Archive for 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

June 2011

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