Could Heather Hardy vs. Amanda Serrano Be Next?
By: Hans Themistode
Clarissa Shields and Christina Hammer aren’t the only two women looking to make their mark.
Amanda Serrano (36-1-1, 27 KOs) and Heather Hardy (22-0, 4 KOs) have reportedly agreed to meet each other in the ring later this year. If this contest were to take place as expected, it could be one of the biggest fights in the recent history of women’s boxing.
At this moment there is no date, nor is there a specific venue that is being targeted. Although the fight is expected to take place this year, the boxing world will have to wait. In addition to being the WBO Featherweight champion, Hardy, is also a mixed martial artist. She is in fact scheduled to return to the cage on June 14th at Madison Square Garden under Bellator Promotions.
In terms of what weight class this contest would take place it appears as though Serrano is heading to Hardys division. In a recent tweet Serrano seemed to have no issues at all taking her talents to her opponents weight class.
“Looks like I’m going to join the Unified Champions. I’ll be fighting for the 126lb title soon.”
Hardy won’t exactly have a huge advantage as Serrano held the WBO Featherweight title in 2016 before dropping down to the Super Bantamweight division to win a title there.
Women’s boxing has a plethora of great fighters, but Serrano has a strong claim as the very best at this current moment. She has won world titles in an unprecedented seven weight divisions. To put that in perspective only one boxer in history has won titles in more weight classes, Manny Pacquiao.
With matches such as Shields vs Hammer taking place this weekend and Serrano vs Hardy supposedly on track for sometime this year, women’s boxing is truly heating up.
WIBF World Flyweight Champion Regina Halmich has Made 44 Title Defenses
By: Ken Hissner
Germany’s Regina Halmich, 54-1-1 (16), made her professional debut in March of 1994. In her sixth fight she won the WIBF European Super Flyweight Title defeating Cheryll Robertson, 0-0, of the UK by decision over 10 rounds. Two fights later she made her only defense of that title in Italy defeating Maria Rosa Tabbuso, 0-0, over 10 rounds.
In her ninth fight in April of 1995 Halmich, 8-0, made her only appearance in the USA at the Alladin Hotel, in Las Vegas, NV, and was not able to come out for the fifth round due to a cut on her cheek losing to Yvonne “The Terminator” Trevino, 1-1 (0), of Peoria, AZ, in a scheduled 10, for the vacant WIBF World Flyweight Title. Both boxers were down in the first round.
Photo Credit: Regina Halmich Facebook Account
In Halmich’s next fight due to Trevino never willing to defend her title Halmich wins the vacant WIBF World Flyweight Title defeating South Korean Kim Messer, 0-0, of Kirkland, WA, by split decision in Karlsruhe, Germany. In her next fight she defends her WIBF European Super Flyweight Title stopping Sonia Pereira, 0-0, of Portugal in the 7th round.
In Halmich’s next fight she defends her WIBF World Flyweight for the first time defeating Brigitte Scherzinour, 0-0, of Germany, knocking her out in the 8th round. Next she makes her second and last WIBF European Super Flyweight Title defeating Petrina Philipps, 0-0, of the UK.
In December of 1995 Halmich makes her second WIBF World Flyweight Title defeating Anissa “The Assassin” Zamarron, 4-1, of Austin, TX. Her next four defenses were against 0-0 opponents, then 0-1, 1-0 and 0-0. In September of 1997 she fought her first really good opponent in defeating southpaw Viktoria Pataki, 13-0, of Hungary. In December of 1998 they had a rematch in the Ukraine with Halmich again defeating her when she was 17-1.
Halmich has defended and defeated unbeaten boxers like southpaw Alina Shaternikova, 8-0, and again when she was 11-1, a Russian out of the UKR, Szilvia Csicsely, 10-0, of Hungary, Nadja Loritz, 13-0-2, a Morrocan out of Germany, and winning a split decision over Maria Jesus Rosa, 19-0.
Some of the better opponents Halmich defeated were Hollie “Hot Stuff” Dunaway, 13-3, of Las Vegas, Viktoria “Mili” Milo, 15-5, of Hungary, Wendy Rodriguez, 18-3-3, of L.A., and fought a draw and won the rematch by decision over Elena Reid, 14-1-4, of Las Vegas, in a draw and in the rematch 17-2-5, by decision.
Halmich has defeated 17 opponents who were making their debut, and two with 0-1 and 0-2 records. In her final fight she won a majority decision over Hagar Shmoulefeld “Super” Finer, 6-3-1, of Israel.
Halmich fought once each in Italy, Austria, USA and UKR with 52 of her 57 fights in Germany. How you can defend a world title against an opponent who never had a fight is like Floyd “Money” Mayweather at 49-0 fighting a 0-0 Conor McGregor. Halmich retired at age 31. Her manager was Klaus-Peter Kohl and her trainer Torsten Schmitz.
More Boxing History
2-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields Wins World Titles
By: Ken Hissner
At the MGM Grand in Detroit, MI, Friday night Salita Promotions, MGM Grand and ShoBox headlined with 2-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields winning both the WBC World Female and IBF Female Super middleweight titles!
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing
In the Main Event the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 4-0 (2), of Flint, MI, stopped the WBC World Female Super Middleweight champion Nikki Adler, 16-1 (9), of Augusburg, Bayem, Germany taking her title and the vacant IBF title at 1:34 of the fifth round of a lopsided fight.
In the opening round Shields landed the first punch a left uppercut to the chin of Adler. Halfway through the round a Shields right hand to the chin buckled the knees of Adler. A miss from a right hand by Adler was countered by a right to the chin from Shields. Already there were marks on the face of Adler. It was a big round for Shields. In the second round Shields went head hunting pounding the head of Adler who had no answer for this. A left hook from Shields to the head of Adler drove her into the ropes and could have been called a knockdown from referee Michael Griffin. It could have been a 10-8 round for Shields. That is how lopsided it was in favor of Shields. In the third round Shields came out on the attack once again as Adler stayed in the pocket with hands held high. Shields got through the defense of Adler with a pair of rights to the head making Adler hold on. As the bell sounded Shields was all over Adler.
In the fourth round Shields finally went to the body with lead rights followed by left hooks to the head of Adler who seems overwhelmed. A right hand lead miss by Adler was countered by a right from Shields to the head of Adler. Shields landed three body shots just prior to the bell. In the fifth round a 3-punch combination from Shields to the head of Adler had her stunned. With a minute left Shields started showboating with hands to her side. A left hook from Shields rocked Adler and Shields followed up with a combination to the head of Adler forcing referee Griffin to step in and stop the mismatch.
“Oh man that was crazy. It’s clear I am happy and blessed having trained for a hard fight and not a war. (Asked to compare this win to her Olympic Gold Medals) I’m more happier now than winning in the Olympics here among my friends,” said Shields. Also in the ring was WBO and WBC World Female middleweight champion Christina Hammer, 21-0 (9), born in KAZ now living in Germany with both talking about a meeting in 2018.
In the co-feature making his US debut southpaw Super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov, 16-1 (9), of St. Petersburg, Russia, lost for the first time in his career to southpaw Jesse Angel “The One” Hernandez, 9-1 (7), of Ft. Worth, TX, at 2:25 of the fifth round.
In the opening round Hernandez switched from southpaw to orthodox and back to southpaw as he pressured southpaw Tikhonov who boxed well in a close round. In the second round Tikhonov was landing more punches but Hernandez the stronger punches. Hernandez landed lead rights to the chin of Tikhonov on several occasions out of the orthodox style. It was a good round for Hernandez. In the third round Hernandez made Tikhonov mix it up by pressuring him. Halfway through the round Hernandez landed a right to the chin that knocked Tikhonov off balance as he was going backwards. Tikhonov came in and clashed heads with Hernandez and pushed him back. Hernandez ended the round with a right hand on the side of Tikhonov’s head knocking him halfway through the ropes as the bell sounded.
In the fourth round Tikhonov landed a hard right hook to the head of Hernandez but Hernandez came back strong rocking Tikhonov with combinations. Tikhonov pushed Hernandez off when he was inside.
In the fifth round Tikhonov butted Hernandez purposely and brought a warning from referee Ansel Stewart. Hernandez came back with much pressure driving Tikonov back again and again. When a left hook from Hernandez knocked the head of Stewart back referee Stewart waved it off to prevent Tikonov from suffering anymore punishment.
Cecilia “First Lady”Braekhus Makes 19th Defense in January!
Cecilia “First Lady”Braekhus Makes 19th Defense in January!
By: Ken Hissner
Cecilia “First Lady” Braekhus, 29-0 (8) was born in Cartagena, COL, some 35 years ago. On January 28th she will make only her second appearance in her now residence of Bergen, Norway. She will be defending her WBC welterweight title against Klara “Swedish Princess” Svensson, 17-1 (5). Her WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles will not be at stake.
In 2004 Braekhus won a Silver Medal at the European Championships in Riccione, IT. Then she won a Gold Medal in the same tourney in 2005 in Tonsberg, Norway. In 2005 she won a Silver Medal at the World Championships in Podolsk, Russia. She would turn professional in 2007 in Switzerland and then Belgium. Those were her only stops in those two countries.
In June of 2008 Braekhus had her one and only US bout defeating Nicole Woods, 4-2, in Hollywood, FL. In hereleventh fight she won her first world titles in the WBA and WBC defeating Denmark’s VinniSkovgaard, 7-0, in Germany. It was her “adopted” country fighting in that country some 10 times. Only in Denmark has she fought more times with a total of 13. The next 18 fights would all be title bouts.
Two fights later in September in her first bout in Denmark, Braekhus defeated Italian Lucia Morelli, 12-0, out of Germany. In May of 2010 Braekhus added the IBO title to her already WBA and WBC belts in defeating Victoria Cisneros, 5-8-2,of Albuquerque, NM, in Denmark. Cisneros had won her two previous fights. In the next defense for Braekhus she stopped Sweden’s Mikaela Lauren, 6-0, in Germany.
On May of 2011 Braekhus took on her most experienced opponent defeating ChevelleHallback, 28-6-2, of the US, in Denmark. Three fights later she defeated Anne Sophie Mathis 26-2, of France, in the first of their two fights. Opening up 2013 she stopped Mia “The Knockout” St John, 47-12-2, of the US. John had defeated Christy “Coal Miner’s Daughter” Martin for the WBC super welterweight title several fights before this.
After Braekus stopped another unbeaten boxer in Dominican Oxandia Castillo, 12-0-2, and next defeated MyriamLamare, 22-3, of France. Jessica Balogun, 24-3, of Germany was the next victim in Germany. Back to Denmark she defeated IvanaHabazin, 13-1, of Croatia. Next up she defeated Germany’s Jennifer Retzke followed by beating Chris Namus, 21-3, of Uruguay.
In Braekus’ last fight in a rematch with Anne Sophie Mathis, 27-3-1, she was able to stop her this time, in October in Norway. It was her first bout where her current residency is. Next up also in Norway will be Klara “Swedish Princess” Svensson, 17-1, on January 28th. This will complete her 10 years as a boxer. Can you imagine such good records of boxers she defeated compared to other “so called” champs?
Pro Debut Delayed For Aspiring World Champion: Interview with Dalia “La Pantera” Gomez
Pro Debut Delayed For Aspiring World Champion: Interview with Dalia “La Pantera” Gomez
By: Ron Scarfone
Promoter Blanca Gutierrez is known for her Beautiful Brawlers all-female amateur tournaments. Gutierrez wanted to use the experience she gained to promote all-female pro boxing events as well. Her first pro boxing event would have been on December 3rd in Pacifica, California. However, illness and injury to a few of the boxers forced the fight card to be postponed. One fight had already been cancelled due to one boxer being sick, so only four fights remained on the card. Gutierrez assured me that the event would continue because I had made plans to cover the event. I was on an airplane about 35,000 feet in the air when I received a text message from Gutierrez that two boxers got hurt. The event was going to be postponed for a few months. However, I did get to meet Gutierrez and a few of the boxers such as Dalia Gomez.
Former world champions Melissa McMorrow and Martha Salazar were scheduled on the card as well as Gomez who was going to make her pro debut against Samantha Salazar (no relation to Martha Salazar). Gomez competed in the Beautiful Brawlers amateur event and also fought in other amateur tournaments. Gomez works at the East Oakland Boxing Association (EOBA). Gomez is known as “Coach G” at the EOBA. According to the EOBA website, Gomez was awarded a basketball scholarship to attend The Evergreen State College and is the first to graduate from her family. In the women’s basketball team records for the college, Gomez is one of the leaders in steals and averaged two steals per game from 2004-2006. Gomez is also tied for fifth in steals in a game with 6 steals which she achieved twice. I watched a few videos on YouTube of Gomez being interviewed. Gomez talked about organic gardening in one of the videos. Gomez looks younger than her 34 years of age, but she has gained wisdom from her life experiences which have made her the person that she is today. I met Gomez at the Babyface Boxing Gym in Pacifica, California which is owned by Gutierrez. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Boxing Insider: How long were you an amateur boxer?
Dalia Gomez: Four years straight. About twelve years ago, I did fight for a couple of months just because I was on a break from my basketball scholarship. My first fight was actually against Queen Underwood who was an Olympian. I have been pretty much sparring for the last four years. I just won the Beautiful Brawlers and I won an international championship in Puerto Rico. I won the Golden Gloves.
Boxing Insider: You were at the Golden Gloves last year?
Dalia Gomez: Yeah, 2015.
Boxing Insider: In Fort Lauderdale, Florida?
Dalia Gomez: Yes, I was there, but I didn’t win that one. I did okay, but I didn’t win the split decision. I won the California State Golden Gloves.
Boxing Insider: When you won the California one, you qualified for the national one in Fort Lauderdale.
Dalia Gomez: Right. I didn’t have a coach. Everything happened these last four years. I trained myself until I finally found my pro coach who actually was training me for the last two or three fights and I have not lost with him. I definitely love his passion and his support.
Boxing Insider: So when you went to the amateur events, you didn’t have a cornerman?
Dalia Gomez: I did. Sometimes, Martha (Salazar) would help me or other coaches. When I went to the Olympic qualifiers, they helped me for a month, but they were always focused with their own fighters. I was pretty much training by myself. When I could, I would come to Babyface (Boxing Gym). Thankfully, Blanca (Gutierrez) always has an open door for me. I call Martha Salazar my tia (aunt in Spanish) of boxing. She is a dear friend to me now, somebody who I can look up to and call if I ever need anything. I’m definitely thankful that now I have a coach. I just work hard every day. I’m doing everything I can to make this pro debut happen.
Boxing Insider: I’m sure you are disappointed with the postponement of it.
Dalia Gomez: Yeah, I’m very disappointed because I’m not a spring chicken, so this is my last hurrah where I feel like this is something very important to me to get off my bucket list as a strong, athletic woman, somebody who has been playing sports all her life. I’m getting a little impatient, but I have to trust the universe that everything is happening for a reason. I feel like today was supposed to be my first win (as a pro), although I respect my opponent (Samantha Salazar) and she has five fights, so she has more experience as a pro in the ring than me, but we were definitely looking to take advantage of this opportunity. I was looking to win.
Boxing Insider: What weight were you going to be for this fight?
Dalia Gomez: 120 (pounds).
Boxing Insider: Super bantamweight. How many years do you plan on being a pro?
Dalia Gomez: I think three or four years, max four years, because I would be 38 (years of age). I do want to (eventually) settle down and have a regular job, just live a comfortable life. I do have a (college) degree, so I want to dedicate the next three years to just fight consistently. I’m the type of person, it doesn’t matter what name you throw out there, I will fight. I don’t know if that is just all women that are fighters that are not afraid to fight anybody. Yes, I do want to play the game and protect my record, but I think that I’m too old to be scared about anybody. It’s not about me calling out people, but I’m down. If I do what I am supposed to do and all the talent that I have, then I can win almost every fight. My coach always says “You got it, you do it.” You’ve got to believe in yourself. It’s so simple, but it is profound. Your mental and your heart which is your physical have to work in unison. That’s something that we’ve been working on in this camp. Physically, I was great. I’ve been knocking some sparring partners around with my power. If I freeze up, that’s not going to work. Just like anything in life, if you freeze up, you don’t make decisions, you don’t move forward, you are just stagnant. My opponent wasn’t going to be Sammy Salazar. My opponent was myself. I was going to give myself that win.
Boxing Insider: Do you have any aspirations to become a world champion?
Dalia Gomez: Yes, no doubt. I am lucky that in women’s sports, you are able to have that opportunity a lot faster than men. I am willing to do whatever. I am down to fight whoever, but also I think that you have to still play the game. I might have to maybe say no to certain fights and listen to my coach here and there, but in the end still, I just want to fight.
Boxing Insider: To get up to a world title fight, you know you have to fight 10 rounds, 2 minutes each.
Dalia Gomez: I’ve sparred 10 rounds before.
Boxing Insider: I’m not saying you are not capable of doing it. I know that the boxing commissions like the California State Athletic Commission want a gradual progression, like go from 4 rounds to 6 to 8 to 10. If you go from 6 to 10, they have to give special permission. Regarding the time that you have available, you want to get those fights that are increasing in rounds gradually from year to year so that you can be able to qualify for a 10 round fight.
Dalia Gomez: That’s something that I want to talk to my coach about. I’ll mention it to Blanca (Gutierrez) if she is willing to help as well. If it played out right, 2017 would be 4 rounders and maybe the last one (next year) would be 6. Maybe the beginning of 2018, 6. If we could push it that way, I will. I’m open to any way we want to chase to the world championship belt. We’ll see what happens.
Boxing Insider: Do you want a belt in particular? Does it have to be from a major sanctioning body or can it be from one of the lesser known ones?
Dalia Gomez: I’m open to anything because exposure is exposure. My thing is to be able to also expose the program that I support and work at which is East Oakland Boxing Association. It is a youth program that offers more than boxing which I’m definitely proud of because it sets us apart from other boxing gyms (like) helping kids with homework, all these other things. You can check our website out (eoba.org). The green (WBC) belt would be awesome, of course. That’s the monster belt that everybody wants. As a Mexican, I would love to fight in Mexico. I really would like to fight in Guadalajara, Jalisco where my dad is from. I’m open for anything, any opportunity to just do great and make anybody proud, I’m hoping for that. Everybody wants the best.
Boxing Insider: Yeah, but why do you think the WBC belt is the most desirable?
Dalia Gomez: Who knows? It is what it is. It’s got the hype. It’s up there. They have the backing. They have the money.
Boxing Insider: The sponsors, the television.
Dalia Gomez: Correct.
Boxing Insider: Regarding what happened with Martha (Salazar) and Melissa (McMorrow), going to Mexico and losing by probably biased decisions, do you think about those things? Of course, you want to go to Mexico and fight there for a world title, but do you think about whether you will be given a fair shot?
Dalia Gomez: I feel, which is surprising to me because this is the way I felt about Martha (Salazar) because of her personality and her heart, but I feel like I can get the love that (Oscar) De La Hoya gets who is from East L.A. (East Los Angeles, California), Southern California. I’m originally from Oxnard (a city in Southern California). I used to live in Mexico for four years. I used to play for a semi-pro basketball team in Guadalajara, Jalisco. I feel like people will be able to reach and touch my passion and respect for my people. This is still Alta California which was Mexico. (Writer’s Note: In 1521, Spanish forces led by conquistador Hernan Cortes captured the capital of the Aztec empire which was called Tenochtitlan. The land was named California and was divided into Alta California which was Upper California and Baja California which was Lower California. Alta California was a colony of New Spain. Many people did not like Spanish rule and unfair laws that gave power to wealthy people from Spain. As a result, The Mexican War of Independence began in 1810. The war lasted for about a decade and Mexico gained its independence in 1821. Alta California accepted Mexican rule and became a province of Mexico in 1822. United States President James K. Polk’s expansionist policy of manifest destiny was based on the belief that the U.S. was destined to spread and expand across the North American continent to the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. wanted to buy Alta California, but Mexico refused to sell it. Consequently, the Mexican-American War began in 1846. In 1848, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed which ended the war and Alta California was ceded by Mexico to the United States. California became a state of the U.S. in 1850. Baja California is now part of Mexico.) I feel like once people understand that I respect and love my culture, my passion for the warrior within us, I think that I don’t have to worry. If I fight my fight, I will win and I won’t have to worry about the judges. That’s where that mental practice, that mental training will have to continue into play because if I think about the fights that Melissa had gotten robbed or Martha had gotten robbed, then that’s not going to help me. I cannot think about that.
Boxing Insider: When did you fight Queen Underwood?
Dalia Gomez: I was 21 years old.
Boxing Insider: What tournament was it?
Dalia Gomez: It was just a regular show, like a random little show. I started boxing because I lost my basketball scholarship because I made a mistake. The coach kicked me off the team. I was very sad because I was going to be the first to graduate (college) in my family. I was, by the way, because I got my scholarship back because I proved to her that I could be responsible. To stay in shape, I was working at the YMCA. I saw this boxing coach upstairs, but I didn’t respect boxing at the time. I went to him two or three times a week. I was young and the coach said “Do you want to fight?” I said “Sure.” I used to get into fights when I was a kid, so I thought I could do this. You can’t play boxing. I realized this as soon as the first round. My legs felt like Jell-O. I couldn’t defend myself and she just went 1-2-1-2. She had two years of experience. I had like two or three months of experience. At the time, they just said “You’re a girl, you’re a girl, about the same weight, fight.” Now, they would not put us together.
Boxing Insider: Did they put you two together because back then they didn’t have as much talent?
Dalia Gomez: No (other) girls and I happened to be in the same weight class at that time.
Boxing Insider: I see. Does Queen Underwood still fight?
Dalia Gomez: I think she is going to turn pro. She wasn’t in the 2016 Olympics. Only in the 2012 Olympics.
Boxing Insider: What is your job at the East Oakland Boxing Association?
Dalia Gomez: I’m the head USA Boxing coach and I’m also a Care Coach. I Care Coach five kids. I basically mentor them, help them get through the school year. I’m basically a counselor, like a high school counselor.
Boxing Insider: Is it a school?
Dalia Gomez: No. It is an after school program. It started as a boxing gym. Then, they opened different activities for the kids. If it wasn’t for boxing, we wouldn’t have all these other activities for the kids.
Boxing Insider: Do you eat organic food all the time?
Dalia Gomez: I try to, but it’s hard. It gets expensive. I grew up eating really well. (With) my dad, our fun meal was eating a lot of fruit. Maybe like the cantaloupe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but we were always loving fruit. I love my garlic and my onions.
Boxing Insider: And you have your own garden?
Dalia Gomez: At the East Oakland Boxing Association, we do. I don’t have a garden. I need to learn. I’m not a green thumb like my dad or my uncles. Maybe with time because it requires time. You have to take care of them. You have to water them.
Boxing Insider: Yeah. They grow weeds, so you’ve got to pull them out.
Dalia Gomez: (laughs) Yeah.
Beautiful Brawlers Pro Female Fight Card Postponed Due To Illness and Injury
Beautiful Brawlers Pro Female Fight Card Postponed Due To Illness and Injury
By: Ron Scarfone
There is an old adage in boxing to “expect the unexpected” which refers to what happens inside the ring. However, this was true outside the ring as well for boxing promoter Blanca Gutierrez. Her inaugural female professional boxing event scheduled for December 3rd in Pacifica, California had to be deferred until a future date because of unforeseen circumstances. Gutierrez intended to have five fights for this women’s pro boxing card. Previously, Gutierrez promoted her very successful Beautiful Brawlers amateur female boxing tournaments which have attracted competitors from the United States and other countries. This pro boxing series by Gutierrez is intended to showcase the talent emerging from the Beautiful Brawlers amateur boxing tournaments as well as provide opportunities for established professionals.
Dalia Gomez and Temitope Pedro were scheduled to make their pro debuts in separate bouts on the pro boxing event. Both Gomez and Pedro competed in the Beautiful Brawlers amateur tournament. Claudia Gutierrez (no relation to promoter Blanca Gutierrez) was scheduled to fight Katonya Fisher on the pro boxing card in what would have been the best matchup of the event. Unfortunately, the fight was cancelled because Gutierrez was sick. Gutierrez is a legitimate featherweight contender with wins over current International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight champion Jennifer Han and former International Female Boxers Association (IFBA) featherweight champion Kelsey Jeffries. Fisher has a win against Jessica McCaskill who was recently signed by Warriors Boxing to a promotional contract. After the Gutierrez versus Fisher fight was cancelled, only four fights remained on the card.
Former world champions Melissa McMorrow and Martha Salazar were scheduled on the card in separate bouts, but the event had to be postponed due to injuries to other boxers. Both McMorrow and Salazar are among the best in their respective divisions despite losing recently in Mexico. Salazar made her first defense of the World Boxing Council (WBC) female heavyweight title against Alejandra Jimenez of Mexico, but lost due to a controversial majority decision. Salazar should have won the vast majority of the rounds based on her landing many more punches. Jimenez’s left eye was swollen and blackened from Salazar’s repetitive right hands. The judge from the United States scored it a 95-95 draw whereas the other two judges scored it in favor of Jimenez. One judge scored it 96-94 in favor of Jimenez. The most biased score was decided by the judge from Mexico who scored it 98-93 in favor of Jimenez.
Recently, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman stated that there is no fraud or corruption in the scoring of fights. However, Sulaiman admitted that there could be incompetence occasionally. Sulaiman further stated several actions that he recommends should be taken in order to remedy incompetent judging. Sulaiman believes that judges “must always” come from neutral countries for both boxers. Apparently, the WBC does not practice what they preach because the WBC assigned a judge from Mexico in Salazar’s first defense of the WBC female heavyweight title. McMorrow lost in the WBC female flyweight tournament against Esmeralda Moreno of Mexico due to a controversial decision. The scores from McMorrow’s fight against Moreno were 100-90, 100-88, and 98-89 all in favor of Moreno by unanimous decision. In this fight, all three judges had to be either incompetent or biased. Two of the judges did not give a single round to McMorrow even though she was usually better than Moreno throughout the fight.
Promoter Blanca Gutierrez plans on scheduling at least six bouts for a future date of the Beautiful Brawlers pro female fight series. This will provide a cushion in case boxers have to pull out due to illness and/or injury. Athletic/state commissions typically require a minimum amount of rounds for a boxing event to be sanctioned by the commission. Therefore, scheduling more bouts provides a safety net in case boxers are not able to fight and then fights getting cancelled as a result. The boxers who were ready to fight in this event were obviously disappointed about its postponement, but look forward to the future. A few of them came to the Babyface Boxing Gym to train on what would have been the day of the event. The gym is owned by promoter Blanca Gutierrez who also owns Babyface Boxing Promotions.
Salazar expressed her feelings about the event being postponed. “I feel sad, angry, frustrated. This has happened to me before and it’s part of the sport. We can’t control things that happen to other people (such as) injuries or they get sick. You get frustrated in the beginning, but we can do it again some other time,” Salazar said. Salazar also stated her desire to become WBC female heavyweight champion again. “Hopefully, Alejandra (Jimenez) gives me a rematch and I can get that title back.” Salazar said that the media in Mexico were trying to portray her fight against Jimenez as a Mexico versus United States matchup and did not want to acknowledge that Salazar is originally from Mexico. “I was born over there (in Mexico) and I came over here (to the United States) when I was nine. They don’t accept me as Mexican over there (in Mexico),” Salazar said. There was also another reason why the media in Mexico were being less than truthful about Salazar’s nationality. The media in Mexico stated that Jimenez was the first female Mexican heavyweight to win a world title, but actually Salazar was the first because she was born in Mexico. “She’s not the first one. I already made that history. I’m the first Mexican,” Salazar said.
Female Boxers in America Still Fight For Respect
Female Boxers in America Still Fight For Respect
By: Ron Scarfone
The photo for this article was originally published by Bain News Service at least a century ago. It depicts the Bennett Sisters who performed a kind of entertainment known as vaudeville. Vaudeville shows during this time period featured a variety of performers in one show such as singers, dancers, comedians, and magicians. Each act would be performed separately from the others. It was like The Muppet Show, but with human beings instead of Muppets. There were some opportunities for women to compete in sports, but it was largely frowned upon by society. Women who wanted to box had limited outlets available to them. As a result, women would box in exhibitions on the vaudeville circuit. Of course, women’s boxing has made progress over the last 100 years. However, female boxers have restrictions even today and women’s boxing is still often relegated to a sideshow status. In spite of the major sanctioning bodies’ involvement in women’s boxing, there are stark differences between male and female boxers in terms of pay, popularity, and participation in boxing events.
The paltry purses in women’s boxing are partially due to the amount of minutes and rounds that the female title fights are which are usually no more than two minutes per round and no more than ten rounds in total. WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman has publicly stated that the WBC will never allow more minutes and rounds in women’s boxing than the current standard. That does not stop the other sanctioning bodies from making the minutes and rounds equal to the men. If that were to happen, would the WBC keep their word? If the pay for women were to rise as a result of being scheduled to fight as long as the men, would the WBC still maintain its stance in their policy? The pay in women’s boxing is so poor that $5,000 is considered good for a female boxer in a world title fight and $3,000 is considered bad. It is a difference of just a couple of thousand dollars and yet fights are not being made because boxers or their managers are rejecting these low offers which is understandable.
The difference in pay between the men and women is also due to a prevailing perception that women’s boxing is not popular. For the most part, promoters do not want to take the financial risk that comes with having a women’s title fight scheduled on their fight cards. The vast majority of promoters do not have their events televised, so the revenue for these shows is derived from ticket sales, food and drink concessions, and possibly a few corporate sponsors. Some promotional companies have their own stable of boxers and their goal is to get them to become world champions. These promoters usually only have male boxers in their stable. They believe that there is no benefit to them spending their money on a female title fight, especially when neither of the boxers are in their stable. There are also matchmakers who have a negative view of women’s boxing and believe that it is in decline in spite of the progress that has been made in recent years.
There are some promoters who want women’s title fights on their cards, but cannot afford to have them due to the limitations of their budget. The lack of support from television networks is definitely a hindrance to more women’s title fights taking place in the United States. However, there are some mid-level promoters who have enough money to schedule a women’s title fight. Nevertheless, they do not want to devote that money in the budget for this because they feel that they have nothing to gain from it. It comes down to economics. If a show is not televised, the cost of a women’s title fight in the United States should be at least $5,000 for each boxer, so the total purse is $10,000. If they are not women who live locally, then the promoter has to pay for plane fare and hotel accommodations for the boxers and their cornermen. There are also extra fees that have to be paid: the belt fee, the sanctioning fee, and the officials (three judges and referee) also have to be paid extra for working in a title fight. The sanctioning body also has a supervisor of the title fight who must be paid a fee. Therefore, the total amount of money that a promoter would have to spend for a women’s world title fight is about $20,000 if both boxers do not live locally. Promoters tend to want boxers on their cards who have a local following which will help to sell more tickets because of increased interest locally.
The shows in which the matchmaker and promoter want competitive fights regardless of the outcome are the shows that are often the most entertaining. The other kinds of shows are run by promoters who do have money to spend, but they choose to spend it on what would benefit them the most. They direct their matchmaker to find suitable opponents for the boxers that are in their stable. The matchmaker makes an “A side” and a “B side.” The “A side” is usually reserved for boxers who have a contract with the promoter. These “A side” boxers could be legitimate contenders who are rated by the sanctioning bodies or they could be up and coming prospects. The “B side” boxers are usually journeymen with mediocre or losing records. These are the boxers who are expected to lose in order to pad the records of the boxers in the promoter’s stable in the hope that they will get more lucrative fights in the future such as a title shot and/or a fight on television. The “B side” boxers could live locally and therefore would save the promoter money by not having to pay for plane tickets and a hotel stay. However, the promoter may have no qualms about spending more money in order for the matchmaker to find the right opponent for his boxer.
In an event in August that was in Miami, Florida which was not televised, light heavyweight contender Yunieski Gonzalez won by TKO in the first round over Jackson Junior. Junior was rated about No. 100 in the world by BoxRec at the time. This was the main event. Junior was from Brazil, so the promoter had to pay for plane tickets and hotel accommodations for Junior and his cornermen for a fight that lasted within one round. Junior had a winning record, but has mostly lost since 2014. His recent wins came against boxers with losing records. Gonzalez knocked Junior down three times and the fight was stopped in the first round. At the same venue in Miami, Gonzalez was in the main event again about a week ago. His opponent was Maxwell Amponsah who was originally from Ghana, but now lives in New York. Amponsah had a rating of about No. 300 in the world by BoxRec which is a lot worse than Jackson Junior’s rating. Amponsah has a winning record himself, but most of his opponents had losing records. A win by knockout was expected for Gonzalez. Gonzalez again won by TKO in the first round. The majority of the “A side” boxers on the card were undefeated. The majority of the “B side” boxers had losing records. All of the “A side” boxers won.
The total possible time of a women’s world title fight is 20 minutes of boxing plus breaks between rounds, so it is about 30 minutes if it goes the distance. A promoter could instead have two men’s fights that are four rounds each which would also be about 30 minutes if they both go the distance. Comparing costs, the male boxers would get about $1,000, so pay for four male boxers in four-round fights equals $4,000. If they are local boxers, no plane fare or hotel accommodations have to be paid. Compare the cost of this to a women’s world title fight which would be $10,000 for two boxers. Also, extra fees would have to be paid for the officials, supervisor, and sanctioning body. This is why most promoters do not want to do it when they can have two four-round fights with male boxers which would involve less financial risk. Also, people in the audience for a club show usually just want to see boxing up close and maybe some knockouts, but are not expecting to see world-class boxers.
Whether it is fair or not, women’s boxing is always judged on every fight. If a men’s boxing match is boring, people do not say all of men’s boxing is boring. Women though are held to a higher standard and people can form their opinions on an entire sport based on one fight that they saw. Promoters schedule men’s fights usually based on the abilities of the boxers. Promoters are sometimes willing to promote a women’s world title fight, but there often has to be a hook involved and I do not mean that type of punch. Promoters could try to sell the fight as a rivalry between two nations such as one boxer from Puerto Rico and the other boxer from Mexico. It could be promoted as a continuation of a rivalry such as when Laila Ali and Jacqui Frazier-Lyde was billed as being Ali vs. Frazier IV which was in reference to the fact that they were daughters of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier respectively. Other fights could be publicized because of a genuine dislike for one another such as the recent fight between Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent. Of course, the fact that both Hardy and Vincent were both undefeated contributed to the fight being televised. However, the coverage that they both received by the media because of their vocal vitriol was probably the main reason why. Until female boxers are televised based solely on their abilities as boxers, they will never truly have the same respect as the men.
Because of the lack of support from promoters and television networks, there are a lot of possible matchups that never happen. Female world-class boxers in America usually have to go to another country to get a title shot. Then, they have to deal with biased officials such as judges and even the referee who may be eager to deduct a point from the American for a perceived foul whether it was intentional or not. It doesn’t have to be this way, but strong advocates for women’s boxing are required in the current climate. If women’s boxing takes place in America and is televised in America, it is because of advocates. The female boxers themselves are advocates and some have voiced their displeasure about the inequities in compensation and opportunities compared to the men. However, the people and entities in power such as the promoters and television networks have to also be advocates in order for women’s boxing to flourish in America. It is well-known that Lou DiBella is an advocate and he helped get the Hardy vs. Vincent fight televised.
Shane Mosley is also an advocate for women’s boxing. Mosley formed his own promotional company called GoBox Promotions. Mosley was promoting a pay-per-view event in which he was fighting in the main event against Ricardo Mayorga. Mosley commented that the boxing world should show more respect to female boxers and he decided to have a women’s world title fight on his event. It was a unification bout of super bantamweight world champions: International Female Boxers Association (IFBA) champion Maureen Shea from New York versus International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Yulihan Alejandra Luna Avila from Mexico. I believe that it was one of the best female boxing fights I have ever seen. After ten rounds, the judges ruled it a draw. It was very close, but Shea and Avila both felt that they clearly won after it was over. It was the first time that a female title fight was shown on pay-per-view in about a decade. Even though it was a draw and not a win for Shea, that fight probably earned her the most respect in her entire pro career. The fact that she performed well against a champion from one of the major sanctioning bodies was significant and it also gave more credibility to the IFBA. All of the sanctioning bodies solely for women’s boxing have faced increased competition because of the involvement of the major sanctioning bodies in women’s boxing which began about a decade ago. Bear in mind that the reason why this fight happened was because of Mosley’s support.
Women’s boxing in America does not have as much value compared to men’s boxing and also compared to women’s boxing in other countries such as Mexico and Germany. However, it has more potential than some people realize or are willing to admit. When the UFC was founded in 1993, did anyone think that the UFC would eventually be sold for four billion dollars this year? In 2001, the UFC was almost bankrupt when Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta bought it for two million dollars. They turned the business around by having rules and regulations which enabled it to get approval from the athletic commissions in each state.
Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise also sold to Disney in 2012 for four billion dollars. In the early 1970s, George Lucas was rejected by movie studios about his idea for a Star Wars movie. Even Disney rejected it at the time. The Walt Disney Company also bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for four billion dollars. Marvel filed for bankruptcy in 1996 and obviously turned it around before Disney purchased it at a very high price. Action Comics No. 1 which was the first appearance of Superman was worth about $20,000 in mint condition in 1986. A copy in mint condition sold for about three million dollars in 2014.
Opinions and values change with the times. There has been progress with women’s boxing lately. Female boxers have mentioned it, but still recognizing the fact that there is still a lot of room for improvement. The amount of minutes in each round and the total number of rounds could be made equal to the men which would help to increase their pay. Women could have more opportunities to be scheduled on fight cards. Women’s boxing could be televised more often. When I look at that old photo of the Bennett Sisters from about 100 years ago, I think of how far women’s boxing has come. I also think of, even after 100 years, how far women’s boxing still has to go.
Photo of Bennett Sisters created by Bain News Service between circa 1910-1915. Call number LC-B2- 2469-6 from Library of Congress, Bain Collection.
Chasity Martin wins rematch in hometown of Pompano Beach
Chasity Martin wins rematch in hometown of Pompano Beach
By: Ron Scarfone
Boxing fans filled Club Cinema in Pompano Beach, Florida to see Chasity Martin fight in her hometown for the first time as a pro. Martin is known as “The Queen of Pompano” and has gained a large local fan base. Martin is also popular throughout the United States due to her success as an amateur boxer.
However, Martin did not qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Martin believes that her fighting style is better suited for professional boxing and she has been correct in her assessment.
Martin’s trainer is Stacey McKinley who has become like a father figure to her. McKinley was Mike Tyson’s trainer for a decade and has also trained other world champions. Martin is the first female boxer that McKinley has trained and she has obviously improved under McKinley’s guidance. McKinley began training Martin when she was 14 years old.
Martin is now 20 years of age and she is still learning the ropes, but it is anticipated that she will be a world champion in the future. Martin’s previous fight was in Kissimmee, Florida against Ivana Coleman. Martin won that fight by unanimous decision, but Coleman is a tenacious boxer who never gives up. Coleman lost by unanimous decision to Shelly Vincent and Heather Hardy in 2012. Vincent and Hardy are both featherweight contenders now. Coleman is from New Orleans, Louisiana and she returned to Florida to face Martin in a rematch which was the main event of this fight card titled Night of the Rising Stars which was presented by Warriors Boxing Promotions.
Martin weighed a pound and a half over the 130-pound super featherweight limit. Coleman weighed about 127 pounds which was within the weight class. Martin performed even better in this rematch and connected many times to the head, but Coleman showed that she can take a punch. Coleman has never been knocked out in her career. Coleman is shorter than Martin, but she is like a bull that is always charging forward. It was a shutout on all three judges’ scorecards with Martin winning by unanimous decision. The scores were 40-36 in this four-round bout. Martin remains undefeated and is now 4-0, 1 KO. Martin is currently rated No. 39 by BoxRec in the super featherweight division. Coleman drops to 1-8, 0 KO. Coleman is 41 years of age, but she is a good litmus test for up and coming boxers even though she has a losing record.
The co-main event featured “Dangerous” Dyah Davis of Coconut Creek, Florida and Victor “The Spartan” Darocha of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dyah Davis is the son of Howard Davis Jr. Davis Jr. won a gold medal in boxing at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada. Davis Jr. became a MMA trainer that specialized in teaching striking. A few years ago, Davis Jr. formed his own MMA promotional company. Davis Jr. died of lung cancer in 2015, although he did not smoke. Coconut Creek is a city near Pompano Beach, so many of the spectators were rooting for Davis to win. The 35-year-old Davis is rated No. 91 by the IBO in the super middleweight division. Davis is also rated No. 98 by BoxRec.com. Davis won the vacant NABF super middleweight title in 2012. This bout was scheduled to be in the super middleweight division, although both Davis and Darocha were both a tad over the weight limit. Darocha’s gloves touched the canvas in round two after a straight right by Davis. This was counted as a knockdown. Darocha was undeterred and fought valiantly for the rest of the round. However, Darocha was backpedaling in round five as Davis used his height and reach advantage to land more often. Davis punctuated the fight with a right uppercut to the head. The judges’ scores were 59-54, 59-54, and 57-56. Davis won by unanimous decision in this six-round bout. Davis improves his record to 25-4-1, 11 KOs. Darocha’s record falls to 7-2-1. 6 KOs.
Daniele Scardina of Miami Beach, Florida remains unbeaten at 8-0, 8 KOs after defeating Rashad Jones of Selma, Alabama. Scardina weighed about 172 pounds which was within the light heavyweight limit. Jones weighed about 180 pounds which was five pounds over the weight limit, but Scardina was still stronger. Scardina knocked down Jones in one of the ring corners in the first round. In round two, Scardina knocked down Jones again, but it was in another corner of the ring. Jones got up, but the referee stopped the fight at 2:26. Scardina won by TKO in the second round. Jones’ record falls to 4-11-3, 2 KOs.
There were two fights which resulted in controversial decisions by the judges. David Rodriguez of Miami Gardens, Florida was making his pro debut against winless boxer Devin “Bad Ass” Laney who is from Miami, Florida. This was a four-round bout scheduled in the middleweight division. Rodriguez weighed within the weight limit, but Laney was three pounds over at 163 pounds. Rodriguez landed more punches in round three, but the other rounds should have been won by Laney. Laney was effective with a right uppercut to the head and landed that punch more than once. One judge scored it 39-37 for Laney. The other two judges scored it 39-37 both in favor of Rodriguez. Rodriguez won by a split decision and got his first victory as a pro with a record of 1-0, 0 KO. Laney remains winless at 0-4, 0 KO.
An even more egregious decision was made in the fight with Tobias “Da Truth” Green of West Palm Beach, Florida and Yasmani Calzadilla of Miami, Florida. “Da Truth” is that Green should have lost. This four-round bout was in the super lightweight division. Both boxers were within the weight limit of 140 pounds. Calzadilla is a southpaw and is a little taller than Green. Green was being pummeled by Calzadilla in the fourth and final round and Calzadilla deserved to win every round. However, the judges scored it 39-37, 39-37, and 38-38. Green won by majority decision and remains undefeated at 6-0, 2 KOs. Calzadilla’s record falls to 1-3, 1 KO. This event could have been called Night of the Falling Stars if these two fights would have been scored correctly.
Ivan Jimenez of Miami, Florida remains unbeaten and improves his record to 7-0-1, 4 KOs after defeating Angel Albelo of Kissimmee, Florida. This fight was in the super featherweight division, but Jimenez weighed a half pound over the 130-pound weight limit. Albelo is a southpaw. There was not much action in this fight. Jimenez was only throwing sporadically. The three judges scored the fight 40-36 and Jimenez won by unanimous decision. Albelo’s record falls to 4-9-3, 1 KO.
Robert Daniels Jr. of Miami, Florida won his professional debut over Yendris Rodriguez Valdez who is also from Miami. This fight was in the light heavyweight division and both boxers weighed about 171 pounds. Daniels Jr. is the son of former world cruiserweight champion Robert Daniels who walked to the ring with his son. Daniels Jr. seems to have inherited the knockout power of his father. Daniels Jr. landed two left jabs to the head of Valdez and Valdez was subsequently knocked out. The fight was stopped at 1:21 of round one. Daniels Jr. won by KO and is now 1-0, 1 KO as a pro. Valdez’s record falls to 1-2, 1 KO.
Two boxers who have the same last name won their bouts. John David Martinez of Miami, Florida won by TKO in the first round against Harrison Melendez of Miami, Florida who was a late substitute for the original opponent. This fight was in the middleweight division, but Melendez weighed a pound over the 160-pound weight limit. Martinez knocked Melendez down twice in the first round. Melendez got up after the second knockdown, but the referee stopped the fight at 2:34 of round one. Martinez is now 2-0, 1 KO. Melendez is winless at 0-2, 0 KO.
Anthony Martinez Jr. of Miami, Florida won by split decision over Bruce Lutchmedial of Sunrise, Florida in a four-round bout. This fight was scheduled to be in the super welterweight division. Martinez Jr. weighed two pounds over the 154-pound weight limit. Lutchmedial was within the weight class. Two judges scored the fight 40-36 in favor of Martinez Jr. whereas the other judge scored it 39-37 in favor of Lutchmedial. Martinez Jr. is now 2-0, 1 KO. Lutchmedial is still winless at 0-3, 0 KO.
During the intermission, Claressa “T-Rex” Shields entered the ring and was holding her two gold medals that she won in the middleweight division for women’s boxing in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Shields is originally from Flint, Michigan, but is currently living in Florida. Shields said that she will be making her pro debut on the undercard of the event which has Sergey Kovalev defending his world light heavyweight titles against Andre Ward. Shields’ opponent is also making her pro debut. Her name is Franchon Crews and she was also an accomplished amateur, but was an alternate in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics for the United States. Crews is known as “The Heavy Hitting Diva.” The date of this fight is November 19, 2016.
Mrdjenovich defends featherweight belts with win by split decision over Amand
Mrdjenovich defends featherweight belts with win by split decision over Amand
By: Ron Scarfone
Because of the amount of sanctioning bodies involved in women’s boxing, there are usually several world champions per weight class. However, Jelena Mrdjenovich separated herself from the pack with a split decision win over Gaelle Amand in France. Mrdjenovich is the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) female featherweight champion and Amand was undefeated prior to this world title fight. Amand is from France and there is always the possibility of biased judging when fighting in an opponent’s home country. Nevertheless, Amand was a worthy challenger and has a belt collection of her own. In 2012, Amand won the vacant France female featherweight title by split decision against Stephanie Ducastel who is also from France. Ducastel is currently the World Boxing Federation female featherweight champion. Amand also won the European Boxing Union (EBU) female featherweight title by defeating Agota Ilko by unanimous decision in 2012. Amand became a world champion in 2013 by winning the World Boxing Federation female featherweight title over Irma Balijagic Adler. Adler is currently the World Boxing Foundation female lightweight champion, but she has also won world titles at featherweight and super featherweight. Amand won the WBC International female featherweight title in April 2016 over Tamara Marianella Nunez by unanimous decision. Nunez is currently a super featherweight contender who lost by a close majority decision against IBF super featherweight champion Anahi Esther Sanchez. Amand vacated the WBC International female featherweight title in order to fight Mrdjenovich for her WBC world female featherweight title. Heather Hardy now holds the WBC International female featherweight title.
Mrdjenovich is from Canada and has fought mostly in her home country, but she has proven that she is capable of winning on her opponents’ home turf. Mrdjenovich defeated former super featherweight contender Fujin Raika by unanimous decision in Raika’s home country of Japan in 2011. Of course, Mrdjenovich’s win over Amand five years later shows that she can still win anywhere in the world and against anyone in the female featherweight division. Mrdjenovich became a world champion in 2005 by winning the inaugural WBC female super featherweight title over Franchesca Alcanter. After successfully defending the title a couple of times, Mrdjenovich won the vacant Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) lightweight title in 2006 by unanimous decision over Mia St. John. Mrdjenovich tried to win the WBC female lightweight title, but lost by a close split decision to Ann Saccurato. Saccurato was inducted into the International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame this year. Mrdjenovich again won the WBC female super featherweight title in 2007 by unanimous decision over Fujin Raika. Mrdjenovich again won the WIBF lightweight title with a win by unanimous decision over Kelli Cofer. Mrdjenovich tried to win the WBA female lightweight title, but lost by a close split decision to Layla McCarter. McCarter has won world titles in the featherweight, super lightweight, lightweight, and super welterweight divisions. Mrdjenovich won the WBC female super featherweight title for a third time by defeating Lyndsey Scragg by unanimous decision in 2008. After Mrdjenovich defeated Raika in Japan in 2011, Mrdjenovich won the vacant Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) featherweight title by knockout over Olivia Gerula in 2011. Gerula is also from Canada and has been a world champion at super featherweight.
Mrdjenovich won the vacant WBC female featherweight title in 2012 by knocking out Lindsay Garbatt in the first round. Garbatt is from Canada and won world titles at featherweight and super featherweight in her pro career. Mrdjenovich lost her WBC female featherweight title to Melissa Hernandez by unanimous decision in 2012. Hernandez has won world titles at super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, and super lightweight. In an immediate rematch in 2013, Mrdjenovich defeated Hernandez by a technical decision. The fight was stopped after the sixth round due to a deep gash on the forehead of Mrdjenovich that was bleeding profusely. The cut was caused by an accidental headbutt by Hernandez in the second round. Mrdjenovich successfully defended her title twice before losing to Edith Soledad Matthysse of Argentina by unanimous decision in 2015. The fight was in Matthysse’s home country of Argentina and the WBA female featherweight title was also at stake. Mrdjenovich won the immediate rematch against Matthysse in Canada by unanimous decision this year. Mrdjenovich’s first defense of her WBC and WBA female featherweight titles was her most recent fight against Gaelle Amand. The referee for the WBC and WBA world featherweight championship was Daniel Van de Wiele of Belgium. He has been a referee since the 1980s and has been a prominent referee who has officiated many world title fights. He is usually a referee for women’s world championships, but he has also been the referee of notable men’s world title fights such as for former world heavyweight champions Vitali Klitschko and Lennox Lewis. There was lots of action in the third round of this female featherweight title fight. Amand has a good defense while Mrdjenovich tends to have her hands lower, but both of them were landing power punches to the head. Mrdjenovich had a bruise around her left eye after the fight, but she landed hard punches in the latter half of the fight. After ten rounds, one judge scored the fight 96-95 in favor of Amand. The other two judges both scored it 97-93 in favor of Mrdjenovich, so she won by split decision. Although Amand has defeated world-class opponents, Mrdjenovich was definitely the best boxer she has ever faced.
Amand had a good performance, so she should receive a rematch against Mrdjenovich or a title shot against one of the other female featherweight champions. However, what should happen and what will happen are often two different things in professional boxing. International Boxing Federation (IBF) female featherweight champion Jennifer Han of El Paso, Texas made her first title defense against Calixta Silgado of Colombia. Han won by unanimous decision and won every round. Silgado has a winning record, but has only one win against an opponent with a winning record. Han is scheduled to fight Liliana Martinez of the Dominican Republic on October 15. Martinez has a winning record, but has no wins against an opponent with a winning record. World Boxing Organization (WBO) female featherweight champion Amanda Serrano successfully defended her title against Silgado in July 2016. Serrano won by TKO in the first round. Serrano is scheduled to fight on October 18 against an opponent who has yet to be announced.
Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) and Global Boxing Union (GBU) female featherweight champion Elina Tissen of Germany is scheduled to fight on December 3 against an opponent who has yet to be announced. Tissen has not fought a legitimate contender in more than five years and the date of December 3 would be past the 12 months deadline that world champions usually have to defend their titles. Tissen’s trainer/manager/promoter Maiki Hundt is currently searching for a suitable opponent for Tissen (i.e. a rated contender who has no wins by knockout). This is because Tissen has the benefit of biased judges in Germany which is where she always defends her titles. If Tissen is able to win against a rated contender by a biased decision, Tissen can remain the WIBF/GBU world champion and be thought of as a world-class boxer. However, Tissen is actually not a world-class boxer even though she is a world champion of the WIBF and GBU. Hundt wanted Tissen to defend her titles against Nydia Feliciano who has a winning record and is a legitimate contender. Feliciano has no wins by knockout and all of her wins have been by the judges’ decision. Feliciano is not available on December 3, so Hundt tried to have Carla Torres as the opponent of Tissen. Torres is a legitimate contender and has a winning record, but she has not won a fight by knockout. Her wins have been either by split decision or unanimous decision. Hundt does not offer enough money to attract rated contenders for a world title fight, especially one in which the judges are so biased that opponents of Tissen have to win by knockout or it is almost a certainty that they will lose. Because of that, Hundt may have to settle for an opponent who is not a world-class boxer. If that happens, it is unknown at this time as to whether the sanctioning bodies would agree to sanction it as a world title fight and also because the fight would be about one week after the deadline of 12 months to make a title defense. As a result of Tissen not fighting legitimate contenders in the last few years, Tissen’s rating on BoxRec.com has plummeted to No. 24 in the female featherweight division.
Stephanie Ducastel won the vacant World Boxing Federation female featherweight title in December 2015 against Gabriella Mezei. Amand won by a split decision over Ducastel in 2012. Since Amand and Ducastel are both from France, a rematch would be anticipated and it would give Amand another world title shot. Amand’s record is 14-1, 1 KO with her lone loss against Mrdjenovich who has a record of 37-10-1, 19 KOs. Mrdjenovich retains her WBC and WBA female featherweight titles and is arguably the best female boxer in that division with her wins this year over Amand and Matthysse who are both legitimate top ten contenders.
Boxing Insider Interview with Raquel Miller
BOXING INSIDER INTERVIEW WITH RAQUEL MILLER
By: John Freund
On Saturday, August 6th, Bay Area native Raquel “Pretty Beast” Miller squares off against Gabrielle Holloway in front of her hometown fans at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on the Andre Ward/Alexander Brand undercard. Miller, who was the 2012 Women’s World Championship Silver Medalist, 2012 USA Boxing Women’s National Champion, and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Bronze Medalist, will be fighting in her second professional fight, after scoring a TKO over Sara Flores in just 74 seconds. This fight represents the first women’s boxing match on a Roc Nation card.
Boxing Insider: How does it feel to be fighting in front of your hometown crowd?
Raquel Miller: I’m so excited. This is an amazing opportunity and I worked so hard, and I’m just ready to shine! I’m from the Bayview-Hunter’s Point area… and my community needs something positive. I’m happy to be that light.
Boxing Insider: This is your second professional fight, but a much larger stage than your first fight given that you’re on the Andre Ward undercard. How do you prepare mentally for a fight like this?
Raquel Miller: I’ve been blessed to have an extensive amateur career; I’ve been to the world championships, to the Olympics as an alternate, so I feel like I’ve worked really hard for this opportunity and I deserve it. I’m sure when I get there I’ll be freaked out a little bit (laughs), but right now I’m like, ‘Let’s do this!’
Boxing Insider: You and your opponent are the first females to fight on a Roc Nation card. Why hasn’t women’s boxing received more attention – the way women’s MMA has – and do you think that is changing?
Raquel Miller: I definitely think that it’s changing, and I’m very thankful to Roc Nation for giving us this amazing opportunity. I think the tide is changing, I think that with women’s skill level rising and there being more exposure to the sport, I think it’s only a matter of time before it takes off to the next level. The only thing that’s missing is a couple of superstars, a couple of rivalries, and a couple of fights that the fans are excited to see. It’s just a matter of time and I feel like the tides are turning.
Boxing Insider: Do you think that women’s MMA is in competition with women’s boxing, or do the two help each other?
Raquel Miller: I think it helps. Any woman in combat sports – it’s almost like we’re related in a sense, because we’re all fighting for our chance to be seen and be heard on the big screen. So I think that when women shine in the MMA, that gives us a chance to shine as well. It all helps.
Boxing Insider: How does it feel being a woman in such a highly masculine sport like boxing?
Raquel Miller: I feel like as a woman you’re fighting for your shot to be heard. Of course it’s hard, of course I feel like you have to work twice as hard for people to understand that it’s not just a phase, we’re not just here temporarily. We’re here, we’re strong, we’re working day in and day out, and it’s time for us to be able to take that next step.
Boxing Insider: What first brought you into boxing, and what do you hope to achieve in the sport?
Raquel Miller: I’ve always been athletic. I’ve always been rough and into combat sports. So I feel like it was always meant for me to take this route. As far as what I want to achieve, I want to help other women make their mark in boxing. I want to show people who are just like me – I don’t have any silver spoons, I’ve just been grinding – I want to show them that if you believe in yourself, if you trust in your journey, all things are possible.
Boxing Insider: So what’s the prediction for this fight?
Raquel Miller: I’m going for the knockout! I’m going to be composed and box, but if it comes, I’m definitely going to take it. I’m just looking to give a good show, and show them that we came to light up the stage.
Boxing Insider: You’re not gonna be Ali for me, and tell me the exact round you’re going to KO?
Raquel Miller: (Laughs) No, no! I can’t do that! Honestly, I’m hoping to show off some of my skills, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m just very excited and thankful for this opportunity. I just hope people come out and have a good time, and I’ll show them all the hard work I’ve put in.
Catch this fight – along with the Andre Ward/Alexander Brand fight – live on Saturday, August 6th, at the Oracle Arena in Oakland California. Miller’s fight time is scheduled for 3pm (PST). Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/roc-nation-present-ward-vs-brand-miller-vs-holloway-tickets-26907040683
Boxing Insider Interview with Alicia Ashley
Boxing Insider Interview with Alicia Ashley
By: John Freund
“Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.”
The above quote, attributed to the late, great, Muhammad Ali, encapsulates the mindset of reigning WBC world super bantamweight champion, Alicia Ashley. For the 48-year-old prize fighter, age is just a number.
“I feel like I’m just now a teenager in the sport,” grins Ashley.
Although she can easily pass for 20-something, Ashley is nearer to retirement age than she is to the legal voting age. The five-time world champion and current Guinness Book of World Records holder for oldest professional boxing champion didn’t even start her boxing career until she reached her early 30s.
“I started out as a dancer, and when I got injured, my brother was doing karate at the time so I got into martial arts. I always tell people I love performing — the dancing aspect of it — so I’d go to a lot of tournaments, and it was like, ‘What’s next? Can I do something more?’”
Ironically, it was Ashley’s first kickboxing match that propelled her into the world of boxing. During the fight, her opponent moved in close and began throwing punches, leaving the inexperienced Ashley bewildered.
“I really didn’t know what to do. I pulled out a win, but I was like, ‘OK I need to get my hands better,’ and that’s when I started getting into boxing.”
Sturdy and toned, the 5-foot-5 Ashley is unassuming in nature. That is, until you realize what she does for a living.
“Early on, when people used to find out, they’d be like, ‘Oh, you’re too pretty to box.’ But now it’s a little more mainstream.”
The Jamaican-born fighter is quick to point out that she never felt intimidated occupying space in what is essentially a hyper-masculine, testosterone-driven world.
“I come from a matriarchal family,” her smile widens as she reminisces. “Women are really strong, they’re always telling you what to do. So being in a male-dominated sport never fazed me. I do feel like I am a strong, individual woman in a strong, individualized sport.”
We are sitting in a back office of the iconic Gleason’s Gym, in Dumbo, Brooklyn, where Ashley is currently training for her upcoming title defense against Yesenia Tovar, set to take place in Santiago, Chile, in the summer of 2016.
I ask her if she’s ever been to Chile. “My first time,” she replies.
There’s something heartening in the fact that female fighters are flying across the globe to ply their trade on international television, just as their male counterparts do. Maybe women’s boxing is on the rise.
No one can doubt that women’s combat sports are experiencing a “cultural moment,” with the rise of UFC fighters like Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm and Miesha Tate. Female MMA athletes can earn seven-figure payouts per fight, and their celebrity statuses garner even bigger bucks outside the ring, through sponsorships and merchandise deals. One would assume there would be a natural spillover effect to the women of boxing, but Ashley isn’t so optimistic.
“Because UFC and MMA are showcasing women so much, it’s going to pull the women out of boxing.”
Her reasoning is not unsound. More air time means higher pay for athletes, which in turn means more fighting females are likely to shirk boxing altogether and flex their muscles inside the UFC octagon.
“It really shouldn’t be a competition,” says Ashley. “But more female boxers that I know are drawn into MMA because they’re getting shown and getting paid.”
So far, boxing has yet to match the UFC in terms of showcasing its female fighters. So while big time male boxers like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin rake in the big bucks, the lack of brand awareness for female boxing is reflected in the fighters’ salaries.
“As a female, even as a five-time world champion, I’m not getting paid what the guys are getting paid. Not even a tenth of the amount,” laments Ashley. “It’s the love of the sport that’s kept me in it.”
Ashley, for her part, credits her discipline, lack of alcohol consumption and avoidance of red meat as factors in her longevity. She’s also quick to credit her genes.
“Thank you mom and dad!” she beams.
I ask about her plans for the future, assuming, you know, she won’t still be boxing in 20 years. She says she wants to own her own gym to train others to fight and mentor them to become world champions.
I wonder if she bears any enmity towards a sport that has failed to reward her with the requisite fame and money her male counterparts have received. But Ashley strikes that notion down as quickly as she jabs an opponent in the ring.
“You really have to love the sport to continue in it,” she deadpans. “I mean, you’re getting hit in the face.”