Posts Tagged ‘#womenboxing

21
Mar
18

The gym is closed today

My ritual of morning is out of kilter.

With the gym closed today there’s no need to push myself out of bed at 5:30 to begin the process of readying for the gym. Gone is the symmetry of my every other weekday morning boxing workout with my trainer Lennox Blackmoore.  Of the silent walk to the gym, and brief chitter-chatter with the coffee guys in front of the court-house in downtown Brooklyn.

On different mornings, I have different looks and feelings. Mostly I’m reassured by the discipline of making it to Gleason’s Gym pretty much without fail. I arrive, wave to the early morning denizens and making my way to the locker room, transform myself into my boxer self.

It is in the locker room where I set out my tools–my well-worn rival sparring gloves, my hand wraps and my shoes, my water bottle and towel, while hanging up my work clothes for the quick shower and change after my workout.

Ready for battle, I enter the ring to begin the rounds of shadow boxing, working on my footwork and my mix of combinations, careful to always snap my jab with my right hand up.

The rounds with Lennox — four to six depending on how much energy we have.

The four rounds on the double-ended bag, or the heavy bag.

The four rounds on the slip bag or the speed bag.

Sometimes an added bit of something, sometimes not.

Each has a place in my ritual of morning.

Mostly it is all about the sweat and pushing myself and staying positive during those times when I am anything but. This past year has had its difficulties. I still mourn my father’s death in June, finding strength in my memories of him performing his 300 crunches while hooked up to the oxygen that was his mainstay as he bravely battled COPD.  And perhaps it is that memory that pushes me to haul myself out of bed, even when I’ve only managed to get to sleep at 1:00 AM. Other mornings it is the concept that #ageisjustanumber or that the pursuit of one’s passions keep one young and vibrant and vital.

With the gym closed, I find myself up anyway at 5:29, a full hour ahead of my reset alarm clock. Up and wondering what I shall do. Go back to sleep? Scroll through posts on social media? Worry about the latest headlines in the news? The offer I saw on Facebook for an opponent to fight a former world champion for the ridiculous,  insulting and ultimately dangerous fee to the life and safety of the woman who will feel compelled to accept $2,000?

Instead, I find myself here at the dining table. Up and writing, thankful that I’ve given myself the chance to pivot and turn towards my other source of solace and sanity in a crazy world.

 

 

02
Nov
15

Melissa St. Vil – Ready to Rumble

Melissa St. Vil – Ready to Rumble

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Boxer Melissa St. Vill by the “wall” at Brooklyn’s world famous Gleason’s Gym. Photo credit: Malissa Smith

Melissa St. Vil is a boxer with plans.

Her first plan is to win the UBF World Female Super Featherweight title on November 12th at Martin’s Valley Mansion in Cockeysville, MD. With her 6-1-3 record, she’ll be fighting the more experienced Jennifer Salinas (17-3-0, 4-KOs), in her backyard, but that doesn’t seem to worry St. Vil. With just seven fights to her credit, she defeated Sarah Kuhn to win the International Women’s Boxing Federation (IWBF) World Welterweight title in August of 2013. And while St. Vil has only had two fights since them (in 2014), she feels confident that she has what it takes to win.

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The Royal Six boxers, Ronica Jeffrey (l) and Melissa St. Vil at the recent Breast Cancer event at Gleason’s Gym. Photo Credit: Malissa Smith

As a member of The Royal Six, a group of New York based female boxing champions (Alicia Ashley, Ronica Jeffrey, Sonya Lamonakis, Keisher “Fire” Mcleod, and Alicia Napoleon), she is actively engaged in promoting the sport, raising money for charity and helping to put together an all female boxing card in the spring.

Winning world championships and promoting female boxing arent’s her only plans. She also wants to give back. To make a place of safety and sanctuary for girls and women to overcome violence and to find a place for themselves in the world. With her infectious laugh, it is hard to imagine that St. Vil would have ever known pain or violence–but she did. As with many of us the world over, it’s the fighting back to take possession of one’s own life that is the biggest challenge.

Melissa was kind enough to take time from her training with Leon “Cat” Taylor and Juan Guzman to speak with Girlboxing readers about her upcoming fight. We didn’t touch upon the dark stuff at all–just talked about boxing, moving on in life and her passion for the sport.

Here’s what she had to say:

31
Dec
12

Of endings and beginnings …

Of endings and beginnings …

2012 USA Women's Boxing Team

As is inevitable for this time of year, we relive our triumphs and disappointments and much like the wisdom espoused by the rituals of the Jewish High Holidays, may even set about examining those aspects of our lives we are most proud of and those we may be at a loss to explain.

In considering my own 2012 I certainly ran the gamut from graduating with my master’s degree to emerging from surgery on my shoulder with a pathetic wing that has taken months to set right.

Meanwhile, my own highs, lows and in-betweens are graced by the luxury of lots of comfort, a loving family and a Brooklyn home that experienced nary a sprinkle during Hurricane Sandy.

I’ve also gotten a book contract, my straight right back and a husband who even squired me to the movies two days running over the weekend!

Counting myself among the luckiest of the lucky, I also keep in mind the triumph and trials of my pals at Gleason’s Gym, the thirty-six young women who courageously took up the gloves to box at the London 2012 Olympic Games and another year in the history of women’s fight for equality whether it be in the boxing ring or the hope that a bus ride home in New Delhi doesn’t result in a brutal gang-rape and death.

Maybe it’s the latter that saddens me most.

I’ve been around a long time and the fact that a woman still isn’t safe whether it’s in New Delhi, Johannesburg, London or the Bronx reminds that me that for all our female bravura at embracing martial sports, the fact remains that there is always some part of what we do that is informed by our need for self-defense.

Talk to my thirteen-year-old about it and she’ll regale you with how to leg sweep a potential attacker or such street savvy stratagems as using big glass store front windows to check on who is walking behind her. The operative thing here is that she is thirteen and has already experienced men saying gross things to her on her short walk between school and home. And while her martial art, Aikido, is defensive in nature, it hasn’t stopped her from figuring out that sometimes the best defense is offense: that and the sense to scream, act crazy and run like hell.

So if we are talking New Year’s wishes, mine is to end assault with the first toll of midnight … that said, keep up the fight to claim the boundaries of the ring as your own, whatever your ring happens to be.

Happy 2013!

 

14
Dec
12

Some big Women’s boxing bouts on Saturday, 12/15/12! – UPDATED

UPDATE (12/16/12):

>>>In Guadelajara, Mexico, Mariana “La Barbie” Juarez (36-6-3, 16-KOs) defeated Japan’s Tenkai Tsunami (18-6, 7-KOs) after ten rounds of boxing by unanimous decision. Juarez was in command of the ring through out with Tsunami showing wobbly legs in the fifth and sixth round. La Barbie, coming off her loss to Ava Knight, should feel good at getting a fight into the “w” column as she hunts around for another title shot.

Interview with Mariana Juarez, post-fight (in Spanish).

>>>In Seoul, South Korea, Ju Hee Kim (17-1-1, 7-KOs) successfully defended her WBF World Light Flyweight Title on Saturday night defeating Thailand’s Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (9-3-0) by TKO in the 10th round. This was Kim’s third title defense and second title match against Sakrungrueng whom she defeated by TKO in the 6th round at their first meeting this past March.

Kim fought a tough match pressuring Sakrungrueng throughout. By the 10th round, the referee felt that Sakrungrueng had taken enough punishment and stopped the bout.

>>>Alesia Graf (26-3-0, 10-KOs) came out a winner last night when she defeated Liliana Martinez (10-12-0, 5-KOs) for the WBF Female Super Bantamweight Title at the Mitsubishi-Autohaus Gratzke in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Graf claimed victory in the 6th round of the 10 round bout.

Alesia Graf, WBF Female Super Bantamweight, 12/15/12

Some big Women’s boxing bouts on Saturday, 12/15/12!

Layla McCarter fighting Belinda Laracuente for the GBU Lightweight Championship of the World - 10 x 3 minute rounds Nov. 17, 2006 Orleans Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Layla McCarter will be fighting Belinda Laracuente on Saturday night, 12/15/12 in Las Vegas.

Mariana Juarez & Tenkai TsunamiThe big female bout this weekend on Saturday, December 15th, will be pitting Mexico’s super flyweight Mariana “La Barbie” Juarez (35-6-3, 16-KOs) against Japan’s own aptly-named Tenkai Tsunami (18-5-0, 7-KOs) in a ten round main event at the Arena Coliseo, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The fight is being promoted by Canelo Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Boxeo de Gala, and will be televised on Mexico Televisa and FOX Espanol. Juarez is coming off her loss by unanimous decision to Ava Knight for the WBC Female Flyweight Title this past October. Tsunami has lost her two most recent ten round bouts, in this past October and July respectively, but had a nine-fight winning streak prior to her two losses.

In Las Vegas, the great pound-for-pound boxing champion Layla McCarter (35-13-5, 8-KOs) will be fighting Gleason’s own Belinda Laracuente (26-27-3, 9-KOs) in what for them will be a six-round “walk in the park” given their previous meetings which included their history making ten-round classic with count ’em, three-minute rounds. The bout is being promoted by Sterling Promotions, but it does not appear that it will be televised — our loss!

Alesia Graf Fight Poster 12/15/12Alesia Graf (25-3-0, 10-KOs) will be fighting Liliana Martinez (10-11-0, 5-KOs) for the WBF Female Super Bantamweight Title at the Mitsubishi-Autohaus Gratzke in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Also on the fight will be a four rounder with lighweights Derya Saki (3-0, 1-KO) fighting Chrisoula Mirtsou (0-1-0). Alesia Graf, who is also listed as the promoter for the three-fight card, won the title against Thai fighter Jubjang Lookmakarmwan (3-5-0).

Graf is probably best known for losing to Australian fighter Susie Ramadan last February for the vacant WBC International Female Bantamweight title by split decision, 96-94, 94-96, 96-94. She was also cut above her eye in the bout. Martinez, fights out of the Dominican Republic and while she recently fought two four-rounders this past October and November, had been on an two-year layoff following her defeat by Maureen Shea for the six-round vacant NABF female lightweight title in July 2010. She lost by TKO in the third round.

In Seoul, South Korea, Korean fighter Ju Hee Kim (16-1-1, 7-KOs) will be defending her titles against Thai boxer Ploynapa Sakrungrueng (9-2-0). The four light flyweight titles on the line are from the WIBA, WIBF, WBF and Global Boxing Union. The two last fought in March 2012 with the 26-year-old Kim taking the titles by TKO in the sixth round of their ten round bout.

Meanwhile, the two big fight cards in the United States this weekend: The Nonito Donaire card (10 fights in all) at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas to be broadcast on HBO, and the Amir Khan card at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California (13 fights) set for Showtime — there is nary a female bout on either card. What gives???

07
Dec
12

Holly Holm v. Diana Prazak Fight 12/7/2012!

UPDATE:  

Holly Holm defeats Diana Prazak by UD, 100-90 on all three judges score cards on 12/7/12, Credit: Jose Leon Castillo

Holly Holm defeats Diana Prazak by UD, 100-90 on all three judges score cards on 12/7/12, Credit: Jose Leon Castillo

Holly Holm v. Diana Prazak Fight 12/7/2012!

Diana Prazak and Holly Holm at weigh-in, 12/6/12, Credit:  Will Fox

Tonight’s Fire and Ice boxing card at the Route 66 Casino & Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico promises to be full of excitement if only to see the size of the ring where Holly Holm (31-2-3, 9 KOs) will fight for the IBA & WBF Women’s Light Welterweight titles against Diana Prazak (11-1, 7 KOs).  In Holm’s last outing against Anne Sophie Mathis which she won by decision, the Holm team fought and won another decision as well, erecting a 24 foot ring. This led to considerable controversy as it favored Holm’s fighting style — and many believe tilted the “w” in her column.

Holm was also originally scheduled to fight Myriam Lamare.  Diana Prazak, an Australian boxer who is the WIBA Super Featherweight champion, took the call and canceled out of her 6-round scheduled bout against Victoria Cisneros who she was also set to fight at 140 lbs.

As Prazak put it recently: “I’m a determined fighter. I have fought at 130-135-pounds; however, I walk around at 145. I will feel much stronger at 140 because I don’t have to starve myself.”

Diana Prazak will also have former world champion, Lucia Rijker in her corner, pound-for-pound, one of the best boxers ever, never mind “female boxer.”  This has given Prazak a lot of confidence.   “I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work with some great champions, not to mention the rounds I get in with my trainer, Lucia Rijker. If I can get punched by the most dangerous women in the world, I most definitely do not have any concerns about being hit by girls in other weight classes. I’ve been training with Rijker Striker for almost eight months and I’ve learned a lot being in America and about what it takes to be a pro fighter.”

At the official weigh-in yesterday, Holm came in at 138.8 and Prazak and even 138.

Also fighting on the card in a six-rounder will be Victoria Cisneros (8-13-2, 3-KOs) versus Mary McGee (19-1, 10 KOs). Cisneros has fought some of the big names in boxing including two fights against Holly Holm (both at short notice) and rumbles with Chevelle Hallback, Melissa Hernandez and Cecilia Braekhus. She may have lost those fights, but she is none the less a very credible fighter with a record that belies her strengths in the ring.  McGee a native of Gary, Indiana has fought and won almost exclusively in and around her home town. Fighting Cisneros, who is coming off a three-fight winning streak should prove to be interesting.

Win lose or draw, the fights should be great tonight … just wish they were televised!!!




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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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