but there has not been one in recent years. Women’s boxing was not as popular in America as it was in Germany and other countries in Europe. Basically, Lutz ended up controlling both the WIBF and GBU even though Buttrick is majority owner and president of the WIBF. Lutz does not inform Buttrick of what is happening with the business including when he commits corrupt acts. Lutz is getting two sanctioning fees when Tissen fights because she has both the WIBF and GBU belts. Buttrick has received little compensation in recent years in spite of being the WIBF President and GBU Vice President. Lutz does not need the WIBF since the GBU sanctions women’s boxing as well. America needs the WIBF. Germany wants the WIBF because it is the oldest sanctioning body for women’s boxing that is still in existence. It has prestige and the Germans know this which is why they desire it and want to keep it for themselves. America has more talented female boxers than Germany does. American female boxers need a world title belt to fight for in America so they don’t have to get robbed in Mexico, Germany, and other foreign countries. Women’s boxing in America is like a sleeping giant about to be awakened, but it needs support from television and corporate sponsors.
I told Buttrick that the Germans are waiting for her not to be here anymore. In other words, they are waiting for her to die so that they can keep the WIBF for themselves. I asked Buttrick if she would get the WIBF out of Germany so that there can be WIBF world title fights again in America. I believe that the WIBF should be phased out of Germany. I believe that Lutz should come to Miami Beach where Buttrick lives and give back his shares of the WIBF to Buttrick. Buttrick would in turn give her shares of the GBU to Lutz. Essentially, the GBU and WIBF would separate. They would become two separate companies. There is no need for Tissen and other women in Germany to have both the WIBF and GBU belts when they are not two separate companies and are simply two sanctioning bodies within the same company. Lutz should come to America because I don’t trust Germany. I don’t know their laws and I definitely would not trust their lawyers. Will this happen? I don’t know, but Buttrick knows how I feel. If the WIBF ends up staying in Germany forever, it will be unfortunate. The WIBF still has prestige even though the major sanctioning bodies have supplanted the other sanctioning bodies such as the WIBF. Nevertheless, women’s boxing needs advocates more than any particular belt.
There is a battle happening not only inside the ropes, but also outside of it which was previously only behind the scenes. What will the public believe about Tissen? What will be her legacy and Hundt’s legacy? Hundt does not want you to read my articles about Tissen because he does not want you to know the truth. Schroder of the WBF told me that it is rare that any journalist truly investigates into boxing matters such as this. Some journalists are afraid to lose their press credential for the next show or are even threatened physically. Schroder also stated that most journalists simply do not care. I do it because I can. I do it because I care.
The photo for this article is copyright René Penno and used with permission.
Champion of Combat Becomes the Coach: Exclusive Interview with Bonnie “The Cobra” Canino
Champion of Combat Becomes the Coach: Exclusive Interview with Bonnie “The Cobra” Canino
By: Ron Scarfone
The South Florida area consists of three counties: Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade. The city of Dania Beach was incorporated in 1904 and it is the oldest city in Broward County. It is known as “Broward’s First City” even though it was founded 11 years before Broward County was created in 1915. Dania Beach is also known as “The Antique Capital of the South” due to its many antique shops. When Bonnie Canino was a boxer, she was trained by Bert Rodriguez who owned US-1 Fitness Center in Dania Beach. Rodriguez inadvertently trained Ziad Jarrah who was one of the suspected terrorists that hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 which crashed in Pennsylvania. The suspected terrorist wanted to learn how to fend off attackers using knives and guns. Rodriguez did not know what Jarrah’s intentions were at the time.
Rodriguez has earned black belts in eight styles of martial arts. Rodriguez is a respected trainer of martial arts, boxing, and kickboxing. Rodriguez helped Canino become a world champion in boxing and kickboxing. Canino has also earned black belts in Chinese Kenpo and in WTA (World Taekwondo Alliance). Canino is currently a trainer at her own gym called Canino’s Karate and Boxing Studio in Dania Beach. Canino guided two female boxers to win world championships. Canino previously trained Ada Velez and helped her to win world titles at bantamweight and super bantamweight. Canino also trained Yvonne Reis who was the first WBC female middleweight champion. Canino runs the Women’s National Golden Gloves which is an amateur boxing tournament held every year. Canino was inducted into the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014.
When I entered Canino’s gym, I saw championship belts on the wall. They are up high so that no one can steal them. Canino’s world title belts in boxing at featherweight are displayed near each other. Canino’s belts from her world titles in kickboxing are also displayed. Her boxing belts are from the Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) and International Female Boxers Association (IFBA). They look like relics that could be displayed in a museum or could be considered antiques like what is sold in the shops of Dania Beach. Both belts look a little different than the current belts from those sanctioning bodies. They are both significant in that these were inaugural titles, so Canino was the first featherweight champion of both sanctioning bodies. Canino agreed to be interviewed and she was very candid about the sport of boxing and also women’s boxing as well as her own boxing and kickboxing career. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Boxing Insider: When you won the WIBF featherweight title, there was a change of opponents for you and it was not sanctioned (by the Nevada State Athletic Commission) because of the opponent change.
Bonnie Canino: I was supposed to fight Delia Gonzalez. They had trouble finding an opponent for me. I went there to fight no matter what. (Writer’s Note: Delia Gonzalez was on the card, but her opponent was switched from Canino to Fienie Klee with the WIBF super flyweight title at stake. Bridgett Riley was originally scheduled against Klee, but Riley was eventually off the card. Klee needed an opponent, so Gonzalez was chosen. As a result, Canino had no opponent until they found a substitute. There were six women’s world title fights originally scheduled on the fight card which was unprecedented. The date of the event was April 20, 1995. WIBF President Barbara Buttrick still awarded Canino the WIBF title after her victory over the substitute opponent. Nevertheless, this fight is not on Canino’s official record because it was not sanctioned by the boxing commission in Nevada.)
Boxing Insider: That was in Las Vegas. That was the all women’s card.
Bonnie Canino: That was right before the Oklahoma City bombing (which occurred the day before on April 19, 1995). Barbara was supposed to get a lot of press (for her event). We were supposed to get a lot of press that day and everybody (the media) went to Oklahoma.
Boxing Insider: Barbara told me that too.
Bonnie Canino: Yeah. It was a shame, but we all fought our hearts out.
Boxing Insider: Was it on TV?
Bonnie Canino: No. They never aired it. I just know that they made a video. Back then, they didn’t have cell phones like we have now (that can show video).
Boxing Insider: The Internet was still new. There was no YouTube.
Bonnie Canino: It was a lot of money and a lot of work (to do the event). I ended up fighting this girl.
Boxing Insider: Unfortunately, there is no record of it on Fight Fax or BoxRec.
Bonnie Canino: I fought 5 rounds against her. She outweighed me. She was about 135 pounds, but I went ahead and accepted the fight. I was only 122 pounds. She didn’t have any skills for a championship. I had already held two world titles from kickboxing. Back then, Barbara gave a lot of opportunity to women kickboxers who really wanted to box. Back then, (women’s) boxing was behind closed doors. I was getting 12 round fights at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in kickboxing, five times on pay-per-view. These girls said why am I going to do boxing when I am getting paid and doing all these fights in kickboxing. When boxing (for the women) started coming through, she had gained all the girls that were top-notch kickboxers. Some of the girls on the (all women’s) card were kickboxers previously.
Boxing Insider: You and other kickboxers went to boxing?
Bonnie Canino: I always wanted to box. You had women’s kickboxing and they’re in the ring and that’s what I want to do. I just wanted to fight. I wanted to get in the ring and be like Muhammad Ali. I want to get out there. I want to show myself. It gave me the opportunity. The guys respected me as a woman fighter going out there, so they gave me a lot of opportunities. There were times when I had fights, they were behind closed doors. They were like gym fights without an audience. There were (also) wrestling shows, but in between they would have feature events like boxing. They would try to have women’s boxing, but if I couldn’t find another woman boxer to come, I would get a guy to fight.
Boxing Insider: You fought a man in front of an audience?
Bonnie Canino: Yes, I did.
Boxing Insider: How did you do?
Bonnie Canino: Well, there were not any judges saying if we did good or bad. I fought him three times. The third time was a little more dangerous because we had more of a rivalry, more press, and more people (attending). I think I fared pretty good. I shouldn’t be out there with a man, but we had a mutual agreement that he wasn’t trying to knock me out. He was trying to hit me, but not to try to finish me.
Boxing Insider: Was that in the ‘80s?
Bonnie Canino: That was in the ‘90s. ’91, ’92. I fought Christy Martin at the gym. I tried to hook up with fights like that.
Boxing Insider: In women’s boxing today, world title fights are 10 rounds, 2 minutes each. What did you fight when you were in the kickboxing championships?
Bonnie Canino: 12 rounds.
Boxing Insider: How many minutes each round?
Bonnie Canino: 2 minutes. Later on like in 1993, they had another sanctioning (body) and then they had 10 rounds for their world title fights. A lot of the fights, they were 12 round fights.
Boxing Insider: Regarding the limitations in time for women’s boxing today, how do you feel about that? Do you think that they should fight as long as the men?
Bonnie Canino: Well, I did a Facebook page for women’s rights to box 3 minute rounds, 12 rounds, and I had felt that to become a world pro, the champions that can do 12 rounds, 3 minute rounds, are not going to break down in that time period. I know as a professional fighter, I can take myself to the higher level if they gave me a chance at 3 minutes, 12 round fights because I was in that great condition. I think that now because the fights are 2 minutes and 10 rounds, most fighters could do that. They don’t need to have the years of experience to build themselves up to that level. Let’s say a guy who is starting out in professional boxing, he fights a 4 round fight. Then, he moves up to 6 round fights, then 8 rounds, then 10 rounds. Then, he gets 12 rounds, so now he is at his peak at that 12 rounds. If you were to give him 12 rounds when he started, he wouldn’t be at that peak. He needed to train his body, his mind, and his attention span to be able to withstand that long time period. When the fighters get up to 12 rounds, it is their attention span of staying focused and not letting their guard down the whole time. That shows a lot of professionalism.
Boxing Insider: When you train boxers, do they train 3 minute rounds?
Bonnie Canino: Yes. I feel that you want to train to the max.
Boxing Insider: That way, a 2 minute round is easier if they train for 3 minutes.
Bonnie Canino: Exactly. Except it could work the opposite way around too.
Boxing Insider: How?
Bonnie Canino: Because when boxers fight 3 minutes (per round), they have 3 minutes to box, so they are not in a hurry to show the judges who is winning. They have time to slow down their feet. In 2 minute (round) fights, they don’t have time to slow down their feet. It’s a fast speed because they only have 2 minutes.
Boxing Insider: They are not getting as much money as the men because they are scheduled to fight less time than the men.
Bonnie Canino: I asked myself that too. Why would I want to fight 3 minute rounds and 12 rounds when I am not going to get paid any more money?
Boxing Insider: They would probably get paid more because a lot of the promoters say we’re not going to pay you as much because you’re fighting less time than the men.
Bonnie Canino: I don’t really think so. I think it’s just the pecking order. You look at the girls doing MMA. They are doing 5 minute rounds, 5 rounds (total). They are going to the max. In the martial arts, the guys respect the women fighters.
Boxing Insider: Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey, they are probably making as much money as the top men. They are fighting for the same length of time in mixed martial arts. There is equal time for women and men in MMA.
Bonnie Canino: Because they are more respected in that field. In kickboxing, they gave me and a bunch of other girls the first opportunity to step in that ring. Barbara had given the opportunity, but there weren’t that many (opportunities).
Boxing Insider: Say for example you were in your prime again fighting today and you had a choice between boxing or mixed martial arts, the way the businesses are run now with the money and respect in each sport, what sport would you choose?
Bonnie Canino: I would be like Holly Holm. I would win my championships in kickboxing and boxing and MMA. In fact, I did have an opportunity to do MMA in 1997. They didn’t have any weight divisions. This fight took place in Japan.
Boxing Insider: You did it?
Bonnie Canino: No, I didn’t. I said to myself why am I going to do that sport when they don’t have any weight divisions and the pay is only that much money and I’m getting paid this much money to box. I am going to stick with the boxing because it was a growing sport and that sport (MMA) was just developing, but I would have taken it on and I would have been a bad ass in all three (sports).
Boxing Insider: Did you think in the mid ‘90s when you were a champion in women’s boxing that it would have progressed more than it has now with the money and the exposure?
Bonnie Canino: In the 1990s, we were getting on pay-per-view a lot all the way until 2002 and then we went down into a little plunge. Even men’s boxing did too. That’s when the MMA came out. (Writer’s Note: The UFC was purchased for $2 million in 2001 by brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. The UFC began to rise in popularity after that.) I think we’re going to build up again eventually. Through Biblical times, there have been great women warriors and now the sport is so populated that these are the women warriors that we have today in boxing, kickboxing, and MMA.
Boxing Insider: How is women’s kickboxing doing? Are those organizations that you were champions for, are they still around?
Bonnie Canino: Yes. In fact, the WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) is and the KICK (Karate International Council of Kickboxing). They joined together and they are going to be in the Olympics in 2020 in the amateurs. They’re still strong. They’re getting a little bit more regulated.
Boxing Insider: In MMA, you can do almost anything. In boxing, you are limited to your hands. Kickboxing has not had the same popularity as either of those sports.
Bonnie Canino: They have. It just depends on what country you’re living in. If you go to Japan, Thailand, some of those areas, kickboxing is really huge. Also in Europe.
Boxing Insider: And Muay Thai.
Bonnie Canino: Not really Muay Thai. I would say K-1 type of rules which has Muay Thai into it.
Boxing Insider: I know that the WBC sanctions Muay Thai.
Bonnie Canino: There’s a lot of money into it. All three sports are the hardest because you have to condition yourself. Boxing is really hard because you have to be in really good shape to have all those rules and just using your hands.
Boxing Insider: There are boxing promoters with their own stable. Their “A side” boxers (on a fight card) are matched up against “B side” boxers and they don’t want them to lose to the “B side” boxers, so the “B side” boxers are subpar with mediocre or losing records because they invested their money into their stable and they don’t want their boxers to lose, so they are trying to see how much money they can spend to get an opponent who is not going to beat their boxer.
Bonnie Canino: Exactly. So if you are really good, you are not going to have the opportunity unless you have someone behind you.
Boxing Insider: You defended the WIBF featherweight title a few times and they were like exhibitions. When your opponent was Deirdre Gogarty, the boxing commission recognized that fight.
Bonnie Canino: It was a very bad night for me. I had the world title and the promoter there (in Louisiana) called me for a whole year asking me to defend my title against her (Gogarty).
Boxing Insider: I read that you didn’t get paid.
Bonnie Canino: I didn’t get paid. I lost my title. I feel that when you are a world champion, your title has to be taken away from you and she never took the title away from me because it was from her town, her promotion, and her judges. They are not going to see anything my way. Very very very bad. The whole thing was a black eye for boxing. Did Barbara know anything about it? Not really. She was just going where the sanctioning body is going for the money. Now, you (the promoter) have to have money in the bank to make sure everyone gets paid, so that way you don’t get ripped off like that. I did a civil lawsuit. I won. I had to go back every seven years to try to collect my money. He (The promoter) had his money in with his wife, so I was never able to get my money.
Boxing Insider: So even though you won the civil lawsuit, you still didn’t get paid.
Bonnie Canino: I never got paid. It was $9,000 and I still could use the money. Of course, I lost that. I lost my title. I even got my nose broken in that fight. It was like three strikes. It was a bad night.
Boxing Insider: The next fight though, you won the International Female Boxers Association (IFBA) featherweight title. That was a lot better for you because you won and probably got paid.
Bonnie Canino: Yes.
Boxing Insider: Was that an inaugural title because I believe that sanctioning body started in 1997?
Bonnie Canino: Yes.
Boxing Insider: So you won the inaugural featherweight title for two women’s boxing sanctioning bodies.
Bonnie Canino: Yeah.
Boxing Insider: Then, when you fought Chevelle Hallback here (in Florida in 1998), I believe that was the last time a WIBF featherweight title fight was held in the United States from what I saw on BoxRec. After that, it was in Europe, but mostly in Germany. Chevelle obviously was tough and strong.
Bonnie Canino: Yeah, it was a pretty tough fight. She was a lot bigger than me in size. Within the first 30 seconds, I got a headbutt and it cut my eyebrow and I had blood going into my eye.
Boxing Insider: Was it intentional?
Bonnie Canino: Well, she leads in a lot with her head. If you watch a lot of her fights, she headbutts all the girls. It was a big fight. We sold out the auditorium. I wasn’t going to quit, but the doctor looked at me and said don’t worry Bonnie. I’ll suture you up afterwards. He gave me a little pad. The blood kept seeping in my eye. (Writer’s Note: The fight was stopped in the seventh round. Hallback won by TKO.) She is a pretty strong girl. She reminded me of Lucia Rijker. I fought Lucia Rijker in kickboxing in 1989 for a world championship.
Boxing Insider: How did you do?
Bonnie Canino: I lost to her. I beat her in the first round. In the second round, she came out storming. After the second round, I told my corner that I can’t win this fight. So they said what do you want us to do? Throw in the towel? I said no. I’m going to fight, so I fought all the way up to the end of the fight. In fact, by the fifth round, she was getting so tired because she never went past the first round (before). She was 18-0 with 18 knockouts. I completed the fight with her. She got tired, but she was 127 pounds and I was 118 pounds. I took the fight because I was cocky. I was 9-0. I fought big girls before.
Boxing Insider: Was that for a title?
Bonnie Canino: That was for a title. I weighed in with weights in my pants.
Boxing Insider: Oh, so you could make the weight. Wow.
Bonnie Canino: Yeah. I learned a good lesson. The lesson I learned was either get on the boat or get off the boat. I was like, I’m on the boat. I’m going to become champion.
Boxing Insider: You took opportunities. You fought Chevelle Hallback again. Her (original) opponent didn’t come.
Bonnie Canino: Yeah, that was in 2004. I shouldn’t have been in there. (Writer’s Note: Canino stopped fighting in 1999 and did not fight again until this fight in 2004 which was Canino’s final fight.) Boxing is a drug. It took me 15 years just to say I’m not practicing anymore. I’m not going to get hit in the head anymore. I’m done. I’m not going back in the ring ever again. It took me that long to get off the drug. I shouldn’t have even been in that ring because I had just finished working with Kathy Rivers in Guyana. (Writer’s Note: Rivers fought in Guyana and lost by unanimous decision against Gwendolyn O’Neil.) I was in South America and then I took Yvonne Reis over to Oregon. (Writer’s Note: Reis fought in Lincoln City, Oregon on June 3, 2004. Canino went to another event in Lincoln City the day after on June 4 which was where she fought Hallback in a rematch.) The opponent (for Hallback) backed out and I said I can do it. I’m in shape. I wanted to do something for women’s boxing and I knew that television was there. I was exhausted by the first or second round. (Writer’s Note: Hallback won by TKO in the fourth round.)
Boxing Insider: You came back after a 5 year hiatus. You were really retired.
Bonnie Canino: I really shouldn’t have been in there. Especially after being overseas and I was on airplane after airplane.
Boxing Insider: How many kickboxing world titles did you win?
Bonnie Canino: Two. In WAKO and in KICK. I also won an American Continental title with ISKA (International Sport Karate Association).
Boxing Insider: After you won the IFBA title, I don’t see on your record that you defended the title. What happened with that?
Bonnie Canino: Back then, just to get a promoter to put a woman on a card was really hard. I could get a promoter to promote me on small cards, like 6 round fights or 8 round fights, but they wouldn’t do a world title fight (for 10 rounds) because they didn’t want to pay for the sanctioning fee. I was left with that turmoil of not being able to get a promoter. I was happy just to fight.
Boxing Insider: You were fighting. You were active. You had a belt you couldn’t defend.
Bonnie Canino: That’s when I decided to retire in 2000. I’ve been waiting since 1979. How long do I need to wait? I didn’t want to go through that time period of keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting for what?
Boxing Insider: 4 round fights.
Bonnie Canino: Yeah. It takes a lot when you are a professional fighter to stay in top condition. You have to sacrifice a lot and I did. I gave myself a time limit. I think I did it back in 1996. I was going to give myself until 2000. Back then, people were saying I’m getting too old. I retired (in 2000) when I was 37 or 38 (years old).
Boxing Insider: You fought Alicia Ashley in 1999 before she became a world champion. Do you recall that fight? (Writer’s Note: Ashley won by unanimous decision in an eight-round bout. The judges’ scores were close, but all in favor of Ashley. The scores were 77-76, 77-75, and 77-75.)
Bonnie Canino: Yes. We both kind of nullified ourselves. We both are southpaws. She was backing away. I was used to the girls coming forward. I never really thought I lost the fight. I didn’t feel like I lost to her. She was a great fighter. It could have been a draw. She was the younger boxer and I was the veteran boxer.
Boxing Insider: Regarding the judging in women’s boxing, in Mexico they are robbing the girls in this WBC flyweight tournament. I don’t know if you saw these fights on YouTube. They have the Mexicans all winning and then the girls like Melissa McMorrow and then a girl from Japan gets robbed. We know there are robberies, but do you think it is harder for a judge to determine who the winner is of a 2 minute round because it is shorter in time as opposed to a 3 minute round?
Bonnie Canino: No, I don’t think so. I think 2 minutes is ample time to be able to decide who the winner is. I had watched how many punches I threw in 2 minutes, the punch stats. I noticed that in boxing at a 2 minute pace, the boxers should throw at least 60 punches per round. Not (necessarily) connecting, but throwing, and that would be a busy round. That is why they give that punch stat so you can see how active or how fast-paced the fight is.
Boxing Insider: Since that is the division you fought in, I’ll talk about the featherweight division. There is a good world champion in Jelena Mrdjenovich. She’s the WBC/WBA champ. She fights legitimate contenders all the time. Then, you have IBF champ Jennifer Han. She was in your Golden Gloves tournament and I believe she won.
Bonnie Canino: Yeah.
Boxing Insider: Han fights people that are just below world-class level or not world-class at all in her title defenses. Elina Tissen who is the WIBF/GBU champion hasn’t fought a legitimate contender in 5 years. It seems to me that they are world champions not because of their ability, but because of the opportunity that they had to get a title shot and then the sanctioning bodies let them fight nobodies to defend it because they want to keep that show going, that promotion going, with that champion and that crowd to come in. Han has support from her city of El Paso, Texas. The IBF knows they have this champion that people like. People will buy tickets as long as Han remains the champion, so they give her soft title defenses, but also because the promoter may not have the money to pay for anybody good to go there because it is not televised. Obviously, television is necessary for women’s boxing to really flourish in my opinion. They are really only the world champs because they got the opportunity. What do you feel about that? (Writer’s Note: Cindy Serrano is scheduled to fight Calixta Silgado for the vacant WBO featherweight title. Silgado already had two title shots and lost both of them to Han and Cindy’s sister Amanda who previously held the WBO featherweight title before vacating it. Silgado is currently rated No. 43 in the world at featherweight by BoxRec.)
Bonnie Canino: Every fight is hard, so whenever Han goes out there, she is not fighting the best, but it’s still a hard fight for her. It’s everywhere. The same thing with myself. I had some easy fights and tough fights. You just have to look past that and keep going and keep growing.
Boxing Insider: The reason why I say this is because there are a lot of contenders that don’t get title shots and they are better than the champions like Elina Tissen. She is rated No. 25. She won so many biased decisions that she should really be rated about No. 40 in the world, not 25. She is going to defend her title against a girl with a losing record who she already defeated before.
Bonnie Canino: I was never very proud of fights such as (when I fought) April Griffith. (Writer’s Note: Canino knocked out Griffith in the first round. It was Griffith’s pro debut.) They were embarrassing to me. They were wins.
Boxing Insider: But they weren’t title defenses.
Bonnie Canino: No, they were just fights.
Boxing Insider: It’s different when they are the world champions.
Bonnie Canino: But that’s what’s wrong with fighting. You don’t see the best people.
Boxing Insider: Because they want to protect their interests and also because of the lack of television, they don’t have the money to pay for good opponents.
Bonnie Canino: What happened to the men’s boxing is happening to the women’s boxing, but not all the time. Every now and then, you get some really great fights. It’s a money thing and how many people are going to buy that pay-per-view for the fights. The UFC is eventually going to go that way.
Boxing Insider: Do you think, yeah?
Bonnie Canino: Eventually.
Boxing Insider: The UFC dominates mixed martial arts so much. Bellator is their closest competition. The UFC has all the top talent. Bellator has maybe one person in the top ten and the UFC has at least nine people in the top ten for every division. With boxing, there is not one sanctioning body that has all or the vast majority of the talent, although the WBC probably has the most talent in women’s boxing. That’s another thing. Look at all these minor belts they have.
Bonnie Canino: Everybody has belts. When I go to the (Golden Gloves) tournament, everybody wants belts. Everybody’s a champion. Belts are immaterial. What’s material to me is who have you fought, how many rounds have you fought, how many fights have you fought. The belts to me, they don’t really mean much to be honest. It’s the people who I fought and me going out there competing and fighting.
Boxing Insider: I remember my Taekwondo instructor said a belt is only good to hold up your pants.
Bonnie Canino: Right. It’s not the black belt that you wear on your waist. It’s the black belt in your heart and knowing that you can go out there and you can do it. That’s what a true black belt is.
Boxing Insider: Because the major sanctioning bodies got involved in women’s boxing, they have most of the top talent right now. The Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) doesn’t have the quality or quantity of talent that they had in the past.
Bonnie Canino: That’s because it wasn’t marketed right. I think with belts, you have to set your standards right away. With Barbara, she just couldn’t do it all by herself. It was people that were giving her bad advice.
Boxing Insider: Her minor belts are not even recognized by BoxRec and no one wants to fight for them because they are not registered on BoxRec.
Bonnie Canino: The people that used to help her were old and they died. The guy over there in Germany, Jurgen (Lutz), he had Regina Halmich and it (the WIBF belt) was a belt to have. Barbara gave her the first opportunity, but it’s like everybody is jumping on the bandwagon. You had the WIBA (Women’s International Boxing Association) and you had the IFBA before the men’s sanctioning bodies even thought about it. Back in the 1990s, those were the belts to have. Now all the girls want to have the guy’s belts because they want to be a part of that.
Boxing Insider: The prestige is with the belts from the major sanctioning bodies. The WBC female belt, that’s the one that everyone wants. The WBC has their major world belt and they have so many minor belts. I researched this. In women’s boxing, the WBC has triple the amount of belts and champions of the next highest sanctioning body.
Bonnie Canino: Yeah, money. Yvonne (Reis) won the belt. (Writer’s Note: Yvonne Reis won the vacant and inaugural WBC female middleweight title in 2006.) We went to Kenya, Africa. She fought in front of a sold out crowd. It was the second biggest fight in Africa. It was spectacular. It was great. She even got Fighter of the Month for the WBC. She had six months to defend the belt. She had to find a promoter. If not, she would lose the belt. (Writer’s Note: Reis did not defend the belt within six months.)
Boxing Insider: Here it is on BoxRec. Win by split decision. She had a lot of title shots. She didn’t win all of them.
Bonnie Canino: She got shafted a lot by poor judging. I’ve never seen anybody get ripped off so bad like she got ripped off. I threw temper fits the last two times.
Boxing Insider: The Internet is good for seeing fights. If you see it, then you know if someone got robbed or not. Also, the news on the Internet is informative because there are so many boxing writers. For example, if I go to a show and I see a bad decision, I write about it. What were your other major fights in kickboxing besides fighting Lucia Rijker?
Bonnie Canino: I fought Kathy Long at Caesars Palace in a 12 round fight in 1990. It was my first world championship fight.
Boxing Insider: You got robbed, right?
Bonnie Canino: Yeah, I got robbed (by the judges). They held up her hand (as the winner). At the time, we had commentators and they were outspoken and said it was a robbery. Losing that fight was terrible. It was devastating. I fought six world title kickboxing fights in one year. I was lucky. I defended it in April and in June and then I had a fight scheduled in October 1993. The day I was supposed to go flying (to the fight), I was out having dinner with my parents. I took them to the gym where I dropped them off. It was late at night and they were getting into their car. Fighters before a fight, they shouldn’t get riled up. The week before a fight, you want them to stay calm. Two guys approached my mom’s car. They were about to rob them or shoot them. I saw what was happening. I got out of my car.
Boxing Insider: Where did this happen?
Bonnie Canino: It was at US-1 Fitness. I roared (in anger) and the two guys ran across the street. I let all my energy go. I let that roar out. When it was time to fight in the ring against Lisa Howarth, I went out there instead like a sparring match. They were so used to me being like a tiger. They took the title away from me. She didn’t really take the title away from me. I have the film (of the fight). They gave it to her.
Boxing Insider: Your trainer was Bert Rodriguez, right?
Bonnie Canino: Yes.
Boxing Insider: And he was at US-1 Fitness which is a different gym now. He married Kathy Rivers, right? (Writer’s Note: Kathy Rivers was a light heavyweight and heavyweight contender from the late 1990s to 2014 when she had her last fight. She had four world title shots and lost all four of them.)
Bonnie Canino: Yeah, he ended up marrying Kathy Rivers.
Boxing Insider: I met both of them, by the way. I was in an acting class in Hollywood, Florida and they came in to take the class too. That was a year before the 9/11 attacks. I read that he inadvertently trained one of the suspected terrorists. Regarding the Golden Gloves (for women), I was at the one this year. The other one I went to was several years ago. I recall that a lot of the boxers who were in the finals several years ago were from different states in the nation whereas the one this year had most of the finalists from New York. I was thinking is it because there is a decline of interest in the other states and New York has a lot of interest or is it because New York is so much better than the other states?
Bonnie Canino: New York has a very strong federation in their Golden Gloves. If you win the New York Golden Gloves, then they will send you to the Nationals. They will pay for the airplane and hotel.
Boxing Insider: You wrote the book titled The Body which is sold on Amazon. I felt even before reading it that this book would be good for men and women. (Writer’s Note: The book is an illustrated guide to basic boxing fundamentals. Hand wrapping and workout routines are also included.)
Bonnie Canino: It is. Basically, it’s for everybody. I am a woman and I don’t have the power and the strength of a man, so I have to use my technique and my strategy more than just using brute strength like some of the guys do.
Boxing Insider: The WBC said that they wanted to limit women’s boxing to 10 rounds, 2 minute rounds, because they are worried about dehydration and concussion issues, all these pseudoscientific studies. What do you feel about that?
Bonnie Canino: That’s bullcrap. They’re wrong. It should be equal. That’s why I like MMA. It has that recognition. It doesn’t matter in MMA if you’re a woman or a man. You’re going to fight 5 rounds, 5 minutes (per round). If they want a real world champion, then the fights should be 12 rounds, 3 minutes (per round) for a woman boxer and you’ll weed out some of the world championship fighters.
Photo for this article is from the front cover of The Body by Bonnie “The Cobra” Canino. ISBN 9781481104142
Corrections to article: There was an error on Canino’s record on BoxRec.com which led me to believe that she never made a title defense of her IFBA featherweight title. However, Canino did make two title defenses of the IFBA belt. After Canino won the title against Beverly Szymanski by unanimous decision, Canino’s next fight was against Cora Webber. BoxRec incorrectly shows the result of that fight as being a six-round fight that Canino won by split decision. Fight Fax which is boxing’s official records keeper shows the result of that fight as being a win by unanimous decision for Canino in a ten-round fight. Fight Fax also shows the fight as being for the IFBA title. Therefore, this was Canino’s first defense of the IFBA title. After this fight, Canino fought in a WIBF featherweight title fight and lost to Chevelle Hallback by TKO in the seventh round. Canino next fought Nora Daigle with the IFBA featherweight title at stake. This was Canino’s second defense of the IFBA title. I thought that Canino did not have the IFBA belt at the time because she fought for the WIBF title. Usually, a sanctioning body will strip a world champion of her title if she fights for the title of another sanctioning body. Apparently, this did not happen based on other research that I have done. Therefore, Canino’s fight against Daigle was her second successful IFBA title defense. After this fight, Canino did not have any more title defenses according to BoxRec and Fight Fax records. There is also a minor error in another fight of Canino. BoxRec shows the result of her fight against Gina Davis as being a win by TKO in the first round. Fight Fax shows the result as being a win by KO in the first round. I will inform BoxRec of the errors and send them Canino’s official Fight Fax record so that the corrections can be made on her BoxRec record.
WBC Favors Mexican Boxers in Female Flyweight Tournament
WBC Favors Mexican Boxers in Female Flyweight Tournament
By: Ron Scarfone
The World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight tournament in women’s boxing began in October. It was supposed to settle the debate as to who is the best female flyweight boxer in the world. Instead, it has created more questions than answers. Before I delve into that, I think it is important for you to know the past history of the WBC regarding their involvement in women’s boxing. There was a time when the WBC did not embrace women’s boxing. According to Global Boxing Union (GBU) President Jurgen Lutz, former WBC President Jose Sulaiman said that the WBC would not sanction women’s boxing while he was the president, but he later changed his mind because of former Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) flyweight champion Regina Halmich of Germany making the equivalent of millions of dollars in euros.
The WBC began being involved in women’s boxing in 2005. That same year, the WBC approved a reduction in weight classes for women’s boxing from 17 to 13. According to Jose Sulaiman, these changes were made after a review by a “Medical Committee.” Sulaiman also stated that many other actions would be taken in order to make women’s boxing better and safer. I am not a doctor, but it seems to me that having less weight classes would actually make women’s boxing less safe. The WBC eliminated the cruiserweight division from women’s boxing, but this did not have any adverse effect since there are no female cruiserweights. The super middleweight division was eliminated as well as the super welterweight division and super lightweight division. Bear in mind that this statement by Sulaiman was made in 2005 which was the same year that they started being involved in women’s boxing. They did not have much experience in women’s boxing and yet they intended to make wholesale changes that they felt would improve the sport based on the recommendations of a “Medical Committee.” The doctors on that committee should have their medical licenses revoked. Under these rules, a female boxer who was a super lightweight would have to choose between being a lightweight or a welterweight which could affect her performance and her health.
These changes that were recommended by this “Medical Committee” were not followed by the WBC. Why? Because they are stupid. Also, less weight classes means less money to be made because of less champions and sanctioning fees. In 2005, Laila Ali won the vacant WBC female super middleweight title which was one of the divisions that the WBC supposedly eliminated from women’s boxing. Also in 2005, Mary Jo Sanders won the WBC female super lightweight title which was a division that was removed according to Sulaiman. In 2006, Jisselle Salandy won the vacant WBC female super welterweight title which was also one of the weight classes that the WBC stated that they deleted.
After Jose Sulaiman died, his son Mauricio Sulaiman became the WBC President. Currently, the duration of rounds in women’s boxing is two minutes instead of three and title fights are ten rounds instead of twelve. Mauricio Sulaiman stated that women have an 80% increased probability of getting a concussion than men. He further stated that “these are pure facts.” Women typically do not punch as hard as the men. Did that fact factor into the WBC’s decision? If the WBC is so concerned about the safety of female boxers, why not have one minute rounds and two minute breaks? How about 16 ounce gloves? The reality is that women will never make as much money as the men if the amount of time that they are scheduled to fight is less than the men. Regina Halmich was an exception and Million Dollar Baby was a movie. In the UFC, women and men have the same rules for amount and duration of rounds in title fights: 5 rounds of 5 minutes each. There is equality in the UFC that does not exist in women’s boxing.
Women’s boxing is very popular in Mexico. Soccer and boxing are Mexico’s two most popular sports. The WBC’s reasoning for limiting the time of women’s boxing is because of safety reasons. WIBF President Barbara Buttrick said that she prefers two minute rounds and ten round fights not because of safety reasons, but because she feels that a shorter fight is faster and more interesting. I can understand her opinion if she feels that women’s boxing is more entertaining as a shorter fight, although I do not agree with it. On the other hand, the WBC claims that women are more susceptible to fatigue and dehydration which is why the decision was made for the women to have different rules than the men regarding the time of each round and the amount of rounds.
These rules are not just with the WBC. All of the other sanctioning bodies are the same in this regard. 10 two-minute rounds has become the standard for women’s world title fights. In general, promoters can justify paying female boxers less money because their fights are scheduled for less time than the men. If the other sanctioning bodies were to change this so that the women have the same rules as the men, then the WBC would possibly be pressured to change their rules as well. The WBC has a history of changing their minds when money is at stake. Choosing to get involved in women’s boxing and retaining the weight classes are examples of this. However, the WBC has an advantage over the other major sanctioning bodies because it is based in Mexico. Because women’s boxing is popular in Mexico and because it is televised there, female boxers can probably make more money fighting there even if the WBC had to compete with women’s title fights scheduled for 12 three-minute rounds in other countries.
Since women’s boxing is so popular in Mexico, you would think that Mexican fans would want longer female fights. Maybe they do, but they would rather have something else. They want the Mexican boxers to win. Rounds that are two minutes each are more difficult for judges to score than rounds that are three minutes each if the judges are actually fair and impartial. Because of that, it is easier to rob boxers of victory if the judges are biased. It does not look as obvious that the judges are biased if the rounds are shorter in time. I also believe that the WBC wants shorter fights for the women because it makes it easier for the WBC’s Mexican world champions to win. I believe that this is not just because of the judging, but also because fights that are shorter in duration are physically easier for the Mexican female boxers. They do not need as much stamina and there are less punches being thrown at them. There is also another reason why I believe the WBC wants women’s fights to be shorter. Less time for the women means more time for the men. Women’s title fights are 10 rounds of 2 minutes each which equals 20 minutes. Compare this to the men’s title fights that are 12 rounds of 3 minutes each which equals 36 minutes. That is a difference of 16 minutes. The women are boxing 16 minutes less than the men. Therefore, those 16 minutes can be used for a 4-6 round men’s fight to be scheduled on the card.
Mauricio Sulaiman made an announcement about the WBC’s plans for a female flyweight tournament and listed potential contestants. 18 boxers made the list and 8 of them were selected to participate in the tournament. Four of them are from Mexico: Jessica Chavez, Ibeth Zamora Silva, Esmeralda Moreno, and Ana Arrazola. The other four came from other countries. Melissa McMorrow is from the United States, Raja Amasheh is from Germany, Naoko Fujioka is from Japan, and Nina Stojanovic is from Serbia. None of the Mexicans were scheduled to fight against each other in the preliminary fights of the tournament. If the fights go the distance, then the outcome is controlled by the judges and then all four Mexicans can proceed to the semifinals of the tournament.
Jessica Chavez who is the reigning WBC female flyweight champion was matched up against Naoko Fujioka. Fujioka is the reigning WBO female bantamweight champion, so she had to go down two weight classes in order to participate in this tournament. Of course, that is a disadvantage in itself. The fight was in Mexico which is another disadvantage. Chavez excels at holding and she repeatedly held Fujioka’s arms and put her head in a headlock. The referee would make them separate, but it kept happening. In round six, there was a clash of heads and Fujioka went down, but the referee ruled it as a knockdown. In the tenth and final round, the referee finally deducted a point from Chavez due to excessive holding. The judges’ scores were 96-92, 95-93, and 95-93 all in favor of Chavez by unanimous decision. I scored it 97-91 in favor of Fujioka. I believed that Fujioka won 8 of the 10 rounds.
The next fight of the tournament matched up Esmeralda Moreno against Melissa McMorrow. Both are former world champions. McMorrow lost to Mariana Juarez and Jessica Chavez by biased decisions in Mexico. McMorrow defeated Kenia Enriquez by split decision to win the WBO female flyweight title. About eight months later, McMorrow was in this tournament. Moreno won the IBO, WIBF, and GBU female super flyweight titles in April 2016. About three months later, she challenged Jessica Chavez for her WBC female flyweight title. Blood was coming out of Chavez’s nose. Moreno lost by a biased majority decision.
Moreno’s next fight was against McMorrow in the tournament. This was a fierce fight between two boxers who are both championship caliber. In round two, the referee deducted a point from McMorrow due to a headbutt which was accidental. Throughout the fight, McMorrow was usually getting the better of the exchanges. Moreno complained again about a headbutt in round eight, so the referee deducted another point from McMorrow. Moreno had a cut above her left eyebrow and it was bleeding, but she was getting punched in the face. The judges scored it 100-90, 100-88, and 98-89 all in favor of Moreno by unanimous decision. The judge that scored it 100-88 did not give McMorrow a single round. I scored it 95-93 in favor of McMorrow and that includes the two point deductions.
The third fight of the tournament had WBC Silver female flyweight champion Raja Amasheh of Germany defending her title against Ana Arrazola of Mexico. Amasheh was undefeated with 19 wins. Arrazola is the only one in the tournament to have double digit losses on her record with 11 losses. This fight was in Austria and apparently was not televised because there is no video of it on the Internet. The only article that I could find about the fight was not written by an unbiased journalist. It was a press release written by the WBC. The article stated that Arrazola landed a lot of clean counterpunches and that she had a close lead on the judges’ scorecards. There was open scoring, so the total scores were announced after rounds four and seven. Arrazola knew that she was leading after round seven with scores of 67-66, 67-66, and 68-65. After the tenth and final round, the judges’ scores were 96-94, 96-94, and 97-93 all in favor of Arrazola by unanimous decision. Amasheh is a much better boxer than Arrazola and I find it hard to believe that Arrazola pulled off the upset victory.
The fourth fight of the tournament has not happened yet, but it is scheduled for November 26 and it will be in Mexico. WBC female light flyweight champion Ibeth Zamora Silva will defend her title against former World Boxing Federation (WBF), WIBF, and GBU super flyweight champion Nina Stojanovic of Serbia. Stojanovic is undefeated at 9-0. This is supposed to be a flyweight tournament. Why is the WBC allowing this to be a light flyweight fight? I believe that there are two reasons. The WBC can collect a sanctioning fee by having Silva defend the title that she already has which is in the light flyweight division. It is also a disadvantage for Stojanovic to have to go down two weight classes. If the fight goes the distance which is likely, then expect the judges to award Silva the victory. If that happens, then all four Mexicans in the tournament will move on to the semifinals.
We do not know for sure what the matchups are going to be in the semifinals, but I am going to make some predictions. Because Silva is really a light flyweight, I predict that the WBC is going to give Silva the easiest road to the finals. I predict that Silva will be matched up against Arrazola. Silva has already defeated Arrazola in Silva’s pro debut and Arrazola is by far the worst boxer in the tournament. I believe that Chavez will be matched up against Moreno. Moreno is a better boxer than Chavez and she proved this when she lost to Chavez by a biased majority decision in July. However, the judges will likely rob Moreno of victory again. I believe that the WBC wants Jessica Chavez and Ibeth Zamora Silva to be in the finals. Both of them are rated in the top ten pound for pound by Ring Magazine and BoxRec.com. Of course, these lists are based solely on the results of the fights and do not take into consideration that there are biased decisions.
Like all the other kinds of championship belts, the WBC belt is made of metal and leather. In my opinion, the WBC female world champion belt does not look particularly attractive. I think it looks like a flower colored with green slime from the Ghostbusters movies. It is true though that the WBC belt is desired by female boxers because of its prestige. The winner of the WBC flyweight tournament will receive the WBC Diamond Belt. The belt apparently has real diamonds on it. It might as well have cubic zirconia instead of diamonds because this tournament is not going to determine who the best female flyweight in the world is. It may not even determine who the best Mexican female flyweight is. Kenia Enriquez was one of the potential participants, but she was not selected for the tournament. Enriquez defeated Arrazola in 2014 to win the vacant WBO female flyweight title.
Who will ultimately win the WBC Diamond flyweight belt? I believe that Chavez will be the winner. Chavez has the same last name as Julio Cesar Chavez who is considered to be the best Mexican boxer of all time. Chavez has an advantage of being a flyweight since the final fight will be (or should be) at flyweight. After all, it is a flyweight tournament. After Chavez wins in the finals, then she will be given the Diamond belt and then there will be a fiesta celebrating Chavez as the best female flyweight boxer in the world! It is good for business to have Mexicans winning in the tournament. The people of Mexico get a vicarious thrill when they see Mexican boxers being victorious against boxers from other countries.
When there is biased judging, it makes boxing similar to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in that the outcomes are predetermined. What happens in the ring is not scripted like the WWE. Boxing is not choreographed beforehand, but the result of the fight can be determined beforehand. The scores just have to coincide with that planned result. What happened to the losers of the tournament so far who are the real winners? Of course, their boxing careers have suffered to some degree. McMorrow is scheduled to fight in California on December 3. It will not be televised, but people will come to see McMorrow who has a lot of fans. McMorrow should still be a world champion. If she was Mexican, she would be. McMorrow should be considered one of the best in the world pound for pound, but her losses in Mexico by biased decisions have prevented her from having that status. Fujioka is rated the No. 1 bantamweight in the world by BoxRec and is also rated No. 9 pound for pound. Ring Magazine does not rate her on its pound for pound top ten list. Fujioka does not currently have a fight scheduled. Amasheh is rated No. 10 at flyweight by BoxRec in spite of her loss by decision to Arrazola. Amasheh has no fight scheduled. Stojanovic still has to fight Silva and the fight is in Mexico.
Women’s boxing needs the support of American promoters in order to flourish in the United States. The fight card in California has all female fights, but it is not televised. Promoters need the support of television networks. If an event is not on television, then it is more difficult to schedule world title fights for that event. Promoters have limited budgets and they often cannot afford to schedule a women’s world title fight if their shows are not televised, even though they would have to pay much less money than for a men’s title fight. There are fees that have to be paid for world title fights such as a sanctioning fee, belt fee, and fees to the officials (judges and referee) who get paid extra for working in a world title fight. The female boxers also get more money than they would normally receive, although each boxer would be very fortunate to receive at least $5,000 if the title fight is not televised. Of course, the promoter can afford to schedule a 4-6 round women’s non-title fight, but women’s boxing has to be televised in order for it to be successful at the highest level in America. World-class boxers who have to go to their opponent’s home country for a shot at a title or to defend their title are not always treated fairly in and out of the ring. There are sanctioning bodies that would like to have title fights for women in America, but they are only limited by the lack of support from promoters, matchmakers, and television networks.
Claressa “T-Rex” Shields the Greatest Amateur Female Boxer Turning Professional November 19th Under Kovalev and Ward!
Claressa “T-Rex” Shields the Greatest Amateur Female Boxer Turning Professional November 19th Under Kovalev and Ward!
By: Ken Hissner
The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields will be turning professional on November 19th on the undercard of Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward against pro debuting Franchon Crews, of Baltimore, MD, an eight-time USA National Boxing champion who lost in the 2015 Olympics Trials at light heavyweight. They fought in February of 2012 Olympic Trials when Crews was No. 1 with Shields winning 31-19 and 16 at the time. Shields should not be lost in the crowd of 10 bouts scheduled at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas, NV.
The 21 year-old Shields will be moving up from middleweight to super middleweight. Now living in southern FL and training at Boca Raton, FL, after living her whole life in Flint, MI, she had a 77-1 record in the amateurs only losing in 2012 World amateur championships in China. She would go onto win the 2014 and 2016 World amateur championships. She won her first Olympic Gold Medal in London, England, defeating opponents from Sweden, Kazakhstan and Russia. In 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she won her second Olympic Gold Medal defeating opponents 3-0 from Russia, Kazakhstan and Netherlands.
Shields also won the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada defeating opponents from Brazil, Argentina and Dominican Republic all by scores of 3-0. She is only the third female boxer to be on the cover of Ring Magazine in their December 2016 edition.
Shields is well represented by co-managers Mark Taffet and Jamie Fritz. Taffet who spent 25 years with HBO Sports and running HBOPPV since their inception in 1991, started his own company Mark Taffet Media leaving HBO in January 2016. Co-manager Fritz is president of Fritz Martin Management out of Las Vegas, NV, an Athlete Rep firm. Her trainer will be Leon Lawson who trained the Dirrell brothers, Andre the Olympic Bronze medalist in 2004 and Anthony the former WBC World super middleweight champion.
“Claressa has incredibly broad shoulders and understands the responsibility that comes with her talent and her quest to lead the resurgence of women’s boxing. She is wise well beyond her 21 years. She believes the way to make a statement is to take on the best and show that women’s boxing is competitive, serious, talent-filled and entertaining,” said Mark Taffet.
It’s this writer’s hope that the American people and those non-American fight fans get behind the two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner Claressa Shields.
“She has a one-fight deal with Roc Nation for November 19th. She has not signed a multi-fight deal with any promoter. Claressa and her management team have had discussions with a number of promoters and will assess the alternatives which best fit her strategic goals following her November 19 professional debut,” said Mark Taffet.
Shields once mentioned signing with Al Haymon or Golden Boy Promotions. Roc Nation has a one fight deal ahead of everyone.
“Claressa arrives in Las Vegas on Monday and will be participating in a full array of fight week media activities. Hers will be the highest profile and most media-intensive female professional boxing debut ever,” said Mark Taffet.
Female Fighters Bring Some Much Needed Excitement To The Sport Of Boxing
Female Fighters Bring Some Much Needed Excitement To The Sport Of Boxing
By: Sean Crose
I had the pleasure of watching one of the best televised fights of the year this weekend. It went down at Coney Island and unfortunately was relegated to the NBC Sports Network. That’s too bad, because the brawl I witnessed between featherweights Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent was an all-out war, comparable in action to the much applauded Conor McGregor – Nate Diaz UFC match a day earlier. Watching the tide perpetually change between Hardy and Vincent this weekend, I kept thinking how ridiculous it is for people to claim boxing is dead. For what went on at Coney Island was, for lack of a more academic term, terrific stuff.
Truth be told, I’m not even sure who I think really won – though the decision went to Hardy. Looks like I’ll have to watch it again. In the meantime, let me bring up another female fighter who deserves all kinds of praise now that the Rio Olympics have come and gone. For America’s Claressa Shields has now won not one, but two Olympic gold medals. What’s more, she’s the first American boxer, male or female, to ever do so. After being adorned with her second gold in Rio, Shields took the first gold medal she won out of her pocket (she got that one in London back in 2012) and placed it on her shoulders along with her newest hard earned prize.
There she was, an American boxer, standing on the podium with not one, but two gold medals around her neck. If that doesn’t tell fight fans something, I’m not sure what does. Truth be told, female boxers have essentially told us fans these past few days that things aren’t always as bad as they seem. While it appears that many – though certainly not all – male boxers have taken to playing it safe, their female counterparts appear to be daring to be great.
Back to Sunday evening. Engaging with “Boxing Twitter” while watching the Hardy-Vincent bout, I noticed fight followers doing something they aren’t generally apt to do – publicly show their appreciation for the combatants. The typical online snideness seemed to have vanished as Hardy and Vincent traded one shot after another. All that was left was a sense of “wow, this is a great match.” Someone even wondered in one hundred and forty characters why women fighters aren’t getting more exposure in the fight world right now.
It was a good question. The sport really needs competitors like Shields, Vincent and Hardy. After all, action, and gold medals, go a long way.
Boxing Insider Interview with Heather “The Heat” Hardy: I Want a Legitimate World Title
Heather “The Heat” Hardy Interview: “I want a legitimate world title, I want to fight a legitimate world champion”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Heather Hardy is an undefeated Super Bantamweight that is a fixture in the New York boxing scene. She is signed under Lou Dibella promotions and can regularly be seen on the undercards of many major fights that take place in her native Brooklyn, at the Barclays center. In the last year alone, Hardy has fought on the undercards of Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan, Chris Algieri, Paul Malignaggi, Daniel Jacobs, Peter Quillin and Errol Spence. Hardy is the face of female boxing in New York and looks to expand her brand, if given the chance, to a wider audience. We were able to catch up with Ms. Hardy earlier this week and ask her some questions about her Past, Present and Future in the sport.
Boxing Insider: So how did you get into boxing?
Heather Hardy: I was in the middle of a lot of stuff. I was going through a divorce, and working a lot of jobs. They opened this little karate school in my neighborhood and my sister, kind of, made me go so that I could be social and have some kind of a life after I’d get home from work. After a couple weeks I had my first fight and haven’t been out of the ring since then.
Boxing Insider: You are a mainstay in the New York boxing scene. Do you want to branch out and become one of the faces of the sports? How do you get your fights televised to do so?
Heather Hardy: It’s really tough. I kind of gotten to a stage in my career, where I just keep growing and growing and it’s really just like a glass ceiling. There is nothing for me to aim for. If I was a guy that was 16-0, fighting at the Barclays center, doing all these big shows, the natural progression would be for me to be tested on television. The problem is that these networks won’t televise female fighters. They don’t even want to take a chance on a woman’s fight. It makes my growth limited and that is what I’m fighting for, lobbying the networks to give the girls a chance. The big argument with the networks is that “nobody wants to see women fight”, but the truth of the matter is I have a very small reach, I’m just one person, but I sell $30,000 worth of tickets for my shows. I prove that I can get people to come and watch me fight, so give me a bigger stage.
Boxing Insider: What are your thoughts on the double standards between Men & Women boxers; Questions pertaining to your looks or your dating life, when male boxers in the same position as you are absolutely never asked about these things?
Heather Hardy: That’s a great thing to bring that up. I was asked the question (about her dating life) and I was shocked that the interviewer asked me that. The old saying to women is “how do you balance your career and your family”, and nobody ever asks a man that. I hate to say that it is unprofessional by the interviewer, because they just ask what they think the mainstream wants to hear or see. I was surprised and sad that it became a topic of the conversation. I think they are trying to show society the soft side of the woman, that we are tough in the ring but we’re also ladies in public.
Boxing Insider: Do you pay attention to the US Women Olympic team and do you feel they will have a big impact on the sport once they become professional?
Heather Hardy: I do! There is a huge pool of talent that is being unnoticed in the female boxing scene. Not even just the girls in the Olympics, but Golden Gloves champions. I even have my eye on a couple that are coming up that I may have to train for. I hope to open a few doors, so that when these extremely talented women decide to come up in the pro ranks, they will have some more opportunities available for them.
Boxing Insider: How long until you get a World Title fight?
Heather Hardy: I don’t know. It’s a fun question, because there are so many sanctioning bodies for female world titles. I kind of said at the beginning that I don’t want to fight for a world title just to fight for a world title. I want a legitimate world title, I want to fight a legitimate world champion. I’m not really the type of fighter to call someone out, but I have a hit list of about five girls in my head that I have to go through before I can be a world champion.
Boxing Insider: What type of imprint does Heather Hardy want to leave on the sport, especially for young girls and women, when she’s all done and hangs em up?
Heather Hardy: When I first started boxing, someone told me in the amateurs, I had been fighting for 18 months. I had won eight titles, nationals, regionals, ranked #1 in national golden gloves, getting ready to turn pro in my career. I had finally found something that I was good at and one of the Pros said “Heather, don’t even bother, this is the limit for you”. It was the second time in my life that I felt why do I have to be good at something that has no future for me. When I was a kid I always dreamed of being a New York Yankee, but girls can’t play for them. If I can leave any mark on the sport, I want it to be that I was the one that made a change, that made it so girls can be on the same level as boys. Because in the end their isn’t boys and girls boxing, it’s just boxing.