Posts Tagged ‘Jackie Nava

23
Oct
15

Alicia Ashley in the ring to win back her WBC Title on 10/29/2015

Alicia Ashley in the ring to win back her WBC Title on 10/29/2015

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Alicia “Slick” Ashley remains one of the most compelling fighters in women’s boxing not only for her longevity in the sport (she fought in the first ever U.S. nationals as an amateur in the late 1990s), but in her ability to perform at the top of her game as a virtuoso of the art of boxing. And no wonder too, Ashley started her career as a dancer before embracing kickboxing and eventually the sweet science.

11911347_1020705724628826_6601443186204025369_nAt 48, (yes that’s a story too), Ashley will be heading back into the ring on October 29th at Aviator Sports & Events Center in New York City  (a complex located on the famed Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn) with a view towards reclaiming the WBC Female Super Bantamweight Title belt she lost, some would say controversally so, to Jackie Nava thirteen months ago in Mexico. Ashley will battle against Ireland’s Christina McMahon (7-0), a 40-year-old latercomer to the professional side of the sport who holds the current interim WBC Female Bantamweight Title.  The co-main event is on a Brooklyn Brawl card promoted by Dimitry Salita.

Ashley’s career has  tracked alongside the near-on tragic highs and lows of women’s boxing in the panoply of American sports television with its boom-bust cycle of support, promotion, paydays and opportunities for the talented working professionals who grace the boxing gyms of the U.S. across the country with their remarkable work ethic and love of a game that at best ignores them and at worst actively seeks to keep them off the air–and thereby out of the running for the opportunity to earn a living.

That tide of lows *may* be on a slight uptick given that CBS Sports (cable) aired the four-round Amanda Serrano v.  Fatima Zarika fight on 5/29/2015 (the first such fight on the network since the late 1970s) and the very public statements by Shane Mosely castigating the boxing industry for keeping women’s boxing off the air. To prove that it wasn’t just all “mouth,” he went on to put the Maureen Shea v. Luna Avila IBF World Female Super Bantamweight ten round title fight on his Pay Per View card on 8/29/2015 with the promise that there will be more to come–although there has been little to no discussion about it since.

WBC Headshot Alicia Ashley. Photo curtesy of Alicia Ashley

For Ashley, long an advocate for equity in the sport, the potential uptick–which those of us in the game who truly advocate for women’s boxing watch as avidly as the Dow Jones–this may mean the opportunity for slightly higher pay days, but given that she is a champion four times over, she’s far from being known as Alicia “Money” Ashley, and can only earn a decent payday in places like Mexico (likely the equivalent of “Money” Mayweather‘s tips after a  night out in Las Vegas). And by a slightly higher pay-day, I mean the chance to take a vacation or upgrade the equipment she uses as a boxing trainer at Gleason’s Gym where she works from early in the morning till late in the day, six days a week.

This is the life of a female boxing champion–our Bernard Hopkins, if you will, whose dancer-like poise, defensive genius and ring savvy thrills each and every time she steps into the ring.

Ahead of her championship title match, Ashley continues to labor at Gleason’s Gym where “camp” means adding in an extra couple of hours a day to spar and train in addition to working with her clients.  This is not an unknown as other female boxing champions/trainers such as Heather Hardy, Shelito Vincent and Keisher “Fire” McLeod must do the same to earn enough money to compete. On the “bright side,” being a trainer means pretty much staying in condition, if not in boxing “game day” shape. Hmmm….

Photo curtesy of Alicia Ashley

In between her busy schedule, Ashley took the time to respond to a Girlboxing Q & A. Here’s what she had to say:

1.  You’ve got an upcoming WBC Female Superbantamweight fight on 10/29/2015 at Aviator Sports in Brooklyn, NY for the vacant title against Irish boxer Christina McMahon. Although at 41 years of age she’s only 7-0, she does have the interim WBC World Bantamweight title. What can you tell us about her and how this bout came together?
I actually don’t know that much about Christina other than her going into someone else’s back yard and winning the title. There isn’t that much video on her and I feel her record doesn’t fully speak to her experience. She, like I, joined the sport after fighting as a kickboxing champion and that in itself means she’s not new to the game. Every opponent is dangerous no matter their experience.
2. You lost the title a year ago to Jackie Nava, a fight some observers felt you may have won or at the very least fought to a draw (as one judge saw it)–with the loss coming because of how your style (you are called “Slick” for a reason) is one that the Mexican judges may not have felt showed enough to score rounds in your favor. Even with that loss, you had a TKO win over Grecia Nova two months later in Haiti–where you continued to fight in your cool “slick” manner.  As you prepare to fight McMahon — what are you focusing on to ensure that the judges will see the fight your way if it goes the distance?
I can only ‘fight’ my fight. Yes, I am a slick boxer and although the desire is to never leave it in the hands of the judges, sometimes there is nothing you can do about it. I’m not known as a knockout artist but I think my style of boxing will definitely be appreciated more here in the US. It’s not just about being a hard puncher, it’s about being effective.
3. We’ve talked before about the state of women’s boxing, the frustration of finding promoters to put women’s bouts on cards, the frustration of seeing cards put together only to fall apart (as happened with this fight originally scheduled for September), the intense battle for pay equity (a losing one for certain right now), along with the continued absence of female bouts on television in America with very few exceptions.  Given that Amanda Serrano appeared on CBS in late May, and Maureen Shea on Shane Mosely’s PPV card at the end of August, along with two female bouts on PBC cards on 9/11/ & 9/12 respectively, if not on television–in your view, is there any reason for optimism?
I should hope that there’s always reason for optimism, but its disappointing that in this day and age the amount of female fights broadcast can be counted on one hand. I’ve been in this business over 14yrs and am still shocked that I’m more well known in other countries. That they are more inclined to showcase female fighters than we are. This I feel is the main reason we continue to get astronomically low wages. In fact, 10 years ago when I fought for my first title I earned more than they are offering women now. How can we continue to accept way less than we are worth and then expect it to get better? This battle cannot just be fought by a few women.
Photo credit: Hitomi Mochizukii. Curtesy of Alicia Ashley.
4.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have observed you take a wide range of male and female boxers to school sparring at Gleason’s Gym, not to mention having seen a few of your fights in person over the last few years. At 48, you are continuing not only to fight competitively, but seemingly to remain at the top of your game. Win, lose or draw on the 29th, are you of a mind to continue boxing competitively for the foreseeable future?
I continue to fight not only because I love the sport but because I do remain competitive. I can honestly say that I leave my fights and sparring without any serious damage. That is the main reason I have longevity in this sport, the ability to not get hit. Other than people being shocked at my age, which is not noticeable in or out of the ring, I’m not battle weary in any way.
5. You are an inspiration to female boxers and have developed into a phenomenal trainer and coach. Do you see yourself pushing on that front to start seeking out professional women to train and take into that aspect of the sport–or will you continue to focus on women new to the sport or pushing their way into the amateurs?
Thank you. I feel its important to pass on any knowledge that I have and am very honored at the women, amateurs or professionals, who seek me out and are accepting of it. The one thing that I’ve been working on is doing a female fight seminar. This is more about being able to break down fighting styles, picking up the nuances of a technique and being able to adjust accordingly. Quite a few females that I’ve sparred, especially in round robin, are surprised at how well I can adjust to the different styles and I believe experience with seeing the ‘bigger picture’ is an important tool to the trade. Anything that I can do to elevate women’s boxing, I will.
6. What do you tell your young female fighters who may want to enter the sport professionally? Or put another way, is there a future for them to seek out?
I’m hoping that with each new generation of female fighters that there is some kind of progress in the right direction. I try to be realistic with my fighters and they are not clueless. Most, if not all the female fighters, have a full time job and don’t expect to break the bank as a professional. What we are hoping is to at least be able to live comfortably and at this point very, very few women can attest to that.
7. You always talked about boxing as performance–if you do decide to wind down the competitive aspects of your career in the sport do you see other avenues for expressing art in the public realm?
It’s very hard for me to look past boxing right now. It was the same with dance. I had no other avenues mapped out before I was injured and its the same now. I’m currently teaching the sport so I essentially I already am in that new chapter.
8. I look upon you in awe sometimes as a professional fighter, body artist–because to tell you the truth that how it appears in your case–and talent when it comes to coaching and mentoring. What does it all feel like as you perform in those roles and as you look to embark on yet another performance on the 29th?  In other words, what is that is motivating you to express yourself so strongly and with such power in the ring?
I’m in awe myself when people express such respect or inform me that I’m an inspiration to them. As you know, I always equate my boxing as a performance and its my duty to entertain and captivate the audience for 20 minutes. Attention span is so short nowadays that its a challenge in itself to keep people mesmerized and that is all the motivation I need.

Alicia Ashley versus Jackie Nava … you be the judge.

 

31
Jan
14

Friday night at the women’s boxing fights!

Friday night at the women’s boxing fights!

Friday Night Fights

Okay so, ESPN Friday Night Fights, HBO, Showbox, NBC Sports, Fox Sports all seem to have forgotten that there are a heck of a lot of great women’s boxing bouts.  For tonight’s “card” I’ll start with a title bout from last week’s USA Boxing Nationals and add in some golden oldies.  Enjoy!

First up, our Gold Medal winner Claressa Shields battling Franchon Crews to take the USA Boxing 2014 Middleweight Title!

Next … Cecilia Braekhus (23-0, 7-KOs) vs. Oxandia Castillo (12-1-2, 9-KOs) from 8/9/2013. This was Braekhus’ last fight–she fights the great champion Myriam Lamare tomorrow night.

Here’s the weigh-in for what should be an awesome battle, tomorrow’s bout (Feb 1st) between Cecilia Braekhus and Myriam Lamare for the WBC, WBA & WBO Female Welterweight titles!

One of the greats! Ana Maria Torres (28-3-3, 16-KO) vs. Jackie Nava (23-4-3, 12-KOs) in their first battle on 4/11/2011 at the World Trade Center, Boca del Rio, Veracruz, Mexico. What a war!

Ana Maria Torres vs. Jackie Nava II from July 30, 2011 at the Metropolitan Arena, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico.

02
Aug
11

Women’s Boxing/Women’s MMA

Women’s Boxing/Women’s MMA

NBC sports has a piece on their website by Rick Chandler entitled The Beatdown: The Future of Women’s MMA that’s plain old got me down.  I admit that I’m new to MMA — and while I’ve done the odd piece about it, I haven’t got much experience with the sport and only watch it occasionally on television when there’s no boxing on.  That’s usually meant catching part of a Strikeforce fight card on Showtime.

What had struck me about Strikeforce was the fact that there is always at least one women’s bout on the card, not to mention the seeming popularity of the women’s bouts.  Just this weekend I watched the Women’s Welterweight Championship bout between Marloes “Rumina” Coenen and Miesha “Takedown” Tate. Tate pulled out a convincing upset win over Coenen — and again, as a novice to watching the sport with about zero understanding of the politics of Strikeforce, et al, found it to be quite an interesting addition to the world of women’s sports in general.

With Chandler’s piece, however, come all sorts of questions as to whether women’s participation in the sport of MMA will continue at all — or as Chandler writes will “the answer … be found by simply looking at women’s boxing. Wait is there still women’s boxing?”

Ugh!  What!?!  Is there still women’s boxing? Pa-lease!

Chandler’s thesis is that with Strikeforce’s recent sale to Zuffa (the UFC’s parent company), a situation may have been set up whereby the Strikeforce roster will be swallowed up by the UFC and the women’s roster jettisoned in the process. Chandler further opines that the UFC doesn’t have the same interest in the women’s side of the sport as Strikeforce because there aren’t enough “stars” if you will, with the name recognition to draw in the crowds.

So what it boils down to (I think) is this:

a. Strikeforce found it to be “good” business to develop male and female talent and as such has found success and a growing *interest* in women’s MMA bouts and the fighters who compete in them.  (I’ll add that I’ve been applauding them all along and — how sad is this — tauting them as a model of inclusion because they televise women’s bouts!)

b. Along comes UFC and the potential for jettisoning the women’s roster of the “old” Strikeforce and a repositioning of the brand towards a more exclusively male roster.  Hmm… no longer good business???

c.  It’s the fault of women’s MMA (women’s boxing … and women’s sports in general) for not engendering (pun intended) enough interest in women’s athletics, because (1) women fighters are not attractive when they beat the crap out of each other and (2) to quote Chandler again, “the appeal for the best female fight is not as high as for just an average male fight in the sport. If you’re not attracting eyeballs, it’s harder to stay in business. Being included with a primarily male organization was a huge bonus for the women.”

So back to the contradiction again.  If women’s MMA was so horrible why buy Strikeforce in the first place?!?

I don’t know about you, but I find this logic to be very twisted indeed.  And P.S. — in watching the Tate-Coenen fight I didn’t think about gender, I thought about fighting!  Was it interesting?  Were they skilled?  Weaknesses/strengths and so on.

Enough already.

If a fighter has the courage to put herself in the ring why should it matter how big her breasts are or whether she has a cute booty!   A fight is a fight.  Put Torres-Nava I or II up against any fight card from over this past weekend and what will you come up with in terms of skills, heart, stamina and to use the word again pure courage.  I can tell you the answer, none.

All I can say at this point is GRRRRRRR.

And please, feel free to opine away!

31
Jul
11

FLASH: Torres beats Nava in 10-round battle!

FLASH:  Torres beats Nava in 10-round battle!

Torres v. Nava II, Photo: Pepe Rodriguez/WBC

Torres v. Nava II, Photo: Pepe Rodriguez/WBC

In a bout that purportedly lived up to the hype, Ana Maria Torres edged out Jackie Nava with all three judges scoring the bout 96-94.  With her win, Torres gains the WBC Diamond Belt.

Their battle was fierce, courageous and bloody — with both fighters giving their all as they pushed through their 10 rounds of non-stop action.

With her win Ana Maria ‘Guerrera’ Torres improves her record (26-3-3, 15 KOs).

29
Jul
11

Reminder! Great Women’s Boxing on 7/30. Mcleod-Wells v. McMorrow & Nava v. Torres!!

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

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.

16
Jul
11

Getting your motivation on.

Getting your motivation on.

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.

Tenth Round Action 

12
Jul
11

Women’s Boxing Updates

Women’s Boxing Updates.

Ana Maria Torres!

Ana Maria Torres, Photo Credit: Enrigue Perez Heurta, Demotix

Ana Maria Torres who will be meeting Jackie Nava on July 30th in a rematch of their “battle royal” from last April was honored in Mexico City, Mexico by the president of the boxing commission, Rafael Herrera Lemus for her twelve years at the forefront of women’s boxing in Mexico and the world.

Long considered a leader in women’s sports in Mexico, she has become an important role model and inspiration for women all over Mexico.  Girlboxing sends our warmest congratulations to Ana Maria Torres for her continued success in the women’s boxing.

WBAN Top Ten TIPS for Women Boxers + a new member of the WBAN Resource Team

Over at Women Boxing Archive Network (WBAN), Sue Fox has a terrific piece out today with her top ten tips for women boxers — or how best to promote oneself.  Her ideas are solid gold for any women interested in propelling their professional boxing careers. This must read piece is here.

WBAN has also announced that Mischa Merz has joined the WBAN Resource Team. Mischa recently published her second memoir, The Sweetest Thing.  Making her home in Melbourne, is a talented fighter and former National champion.

Argentinian Women Boxers!

Argentina's Yesica Bopp (left) won the WBA/WBO light flyweight title in June, Credit: Reuters (curtesy BBC)

The BBC’s website carried a terrific piece on the state of women’s boxing in Argentina on July 2nd.  Entitled, Why Argentina is producing women boxing champions the piece notes that note only are women joining the sport for the love it, but are also finding that they can earn a decent living. Women are gaining sponsors, and finding respect in the sport that includes national TV coverage — something sorely lacking in the United States.  The article is well worth the read if for no other reason than to show the state of women’s boxing as a global phenomenon in the run up to the 2012 Olympics.




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