Posts Tagged ‘Shelito Vincent

02
Jan
17

Women’s Boxing Circa 2017

Women’s Boxing Circa 2017

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Amanda Serrano defending title against Calixita Silgado, July 30, 2016. Photo Credit: Behind The Gloves

While women’s boxing has been around since “modern” boxing began in the 1720s, its place in American sports consciousness began with a trickle in the 1950s and grew to a steady flow by the late 1990s before petering back in the late 2000s.

Boxer Christy Martin’s bout against Irish fighter Deirdre Gogarty on the undercard of a Mike Tyson pay-per-view championship in 1996, put women’s boxing on the “map.” Not two weeks later Martin was on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in her characteristic pink boxing attire, and for the likes of boxing impresarios Don King and Bob Arum, it was a race to find other female fighters to add to the undercard of boxing bouts.

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Such fighters as Lucia Rijker and Mia St. John, while not household names by any means, were becoming known in the boxing community—and even sported decent pay days that could be numbered in the thousands rather than the hundreds. At the same time, women’s boxing became a sanctioned amateur sport leading to the development of a national team in the late 1990s. The beginnings of international amateur competition began in 2001 coinciding with the legalization of the sport in countries across the world.

In the United States, the entry of Mohammad Ali’s daughter Leila Ali along with other boxing “daughters” such as Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, thrust the sport into the realm of popular culture including covers of TV Guide and a myriad of talk show appearances. With Leila Ali’s ascendency, however, other American female boxers of the period such as Ann Wolfe, Belinda Laracuente, and Layla McCarter, could not find traction on pay-per-view cards or on cable, despite excellent boxing skills (frankly much better than Ali’s) and by 2010, it was hard if not impossible to find female boxing on American television.

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At the same time, internationally at least, women’s boxing was in an ascendency in such places as Mexico, Argentina, South Korea, and Japan, not only with opportunities for decent fights, but reasonable paydays, and most importantly, fights which were broadcast on television—and continue to be to this day, with female bouts routinely marketed as the “main event.”

International amateur women’s boxing was also on the ascendency culminating in the inclusion of women’s boxing as an Olympic sport in the 2012 Games in London. For such European fighters as Ireland’s Katie Taylor and England’s Nicola Adams, winning gold medals became very important national achievements leading to endorsements and other opportunities, not the least of which was recognition of their place in history and as role models for younger women and girls. For America’s boxing phenomenon, Claressa Shields, who at 17 was the first American female to ever win a gold medal for boxing, the usual promise of Olympic gold endorsements never appeared, and any sense that the inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympics would perhaps enable a resurgence of the sport in the United States did not materialize. The other American female medalist who won a bronze in the 2012 Games, Marlen Esparza, had slightly better luck in winning endorsements, with adds for Coca Cola and Cover Girl, and a certain amount of traction in the Hispanic community, but otherwise, her Bronze had little effect on the sport as a whole.

In fact, women’s professional boxing has remained virtually absent from the airways in the United States with very, very few exceptions over the past eight years—and in fact, with respect to national exposure, i.e., network television or nationally televised cable boxing programs (ESPN, et al), such instances can be counted on one hand between 2012 and 2016.

The exceptions have been certain local fight cards such as New York City-based promoter DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing series, which have promoted and televised female bouts on local cable television channels. The same was true of a few of boxing champion Holly Holm’s fights in her local New Mexico market.

Some women’s bouts are also available live from time to time on US or internationally based internet pay channels at anywhere from $10 to $50 a pop. Otherwise, the only other means of watching female bouts has been on YouTube and other video services, where promoters may upload fights days after the bout. Viewers have also come to rely on uploads from fans that record all or some portions of female bouts. The clips are uploaded to social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and now Facebook Live, in addition to YouTube, Vimeo, et al. Additionally, it is possible to watch international female professional boxing bouts via satellite television. International amateur female boxing tournaments are also available on occasion for website viewing, and certainly women’s boxing in the 2012 and 2016 games were available on the NBC Sports website, albeit, after much searching.

Three of the handful of professional female bouts broadcast since the 2012 London Games included, boxing champion Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano’s six-round bout which was televised on a CBS Sports boxing program on May 29, 2015, boxer Maureen “The Real Million Dollar Baby” Shea’s pay-per-view title bout on a Shane Mosley fight card broadcast in August 29, 2015, and the last nationally broadcast women’s bout on NBCSN, which pitted two highly popular local North East fighters Heather “The Heat” Hardy and Shelley “Shelito’s Way” Vincent for the vacant WBC international female featherweight title on August 21, 2016. This latter fight was the first female bout to be broadcast under the new upstart Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) promotion arm that has brought boxing back to broadcast television on NBC and CBS, as well as broadcasting on cable television outlets including Spike TV, NBCSN, and ESPN.

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Heather Hardy (R) defeated Shelito Vincent by MD in their ten round slug fest on August 21, 2016. Photo Credit: Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment

Four months on from the PBC broadcast, with a second Olympic cycle resulting in Claressa Shields winning her second back-to-back gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games – the first American boxer, male or female to have won that distinction – the status of women’s boxing in the United States is at a crossroads of sorts.

Since 2012, mixed-martial arts (MMA) have made significant inroads across platforms on cable, broadcast and internet-based telecasts. Moreover, this increase in visibility has come at the detriment of boxing—with more and more advertising dollars being thrown towards MMA contests. Of significance, however, has been the increasing popularity of women’s MMA (WMMA)—especially since UFC, the premier MMA league added female MMA fighters to their roster. Beginning on February 23, 2013 (UFC157), UFC began broadcasting WMMA bouts.

With the announcer declaring it a “gigantic cultural moment,” Ronda Rousey, a former bronze winning Olympian in Judo, and the Strikeforce* bantamweight WMMA champion, easily defeated her opponent Liz Carmouche with a classic “arm bar” move and in so doing, established a new first for women’s martial sports. Rousey went on to capture the imagination of country with her girl-next-door looks, winning ways, and eventual appearance in films such as The Expendables 3 and Furious 7. This catapult of a female warrior in gloves (albeit not boxing gloves) to include being only the second female fighter to ever appear on the cover of Ring Magazine (to much consternation by the boxing community), did not, however, have any particular visible effect on the fortunes of female boxing, per se,

Her first loss, however, in UFC 193 on November 15, 2015, was to a female boxer turned MMA fighter, Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm. A highly experienced female boxing champion, Holm’s boxing career of (33-3-2, 9-KOs) while very impressive, never led to the kind of breakout name recognition or big dollar paydays that should have been her due, given her talents, and caliber of many of her opponents including bouts with such boxing royalty as Christy Martin and Mia St. John (albeit later in their careers), British boxing star Jane Couch who single-handedly created women’s boxing in England, and the truly fearsome French fighter, Anne Sophie Mathis. Ensconced in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Holm enjoyed a loyal following and excellent local coverage, and while she was a known quantity in the boxing community; it was only with her forays into MMA that she was able to break through to a larger audience and a chance at bigger paydays and television exposure.

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The irony of a Rousy’s loss to a boxer was not lost on the boxing community (nor has the fact that Rousey’s recent loss in UFC207 was due to her inability to defend against her opponents unrelenting boxing “strikes”). A growing number of boxing writers who have also begun to champion the place of women in the sport with such features as Ring Magazine‘s monthly feature by Thomas Gerbasi.

November 2016 brought a flurry of attention to women’s boxing. Claressa Shields appearance on the November 19th Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward fighting a four-rounder against former foe and USA National champion in the amateurs, Franchon Crews not only ended in a unanimous win on the cards, but the chance to see the fight live as a free streaming event. Shields has been quoted as saying, “It’s definitely a big deal, and it’s a big deal for women’s boxing, period …We really wanted a fight where we could put on a show.”

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Claressa Shields delivering a straight right to Franchon Crews in their four round professional debut on November 19, 2016. Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Locher

Boxing writers and Shields herself have asked if this will be the launch point for women’s boxing—and with Claressa Shields recent appearance on the cover of Ring Magazine in celebration of her remarkable back-to-back Olympic gold medal appearances, she is certainly an important figure to be reckoned with as 2017 looms—not to mention her 77-1 boxing record in the amateurs.

Ireland’s Katie Taylor also be turned professional in England in early December, and quickly racked up to back-to-back wins with the second one also broadcast live on Showtime’s streaming online service.

Additionally, in late November, Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President at Showtime stated they intended to include female boxing on the network in 2017—a first since 2009. Espinoza has been flirting with the idea of putting a female bout back on the air for the last couple of years—and has paid keen interest in the success of DiBella Entertainment’s local fight cards that have included such female fighters as Amanda Serrano, Heather Hardy, and Shelito Vincent.

In an interview with The Sweet Science, Espinoza is quoted as saying; “It’s been on our to-do list for a couple of years. It’s really at its capacity. But we made a decision we are going to prioritize it.”

The first event is slated to be a WBO women’s world super bantamweight championship with the remarkably talented Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano (30-1-1) set to fight Yazmin Rivas (35-9-1) in what promises to be a hard fought bout between two technically proficient warriors.

AIBAs (the world international amateur boxing association) rules change just this past week may be the most far-reaching. All women’s amateur elite bouts will now be contested with in three rounds of three minutes each. The parity of the rounds and number of minutes per round is a first in the amateur world—and while elite men will still contest without helmets, there is further discussion of this otherwise controversial rules change that took effect before the Olympics in 2016.

With respect to the number of minutes per round—the normalization of the three-minute round will, in my estimation put pressure on the pros to accept this change, especially as amateurs with experience in the changed format turn professional. Given that in MMA men and women contest using the name number of rounds and same number of minutes per round, there will certainly be more impetus to push through three minute boxing rounds for women. Some states allow this already—such as New York State, but there has been reluctance to push for fights using three rounds based on the perception that women will want more money. Given the pay equity issues that already exist, there may be somewhat of a case to be made, however, with the push to three minutes, that last claim of women’s boxing being “less” than men’s because of the number of minutes in a round will be pushed aside once and for all.

Showtime’s potential entry into broadcasting female boxing along with signs that boxing sanctioning organizations are beginning to put resources into the sport led by the World Boxing Council which has now held two consecutive WBC conventions devoted solely to women’s boxing may help further propel the sport back into a more prominent place in the United States—and in place such as the United Kingdom.

Time will tell whether this actually happens, but as always, I remain hopeful!

 

*Strikeforce was an MMA and kickboxing league operating out of California from 1985-2013. WMMA practitioners such as Mischa Tate and Ronda Rousey were important champions and helped prove the case for televising female MMA bouts. They were particularly popular draws on Showtime. Strikeforce was bought out in 2011 by Dana White and its roster eventually folded into UFC.

 

 

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.

 

05
Sep
15

We only have each other … women’s boxing

We only have each other … women’s boxing

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Six Women’s Boxing Champions at Gleason’s Gym: (l to r) Melissa St. Vil, Fire McLeod, Heather Hardy, Ronica Jeffries, Susie Ramadan, Alicia Ashley. Photo credit: Hosking Promotions

Women’s boxing has garnered a fair amount of press in the United States of late from the split-draw IBF Female Super Bantamweight title fight between Maureen “The Real Million Dollar Baby” Shea (24-2-1) and Luna “La Cobrita” Avila (12-2-1) on Shane Mosely’s Pay Per View extravaganza, to the announcement that Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (33-2-3) will fight UFC’s reigning WMMA champion Ronda Rousey in November on the UFC193 card in Melbourne, Australia.

Action will also be heating up in September with a series of bouts featuring East Coast professional female boxers including the return of Alicia “Slick” Ashley (22-10-1) in a WBC Female Superbantamweight title fight on September 15th, Shelito Vincent (14-0) in an 8-rounder at Foxwoods Casino on September 12th (with the top of the card broadcast on NBC), Ronica Jeffrey (13-1) in a 6-rounder on September 11th, and Amanda Serrano in a 6-rounder on September 10th.

Added to that mix will be Australian boxer “Shotgun” Shannon O’Connell (11-3)  making her North American boxing debut in Toronto against Canadian fighter Sandy “Lil Tyson” Tsagouris. The two will battle in an 8-rounder on the undercard of a PBC/Spike TV card headed by the Adonis Stevenson v. Tommy Karpency WBC World light heavyweight title fight.

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(l to r) Susie Ramadan, Alicia Ashley, Shannon O’Connell, Photo Credit: Hosking Promotions

Ahead of her fight, Shannon O’Connell along with two-time world champion Susie Q. Ramadan (23-3) have embarked on a tour of the U.S. with their trainers, promoter Lynden Hosking of Hosking Promotions and U.S. advisor, Eddie Montalvo. The tour has led the two fighters to New York City, and the world-famous Gleason’s Gym where both women had the opportunity to meet with the likes of Keisher “Fire” McLeod, Ronica Jeffries, Melissa St. Vil, Alicia Ashley, and Heather Hardy–a veritable who’s who of women’s boxing champions.

Girlboxing had a chance to meet and talk with O’Connell, Ramadan, promoter Hosking and Heather Hardy who sparred Ramadan for three tough hard-fought rounds.  While the interviews were brief, the sentiment expressed was one of optimism for the sport over all and most importantly of the need for connection and support among the fighters as they battle for recognition and opportunities to practice their art.

Here’s what everyone had to say:

02
Jun
13

The Accidental Boxing Manager: Mary del Pino Morgan

The Accidental Boxing Manager: Mary del Pino Morgan

Mary del Pino Morgan

As a boxing manager, Mary del Pino Morgan is pretty unlikely.

She first walked into the Striking Beauties all-women’s boxing gym in North Attleboro, Massachusetts nearly four years ago wanting to lose weight. She’d been a boxing fan and remembers watching fights with her Argentinean father. One of her uncles was a champion boxer as well, “so, it’s in my blood,” she said in a recent interview with Girlboxing, “if not one way, than another.”

Still, during her first forays in training, Mary did not envision herself as the boxing manager for Shelly “Shelito’s Way” Vincent, a rising star in the East Coast professional women’s boxing world, whose perfect 9-0 record and most recent win against boxer Angel Gladney have netted Shelito the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) super bantamweight title and a fan base that seems to grow exponentially with every foray into the ring.

The latter, Shelito’s fan base though has a lot to do with her manager, and friend Mary del Pino Morgan.

Shelito Vincent, February 2013, Credit: Mary del Pino Morgan

As Mary tells it, her growing love of boxing and dedication to the sport and the women who practice it led her down a path she never expected.

“I was there [at Striking Beauties] all the time and got to know everyone. It was more like a club than a gym and pretty intimate. At first I volunteered there,” she said, wanting women coming into the gym for the first time to “feel comfortable especially with losing weight.” She felt good about introducing them to an environment that was really safe and supportive no matter what their body type or skill level.

Mary, in her “other” life as a personal chef and wedding cake designer was so good at customer service that she the owner of the gym, Dena Paolino, offered her a job managing Striking Beauties. With several National champions, including two 2010 National Golden Gloves title holders coming out of the gym, Mary became pretty excited about the sport and the possibilities for women. It also brought her to the fights and an awareness of Shelito Vincent who was making a name for herself as an amateur boxer in the New England area. This led Mary to strike up a casual friendship with her on Facebook.

Mary del Pino Morgan and Shelito Vincent. Credit: Mary del Pino MorganOne fateful night, Shelito wrote a post on Facebook that struck a chord with Mary. “She put up a message that said she was in a car accident and stuck. And it was like, January and raining and at night. I checked back in a few minutes to see if anyone was helping her and Shelly had put another message on that said her car was dead and her phone was almost out and I thought, that’s it.

“I wrote ‘You’re in Connecticut right?’ and she wrote back, ‘No. I’m in Providence.’ And then I wrote her to say I’d get in my car to pick her up. A couple of minutes later she got back to me and said, ‘somebody is right down the street, so I’m okay, but I have your back now. You were going to come get me and you don’t even know me!’ and I thought, wow, Shelito Vincent’s got my back.” By then Shelito had won her October 2011 debut match by decision against Karen Dulin and was looking forward to a rematch in March 2012.

Shortly before that fight Mary and Shelito finally met at a boxing match that had women on the card. “We were sitting behind a couple of gentlemen who were having a great time.” After a lot of banter back and forth Mary said, “You need to see one of her fights, she’s really great.”

Of the meeting Mary said, “It really blew his mind that she was a woman and a professional boxer.” At the end of the night, Mary took his email address and she wrote him to let him know the particulars of Shelito’s upcoming bout. As Mary tells it, “He bought a whole bunch of tickets and the night of the fight Shelly said, ‘you’re my manager now,’ and I thought, ‘what does that mean,’ and said yes.”

Mary del Pino Morgan and Shelito Vincent, Credit: Mary del Pino Morgan

Pretty immediately it meant helping Shelito set up for her upcoming fights. Shelito had already inked her deal with CES Boxing (Classic Entertainment Sports) (where she is one of two female fighters on their roster), guaranteeing her five fights a year for each of three years for 4-6-8 and 10 round bouts, though most of her nine fights to date have been four- and six-rounders with the exception of her eight-round title fight this past May. It has also meant working full-time helping to keep Shelito in the public’s eye.

Shelito Vincent Victory Bash 7/28/2012Mary spends hours and hours drumming up publicity for Shelito’s fights working closely with CES. She sifts through speaking engagements, interviews and photo shoots, and lots of press relations with local papers, regional television and radio news outlets, and boxing websites and bloggers–not to mention her forays on social media such as her active Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Mary is also a one woman machine getting fans to pep rallies, pre-fight and post-fight victory parties, as well as keeping Shelito on track with her motivational speaking appearances with school kids which are a true labor of love. The combination of activities can bite into her gym time with famed boxing trainer Peter Manfredo, Sr. and her hours as a trainer at Striking Beauties, but between Mary and Shelito, they make it work.

Peter Manfredo, Sr. and Shelito Vincent, May 17, 2013, Credit: Kelly McDonaldIt has also meant gaining sponsorships for Shelito to help defray the costs, which include the $20 and more in gas money a day needed for Shelito to get back and forth from training and to her various appointments. Mary’s success at that has been phenomenal, having landed several sponsorship deals including the well-known Havoc Boxing who custom make all of Shelito’s boxing trunks, tops and robes for her fights. In the scheme of things when considering paychecks such as Floyd Mayweather’s recent $32 million dollar guarantee for fighting Robert Guerrero this may not seem like a lot, but in the world of women’s boxing where the margins are that close, it is the difference between being able to pursue a professional career and being shut out completely.Havoc Boxing with Shelito Vincent and Mary del Pino Morgan, Credit: Mary del Pino Morgan

But for all of that Mary sees her main job as ensuring that Shelito’s best interests are always in focus.

“I help her negotiate … I have to look out for her. That is my motivation. It is not for anything else. Not for money, it is all for Shelly.” Mary also feels that the other important component is “having a loving trusting relationship with your team,” saying further “that trust has to be there so she knows we are not going to take advantage of her.” That team is Mary, Peter Manfredo Sr. and his trainers, and the folks at CES Boxing who have come through for her at every turn.

As for the frustrations, probably one of the biggest is the lack of exposure for women’s boxing on broadcast and cable television. Mary put it this way, “I don’t know why and I don’t know how to fix it, but I am getting her out there in front of people. CES has been great getting her on their bigger cards on ESPN, Friday Night Fights and NBC’s Main Event, but we haven’t gotten on television yet. It’s really disappointing. We’re all just going to have to find the right people to try to push the envelope. Probably the next generation of girls because they really work hard and women are definitely gaining respect. The Olympics is helping too and bringing new girls up.”

Being a boxing manager who happens to be a woman also has its downside. “I wasn’t getting taken very seriously … they see what we’re doing and see that we’re professional … and then there’s that whole thing about being a woman around all these guys … it happens all the time.”

Still she has garnered respect where it matters, and when it comes to Shelito is most proud of being told that “I was good for boxing because I really took care of my fighter.”

15
Jan
13

An interview with Shelito Vincent, to fight on 1/19/2013!

UPDATE!!!

Shelito Vincent takes it 59-55, 58-56 x 2 over Nydia Feliciano!!!

Per @TalkinBoxing on Twitter, Feliciano came out strong in the first round and used her height advantage well in the second. Vincent dug in though and started to really bring it in the third round. By the fourth and fifth round she was breaking Feliciano down with hard hitting and relentless pursuit. The fight was the war they anticipated with both fighters slugging it out to the end of the bell in the 6th round.

An interview with Shelito Vincent, to fight on 1/19/2013! 

Shelito Vincent, January 19, 2013

Shelito “Shelito’s Way” Vincent (6-0) is readying to fight her seventh bout on January 19, 2013 against boxer Nydia Feliciano (5-3-3).  The six-round bout is set for the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.com ($40 & $125).

Girlboxing had the opportunity to interview Shelito ahead of her upcoming bout.  Here’s what she had to say:

Shelito Vincent & Sherine Thomas, 11/29/12. Photo Credit: Cross Face Productions

Shelito Vincent & Rosie Sherine Thomas, 11/29/12. Photo Credit: CrossFace Productions

Q1.  You’ve got a great winning streak going for you. With the seventh fight on the line, what are you looking to achieve in you fight against Nydia Feliciano, arguably your most experienced opponent to date?

Looking to achieve the W… And a shot at taking her number one ranking in US from her… Yes definitely the most experienced to date… And she is an amazing fighter… It’s going to be a great hard fight… Probably a war… The city and casino will have a great women’s fight that night… Exciting from start to finish… We both going in ready for war… The whole card is stacked and will be dope from the debuts to the main events… I’m honored to be on this card with all these amazing fighters…CES, NBC and Main Events thank you for the opportunity… 

Everyone should grab their tickets and come support this great night… They are $40 an 125$ VIP…Contact myself at 860-574-5227… If in need… No one should be empty handed lol…

Shelito Vincent & Ivana Coleman, 10/18/2012, Credit: Eagle Sports Photography

Shelito Vincent & Ivana Coleman, 10/18/2012, Credit: Eagle Sports Photography

Q2. You turned pro in October of 2011. Now that you are well into your second year as a professional fighter, what is your game plan for achieving a title in the crowded women’s bantamweight division?

The game plan is always the same… Work harder than anyone else… And always give it our all… Of course timing has to be right too… I’ll be the first to tell you… I lack the experience these other woman had… I was 11-4 as an amateur; I won the National Golden Gloves  in 2011… Then turned pro and had 6 fights… Most women have an extensive amateur background… I’m pleased with the pace I’ve been moving… Jan 19th will be the next test…

Shelito Vincent and her team @ Manfredo Boxing and Fitness

Shelito Vincent and her team @ Manfredo Boxing and Fitness

Q3. Peter Manfredo has been training you for some time, how has his mentoring helped you in the ring and how are you both working towards getting you to the next level?

Peter has made me a monster… I look at tapes from my debut and Ammy fighs and compare them to now, and the transformation is miraculous… I owe that man a lot… He gave me a chance and we haven’t let each other down… He gives me a hundred so u’ll never see me give him any less than 150… He’s like the father I didn’t have growing up… He’s there for me even outside the ring too…. Everyone needs a Lil’ Manfredo’s guidance in their lives lol… Great, great man and I’m lucky enough to call my friend…
Shelito Vincent, November 2012, Credit: CrossFace Productions

Shelito Vincent, November 29, 2012, Credit: CrossFace Productions

Q4. Your story continues to be one of triumph over adversity. Now that you have comfortably made the transition to professional boxing, what do you see as the challenges that are most important for you to overcome?

The biggest thing I struggle with is my own mind… I still struggle with bouts of
depression… But that’s also what keeps me motivated an keep moving forward In my career and in life… The fight is often therapeutic…
Q5. The fight card you’ll be on is set to broadcast on NBC’s Sport Network. While your fight might not make it to the broadcast, what is your sense of when women’s bouts will begin to routinely appear on air again?  Have you seen any changes since Claressa Shields brought home the gold this past August or is it more of the “same ‘ole, same ‘ole?
I‘m not sure…but it needs to happen…MMA does so much for their women… People will tune in… An I myself sell more then any male in this area… And Every time I do better… People do want to see it… Plus women are so exciting to watch… We go so hard trying to prove we belong here….I have people that fly in from other states when I fight and I don’t even know them… All we can do is cross our fingers and hope we can get some time… I think it will happen though…
Q6. You are starting to train young fighters yourself. What do you try to instill in your girls coming up and what they can accomplish in the sport and in life?
Hard work and dedication will get you anywhere and all you need… You just have to have the will and drive… And in life nothing can keep you down… Dark clouds eventually separate… Weathering the storm is the hard part… But no matter how gloomy things get there is always a turn around as long as your desire to shine through is there… Never let anyone or anything keep you down… Always talk and let it out… Locking away pain and harboring depression is so hard and draining… Feels amazing once you air it out…

Q7.  What’s next for you after Saturday night’s fight?
March 15th Twin River…. But only focused about getting through this fight right now…
Shelito Vincent v. Sherine Thomas, 11/29/2013
30
Nov
12

Shelito Vincent keeps it perfect …

Shelito Vincent keeps it perfect …

Shelito Vincent, 11/29/2012

From the moment Shelito Vincent (6-0) walked into the ring at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island, the night was hers.

The hard-fighting bantamweight who trains under the legendary Peter Manfredo, Sr., dominated her opponent, Canadian fighter Rosie Sherine Thomas who had sported a 2-0 record before entering the ring.

Shelito Vincent making it 6-0, 11/29/12Vincent, showing a savvy, ring acumen and lightening speed took the win with decisive scores from the judges who easily handed her the decision 60-54, 59-55 and 59-55.

This was Vincent’s first six-rounder having previously fought in four round bouts.  This is also her second win in as many months having walked over Louisiana native, Ivana Coleman (0-3) by decision, taking all four rounds.

For Shelito, however, keeping her record perfect has another meaning.

Having struggled early in her life, each day represents another kind of win. It is a triumph over personal demons, run-ins with the law, and a young-adulthood steeped in troubles. Boxing has been part of her recovery — and what a recovery it is for those who have watched her not only defeat her challengers, but the many challenges that have plauged her life.

Way to go Shelito!

 

 

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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