Beautiful day, beautiful box, but the work continues.
So there I was this morning on my fast walk to Gleason’s Gym feeling mighty pleased with myself. I’ve lost about seven pounds since starting on the low-acid diet, I had lots of energy and I felt “back” in terms of my physical conditioning.
There is, however, always something — and yes, I got through my sweet sixteen and even a super fast round on the double-ended bag, but when it came to the abs workout, it all fell apart.
Yep, folks, if it’s not one thing it’s another and in my case, my next crucible has to do with my abs workout. Gone are the days of 100 sit-ups followed by 100 crunches followed by another round of 100 sit-ups. I was lucky to do a full 25 sit-ups followed by 60 crunches (in to 30-crunch sets). Talk about an “ugh” moment.
But hey, not everything works out all the time and while I’ve come along enough to feel the fabulous pop-pop-pow of my doubled-up jab/right hook combination, the situps will come along in due course too.
If you’ve been away from abs for a while too — here’s are a nice beginner tutorial from the UK, and a nice basic abs workout you can do at home or at the gym.
Reminder! Great Women’s Boxing on 7/30. Mcleod-Wells v. McMorrow & Nava v. Torres!
Keisher "Fire" Mcleod Wells (R) and Melissa "Mighty" McMorrow
McLeod-Wells v. McMorrow
In a rematch of their 6-round fight from this past February which had Gleason’s own Keisher “Fire” McLeod Wells (4-1, 1KO) on top — Fire will be facing California’s Melissa “Mighty” McMorrow (5-2-3) in the ring on Saturday night, July 30th, only this time in an 8-round bout with the New York State Flyweight Championship belt on the line. McMorrow picked up the belt in a split decision against New York’s Eileen Olszewski on June 24, 2011.
The bout, part of Lou DiBella‘s Broadway Boxing series also comes with DiBella’s commitment to feature at least one women’s bout on all of his future fight cards. This is welcome news for the sport of Women’s Boxing and Girlboxing sends a huge shout out to the DiBella Entertainment organization for their continued support!
The fight will be held at Aviator Sports & Event Center @ Floyd Bennet Field, 3149 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn New York.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased by contacting Gleason’s Gym (718-797-2872 – credit card accepted). Pricing for tickets: $55 (General Standing), $75 (Seating), $125 (Ringside), $1,500 (VIP Table: 10 persons/Table).
Nava v. Torres
Ana Maria Torres (l) vs. Jackie Nava
Jackie Nava v. Ana Maria Torres, Photo: Rafael Soto/Zanfer
Where can you find Women’s Boxing at its best you ask? Try flying down to the Metropolitan Center in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas for the chance to see the rematch between Jackie Nava (24-3-3, 11KO’s) and Ana Maria Torres (25-3-3, 15 KO’s), arguably on everyone’s top ten list of women fighters these days.
Their last outing in April was a 95-95 draw on all three judges cards, and as I keep saying their bout was as fierce a boxing battle as ever you’ll see. (Link to article & videos)
In the last presser before Saturday’s battle, Fight News quotes both boxers as saying:
Ana Maria Torres: “The first fight was very tough, we feel that we won it, but this time to avoid doubt look for the knockout with intelligence, without rushing, but just win round after round if the fight would go to decision.”
Jackie Nava: “It would have special meaning to win the Diamond belt. Plus at this point in my career, I am a very experienced fighter who has faced any challenges that has come…the fight will be a war in the ring, I’ll start with great determination and intensity unlike the first fight.”
Thankfully, the fight will be broadcast on Mexican television, which means we get a shot at seeing the fight on YouTube — it’ll also likely be carried live on a video stream so look for it if you want to see this non-stop action fight live.
Women’s Boxing: One year to go till Olympic Glory!
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t like boxing. My boxing hero was Mohammad Ali — and I have vivid memories of watching his fights on television, not to mention his running diatribes with Howard Cosell. And sure, that was all “back in the day” — but that was also history unfolding from Ali’s decision to embrace Islam on through refusing induction in the Army. What resonated was Ali smiling for the camera and saying, “I’m so pretty.” Those were powerful words for a boxer and a black man in America at that time — and frankly any time — upending notions of beauty, the ferosity of the ring, and the notion that there were limits on how high a human being could soar.
What I found was inspiration. I wanted to be him. Not so much as a boxer per se, but as a person that could take life and make it my own as an act of courage.
In thinking about the young women working their hearts out in the ring in preparation for next summer’s Olympics, I think of Ali. As a young 18 year old, he won Gold as a light heavyweight in the Rome Olympics and by the age of 28 had became an iconic figure in American history. “The Greatest” changed the world.
The future Olympians who ply the boards through countless hours of hard work in the gym show feats of courage every time they step into the ring — and while they may not be as earth shattering as Ali, those acts of hard work are no less important to the scheme of things, not to mention that we don’t yet know just where any of these women will end up in the years to come.
Given that we’ve hit the one year mark — the main stream press has started to focus in on these women and their ambition, and as a salute to our future Olympic heros, here’s a smattering from around the web.
Mary Kom (India) – Called “Magnificent Mary”, Kom is a five-time gold medal winner who is currently training with the Indian men’s team in pursuit of Olympic gold as noted in the Times of India article, Mary Kom trains with men’s team’s foreign coach.
Katie Taylor (Ireland) – Talk about courage in the ring, Katie Taylor is a fearless competitor having just won her 38th victory in a row with her gold medal victory in the European Union championships. She is also an iconic figure of brilliance in action in her native Ireland as the Irish Times piece ‘Perfect fight’ ends with European Title attests.
There are countless other Olympic hopefuls with countless other dreams of rising to the podium — and what we can do is support those dreams with our unwavering passion for the sport we love.
Going for the gold, junior style: yep it’s Jr. Olympic Nationals time again!
Starting on August 2nd and running through August 5th, the 2011 Junior Olympic National Championships will be held in at the Mobile Civic Center in Mobile, Alabama. Long considered a showcase for future for future Olympians and World Champions among male boxers, this year’s female boxers can set their sites on gaining a berth in 2016!
The preliminary bouts are set to begin on the first day of competition, with the quarterfinals set for Wednesday, August 3rd, semifinals on Thursday, August 4th and the championship round bouts set for Friday, August 5th in all of the weight divisions.
The roster of young women set to compete includes weight classes from 90 lbs. on through 176 lbs. Regardless of weight class, however, these young future stars deserve our support!
BTW, if you plan on being in Mobile between July 31st and August 5th you can not only catch the 2011 Jr. Olympic National Championships, but the Men’s Olympic Trials as well. Here’s a link for tickets to the events at the Mobile Civic Center.
For a taste of the level of competition to be enjoyed here’s video from the 2009 125 lb. Jr. Olympic National Championship finals between Flora Yanes and Chazette Szu.:
Another round of odd bins: Women’s Boxing around the globe!
The Burqa Boxers of Afghanistan!
Afghanistan teenage girls train at the infamous Ghazi Stadium. Photo: Kate Geraghty
My beloved Afghani Women’s Boxing team, coined the Burqa Boxers have hit the news again — this time in the Sydney Morning Herald. These brave young women and their coach continue to defy the odds just by showing up for practice twice a week! As quoted by writer Ben Doughty, Coach Mohammad Sabir Sharifi said, “”We will all work hard, and we will select the best, the strongest and the most talented and we will hope to have one of our girls represent our country at the Olympics.” Here’s hoping that they do. This highly recommended article and pictural essay can be found here.
A win in Mexico!
Irma Sanchez (L) v. Carlota Santos
Irma “Guerita” Sanchez (20-5-1, 5KO’s) was sucessful in her quest for the WBF female flyweight belt against Panamanian Carlota Santos (5-2-4, 4KO’s) with a TKO victory in the seventh round of the bout. With her win, Sanchez becomes the first female Mexican boxer to hold two world championships across two weight divisions. The fight was on the “Puños de ierro” card promoted by Hector Garcia’s HG BOXING at the Coliseo Olimpico de Guadalajara, Jalisco on Saturday night (7/23/2011).
Thank you Detroit Free Press!
Queen Underwood and Tiara Brown @ the Nationals, Photo: Jack Dempsey/AP
Jo-Ann Barnass writing for the Detroit Free Press has a terrific piece entitled, 2012 Summer Olympics: Three classes are not enough for women’s boxing that is really a must read. Barnass publicizes the fact the three Olympic weight classes (Flyweight-112, Lightweight-132, Middleweight-165) have effectively curtailed the Olympic dreams of many women who are unable to step up or down in weight enough to make one of the sanctioned weight classes. Her case in point is boxer Andrecia Wasson who won the world welterweight title in Barbados last year, but at 152 pounds does not easily fall into either the lightweight or middleweight category. Girlboxing has to agree that the limitation on weight classes is unnecessarily hampering the opportunities for women at the 2012 Olympics and applauds the Detroit Free Press for running this important piece! The link to the piece is here.
Here’s some third round action of Andrecia Wasson at the 2010 Ringside World Championships
That’s right! Alicia “Slick” Ashley at the age of 43 became the WBC Super Bantamweight champion of the world routing her much younger opponent, Christian Ruiz 99-91, 98-91 and 100-90 on the judges scorecards!
Alicia "Slick" Ashley, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion! Photo Credit: Power Image PR
Talk about a knockout night! Girlboxing salutes Slick for her fantastic win!
Championship boxing in the 109 weight division will pit Mexico’s Irma “Guerita” Sanchez (19-5-1, 5KO’s) against Panamanian Carlota Santos (5-2-3, 4KO’s) in a battle for the WBF female flyweight belt. Fighting on the “Puños de Hierro” card promoted by HG Boxing and Hector Garcia, Sanchez is attempting to make history by being the first female Mexican boxer to hold two world championships across two weight divisions. The fight will be held tonight at the Coliseo Olimpico de Guadalajara, Jalisco. The fights will be broadcast in Mexico by Televisa — and my guess is we’ll be able to catch fight the on streaming video as well as a YouTube posting a few days after the fight.
World Title Middleweight Belt in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad!
Tori Nelson (3-0-1) of Ashburn, Virginia will be flying down to Trinidad to face Las Vegas fighter, Lorissa Rivas (4-1, 3KO’s) to compete for the 10-round World Title Middleweight belt @ the Jean Pierre Sports Complex in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobego on July 29, 2011. The 10-round bout will be on the same card as the 12-round championship fight for the vacant 147 lb., WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE) title pitting Rumanian born, Montreal-based fighter Jo Jo Dan (28-1, 15KO’s) against Trinidad and Tobego’s own Floyd Trumpet (16-8-2, 9KO’s).
In a nice piece by writer Jeff Schneider, Nelson is quoted as saying,”I knew that God was going to bless me with an opportunity to be a world champion, but never this quick. I know boxers who have fought longer and haven’t had a chance. This is a dream come true and truly a blessing.” The full feature article about Tori Nelson in Leesburg Today is here. There’s no word on whether the bout will be broadcast.
Tonight! “Knock Out Cancer” fight card with Alicia “Slick” Ashley taking on Christina Ruiz for the vacant WBC Female Super Bantamweight World Title at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx, NY! If you can’t get to the fight — you can find it streaming onGoFightLive TV for $9.99. The proceeds go to fight cancer — as worthy a cause as you could ever find. The link is here.
Working out in the heat, Gleason's Gym, July 22, 2011
Given that I boxed in the heat on Wednesday, I had zero intention of finding my way to Gleason’s Gym this afternoon — in 104 degree heat! In fact, I was all set for a 9:00 AM training session with Lennox Blackmore (with a temp around 90), when we got to texting and his 4:30 PM Saturday became my 4:30 PM on Friday!
Amy Scheer, "wait for it" blogger
Meanwhile, I’d already met up with Girlboxing pal Amy Scheer visiting NY from Grand Rapids, Michigan who had a fabulous morning training session with Len @ Gleason’s.
We hooked up near Gleason’s at the edge of Cadman Plaza Park (when the temperature was a cool 98 degrees) — and gab, gab, gabbed over lunch at Taza’s about boxing, training and how to get to the next level. (BTW, check out Amy’s terrific blog,wait for it.)
Amy has been boxing for a while, but is looking to step up her game with sparring, improved technique and maybe even a go at some amateur boxing at the masters level.
After lunch — when the temp reached 100, my plan was to get back to the cool of the office, and figured my exercise of the day would be the sprint home to husband and AC!
Double-ended bag, Gleason's Gym, July 22, 2011
Rock, Trainer, Gleason's Gym, July 22, 2011
Well, the best laid plans … at Gleason’s, however, having missed my connection with Len — I figured what the “hay” and started in on the double-ended bag.
Call me crazy, but I had a blast as did the handful of other boxers and trainers working out! And really, it wasn’t that bad.
Sandra from Switzerland, enjoying her visit to NY! Gleason's Gym, July 22, 2011
The funky gym smell seemed to have dissipated and I just felt plain old tickled by how good it felt to whale away.
John "Superman" Douglas, Trainer, Gleason's Gym, July 22, 2011
And yes, it was hot, and even hotter on the way home, but I also felt kind of special for hanging in and sweating my way through 12 dripping-wet rounds on the hottest day of the year.
As with most parts of the United States, Brooklyn is baking under the sun and about to get a lot hotter today. At Gleason’s Gym after work yesterday, I found myself dragging and remembered what that hot, funky mid-summer gym smell was! Pretty ripe — but as I worked out and my muscles loosened to a gelatinous mass I also remembered why I love a summer workout.
Keisher "Fire" Mcleod-Wells
Still, it was hard to get the rhythm and I never did get my usual overheated combinations on my combinations going, rather I found myself throwing punches at a slow and steady pace … meanwhile, as one of my fellow gym denizens remarked, women actually out-numbered men at the gym, including Keisher “Fire” Mcleod-Wells sparring and working out in preparation for her upcoming NY State Championship bout on July 30th. That alone was inspiring enough to keep me going for a couple of more rounds — that and a look at just how hard everyone was working.
And that’s the thing isn’t it. So much of what we do is in relation to the folks we share the mirror with. Checking out moves, stances, combinations, cute tricks, and level of effort. To me that’s what the real hot means.
Whether it’s catching a glimpse of Fire in the ring as she works her magic or on any Saturday morning when all three rings are filled with sparring, some of it skilled, some of it less so, and some of it showing all the beauty of an improvisational pad de deux; catching the pulse of the boxing all around us is a boost like no other.
I wished I had more energy yesterday to match some of the effort, but even at my plodding pace, I felt the heat of the place as so much boxing energy winding its way through the gym as a giant wave capturing us all in its wake.
Odd Bins: Short takes on Women’s Boxing from around the globe.
Sparta Gym, Photo: Fernando Lara
The talk of El Centro, California are the two girls in the “Selected 7” — representing the Sparta Boxing Gym who will go on to the Ringside World Championships this coming August in Kansas City, MO!
Julie “Bazooka” Muñoz, 13, and Danika “Babyface” Lara, 13, are two of the seven fighters who began started training in earnest this week for the championships. Click here for the full story.
Jessica Diaz, Mission Boxing Club, Photo: Gabe Hernandez
The Christian Science Monitor recently ran a feature about women’s boxing at the Mission Boxing Club in Mission, Texas. The following quote from Jessica Diaz is typical of women training to box the world over, “You just have to push yourself, you have to be dedicated” Diaz said. “I started training hard. I would come in twice a day and when I wouldn’t come in, I would run. I’d eat right and only drink water.” Diaz will fight her first bout nn Saturday, July 30, at “Beto’s Boxing Club Show: Rumble In The Jungle” in Mercedes, TX. Click here for the full story.
Irish Boxing — and in particular Irish Women’s Boxing received a huge boost with a 2.3 million dollar infusion of cash issued by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association to improve facilities at boxing clubs across Ireland. The funds are being allocated to provide women with such things as changing rooms of their own! The intent is to encourage more women to take up the sport — and honors Ireland’s great amateur champion, Katie Taylor acknowledged as a serious Gold Medal contender in the lightweight division in next year’s Women’s Boxing debut at the 2012 Olympics.
The 2011 National Championship’s have begun — in Lao Cai provence, Viet Nam that is. There will be not less than 86 women boxers representing 20 teams from across the country participating in the tournament across five weight categories. The winners of this year’s tournament will be invited to join the National Team and participate in upcoming regional events to include the 26th annual SEA Games scheduled for this coming November in Indonesia. The top seed for the championships is Luu Thi Duyen who was a silver medalist in April’s World Youth Boxing Championships in Turkey and a gold medal winner at this month’s President’s Cup tournament in Indonesia.
Two Great Upcoming July Women’s Bouts from Gleason’s Own!
Two great female boxer’s out of Gleason’s Gym will be showcasing their considerable talents in the ring this month!
Alicia “Slick” Ashley
The July 23rd “Knock Out Cancer” boxing show at the Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx will feature none other than Alicia “Slick” Ashley (16-9-1, 1KO) in a bout against Christina Ruiz (6-3-1, 4KO’s) for the vacant WBC Female Super Bantamweight World Title. promoted by Joe DeGuardia’sStar Boxing to aid in the fight against cancer, the event promises to be exciting! Ruiz is coming off her knockout win over Emily Klinefelter that sent Klinefelter to the hospital — and Gleason’s own Ashley, a 13 year veteran of the sport is quoted as saying, “It would be phenomenal to win my 4th world title, especially in New York with my friends, family and fans lending support in what should be an exciting boxing match.”
Tickets for this exciting event can be purchased by contacting Gleason’s Gym (718-797-2872 – credit cards accepted) prices are set at $50, $75 and $100. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the first bout is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. Hunts Point Market is located at 772 Edgewater Road, Bronx, NY 10474
Keisher “Fire” Mcleod-Wells
Keisher "Fire" Mcleod-Wells, Credit: Andrea Mohin/NY Times
Fresh off her stint filming the upcoming Mexican reality TV show Todas Contra México, Keisher Mcleod-Wells (4-1) will be returning to the ring for none other than an eight-round New York State Flyweight Title Championship bout on July 30, 2011. Fire is taking on the current NYS Champion, Melissa “Mighty” McMorrow (5-2-3) in a rematch of their February 9th bout.
The event is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and will be held at The Aviator Sports & Event Center @ Floyd Bennet Field, 3149 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn New York.
Ticket information for this championship event can be purchased by contacting Gleason’s Gym (718-797-2872 – credit card accepted). Pricing for tickets: $55 (General Standing), $75 (Seating), $125 (Ringside), $1,500 (VIP Table: 10 persons/Table).
I know it was a Sunday evening in mid-summer, but something interesting happened last night: both ABC and CBS led their evening news reports with women’s soccer. Japan had just won as exciting a World Cup final as can be remembered against the US team — only it wasn’t the men’s soccer final, it was the women’s. Eschewing the normal jingoist flag waving, credit was given where it was due to the tremendous, tenacious play of both teams and to Japan for having edged out the US team 3-1 in penalty kicks after having been tied at 2-2 in regulation play.
As a strong supporter of the sport of women’s boxing, so often marginalized, side-swiped and forgotten, cheering from the side-lines for the extraordinary athletes plying their considerable skills for 90 plus minutes of non-stop play on the soccer pitch was inspirational. After all, these young women came to play. Much as women who glove up for battle in the ring whether it’s in small club amateur fights, National championships or professional bouts in local venues or in places as storied as Madison Square Garden.
My hope is that women’s sports do indeed have a place that can translate into support and appreciation for the women in boxing who work and train against all odds to ply their passion. And perhaps one day, a year or so from now, when the first female boxer ascends the Olympic podium to collect her well-earned gold medal, television stations around the world will lead with her victory!
Would … that it will be true.
For some further inspiration, here’s Katie Taylor’s 2010 World Championship win. (Action starts about 2:00 in.)
Pawel Wolak v. Delvin Rodriguez, Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images
I’m often the first to complain about the mamby-pamby state of so-called “elite” boxing lately especially on PPV, HBO and Showtime … but I’ll also give credit we’re it’s due and must give a huge shout-out to Pawel “Raging bull” Wolak (29-1, 19 KO’s) and Delvin Rodriguez (25-5-2, 14 KO’s) for the gutsy, end-to-end display of superlative boxing skills, motivation and heart they showed last night in their ten-round “barn-burner” as the Main Event broadcast on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.
To quote my young one, OMG! Wolak was a mac-truck that wouldn’t stop coming and Rodriguez, having come off a self-imposed year + out of the ring, eased into the fight with poise, toughness and an agility that allowed him to fight a taller man’s tactics by gaining the distance he needed to land his very effective and repeated rights that eventuated in Wolak’s cro-magnum sized brow by the seventh round of the bout.
The fight was called a majority draw with one judge scoring it 97-93 Rodriguez and the other two 95-95. Rodriguez no doubt will feel a bit robbed as in my scoring, he had the slightest edge, but in terms of the fight itself — much as I’ve written before about the first meeting of Jackie Nava and Ana Maria Torres — the draw is also very satisfying because when both boxers put their hearts and souls into it we all win. Yes, we love the notion of titles and champions and have a gazillion belts out their to honor our winners, at the end of it, the timelessness of the sport of boxing wins when fighters are well-matched, referees smart and intelligent, judges honest and the fans 100% behind both fighters from start to finish.
Another step in the right direction for the sport of boxing — men’s and women’s — was the New Jersey Boxing Commission’s decision to suspend all three judges over the controversal scoring in last week’s Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara fight which had two judges scoring the win for Williams who so obviously lost the bout, and one judge scoring it a draw. This is a tremendous win for boxing — as men’s and women’s efforts are misjudged with far too often for the good of the sport.
This week’s been a bear. It started out with migraines progressed to caffeine withdrawal and as I entered the middle rounds we’re talking full on laryngitis, chills, coughing, runny nose, sneezing and general stooped misery. The anecdote you wonder? Lots of fluids, hot split pea soup (particularly soothing on the throat), warm salt water gargles, my new low acid-mostly alkaline diet, steam, steam and more steam on my face and early bed with lots of bad TV, though I did enjoy watching So You Think You Can Dance and a rebroadcast of John Duddy’s 2006 win over Luis Ramon Campas for the IBA Middleweight title.
The unfortunate thing … I was too under the weather to hit the gym so it’ll be a full on workout on Saturday, though by last night I was feeling somewhat better and did manage some sit-ups and light weights for my arms.
In checking out the idea of exercising when your “under the weather,” no less an authority than the Mayo Clinic offered this advise:
As a general guide for exercise and illness, consider this:
Exercise is usually OK if your signs and symptoms are all “above the neck” — symptoms you may have with a common cold, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat. Consider reducing the intensity and length of your workout, though, or you may feel worse. Instead of going for a run, take a walk, for example.
Don’t exercise if your signs and symptoms are “below the neck” — such as chest congestion, hacking cough or upset stomach.
Don’t exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches.
That seemed like a good commonsense approach and is certainly in line with how I’ve been feeling — way too yucky the first part of the week, and able to do a little something by last night.