Posts Tagged ‘Laila Ali

08
Mar
18

Exclusive Q and A with Alicia Ashley ahead of WBC title fight

Alicia “Slick” Ashley (24-11-1), with a career that began with her NY Daily News Golden Gloves win in 1996, is set to fight Dina Thorslund, a 24-year-old, 10-0 fighter on March 10, 2018, at Struer Energi Park in Denmark. The pair will fight for the interim WBC World Super Bantamweight Championship, a title Ashley has won, lost, and defended in some memorable battles.

At 50 years of age, Ashley continues to fight with incredible strength, stamina, and durability. And while she has not fought since defeating Liliana Martinez (20-16-0), in March of 2017, it was not for lack of trying, having had bouts canceled in that period. With her fight against Thorslund who has an undefeated record against European fighters, Ashley hopes to capture the coveted WBC title once again.

Alicia “Slick” Ashley, Photo Credit: Tim Knox

In the midst of preparing for the fight, Ashley agreed to an exclusive Q and A for Girlboxing readers. This is what she had to say.

  1. You’ve got a fight coming up on Saturday, March 10, 2018 against Dina Thorslund, a 24-year-old, 10-0 fighter from Denmark for the vacant interim WBC World Female Super Bantamweight fight. What should we be looking for in that fight?

I think it will be an exciting fight. She’s an aggressive, straight forward puncher and I will continue to be elusive, slick and faster counter puncher.

  1. You’ll be fighting Dina Thorslund on her home turf. She’s also an orthodox fighter and speaking of you in an interview, her coach, Thomas Madsen, said, “Her strength is clearly her technique and ability to slip punches. Her weakness, among other things, is that she is incredibly open when she attacks herself. Dina must put pressure on Ashley from the outset. She must also avoid chasing Ashley and instead focus on cutting off the ring.”  What challenges does this pose in terms of your game plan for the bout?

It will be hard for her to change her fight style and to put pressure on me without chasing me. My movement is not linear. I don’t move in the same direction and I throw punches off my movement. She tends to be very flat-footed because she wants to punch hard so I think she will always be two steps behind me. I don’t believe my game plan will change, if I have to adjust in the ring, I will.

  1. At fifty, you are more than twice the age of your opponent–not necessarily anything new for you given that most of your opponents are much, much younger. Given that you turned pro in 1999 when Dina Thorsland was five years old, what keeps you fighting?

The reason I continue to fight is because I love this sport and I’m not getting any damage neither from my training nor my fights. I’ve been fighting girls half my age since I turned 42, so yes this is nothing new.

  1. You’ve been training hard and consistently over the last few years and have given renewed focus to your training having begun working with Luis Guzman in New York and the great retired women’s boxing champion Ada Velez in Ft. Lauderdale, who will be in your corner at Struer Energi Park, on March 10th.  How has this renewed focused added to your repertoire in the ring, and what do you feel it will give you in your fight against Dina?

I will have not only Ada Velez who also fought here in Denmark, but my old trainer Hector Roca in my corner. I gained a newfound love for the sport when I started training with both Luis and Ada because of the wealth of knowledge that both these past fighters have. If Dina’s camp watches my previous fights and expect the same fighter, they will be extremely surprised with what I bring to the ring now.

  1. In 2014, I interviewed you ahead of a title bout and had asked you about the state of women’s boxing in the United States. A lot has happened since then, including the rising of female Olympians and the likes of Claressa Shields appearing as the main event on ShoBox: The Next Generation. In your view is this enough, or is there still much, much further to go in terms of promotion, regular appearance on televised boxing shows, pay equity and the like?

There is still much to do to bring any type of equality to female fighters. I see the exact same thing happening in the US now that happened 10 years ago when Laila Ali was around. The American promoters only showcase one rising star as opposed to leveling the playing field by showcasing a female fight on every card. The boxing audience has a short memory and seeing one female fight every 6-8 months is not enough to sustain growth in our sport. This is why MMA have leaped frog Boxing in female equity and why we are losing a dearth of female boxers to that sport. 

  1. This is your first fight in nearly a year, but not for lack of trying having had bouts cancelled at the last moments twice during this period.  What in your view is the reason for the continued inconsistencies of female fight promotion in the United States–and the continued need for you to fight overseas?

The inconsistencies are easily explained by promoters not believing or supporting women in boxing. Every fight that I’ve done overseas is a main event and has television coverage. The US promoters keep insisting that females are not a draw and do not sell but in every other country it is proven that we can and do. This problem rests solely on the promotion teams. Some big name promoters insist that they support women boxing but have yet to prove it if they only show men on television.

  1. You keep up a “ridiculous” schedule–training fighters from 6:00 in the morning till late at night, not to mention special weekend clinics, and your own training which consists of daily workouts and the extra two to three hours a day you put in for “camp” ahead of your fights. You are also a role model to so many of the female fighters you work with as a coach, a mentor, and as a colleague.  Given your years in the sport, what can you tell us about where we go from here in a professional, and frankly amateur world, that doesn’t consider the work and efforts of female boxers on an equal footing.

As you can see in this day and time, it isn’t just female boxers who strive to be on equal footing. This is systematic in the US in many sports and workplaces. As female boxers we have to join the #TimesUp movement and stop short-changing ourselves especially with pay. Over 10 years ago, I received $10K for a title fight, the fact that promoters are still offering $10K for a title fight now is ridiculous. There isn’t even a consideration of inflation. Male fighters going for their first title earn easily 10 times that amount and they are usually the opponent. We must stand up for ourselves.

  1. Perhaps you truly will be fighting professionally at 80, but regardless, what do you say to the young women who come into the gym wanting to fight?

This sport is brutal and sometimes unforgiving but to truly get the most out of it, you have to develop a true love of this sport. It will give you strength and self-esteem but it can do everything to knock you down. If you can get back up and start over again then boxing will give you the utmost satisfaction. I commend anyone who boxes.

08
Feb
12

An interview with Chevelle Hallback, women’s boxing champion for the ages!

An interview with Chevelle Hallback, Women’s Boxing Champion for the Ages!

Chevelle “Fists of Steel” Hallback  first laced up the gloves in 1996.  Given that women’s boxing didn’t have many amateur boxing opportunities, she dove right in and fought her first professional fight less than a year later in 1997, earning her first win against Connie Plosser. Hallback has fought continuously since then with an impressive 28-8-2 (11 KOs) record.

On March 2, 2012, Chevelle Hallback will do it again, fighting a rematch against Terri “The Road Warrior” Blair (11-15-3, 6 KOs) at the Civic Center in Tampa, Florida.  In a year of firsts, this will be the first female main event boxing match in the state of Florida, an honor bestowed on Hallback in her first fight fought at home since she began her professional career!

“I’m looking forward to fighting at home for the first time in my career,” Hallback is quoted as saying. “Terri and I had a great battle in 2007.  She’s fought the best, has never been stopped and I’m training hard to make this an exciting fight for all the fans.  I appreciate Terri for stepping up for this fight.”

The “must see” March 2nd card is promoted by Estrada Entertainment Productions in association with Tampa Baby Boxing Promotions and Reyes “Macho Times” Promotions. (Ticket information can be found at www.tampabayboxing.com.)

Girlboxing had the opportunity to speak with Chevelle Hallback who graciously took time from her training schedule to talk about her upcoming bout, her career and her hopes and dreams for the future.

1. You have a fantastic rematch coming up on March 2nd against Terri “The Road Warrior” Blair, what can you tell Girlboxing readers about this fight?

This is going to be a great fight!  This is our second time meeting and when I say her name speaks for itself, I mean she is a warrior.  She’s been in there with everyone that is a somebody in boxing.  I don’t think her record really speaks for her [11-15-3, 6 KOs] because she is an amazing fighter.  The truth is, she got the short end of the stick in most of her fights.

Our first fight [in 2007] was a hell of a fight. It was a tough fight. I came out with a win [78-74, 79-73, 77-75, 8×2], but it was a close fight.

With the upcoming bout, the first time I’m fighting at home, history is being made.  The first time a female fight will be the main event on a boxing card in Florida. I can’t ask for anything more. I’m just excited about it and grateful!

2. When you fought Blair in 2007, you were quoted as saying, “It was rough. She never hurt me in the fight, but after the fight, those body shots she landed bruised my ribs.”  What are you looking for in your rematch with Blair?

She is a “come get you”, “come right at you” style fighter, but I train for everything. I’ve found through experience that when you think a fighter’s going to come straight at you and you train just for that, they may switch it up on you fight night.  To prepare myself whatever they may bring, I fight for all different styles. I don’t know what Blair’s going to do this time around, so I’m training for each and every style of boxing that you can think of.

3. Your last two fights were in Europe against Miriam Lamare and Cecilia Braekhus, both great fighters in the female light welterweight division.  You’ve made it known that you are itching to have a rematch against Miriam Lamare after a controversial loss in November of last year.  How is that going?

Hallback vs. Lamare

I want a rematch with both, to be honest with you.  Right now, I’m starting out with Miriam Lamare, I really, really believe that I got robbed in that fight. I really believe that I beat her hands down.  The Braekhus fight, it could have gone either way.

I’m going after Lamare first. I personally asked her for a rematch, but I haven’t had any feedback. After the fight my boxing advisor asked the matchmaker of the fight could we have a rematch and he was like, “no,” at the time.

In terms of a rematch I want it.  I want to do this again. I went to her woman to woman. The fans want it, even her fans were saying that they wanted a rematch.  I feel that I was robbed, and I’ll even go back to France.  I just want the opportunity to get a rematch.   [See below for video of Chevelle Hallback’s fight against Miriam Lamare.]

4. Can you tell our Girlboxing readers a bit about your boxing career.

I started training on March 20th 1996 to be exact when I first went into a boxing gym, and I turned pro in 1997, I think it was February of 1997.  I’ve been doing this for a long time.  I don’t have an amateur background. I never fought any amateur bouts at all so it was on-the-job training! But I progressed fast.

I am a student of the game and I used to study fighters like Roy Jones, Jr. and old fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson.  I wanted to fight like them.  Fighters that had awkward and unique styles.

I’ve been boxing for a long time, but I never took any serious damage during my career and I thank God for that.

5.  What are your goals after you’re upcoming match against Terri Blair?

It’s been a long time, but my goal and my dream is to be the first woman to fight on HBO.  There’s never been a women’s bout on HBO, not even Laila Ali.   That’s my goal. I’m going to keep going till either one of two things happen:  I reach the goal or my body tells me it’s time to quit. Right now my body is not telling me that! Like I said, it’s a plan and a goal and I’m striving for it.

I also want to tell Girlboxing readers, no matter how old you are if you feel that you’re capable of anything you keep going pursuing your dream, because if you don’t you end up saying, “I wish”, “I coulda’ woulda'” and it’s too late.

6. You’ve also had an amazing several months because you started the Fists of Steel Boxing Academy, how is that going?

I just started it this past July and it is going great!  I love it!

With any business it takes a while for it to build, but it is coming along and I’m happy about it.  I have an amateur now and I have a pro fighter, I have my kids and I also have classes.  I even have a professional football player taking one of my classes and he loves it.

My amateur fighter, Rebecca just won a fight at the state level. I was very excited about that and my pro fighter will be fighting on the undercard of my fight against Terri Blair on March 2nd.

7. You’ve been in the sport as a pro since 1997 and you’ve witnessed a lot.  What are the two or three things that have really changed in women’s boxing since then?

Well, number one, women will be fighting in the Olympics!  That’s huge for women’s boxing!

There are more women fighting and it seems that there’s usually one women’s fight on every boxing card these days, especially when it comes to local shows because the women are as good as the men. And more females are getting involved too.

When I first started, I went to the amateur shows, but there was no one to fight.  Either they weren’t in my weight class or they didn’t have the skills. That’s why I turned Pro. Now the amateur shows are amazing.  There are many more women fighting and the turnout is much bigger.

We still have a long ways to go, but with the Olympics and with what I’m trying to do, we might get it to the half way point where it’ll tip over and get into the spotlight in a positive way … but from when I first started, there’s a huge, huge improvement.

8.  If I mention Chevelle Hallback to a room full of female boxers they swoon!  They don’t call you “Fists of Steel” they call you “Abs of Steel.”  You mean a lot to the sport and continue to inspire a lot of women from professionals on through “Saturday” boxers.  What do you tell your own boxers in the gym to keep them going?

First of all, especially when they come in, I ask them, what they want to do and what their goals are.  I then tell them what to expect and what the path they’re going to take will be. If they’re there for at least a week, I remind them of their goals and of what they first told me — when I do that I’m talking to them on the inside. It helps people. It is not an easy sport. Sometimes we have to bleed for it.

Most important of all though is when you say you want to do something and you’re determined, and you have it in your heart and in your soul to do it, and you go through whatever you have to go through to do it, at the end of the day you can say, “I did it.”

I think that’s the best reward that anyone can have.

You say, “I did it,” and no one can take that from you.  You can give a person a gold medal, or titles or belts, and they’re going to get old or vanish, but what can never be taken away is that you did it.  And that’s what I tell my fighters and that’s what I’ll tell Girlboxing readers.

9.  Do you have any closing remarks?

Yes.  Tell them, Chevelle Hallback is here — and I’m not only doing it for me, but for women’s boxing and for women to do this in the future, “big time”!

***

Chevelle Hallback vs. Miriam Lamare Rounds 1 – 8 (Fight starts around 12:00 and is in French)

Chevelle Hallback vs. Miriam Lamare Rounds 8 (end)-10

25
Feb
11

Bad Girls Boxing

Bad Girls Boxing

Bad Girls Boxing

 

I came across a couple of videos for a group called Bad Girls Boxing out in Indio, California.  Bad Girls Boxing opened its doors 15 years ago as boxing club for young women from 8 – 35 and uses boxing as a vehicle for teaching empowerment while developing basic and advanced skills. In addition to individual and group training classes, the organization sponsors women’s boxing training camps with the likes of Laila Ali as a coach and mentor at those events. For more information about Bad Girls Boxing click here. You can also “like” them on Facebook here.

 

20
Feb
11

Women’s Boxing News Roundup – 2/20/21

Women’s Boxing News Roundup – 2/20/11

Women’s IBF Bantamweight Championship

Suzie Q Ramadan, Women's IBF Bantamweight Champion, Photo: Alex Coppel, Herald Sun

Australia’s Susie Q Ramadan (20-0,KO-8) scored a decisive runaway victory last night to win the Women’s IBF Bantamweight Championship over America’s Terri Lynn Cruz (17-7-2, KO-8).  In commanding fashion, Ramadan scored 99-91 on all three judges scorecards as she routed Cruz in the fight on her home turf venue, the Reggio Calibria Club in Brunswick, Victoria, Australia.  Well publicized in her native Australia, Ramadan hopes to crack the American and European fight markets as well as to continue to bring honor to the sport of boxing for Australia. Article links here and here.

Laila Ali tapped as President of the Women’s Sports Foundation

Laila Ali, radiant in red and expecting her 2nd child in April, Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Former women’s boxing champion Laila Ali a board member of the Women’s Sports Foundation since 2007 has been chosen as the organization’s incoming President.  As quoted in a press release issued by the Women’s Sports Foundation, Ali said, “I’m thrilled to serve as president of the Women’s Sports Foundation, and help girls and women from all walks of life understand the important role of sports and getting active.”  Ali will also become a member of the Women’s Sports Foundation Board of Trustees during her two-year term as President of the foundation.  For more information about this important organization, click here.

Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton training with Freddie Roach!

Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton

Score another Philippine boxing champion for Freddie Roach’s corner as Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton (7-2-1) begins training with Freddie for her February 25th fight against Franchesca ”The Chosen One” Alcanter (18-9-1) in a fight night spectacle at Craneway Pavillion in Riverside, California.  Julaton who is the WBO & IBF Super Bantamweight champion had also recently indicated that she would drop her professional status to compete in the 2012 Olympics on the Philippine national team.  Meanwhile, her upcoming fight will be televised live on TV5, a singular honor for women’s boxing.

01
Feb
11

National Girls & Women in Sports Day

National Girls & Women in Sports Day

Tomorrow is National Girls and Women in Sports Day.  The U.S. Congress adopted the day in 1986 to honor female athletic achievement and recognize the positive influence of sports on women.  This year marks the 25th Anniversary with the theme of “Play, Believe, Achieve.”  In New York City, a commemoration event will be hosted by PSAL (Public Schools Athletic League) at the Theater in Madison Square Garden. Who knew, right?

A coalition of Women’s athletics groups and the Girl Scouts are also sponsoring events around the country. In particular, the Woman’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, and recently joined by new president and boxing’s own, Laila Ali, are key partners in promulgating girl’s and women’s sports participation.  (For more information click here.)

Growing up in New York City where a girls sporting event meant running for the bus my exposure to sports or anything related to athleticism was rudimentary at best.  Thus the notion of a day to celebrate women’s sports and athleticism truly hits home especially when I see my daughter and her friends take to athleticism with such each.  At 11 years of age, these girls are strong, lithe and full of confidence having been exposed to sports and exercise as a regular part of their lives.

The recent Colgate Women’s Games for the girls 11 and under held over the last few weekends was a case in point.  Watching these girls compete was truly a sight to behold.  Girls as young as 7 ran there hearts out with incredible courage.  In particular we cheered-on my daughter’s friends as they completed in the 800 meter having already run the 200 and 400 that same day.  These girls showed heart and wore smiles a mile wide as they crossed the finish line.  Particularly heartening has been listening to my daughter and her friends trade tips on warm-up exercises and their ab-routines with the same ease as talking about music and dance moves.

If you can, take a moment to think about this tomorrow and while you might not be able to participate in an event, be aware that we’ve got a long, long way to go before girl’s and women’s athletic programs truly live up to the ideals of Title IX.




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© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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