Monthly Archives: June 2011

Women’s boxing from South Korea to Sierra Leone.

Women’s boxing from South Korea to Sierra Leone.

Boxing in South Korea!

I came across this video about the growing popularity of women’s boxing in South Korea. The sport has seen a huge surge since South Korean actress, Lee Si-young won the 7th National Women’s Amateur Boxing Championships in the 48Kg weight class recently. The video is a nicely balanced piece and highly recommended.

Fighting for the Gold in Sierra Leone!

This short video is a beautiful visual montage of the challenges facing the Sierra Leone women’s amateur boxing team as they prepare for the 2012 Olympics in London.  The moving piece shows the true spirit of the game.  The images are by photographer Lee Karen Stow. (Further info on the photographer is here and here)

Friday night fights: Women’s Boxing Results!

Friday night fights: Women’s Boxing Results!

Truth be told, I’m still over the moon about the tremendous efforts shown by the top amateur women’s boxers at the 2011 Nationals in Colorado Springs!  Talk about a wow! There was, however, even more terrific fighting around the pro ranks.  Here’s a smattering of what happened in Friday night action:

Ana Julaton (r) and Angel Gladney, Photo: MPSportsimages

Ana “The Hurrican” Julaton (9-2-1, 1-KO) stepped up in weight to the 128lb weight class to defeat Angel “Non-Stop” Gladney (6-4-1, 5-KO’s) in a slug-fest on Friday night at the Dade County Auditorium on Friday night. The non-title bout proved Julaton’s punching power in the 8-round toe-to-toe match of skills and power.  Julaton’s promoter Allan Tremblay was quoted as saying “This is the best performance I’ve ever seen out of Ana! She did everything from superior body punching, opening up with the right hand, using the uppercut and of course her signature jab!”

Melissa McMorrow, 2009, Photo: Mario Cabera, Jr.

The New York State Women’s Flyweight Title went to Melissa McMorrow (5-2-3) in a split decision over Eileen Olsezwski (7-3-2).  The fight was the co-feature at the Cordon Bleu in Woodhaven, Queens on Friday night (6/24) with the judges scoring the bout 78-74 McMorrow, 78-74 Olsezwski and 79-93 McMorrow.   It should be noted that Olsewski, the women’s WIBA and GBU title holder retained her titles as the bout was not a santioned championship fight for those titles.  McMorrow lost her previous fight to Gleason’s own Keisher Mcleod-Wells in a squeaker.

Melissa "Huracan" Hernandez @ Gleason's Gym

At the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Canada, Gleason’s own Melissa “Huracan” Hernandez (15-2-3, 5-KO’s) was a last-minute opponant against boxer Jelena Mrdjenovich (24-8-1, 12 KO’s), but that didn’t stop her!  Hernandez took the fight with a split decision.

Mrdjenovich’s original oponnent was Bosnia’s Irma Balijagic Adler in what had been promoted as a WIBA featherweight title headliner on KO Boxing’s seven-bout No Turning Back card. Adler was scratched from the fight on Wednesday after she tested positive for hepatitis B.

Call me Boxer!

Call me Boxer!

As with the practice of any sport — one has good days, bad days and those merely tolerable days.  Then there are the months (or years) off to contend with before hauling you heiny back to the gym, the running track or the yoga studio to begin again.

My sojourn back into the boxing world began last October with a few forays before starting my weekly workouts at the beginning of the year.  Those Saturday’s with Lennox Blackmore have now stretched into one to two more gym days on my own each week, plus my occasional shadow boxing turns around the living room, and those silly flurries I throw walking down the street or in the elevator when I think no one’s watching me (wrong of course because they *all* have cameras!).

It’s gotten to the point where my daughter won’t walk down the street with me if I so much as twitch my left arm towards a surreptitious hook, not to mention the silly skip shuffle (you know the one — the side-to-side shuffle before dipping down to the right to throw an uppercut).

Okay, I guess you get the point.  I’ve got boxing on the mind, the body — and it seems the soul these days.

Meanwhile, back at the scratchy mirror at Gleason’s, I must admit (with some difficulty) that the body facing back at me as I throw my left-left-right-left combo take a shuffle and throw a right upper cut-right-left combo, well, doesn’t exactly fit my image of a boxer.  I mean, geez, I’m what you call a geriatric boxer, okay a geriatric boxer who sweats a lot, and works her butt off into a frenzy of red-faced, sweat-pouring action, but still, I can’t quite see the cuts in those muscles that I *know* are there. (Kind of like my stealth six-pack.) Nor does my body quite move with the economy and swiftness of the young one’s who box alongside me throwing three punches for every one of mine.  I mean really — do they have to be *that* fast.

I guess I’m on this tear because I’ve gone to get my breathing and coughing problem sorted out.  (More later.) As I described my problem to the Pulmonary specialist, it was that little, “you do what?” moment that kind of got to me. “YES, I box,” I said, perhaps a bit forcefully when he opined that I didn’t exactly *look* like a boxer.

Well, yeah, okay… I’m a geriatric superwelterweight with middleweight tendencies of late, I thought to say … so what. I know in my heart of hearts I’m a boxer.  Got it!

Suffice to say, I was less than happy when he seemed to impune my boxing creds or the fact that I have a normal 16-round workout these days that leaves me still standing, albeit in a pool of water.

He did, however, redeem himself, when after the pulmonary function test — as I sat coughing my lungs out — he said, “wow, you really do have a problem. Does this happen every time you box?” And to my affirmative answer he said, (as my heart began to flutter), “This is terrible. I know how much boxing means to you, we have got to get you sorted out.”

Well.  Here I am to say, yep, I *am* a boxer (my very nice Pulmonologist agrees too) even if my silhouette these days is not exactly as svelte as I once was, or “cut” in the ordinary way of a boxer’s body.

As for the breathing/coughing problem — the great news is it’s not exercise induced asthma.  The surprising news is that it may be related to a reflux problem in the esophagus (who knew) or due to a weird malformation in the vocal chords.  I’ll be going to a cough specialist to get some more tests (this is New York, after all) and otherwise am learning to work through the problem as I box so that I can keep going.

2011 USA Women’s National Boxing Champions crowned!

2011 USA Women’s National Boxing Champions crowned!

Saturday proved to be a banner day for women’s boxing!

Marlen Esperza wins her 6th straight National Title. Photo: Ed Andrieski/AP

Flyweight and Houston’s own Marlen Esparza made history last night when she became the third female fighter to win her sixth consecutive national boxing championship boxing title, 27-16, in a rematch of last year’s championship title match with Tyrieshea Douglas (Baltimore, MD.)

Marlen Esperza (L) and Tyrieshea Douglas, Photo: Ed Andrieski/AP

As quoted by AP, Esparza said, It’s the big show for every athlete. It’s huge.” Esparza went on to talk about her opportunity to compete in the Olympic trials. “I’ve always wanted to be able to go to the Olympics since I won my first national championship. I’m putting everything into it, the best years of my life. It’s my life goal.”

Queen Underwood landing a left to Tiara Brown's head, Photo: Jack Dempsey/AP

Seattle’s own Queen Underwood fought a close four round contest in the Olympic Lightweight division to take her fifth national National crown by a 23-21 decision over Tiara Brown.  In a closely fought battle of wills Underwood and Brown went toe-to-toe for much of the bout trading shots and fighting in the clinches. Underwood was able to come on strong in the forth round, however, with a flurry of clean, well executed shots to bring home the crown.  Coming into the quarter-finals Queen was quoted as saying, “I’m the defending champion, so that’s a lot more pressure than being anybody’s favorite,” Underwood said. “A lot of people are expecting me to win every time. … This Queen is the Queen transforming to that gold medalist at the 2012 Games. This Queen you’re seeing is going to be a beast.” (Article link here.)

Franchon Crews

In the final women’s championship bout in the Olympic Middleweight division, former national champion and Baltimore’s own Franchon Crews fought a very close contest against former national champion Alyssa DeFazio (Peoria, AZ).  Crews however, pulled out the win with a 15-13 decision.


Women’s Olympic Championship Bout Results:

112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas, dec. Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., 27-16

132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., dec. Tiara Brown, Lehigh, Fla., 23-21

165 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., dec. Alyssa DeFazio, Peoria, Ariz., 15-13

Women’s Non-Olympic Championship Bout Results:

106 lbs/female: Amy Sowers, Bozeman, Mont., dec. Marina Ramirez, Las Vegas, Nev., 21-14

119 lbs/female: Haley Pasion, Waipahu, Hawaii, dec. Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass., 11-11 (87-86)

125 lbs/female: Heather Hardy, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Elizabeth Leddy, Portland, Maine, 21-12

141 lbs/female: Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio, dec. Luvisa Matali, Denver, Colo., 27-14

152 lbs/female: Stephanie Taylor, West Hills, Calif., dec. Amournix Stamp, Milwaukee, Wis., 9-1

178+ lbs/female: Charnita Johnson, Columbus, Ohio (unopposed champion)

women’s nationals – bronze medal winners!

Women’s nationals – bronze medal winners!

Last night, the consolation bouts were held to determine the bronze medal winners for this year’s national championship titles.

In the women’s Olympic weights — while all six fighters will have the opportunity to duke it out at the Olympic trials next year, coming in as bronze medal winners will sure be sweet.

Christina Cruz, training at Gleason's Gym, Photo: Beatrice de Gea, NYT

New York’s own Christina Cruz, (New York, NY) is this year’s women’s flyweight bronze medal winner having defeated a game Poula Estrada, (Palmdale, CA), 13-7. Christina will also be representing the Unites States in the upcoming debut of women’s boxing at the Pan-Am Games this fall.

N’yteeyah Sherman, (Barberton, OH) who lost a 23-23 decision to Queen Underwood based on the punch count, handily defeated Lisa Porter, (Northridge, CA), 19-11 for the lightweight medal.  This is exciting indeed for Sherman who is walking away with the bronze in her first-ever nationals.

Tika Hemingway

In the 165 weight division, Tika Hemingway, (Pittsburgh, PA), won a close battle over Tiffanie Ward, (Hacienda Heights, CA), 16-14, for the bronze.

The finals will be fought today with the the non-Olympic women’s weight classes fighting at 2:00 PM.  The Olympic weight classes will begin this evening at 6:00 PM.

There will be a LIVE WEBCAST on USA Boxing’s website (click here) starting at 6:00 PM MT — and the chance to preview your future Olympic heroines in actions!


Friday’s Consolation Bout Results area as follows:

106 lbs/female: Lisa Ha, Honolulu, Hawaii, dec. Elizabeth Rodriguez, Gilroy, Calif., 17-11
112 lbs/female: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., dec. Poula Estrada, Palmdale, Calif., 13-7
119 lbs/female: Nephateria Miller, New Haven, Conn., dec. Lindsay Bartels, Omaha, Neb., 30-22
125 lbs/female: Lori Argumedo, Commerce, Calif., dec. Emily Dgnan, Jasper, Tenn.
132 lbs/female: N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio dec. Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif., 19-11
141 lbs/female: Ariel Beck, Deer Lodge, Mont., dec. Kathleen Walsh, Rankankama, N.Y., 19-10
152 lbs/female: Faith Franco, Duarte, Calif., won on medical disqualification over Diona Wigand, Lexington, Ky., Medical-DQ
165 lbs/female: Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa., dec. Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif., 16-14
201+ lbs/female: Dominic Breazeale, Anaheim, Calif., won on medical disqualification over O’Jayland Brown, Sacramento, Calif., Medical- DQ


Women’s nationals semi-finals – Day 4!

Women’s Nationals Semi-Finals – Day 4!

We are talking really smoking hot in the Olympic divisions!!!


Marlen Esperza, in training

Marlen Esperza (Houston, TZ) did not disappoint when she handily defeated New York’s own Christina Cruz 9-3.  With this victory, Esperza will be competing for her sixth straight national title in the Finals.

Tyriesha Douglas (L)

Tyrieshia Douglas (Baltimore, MD)  defeated contender Poula Estrada (Palmdale, CA) by a score of 17-11.  This will set up an exciting rematch of the Esperza v. Douglas 2010 National Championship battle!


Queen Underwood

In a real barn-burner live tweeted by writer Raquel Ruiz, the momentum of the fight shifted back and forth between four-time champion Queen Underwood (Seattle, WA) and contender N’yteeyah Sherman (Barberton, OH) competing in her first national tournament.  They traded punches back and forth with Queen using her ring skill to try to outbox Sherman.  In the end, with the score tied 23-23, the judges awarded the win to Queen Underwood with a tiebreaker decision based on the punch count which was scored in Queen’s favor, 116-96.

Tiara Brown

Compared to the Underwood v. Sherman bout, the Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, FL) battle with Lisa Porter (Northridge, CA) was a relative “walk-over” with Brown handily defeating Porter, 13-7.  Underwood and Brown will face each other in Saturday night’s final.


Franchon Crews

To round out the Olympic divisions, Franchon Crews (Baltimore, MD) defeated Tiffanie Ward (Hacienda Heights, CA) in another close contest by the score 14-13.  The former champion will meet Alyssa DeFazio (Peoria, AZ) who handily defeated the former light heavyweight champion Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, PA), 20-14.

A Girlboxing shoutout to all of the amazing women boxers who have participated so far!  Now it’s time to get to work so *ALL* of the female boxing weight divisions will included in the 2016 Olympics!

Here’s the full roster of semi-final women’s bouts.

106 lbs/female: Amy Sowers, Bozeman, Mont., dec. Elizabeth Rodriguez, Gilroy, Calif., 16-10
106 lbs/female: Marina Ramirez, Las Vegas, Nev., dec. Lisa Ha, Honolulu, Hawaii, 15-13

112 lbs/female: Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., dec. Poula Estrada, Palmdale, Calif., 17-11
112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas, dec. Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., 9-3

119 lbs/female: Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass., dec. Lindsay Bartels, Omaha, Neb., 29-15

119 lbs/female: Haley Pasion, Waipahu, Hawaii, stopped Nephateria Miller, New Haven, Conn., RSC-3 (1:44)

125 lbs/female: Heather Hardy, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Emily Dagnan, Jasper, Tenn., 25-9
125 lbs/female: Elizabeth Leddy, Portland, Maine, dec. Lori Argumedo, Commerce, Calif., 24-10

132 lbs/female: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., dec. Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif., 13-7
132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., dec. N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio, 23-23 (116-96)

141 lbs/female: Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio, dec. Kathleen Walsh, Rankankama, N.Y., 17-16
141 lbs/female: Luvisa Matali, Denver, Colo., dec. Ariel Beck, Deer Lodge, Mont., 17-11

152 lbs/female: Amournix Stamp, Milwaukee, Wis., dec. Faith Franco, Duarte, Calif., 7-6
152 lbs/female: Stephanie Taylor, West Hills, Calif., won on walkover over, Diana Wigand, Lexington, Ky., W/O

165 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., dec. Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif., 14-13
165 lbs/female: Alyssa DeFazio, Peoria, Ariz., dec. Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa., 20-14

Women’s Nationals Quarter-Finals! – Day 3

Women’s Nationals Quarter-Finals! – Day 3

Talk about a competition!  The 2011 USA Boxing Women’s Boxing division heated up yesterday with some truly fierce quarter-final action — and for the winners in the three Olympic weight classes (Flyweight, Lightweight and Middleweight), it was not only the chance to move on to the semi-finals, but the guarantee of a berth for next year’s Olympic Trials!

Wednesday Afternoon Action

The afternoon quarter finals included a barn-burner between two four-time national champions:  Queen Underwood (Seattle, WA) and Caroline Barry (Boulder, Co).  The meeting between Underwood and Barry was tough, competitive and highly skilled.  USA Boxing note the round-by-round as a battle of strength and wills with each round a tough fight between the two competititors.  In the end, however, Queen Underwood, coming off of two rousing preliminary bouts was able to pull off the win with a cleanly fought 4th round giving her the 14-10 decision over Barry.  The win guarantees Underwood a coveted spot in next year’s Olympic trials.

Tyriesha Douglas (L)

The good news is that Caroline Barry is that she can still qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials if she emerges victorious at the Women’s Golden Gloves or National PAL Championships.

Queen Underwood will fight in the semifinals against N’yteeyah Sherman (Barberton, Oh).

Full roster of Quarter-final bouts:

106 lbs/female: Elizabeth Rodriguez, Gilroy, Calif., won on walkover over, Natalie Gonzalez, New Rochelle, N.Y., W/O

119 lbs/female: Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass., dec. Shanice Herron, St. Louis, Mo., 32-7

119 lbs/female: Nephateria Miller, New Haven, Conn., won on retirement over, Tiffany Griffin, Chicago, Ill., RET-4 (0:00)

119 lbs/female: Lindsay Bartels, Omaha, Neb., stopped Bryonna Sumandig, Tacoma, Wash., RSC-4 (1:47)

119 lbs/female: Haley Pasion, Waipahu, Hawaii, dec. Shanne Ruelas, Fresno, Calif., 26-19

132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Tacoma, Wash., dec. Caroline Barry, Boulder, Colo., 14-10

132 lbs/female: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., dec. Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, N.Y., 23-8

132 lbs/female: N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio, won on retirement over, Jayli Fimbres, Newton, N.D., RET-4 (0:00)

132 lbs/female: Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif., dec. Jesse Owens, Virginia Beach, Va. 27-9

Wednesday Evening Action

Christina Cruz, New York Golden Gloves Winner

New York’s own and 2010 National PAL Champion Christina Cruz won a decision over Nicole Pasillas, (Aurora, CO) with a rousing 18-6 decision.  In the other highly anticipated  female flyweight division bouts 2010 USA Boxing National Championships finalist, Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) handily defeated former National Champion Cynthia Moreno (Guadalupe, Ariz.) 25-15.

Rounding out the lightweight division Tyrieshia Douglas (Baltimore, Md.) defeated Berenice Hernandez (Las Vegas, Nev.) 25-14 and Poula Estrada, (Palmdale, Ca.) defeated hometown Alicia Avila, (Colorado Springs, Co) in a closelfy fought contest by a mere, 11-10.

Tika Hemingway

The women’s middleweight division  was no less exciting in a bout between two-time national champions. The reigning middleweight titlist Tiffanie Hearn (Louisville, Ky.) battled the former light heavyweight champion Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, Pa.). According to USA Boxing, “Hemingway took the early lead in the bout, holding a 10-5 edge after two rounds.”  Hemingway was able to win an upset victory with a final score of 17-14 margin. She will face 2009 National Champion Alyssa DeFazio (Peoria, Ariz.) in Thursday’s semifinals.

Franchon Crews

In other exciting action, the rousing fighter of the Pan-Am qualifier, Franchon Crews, (Baltimore, Md.) had a forth round stoppage over Audrey Drew, (Dallas, Tx), RSC-4 (1:10).  To round out the quarter finals, Tiffanie Ward, (Hacienda, Heights, CA) defeated Christina Jensen, (Centereach, N.Y.), 31-11 and Alyssa Defazio, (Peoria, AZ) won her bout over Dara Shen, (Fairfax, VA), 29-10.

Full Roster of Quarter-final bouts:

112 lbs/female: Poula Estrada, Palmdale, Calif., dec. Alicia Avila, Colorado Springs, Colo., 11-10
112 lbs/female: Tyreishia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., dec. Berenice Hernandez, Las Vegas, Nev. 23-14
112 lbs/female: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., dec. Nicole Pasillas, Aurora, Colo., 18-6
112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas, dec. Cynthia Moreno, Phoenix, Ariz., 25-15
125 lbs/female: Emily Dagnan, Jasper, Tenn., dec. Asia Stevenson, Washington, D.C., 20-18
125 lbs/female: Heather Hardy, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Andrea Peters, Fort Carson, Colo., 22-9
125 lbs/female: Elizabeth Leddy, Portland, Maine, dec. Casey Morton Carissa, San Francisco, Calif., 45-26

141 lbs/female: Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio, dec. Kristin Gearhart, Oak Park, Ill., 13-5
141 lbs/female: Kathleen Walsh, Rankankama, N.Y., dec. Kendra Macon, Charlotte, N.C., 29-11
141 lbs/female: Luvisa Matali, Denver, Colo., dec. Jessica McCaskill, St. Louis, Mo., 14-9
141 lbs/female: Ariel Beck, Deer Lodge, Mont., dec. Rachell Wehrl, Stafford, Va., 21

165 lbs/female: Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda, Heights, Calif., dec. Christina Jensen, Centereach, N.Y., 31-11

165 lbs/female: Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa, dec. Tiffanie Hearn, Louisville, Ky., 31-11

165 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., stopped Audrey Drew, Dallas, Texas, RSC-4 (1:10)
165 lbs/female: Alyssa Defazio, Peoria, Ariz., dec. Dara Shen, Fairfax, Va., 29-10

Women’s Nationals results – Day 2

Women’s Nationals results – Day 2!

Tuesday Afternoon Action

Queen Underwood, training in Seattle

Caroline Barry

Four-time national champion Queen Underwood won her second fight with a stoppage over Darina Mimms yesterday. Four-time national champion Caroline Barry also won her bout against the 2010 Bantamweight National Champion Lauren Fisher (Dania, FL).  This sets up a terrific quarter-final match between Underwood and Barry for the right to enter the semi-finals and an all important berth in the Olympic trials next year.  Look for this fight to be about as exciting as it can get.

The full roster of bouts included:

119 lbs/female:  Amanda Pavone, Burlington Mass., dec. Erica Rosenburg, Fountain, Colo., 18-11

132 lbs/female: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., dec. Jody-Ann Weller, Pomona, N.Y., 18-9

132 lbs/female: Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, N.Y., dec. Mikaela Mayer, Marquette, Mich. 14-12

132 lbs/female: Caroline Barry, Boulder, Colo., dec. Lauren Fisher, Dania, Fla., 11-9

132 lbs/female: Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif., dec. Sherry Whetten, Tucson, Ariz., 17-9

132 lbs/female: N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio, dec. Rita Martinez, Las Cruces, N.M., 19-7

132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Tacoma, Wash., stopped Darina Mims, Greensboro, N.C., RSC-3 (0:57)

132 lbs/female: Jayli Fimbres, Newton, N.D., dec. Ishika Lay, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., 12-11

132 lbs/male: Jesse Owens, Virginia Beach, Va., dec. Amorena Baca, Denver, Colo., 14-13

Tuesday Evening Session

Marlen Esperza, in training

In an exciting evening of boxing, the top female flyweights fought simultaneous close bouts. Five-time national champion Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) fought against the 2010 USA Boxing National Championships bronze medalist Alex Love (Monroe, Wash.).

Alex Love

USA Boxing noted that “Love kept the bout close through the first two rounds, but Esparza extended her lead to a comfortable margin late and won a 13-7 final decision.” Esparza will go to fight the former bantamweight national champion Cynthia Moreno (Guadalupe, Ariz.) in the Wednesday night quarter-finals for a berth in the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing.

These bouts are particularly heartbreaking for fighters such as Alex Love who have set their sites on fighting in the upcoming 2012 Olympics.

All of the quarterfinal bouts will be contested on Wednesday in two sessions at noon and 6 p.m., with the victors moving on to the semifinals and those in Olympic weight classes earning berths in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

The full roster of Tuesday evening’s bouts are as follows:

112 lbs/female: Berenice Hernandez, Las Vegas, Nev., dec. Taversha Norwood, Marietta, Ga., 32-13

112 lbs/female: Poula Estrada, Palmdale, Calif., dec. Maryquenn Vellinga, Salt Lake City, Utah, 22-8

112 lbs/female: Alicia Avila, Colorado Springs, Colo., dec. Jamie Mitchell, Pacific Grove, Calif., 13-12

112 lbs/female: Cynthia Moreno, Guadalupe, Ariz., dec. Megan Rembold, Oswego, Ill. 27-13

112 lbs/female: Tyreishia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., dec. LaTonya King, Harrison, Mich., 17-11

112 lbs/female: Nicole Pasillas, Aurora, Colo., dec. Autumn Anderson, Bellevue, Neb., 17-16

112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas, dec. Alex Love, Monroe, Wash., 13-7

112 lbs/female: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., dec. Noemi Bosques, Pinellas Park, Fla., 25-6

141 lbs/female: Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio, dec. Griselda Madrigal, Wenataliee, Wash., 18-12

141 lbs/female: Ariel Beck, Deer Lodge, Mont., dec. Urbana Hernandez, El Paso, Texas, 14-11

141 lbs/female: Jessica McCaskill, St. Louis, Mo., dec. Samantha Griffith, Pittsburg, Pa., 27-18

165 lbs/female: Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif., dec. Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif. 13-12

165 lbs/female: Audrey Drew, Dallas, Texas, won on walkover over, Marie Ybarra, Greeley, Colo., W/O

165 lbs/female: Christina Jensen, Centereach, N.Y., dec. Heather Bassett, Jackson, Tenn., 25-9

165 lbs/female: Alyssa Defazio, Peoria, Ariz., stopped Tara Weisshaar, Burlington, Colo., RSC-1 (0:55)

165 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., dec. Raven Barnes, Marquette, Mich., 29-7

165 lbs/female: Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa., stopped Amy Castillo, Bakersfield, Calif., RSC-1 (0:40)

165 lbs/female: Dara Shen, Fairfax, Va., dec. Kalita Marsh, Smithfield, N.C., 18-8

165 lbs/female: Tiffanie Hearn, Louisville, Ky., stopped Melinda Levasseur, Magnolia, Del., RSC-1 (0:55)

West v. Knight: Boxing the way it’s supposed to be!

West V. Knight: Boxing the way it’s supposed to be!

Ava Knight and Kaliesha West, Photo: Mary Ann Owen

Kaliesha West  (13-1-3, 4 KO’s) and Ava Knight (6-1-3, 3 KO’s) fought ten hard Main Event rounds to a draw this past Saturday night at California’s Pico Rivera Sports Arena on what was otherwise a mixed martial arts and Muy Thai fight card.  The judges scored the bout 95-95, 96-94 Knight and 96-94 West.  The draw meant that West was able to retain her WBO female bantamweight title.

Both women fought their hearts out in their second outing together.  In their first meeting, Knight had handed West her only loss.  One can only hope that their likely third match will be as exciting.

In listening to West’s interview after the fight, the resounding message is one of respect for her opponent and a sincere desire to better her sport.  All I can say is what sports-womanship!  And beyond that, a giant Girlboxing shout to advocate for putting  women’s boxing of this caliber on something other than streaming video!

Ava Knight and Kaliesha West, Photo: Katherine Rodriguez

If ever a fight should have been broadcast it was this one! It was a rematch of a terrific fight. It was Kaliesha West’s first outing after a horrific car wreck — and more to the point these two women CAN FIGHT and represent the best in their generation of up-and-coming strong women’s boxers who not only fight with skill but with heart!

Perhaps with National’s going on now, World’s in the Fall and the Olympic trials next Spring some more momentum will swing towards women’s boxing — but I’ve got to say that the continuing black-out of women’s boxing on main-stream American television not only denies a loyal fan base the opportunity to follow their sport, but importantly denies these tremendous fighters an opportunity to grow and progress as athletes.

It’s time to bring the sport to the next level!

For a nice recap of the fight, check out The Sweet Science here.

Women’s Nationals Results – Day 1!

Women’s Nationals Results – Day 1!

2010 USA Boxing National Championships


Nationals got off to a rousing start in the Olympic divisions with Queen Underwood easily overtaking her opponent, Maria Madrigal with a first round stoppage.  She will take on Darina Mims (Greensboro, N.C.) in second round action on Tuesday afternoon.  Also look for Christina Cruz to fight Noemi Bosques (Pinellas Park, Fla.) who decisively won her first preliminary bout on Monday night over Cassandra Mendoxa (Greeley, Co.).

Early favorite for a medal Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) won on walkover over, Tiffany Perez, (Hammond, Ind)

Monday Afternoon Preliminary Bouts!

132 lbs/female: Sherry Whetten, Tucson, Ariz., won on walkover over, Kymmberli Stowe, Pittsburgh, Pa., W/O

132 lbs/female: Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, NY., dec. Brenda Gutierrez, Sacramento, Calif., 35-6

132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., stopped Maria Madrigal, Wenatcher, Wash., RSC-1 (1:32)

132 lbs/female: Tiara Brown, Fort Meyers, Fla., dec. Storm Chandler, New York, N.Y., 18-14

132 lbs/female: Amorena Baca, Denver, Colo., dec. Marianne Kraus, Nauvoo, Ill., 25-7

132 lbs/female: Lauren Fisher, Dania Beach, Fla., dec. Amber Smith, Fort Worth, Texas, 24-7

132 lbs/female: Ishika Lay, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., dec. Jenelle Leal, Corpus Christi, Texas, 30-7

132 lbs/female: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. Robin Conroy, Plattsburgh, N.Y., 13-3

132 lbs/female: Rita Martinez, Las Cruces, NM., won on walkover over, Takesha Edward, W/O

Monday Evening Preliminary Bouts
112 lbs/female: Poula Estrada, Palmdale, Calif., dec. Ginny Fuchs, Houston, Texas, 15-9

112 lbs/female: Noemi Bosques, Pinellas Park, Fla., dec. Cassandra Mendoza, Greeley, Colo., 21-14

112 lbs/female: LaTonya King, Harrison, Mich., stopped Rhonda McGee, Vacaville, Calif., RSC-2 (1:42)

112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas, won on walkover over, Tiffany Perez, Hammond, Ind., W/O 

132 lbs/female: Sherman N’yteeya, Barberton, Ohio. dec. Alecia Gutierrez, Chicago Ill., 33-19

165 lbs/female: Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif., dec. Jennifer Egan, Mohopac, N.Y., 18-13


N A T I O N A L S ! Yep, Women’s Amateur Boxing Rules!

N A T I O N A L S !  Yep, Women’s Amateur Boxing Rules!

Cool fact!  This year’s women’s national champions will give us all a look at the possible Olympians for next year’s Olympic games in London!

The 2011 USA Boxing National Championships are set to begin on June 19th and will run through June 26th in Colorado Springs, Col

As stated on USA Boxing website, “For the first-time ever, one event will serve as a qualifying tournament for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for both male and female athletes with the top four finishers in the three female Olympic weight classes and 10 men’s divisions clinching the critical qualifying spots.”

As a reminder the three Olympic divisions are:  Flyweight (112 lbs). Lightweight (132 lbs) and Middleweight (165 lbs).

So look for the defending champions in the three Olympic weight divisions to rock the house: flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) competing for her sixth straight national championship, lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) boxing for her fifth title and middleweight Tiffanie Hearn (Louisville, Ky.) vying for her second consecutive middleweight crown and third overall.

The going won’t be easy though as there are a record 36 women vying for the Lightweight title alone this year including 2010 National PAL Champion Stephanie Han (El Paso, Texas), four-time winner Caroline Barry (Boulder, Colo.), former featherweight national champions Melissa Parker (Camp Lejeune, N.C.) and Jody Ann Weller (Pomona, N.Y.), as well as 2010 bantamweight gold medalist Lauren Fisher (Dania, Fla.).

The middle weight division is no lock either with 21 entrants including Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) who was AWESOME in the Pan Am trials, plus former light heavyweight champion Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and defending heavyweight titlist Denise Rico (Los Angeles, Calif.) both of whom moved down to the middleweight division in the hopes of making the team.

Action will begin for the Olympic weight classes on Monday with the start of their preliminary bouts.  According to USA Boxing’s rules, the athletes in the three Olympic divisions will need to win their preliminary bouts and the quarter finals to earn a place in Thursday’s semifinal action.  Only Semi-finalist and above will be able to clinch a spot in next year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing.

The roster of fighters set to compete is impressive to say the least!

2011 USA Boxing National Championships Female Athletes by Weight Class

Light flyweight/106 lbs (Six Boxers)

Natalie Gonzalez, New Rochelle, N.Y., Elizabeth Rodriguez, Gilroy, Calif., Lisa Ha, Honolulu, Hawaii, Vanessa Guzman, Chula Vista, Calif., Marina Ramirez, Las Vegas, Nev., Amy Sowers, Bozeman, Mont.

Flyweight/112 lbs (22 Boxers) – Olympic

Tyreishia Douglas, Baltimore, Md. (2010 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist), Noemi Bosques, Pinellas Park, Fla., Megan Rembold, Oswego, Ill., Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas (Five-time National Champion), Alicia Avila, Colorado Springs, Colo., Jamie Mitchell, Pacific Grove, Calif., Bernice Hernandez, Las Vegas, Nev., Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y. (2010 National PAL Champion), LaTonya King, Harrison, Mich., Heather Han, El Paso, Texas, Rhonda McGee, Vacaville, Calif., Nicole Pasillas, Aurora, Colo., Autumn Anderson, Bellevue, Neb., Paola Estrada, Palmdale, Calif., Cassandra Mendoza, Greeley, Colo., Alex Love, Monroe, Wash. (2010 USA Boxing National Championships bronze medalist), Cynthia Moreno, Guadalupe, Ariz. (2008 National Champion), Taversha Norwood, Marietta, Ga., Virgina ‘Ginny’ Fuchs, Baton Rouge, La., Tiffany Perez, Hammond, Ind., Ashlee Reyes, San Antonio, Texas, Maryguenn Vellinga, Salt Lake City, Utah

Bantamweight/119 lbs (12 Boxers)

Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass., Rayleen Williams, Lincoln, Del., Rosa Rodriguez, Miami, Fla., Tiffany Griffin, Chicago, Ill., Shanice Herron, St. Louis, Mo., Shanne Ruelas, Fresno, Calif., Bryonna Jumandig, Tacoma, Wash., Haley Pasion, Waipahu, Hawaii, Nephateria Miller, New Haven, Conn., Lindsay Bartels, Omaha, Neb., Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass., Erica Rosenburg, Fountain, Colo.

Featherweight/125 lbs (10 Boxers)

Heather Hardy, Brooklyn, N.Y., Alecia DeFrank, Rickey, Fla., Ronica Rodriguez, Lansing, Mich., Carissa Casey Morton, San Francisco, Calif., Lori Argumedo, Commerce City, Calif., Andrea Peters, Ft. Carson, Colo., Elizabeth Leddy, Portland, Maine (2010 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist), Kristen McKnight, Angien, N.C., Asia Stevenson, Washington, D.C., Emily Dagnan, Jasper, TN

Lightweight/132 lbs (36 Boxers) – Olympic

Comel Chandler, Brooklyn, New York, Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio, Marianne Kraus, Indianola, Iowa, Jeanelle Leal, Corpus Christi, Texas, Earnestine Wesley, Garland, Texas, Amorena Baca, Denver, Colo., Jayli Fimbres, Newton, N.D., Brenda Gutierrez, Sacramento, Calif., Maira Madrigal, Wenataliee, Wash., Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif., Caroline Barry, Boulder, Colo. (Four-time National Champion), Melissa Parker, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (2009 National Champion), Mikaela Mayer, Marquette, Mich., Stephanie Han, El Paso, Texas (2010 National PAL Champion), Queen Underwood, Tacoma, Wash. (Four-time National Champion), Jody-Ann Weller, Pomona, N.Y. (2010 Featherweight National Champion), Darina Mims, Greensboro, N.C., Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, N.Y., Storm Chandler, Brooklyn, N.Y., Robin Conroy, Wilmington, N.C., Stefanie Taylor, West Hills, Calif., Jasmedh Rosales, Los Angeles, Calif., Micaela Arce, Reno, Nev., Rita Martinez, Las Cruces, N.M., Madeline Guzman, Perth Amboy, N.J., Jessie Owens, Virginia Beach, Va., Amber Smith, Ft. Worth, Texas, Selina Barrios, San Antonio, Texas, Alecia Gutierrez, Chicago, Ill., Ishika Lay, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., Takesha Edward, Houston, Texas, Lauren Fisher, Dania, Fla. (2010 Bantamweight National Champion), Sherry Whetten, Tucson, Ariz., Kymmberli Stowe, Millersville, Pa.

Light welterweight/141 lbs (12 Boxers)

Kathleen Walsh, Rankankama, N.Y., Samantha Griffith, Pittsburgh, Pa., Rebecca Laborde, Tampa, Fla., Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio (2010 USA Boxing National Champion), Jessica McCaskill, St. Louis, Mo., Urbana Hernandez, El Paso, Texas, Ariel Beck, Deer Lodge, Mont., Luvisa Matali, Denver, Colo., Griselda Madrigal, Wenataliee, Wash., Rachell Wehrle, Stafford, Va., Kendra Macon, Charlotte, N.C., Kristin Gearhart, Oak Park, Ill.

Welterweight/152 lbs (Seven Boxers)

LaTarishia Fountain, Flushing, N.Y., Christine Poulauskis, Oakland Park, Fla., Amournix Stamp, Milwaukee, Wis., Lindsey Soderberg, Holt, Mich., Faith Franco, Duarte, Calif., Jen Johnson, Kalispell, MT., Diona Wigand, Lexington, Ky.

Middleweight/165 lbs (21 boxers)  – Olympic

Christina Jenson, Centereach, N.Y., Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md. (Four-time National Champion), Heather Bassett, Jackson, Tenn., Audrey Drew, Dallas, Texas, Tara Weisshaar, Burlington, Colo., Amy Castillo, Bakersfield, Calif., Fallon Farrar, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif., Raven Barnes, Marquette, Mich., Kalita Marsh, Smithfield, N.C., Denise Rico, Los Angeles, Calif. (2010 USA Boxing National Champion), Alyssa DeFazio, Peoria, Ariz. (2009 National Champion), Tiffanie Hearn, Louisville, Ky. (2010 Heavyweight National Champion), Dara Shen, Fairfax, Va., Melinda Levasseur, Magnolia, Del., Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa. (2009 Light Heavyweight National Champion), LaTeisha Darden, Wilmington, N.C., Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif., Maria Dominguez, Wouchula, Fla., Jennifer Egan, Mohopac,NY, Marie Ybarra, Greeley, Colo.

Light heavyweight/178 lbs (1 Boxer)

Kimberly Olech, Canton, Ohio

Heavyweight/178+ (3 Boxers)

Natalie Pacheco, Bronx, N.Y., Charnita Johnson, Columbus, Ohio, Natacia Manuma, Mililoni, Hawaii

One year on…

One year on…

The giant pinnacle game in the sky got a new player a year ago today.  It was always my mother’s favorite game — and she’d have a twinkle in her eye whenever she’d talk about playing pinnacle with her uncles and aunts during her childhood in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

My hope is that she’s been playing the game, surrounded by all of her old kitties, every sock she ever lost neatly reunited in a dresser drawer, and otherwise hanging with her favorite relatives plus those members of her old gang of girls that have gone on to join the pinnacle table at the heaven club.

It was in my mother’s retelling of her old memories of Brighton Beach that my brother and I always saw her at her happiest.

As if in a slip stream of joyous abandon she’d say, “I swam from May to November,” while my brother and I tried to envision her as a young girl diving into the waves in late October sunshine on an “Indian” summer afternoon. She’d also tells us about how she and her gang hung out along the boardwalk, hit Steeplechase in Coney Island for what felt like a thousand times a season or played handball for hours on end.  The lone photo I remember seeing of her of that time (the late 1940’s) shows a smiling face in a white shirt, rolled up dungarees and a pair of saddle shoes surrounded by four or five best friends.

She’d also talk about the music she’d listen to.  She was never a Sinatra fan as that was the province of her older sister, so in those days her favorites where Frankie Lane and Mel Torme, but she also loved opera and would listen to the Metropolitan Opera on the radio with her mother on Saturday afternoons — a bond they shared across the years and a hot topic of conversation on their weekly Sunday calls.

As we enter summer again, I envision my mother as a young woman — the woman of my childhood.  I like to think of her on the beach, the waves at her feet, the sun embracing her as she stares off kind of dreamily.  If ever I asked her what was beyond that kind of gaze she’d tell me about all the places she wanted to go to — and while she never did get to many of them, perched up at her card table on a veranda, the sea close by, my hope is the view is just great with the world laid on in front her of like a giant canopy.


Missing boxing today

Missing boxing today.

I worked out yesterday, and pacing myself due to the coughing and breath problem aside,  the workout was really great.

Training by myself, I was able to take it slow and focus on the things I wanted to work on like pounding away at the double-ended bag for a whole lotta’ rounds mostly working on the upper cut off the jab and the left hook off the jab before hitting with a quick straight right and then a shuffle turn around the bag.

When I woke up this morning my arms felt just great. And all day today, I found myself throwing my arms out to shadow box.  Walking down the street, in the elevator at work, waiting for the elevator at home, online at the Grocery store.  Even now, as I drift trying to come up with a train of thought to jot down, my hands start to throw a shoe shine, from down to up to down and back up again.

‘Guess I’ll head on over tomorrow, even though my big workout with Len is Saturday, I just can’t seem to get enough of pounding away at the double-ended bag even if its only for a little while.

If you’re missing the gym too, check out this cool video with Kostya Tszyu.

Boxing with your breath

Boxing with your breath.

The last few weeks have been a challenge.  Same workout, and perhaps even a touch more pep, but … the breath’s just not been there.

It started about a month ago on one of the first really hot days when the air was close and filled with ozone, pollen and a bunch of other junk.  The work out was fine, but as I went to hit the speed bag, I just had to stop because it felt as if I’d run out of air. After it happened the third time — bouts of breathless with lots of coughing and a healthy dose of phlegm — I got kind of concerned and like any good hypochondriac immediately hit the web to search on “breathless and exercise”.

It turns out there is a condition called Exercise Induced Asthma or EIA that seems to fit with triggers that include rigorous exercise, high pollutants/pollen/molds/dust, or cold, dry air, mouth breathing, cold or flu that can cause coughing, phlegm, tightness in the chest, and in some cases wheezing.

I’m not sure if this is what I actually have (I’ll be checking it out next week), but if you are  experiencing problems with your breathing there are tests you can take to see if in fact the issues are related to an asthma condition, even if you’ve never exhibited the condition before.  These tests include “challenge” exams where the patient runs or performs other rigorous exercises for a 3 – 5 minutes and then breathes into various apparatus to measure the output of the breath.  This occurs before and after the test at prescribed intervals.

If it turns out that you do have EIA — there are treatments that run from ways of managing breath and exercise on through medications that will help you continue to exercise while avoiding the problems associated with asthma.

My hope is that whatever’s going on with me is just something goofy that’ll go away quickly — if not, there are always inhalers!

If you are experiencing something similar or know someone who is there are some excellent resources around the web.  You can also click here to get started.

Three great women’s boxing victories!

Three great women’s boxing victories!

There’s been some exciting women’s boxing going on lately.

Amanda Serrano (L) v. Jennifer Scott

Saturday, June 11th, Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano, grabbed the vacant NABF Superfeatherweight championship belt when she clocked Jennifer Scott at a 1:46 into the first round of her scheduled 8-round bout at Roseland Ballroom on the Boricua Boxing II Card. (Boxing News 24 has a nice piece here.)  With the win, Serrano improves her record to 10-0-1 with 6 KO’s.

The second big women’s professional bout over the weekend was South African women’s boxer Noni “She bee stinging” Tenge’s 4th round knockout victory over New Zealand’s own Daniella “The Diamond” Smith to capture the women’s IBF Welterweight Championship at the at the Carnival City inBrakpa, South Africa.  As the first South African woman to win a major boxing title,Tenge has entered the history books for South African sports.  The victory, however has also caused a lot of controversy due to the South African Broadcasting Company’s decision *not* to broadcast the fight as a live event.  Although SABC’s reaction was to say, “why is this SABC’s problem?” promoter Branco Milenkovic is quoted as saying, “If the SABC wants to call itself the national broadcaster, it should broadcast boxing.”  For more on the story from inside South Africa click here and here.

Not to be outdone, Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm defeated Victoria Cisneros on Friday night in her Main Event showing on Telefutura’s “Sólo Boxeo Tecate” series.

A big Girlboxing shout out to both fighters for putting on a G-R-E-A-T show that we hope will inspire other sports channels to headline more women’s bouts!