Archive for May, 2012

31
May
12

Kate Sekules and The Boxer’s Heart: A Woman Fighting!

Kate Sekules and The Boxer’s Heart: A Woman Fighting!

As Kate Sekules says of her love affair with boxing in her memoir, The Boxer’s Heart: A Woman Fighting, “I wonder myself what set this obsession in motion.” Kate never stops describing it either, from her affection for the sport on through her experiences beginning with her early forays into the gym and what it felt like the first time she stepped into the ring to fight.  As she says,

“Training to box is one of the toughest physical challenges you can set yourself, and it is clean. But once you step through the ropes, a dimension rears up that is not pure at all. To compete as a runner, a swimmer, a player of tennis, golf, basketball, football-any noncombat sport-what you do is an extension of what you did in training, only more intense; but to compete as a boxer, your aims are suddenly quite distinct from those of your training sessions. You hope to inflict so much pain on your opponents that they fall over and can’t get up.”

Kate’s book is a warm, colorful homage to her years training at Gleason’s Gym — and of the women she trained along side beginning in 1992 on through the late 1990’s. Originally published in 2000, Kate has reissued her memoir with a new afterward to coincide with the historical debut of Women’s Boxing at the 2012 Olympics.

As for the ensuing 11 years, Kate notes the sport has “actually become less visible.” Something we all feel with “more female mis-matches … and more neglect of women’s bouts by mainstream media.”

What comes across, however, in Kate’s highly engaging book is truly the viewpoint of a boxer’s heart.  She shows us her love of the sport, the camaraderie of her fellow boxers and an intimate perspective of the journey of a boxer. As Kate said recently in an interview with Girlboxing, “We confront through boxing the same issues every woman faces,” only in the case of a female boxer we add a touch of “rebellion perhaps and a counter to mainstream culture.”

Kate also made the point that the “book is for men and women about gender roles as much as about the sport.”  Still what Kate provides is a treasure trove of details about the sport at a certain time and place — as well as an intimate portrait of Kate and her cohort of boxing friends all working hard to practice the art they love so much.

These days, Kate can be found back at Gleason’s Gym once a week — after having worked out at Chelsea Piers for a while doing their “Lunchbox” series which she swears was “amazing, he’s really, really good.”  She’s also the owner of Refashioner, a marketplace for pre-owned couture.

The Boxer’s Heart: A Woman Fighting will be hitting bookstores this week — and if you happen to live in Brooklyn, be sure and stop by BookCourt on Friday, June 1st for a live reading!  Details are as follows:

Reading – June 1, 2012 @ 7:00 PM

BookCourt

163 Court Street

Brooklyn NY 11201

To purchase Kate’s Book from Amazon.com click on the link!

23
May
12

Tea and Sympathy …

Tea and Sympathy …

Mikaela Mayer vs. Kyong Pak – Lt. Welterweight Semifinals, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images

Women’s boxing had an extraordinary lift last week at the 2012 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships.

Watching the talented athletes in the semi-finals and finals on YouTube was a source of great pride — not only from the perspective of cheering on one’s “colors” so to speak, but in knowing that the sport had evolved to the point where those athletes were all true champions.

And yes there were winners and losers … women who are nursing hurt feelings, sore muscles and the terrible disappointments that comes when goals are missed. Sometimes, as in the case of Queen Underwood, the loss was by a point or two in the tough, tough fight of her life — but the fact that she was there at all along with Canada’s Mary Spencer and Afghanistan’s Sadaf Rahimi says something about hard work, perseverance and talent against the kind of odds that can otherwise defeat a person in life, never mind behind the velvet ropes of the ring.

Whether as spectators, Saturday boxers or athletes who are ourselves in the mix, the sight of those young women pushing themselves physically and mentally was as uplifting a gift as I can remember.  That it resulted in some press in support of the sport and a bit of a mention on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights was a brilliant arc of light as well. For all of those articles that continued to question a women’s “right” to be in the ring at all, well … perhaps the response should be left to the imagination for now, suffice it to say, if ever there were 325 women who set out to grab a ring for themselves, the women who fought with elegance, grace and sheer force at the world boxing tournament certainly earned the right to be there for generations to come.

WBA Superfeatherweight Kina “Dinamita” Malpartida v. Sriphrae Nongkipahayuth(L), Credit: Ernest Benavides AFP/GettyImages

Competitions come and go as do the emotions that accompany winning and losing. For my “money” so to speak, everyone who participated was a winner and as women go about the real work of boxing — training at the gym, competing in the amateurs and trying their hardest to make something of a professional career, we can strive to make those opportunities better for the young girls who may have been inspired by what they saw.

This summer, 36 women will represent us all in the Olympics, surely that will see all of our dreams come true.

 

 

 

19
May
12

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/19/12 Finals!

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/19/12 Finals!

The finals were an exciting culmination to a remarkable tournament that pitted 325 superb amateur athletes from 77 nations in a test of ability, skill, savvy and courage.  The competition was also something more, the first international Olympic qualifying test for female boxers in history.

Tiara Brown in her Semifinal win over Svetlana Staneva, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images Asia Pac

Team USA came away with two Olympians, one gold medal, two silver medals and two bronze medalists.

Franchon Crews winning her semifinal bout over Timea Nagy, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images AsiaPac

Olympians!

Marlena Espara (Flyweight)

Claressa Shields (Middleweight)

Gold Medalist!

Tiara Brown (Featherweight)

Silver Medalists!

Franchon Crews (Light Heavyweight)

Raquel Miller (Welterweight)

Bronze Medalists!

Christina Cruz (Bantamweight)

Mikaela Mayer (Light Welterweight)

Raquel Miller defeating Irina Porteyeva in the semifinals, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images AsiaPac

Click here for the Full Bout roster for the Finals held on 5/19/12:

5:19:12 Full Roster Finals

Click here for full results for Semifinals (5/18/12) & Finals (5/19/12):

5:18:12 Results Session 12A

5:18:12 Results Session 13A

5:19:12 Results Session 14A Finals

Click here for Medalists!
18
May
12

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/18/12!

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/18/12! (Update 2)

The Semifinals!

LIVE NOW!!!

All five of the remaining USA Boxing team members are scheduled to compete in the semifinals today.

Results so far are as follows:

Franchon Crews (81kg) routed her opponent Hungary’s Timea Nagy by the score of 22:8 to win her semifinal bout in the first session of today’s Women’s World Championship action today.  She led the fight from the beginning, but really put it away with a 6:2 third round and a 9:3 fourth round.  No word yet on who Crews will face in the finals!

Raquel Miller (69 kg) proved victorious in her semifinal bout over Russia’s Irina Poteyeva winning the close bout 13:10.  Miller was able to hold Poteyeva off through most of the match and will proudly move on to the finals!

Christina Cruz (54 kg) lost her semifinal bid to Italy’s Terry Gordini by the score of 7:11.  The low scoring bout saw Gordini to effectively hold Cruz to low points throughout, though Cruz was able to tie Gordini 2:2 in the third round.  Cruz has been a true champion with excellent showings throughout the tournament so this is a big loss.

From the PM sessions, Tiara Brown (57kg) defeated Bulgaria’s Svetlana Staneva by the score of 22:14.  She moves onto the finals as the top seed in her division!

Mikaela Mayer (64gk) who fought the North Korean light welterweight  Kyong Pak on the heels of her quarterfinal rout of India’s Meena Rani, lost a tough, close battle 24:25 to Pak. Mayer and Pak each won a round in the first two, but Pak pulled out a 3-point advantage in the third. In the fourth round Mayer came back very strong, however, a mid-round stop effected her momentum and though she took the round 10-8, Pak’s holding at the end of the round cost Mayer the bout.

Other results from the first session are as follows:

Ireland’s Katie Taylor took her semifinal bout and will be in the finals against Russia’s own Sofya Ochigava. Ochigava defeated the heavily touted British fighter Natasha Jones 18:10 to gain her spot in the final.

Click here for the Full Bout roster for 5/16/12:

5:18:12 Full Roster Semifinals

Click here for full results for 5/16/12 & the first session for 5/18/12:

5:16:12 Results Session 10A

5:16:12 Results Session 10B

5:16:12 Results Session 11A

5:16:12 Results Session 11B

5:18:12 Results Session 12A

AIBA’s article link is here: Russian women continue terrific form in quarter-finals.

16
May
12

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/16/12!

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/16/12! – Updated (3)!

Quarterfinals for the Lightweight, Bantamweight, Featherweight, Light Welterweight, Welterweight and Heavyweight divisions!

Marlen Esparza, USA Olympian, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images AsiaPac

All six of the remaining USA Boxing team members are scheduled to compete on 5/16/12.  While Marlen Esparza is the first American female boxer to have one a place at the Olympics, she is still avid to medal at the 2012 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships!

Christina Cruz, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images AsiaPac

In Results from today’s bouts it seems that the USA Boxing team has won four bouts out of five so far with one bout still to go.

Christina Cruz (54kg) fought a tough close bout against Sopida Saturmrum of Thailand, but managed to take the bout by the score of 29:19. Cruz managed to tie the first round 3:3, but actually lost the second and third round trailing by a total of two points before she put everything she had into the fourth round to take it by the score of 6:3. She advances to the semi-finals against Italy’s Terry Gordini on May 18th, giving her a well-need rest day.

Raquel Miller (69kg) was equally victorious in her bout over Turkish boxer Bilgehan Karabulut by the score of 11:5.  Raquel led the low scoring bout throughout all four rounds. Her next bout in the semifinals of her division will be against Irina Poteyeva of Russia on May 18th.

In the third afternoon fight for the American team, Franchon Crews had a big win outscoring her opponent for Kasakhstan, Dariga Shakimova by the score of 30:12. Franchon came out blasting from the beginning and finished her fight with a devastating 10:2 round. Franchon will fight Hungary’s Timea Nagy in the semifinals. Her fight is also scheduled for May 18th.

In the 7:00 PM (local time) session so far:

Yesterday, Marlen Esparza’s (51kg) became the first American female boxer in history to win a spot in the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, Esparza has lost her quarterfinal bout against China’s Cancan Ren by the score of 8:16.  Ren was able to outscore Esparza throughout the bout, and although she came back with a 3:3 tie in the third round, Esparza was not able to take the win in the fourth.  Still, this loss does not take away her victory yesterday or her place in history as America’s first female boxing Olympian!

Tiara Brown (57kg) who is considered the top seed narrowly defeated China’s Jian Quin by the score of 23:22.  The tightly fought contest saw Jian in control in the first two rounds, however, Brown came roaring back to win her quarterfinal match. No word yet on who she will fight in the semifinals.

To round out the PM session, Mikaela Mayer (64kg), following her fantastic win yesterday by the score of 34:13, will be taking on India’s Meena Rani.  In yesterday’s bout, Mayer led throughout with huge scores in the second and third rounds (10:4 & 10:3).

Queen Underwood in her heartbreaking lost to Ingrid Egner, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images

As a reminder, in a true heartbreaker, Queen Underwood  (60kg) lost her very close battle with Norway’s Ingrid Egner by the score of 26:25.  Egner held a slight advantage in the first two rounds scoring 6:4 and 8:5.  Queen was able to tie up the score 6:6 in the third round and came back with a fierce fourth round scoring 6:10, however, it was not enough.  This is very, very tough for Queen, and she joins Claressa Shields in the waiting game for a place in the Olympics.

In a couple of notes on the Lightweight division, Ingrid Egner went on to lose today to Natasha Jonas of England by the score of 32:9.  While Ireland’s Katie Taylor received a walkover against Mihaela Lacatus.

For one other bit of news, Australian flyweight champion boxer, Bianca Elmir was provisionally banned due to a failed doping test from her national championship battle this past February. She was notified of the ban in China, and while her team has appealed to allow her to compete, the appeal was denied. Elmir tested positive for a banned diuretic. For more details on the issues click here.

Click here for the Full Bout roster for 5/16/12:

5:16:12 Full Roster

Click here for full results for 5/15/12 and 5/16/12 Afternoon Session Results:

5:15:12 Results Session 8A

5:15:12 Results Session 8B

5:15:12 Results Session 9A

5:15:12 Results Session 9B

5:16:12 Results Session 10A

5:16:12 Results Session 10B

AIBA’s article link is here: Ochigava eliminates the first Chinese boxer in Qinhuangdan


15
May
12

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/15/12!

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/15/12! – Updated (5/15/12 Afternoon Session Results)

More Preliminary Rounds!

USA’s Claressa Shields in defeat against England’s Savannah Marshall, Credit Getty Images

Well in early results from today’s bouts it seems that the USA Boxing team has had mixed results.

For the great news, Marlen Esparza (51kg) had a decisive win over Viet Nam’s Thi Duyen Luu, taking the decision by the score of 28:13.  Marlen led through out with a whopping 9:2 forth round to close out the bout.  Marlen will continue to fight tomorrow in the quarter finals for the Flyweight division against China’s much ballyhooed Cancan Ren.  Marlen’s win means that she is going to the Olympics!!!

Christina Cruz (54kg) also proved victorious in her bout against Norway’s Shora Rezaie Johroni, taking the bout by the score of 14:10. Cruz kept fair control of the fight except for the third round when Johroni came back with a 7:4 round, however, Cruz was able to beat back her advance with a 5:2 forth round. The next bout for Cruz will be in the quarterfinals against Thailand’s Sopida Satumrum, on May 16th.

In a true heartbreaker, Queen Underwood  (60kg) has lost in a very close battle with Norway’s Ingrid Egner by the score of 26:25.  Egner held a slight advantage in the first two rounds scoring 6:4 and 8:5.  Queen was able to tie up the score 6:6 in the third round and came back with a fierce fourth round scoring 6:10, however, it was not enough.  This is very, very tough for Queen, and she joins Claressa Shields in the waiting game for a place in the Olympics.

In the second of Team USA Boxing’s defeats today, Alex Love (48kg) lost a very close bout to Kazakhstan’s Nazym Kyzaybay by the score of 20:19. The bout was very close through out and will Alex led in the first round 2:3 and tied the second 5:5, Kyzaybay was able to take the third and forth rounds scoring 7:6 and 6:5 respectively to win the bout.

Set to fight in the PM session today is California’s own, Mikaela Mayer (64kg) against New Zealand’s Laura Matthews. (Results to be posted later).

One other note in the Lightweight Division, Ireland’s Katie Taylor proved successful in her bout against Kazakhstan’s Saida Khassenova, defeating her by the score of 20:8.

Bouts in the Olympic Flyweight, Lightweight and Middleweight divisions  and non-Olympic Bantamweight, Light Flyweight, Bantamweight, and Light Welterweight divisions dominate today’s AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Quinhuangdao, China.

Click here for the Full Bout roster for 5/15/12:

5:15:12 Full Roster

Click here for full results for 5/14/12 + 5/15/12 Afternoon Sessions:

5:14:12 Results Session 6A

5:14:12 Results Session 6B

5:14:12 Results Session 7A

5:14:12 Results Session 7B

5:15:12 Results Session 8A

5:15:12 Result Session 8B

AIBA’s article link is here: Katie Taylor Opens her World Championships in Style

14
May
12

Shelito Vincent set to fight her third bout on May 24th!

>>>>UPDATE>>>>

Shelito Vincent vs Carmen Cruz (female bantamweights) – Bringing a good vibe and an infectious smile, the wildly popular Shelito Vincent (3-0 from Providence RI) pounded out her third win as a professional, defeating the debuting Carmen Cruz (0-1 from Fort Meyers, FL) over four easy rounds. Vincent came on strong in the final round, rocking her opponent with a nifty combination to close the show and leave no doubts. Unanimous shutout scores of 40-36 in favor of Vincent serve to illustrate just how dominant she was. 

 

Shelito Vincent set to fight her third bout on May 24th!

Bantamweight Shelito Vincent (2-0) is set to fight her third bout as a pro boxer on May 24th at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Vincent’s opponent in the ring will be Carmen Cruz in her first professional fight.  (Contact Lew Beasley to purchase tickets at 860-501-4703. Seats are $35.00)

Before her professional debut against Karen Dulin this past October, Vincent had an 11-4 amateur career, capped by winning the 2011 National Golden Gloves Bantamweight Title at 119 lbs.

Shelito has recently begun training with the legendary Peter Manfredo Sr. She credits him with pushing her to the next level as a fighter, but more importantly, helping her to believe in her own potential.

Shelito Vincent, Training

A native of Connecticut, Shelito has not had it easy.  She has overcome tragedy, disillusionment and incarceration, but has found herself back on a more positive road. Her transformation will see her to speak on May 14th at the Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, CT as part of their “Hope Week”  Effective Leadership Conference.  Shelito will share her life experiences, struggles, and talk about what she has done to overcome her demons to move on to a better life.

Girlboxing had the opportunity to pose a series of questions to Shelito about her upcoming fight, but more importantly, about her inspirational story.  This is what Shelito had to say.

Q1:  Your first started boxing as an 18 year old and then found your way back to boxing later in your life having made a renewed commitment to training and to your amateur and professional competitive career. What has boxing come to mean to you?
A1: Boxing means everything to me. I owe my life to boxing. It got me out of depression, out the streets, off booze. When I was incarcerated all I thought about was what if I took it serious would I be here.. Everyone told me I was good enough to get somewhere. Think back then I didn’t believe in myself. Life is a everyday battle some harder then others… I look to boxing as if I can take blows everyday then emotional pains and blows are nothing… I survive beatings everyday… When you win a tough fight u feel great… Same with battles of life… So to me they symbolize the same.
Q2:  A recent article about you discussed how your mother’s untimely death caused you to spiral into a deep depression and eventually some run-ins with the law. What can you tell Girlboxing readers about your road to recovery and how your story can be inspirational to others who have encountered similar setbacks?
A2: Nothing is too big to overcome… Pain is temporary.. You can’t let anything keep you down… With me being openly gay and at a time gay was not accepted like it is she and my Great Grandmother were all I had at that time I lost my grandmother shortly after also… Talk to someone! There’s always someone there… Channel the emotions… These are all things I’ve come to learn… It was a Lil bit deeper then just my that though that pushed me over the edge.. I had a tramatic thing happen to me at 13. Which I’m not ready to let out yet… My team Dena, Mary an Peter my best friend an corner Marcia an Brother Lew keep me focused and on point now…
Q3: You have a loving partner with a four year old son. How has raising a child affected you and what can you share with us about the stability of your family life as you embark upon your professional boxing career?
A3: They make me a better person! Keep me pushing and make me want to obtain bigger goals to build us a better future… His room has all my trophys an accomplishment… I think maybe if these were things I seen everyday maybe that’s what I’d of worked for… Just a theory lol hope it works… He’s a great kid wants to be a ninja an boxer when he grows up lol.. And my woman takes care a me as well as my corner in Peter, Mary, Dena, Marcia, an Lew my Grandmother’s an Father also my family in the Hadley’s an Vincent’s and all my friends that come out an support… I feel complete again… They are my “new family” as well… I have my nieces an newphews that look up to me heavy now… Have to show them what hard work will get you and NEVER let them down!!!
Q4:  It has been quite a year for you. You won the 2011 Golden Gloves National Bantamweight title this past July, and then made your pro debut in October. You are also training for your third professional fight on May 24th with a perfect 2-0 record. What has been the secret to your success in the ring?
A4: Listening to Peter with Hard work an Dedication… An respect for the game… Also listening to what the rest a my team and what they suggest… They all have strong points an roles.. I take it all in.
Q5: Your trainer, the legendary Peter Manfredo, Sr. has described you by saying. “She’ll do anything a man will do and more. She’s looking to show everybody, ‘I’m here.'”  How do you react to that?  What does the gym give you?
A5: Always remaining that person… I have so much respect for Pete… I promise to always give him a 110%… He makes me believe in me and I know we are just going to keep building and getting stronger I mean look at our guys we got Falowo, Ayala, Toca Kahn who is about to shine as a pro! Missy the fury Fiorentino… Look at what JR. did… Being in that building gets me pumped… I love Peter he’s the best… I feel like I found my nest there.
Q6: Women’s professional boxing is replete with women who are finding success in the ring well into their 40s and yet, it is hard to earn a living as a professional fighter. What challenges are you overcoming in order to pursue your dreams of winning a professional world title?
A6: Traveling but it’s worth it… Failure is not an option for me anymore!!! TEAMWORK make a DREAM WORK… I’m chasing my dreams, no obstacles will stop the kid no more!!!!
Q7:  As you look into the future, what do you hope to achieve?
A7:  Happiness, RESPECT, become a role model an counselor to troubled youth… And WORLD TITLES!!!!!! I know this will take a lot of work but I have great support in my team with Dena and Mary an Zack at Striking Beauties an the girls there… And Peter, Diego Periera and Ron, my dudes at Manfredo’s… I give thanks to Jaime Clampitt everyday also, she pulled me back into the sport!!!



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