THE WORLD’S BEST IN FEMALE BOXING
San Francisco, CA– At one point and time in the prior decade of the 1990s, female boxing was a subject that you could broach with a casual sports fan and have a conversation. Most of this had to do with Don King’s promoting Christy Martin, the “Queen-pin” of female fighters who is said to have made millions of dollars during her reign as the predominant female fighter in the world. But as we see in men’s boxing, Christy got “gift” decisions, lost a fight to Sumya Anani that virtually nobody in 1998 saw because it was on the then fledging Direc TV.
WHAT HAPPENED TO FEMALE BOXING?
The sport has been the victim of mass discrimination by U.S promoters, especially at the club level. I’ve talked to promoters who won’t utilize the services of female boxers for a number of reasons, which in my mind all track back to being a Male Chauvinist Pig. Some of you might not like the thought of women fighting, but it’s OK for them to partake in every other sport for the most part outside of the National Football League. The bottom line is that female fighters never dog it! You don’t see women in dull fights. Why? Because they are fighting for the life of their sport, trying their best to make it a livelihood.
MANAGER & FIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER WAS OF GREAT HELP HERE
That being said, with the help of Mary Ann Owen, a retired Corrections Officer and professional photographer who covers the fight game globally out of las Vegas, NV, I have come up with a list of the best female boxers in the world. The following list isn’t about being a ratings tool, it’s just a collaboration put together by Ms. Owen and myself.
1) Ava Knight, Chico, CA (9-1-3, 5 KOs). Ava is a great talker who is a positive force in the sport. Having had her on “Ring Talk Boxing & MMA Radio” twice, she hasn’t lost a fight since 2009. The “Road Warrior” of female boxing, Knight is the IBF flyweight (112 lbs) champ who has been forced to fight three straight times in Mexico, because she can’t get a decent paying fight in this country.
2) Jelena Mrjenovich, Alberta, Canada. 26-8-1 (12 KOs as a pro, the Cannuck, like Knight is not afraid to take her show on the road. Winning in Japan last December, she recently defeated journey-woman Belinda Laracuente, who was “robbed” in a 2001 fight against the aforementioned Christy Martin. Currently holds the WBC 130 lb. title.
3) Ann Sophie Mathis of France is 26-2, 21 KOs. Fighting at 145 lbs., the aforementioned Mary Ann Owen considers her the best “P4P” female in boxing, this even though she was on the short end of a rematch decision with Holly Holm in New Mexico last month.
4) Cecilia Braehkus is a 140 lb. fighter that boxes out of Germany. With a record of 20-0, 5 KOs, the Norwegian native is the WBO, WBA & WBC 147 lb. champ. Considered an iconic figure in both Norway and Germany, Cecilia can fight and appears to be making a living seeing she has sponsors and does great ratings on European TV when she fights.
5) Mariana Juarez is the WBC 112 lb. champ (35-5-3 (16 KO’s) who recently won a fight in Ontario, CA. Afterwards, Ms. Juarez was embarrassed as Ava Knight, who traveled to Southern California by car and then called Juarez out right then and there to unify the 112 lb. belts. Knight is willing to fight Juarez in her native Mexico at the drop of a hat and a decent purse.
6) Ana Maria Torres is 23-3-3, 16 KOs and the WBC super flyweight (115) from Mexico.
7) Jeanine Garside hails from Windsor, Canada and holds the WBO & WBC 126 lb. champ is 10-3-1, 4 KOs. Another Cannuck that can fight!
8) Holly Holm of New Mexico at 145 lbs. is 31-2-3, 9 KOs. Although she bested Ann Sophie Mathis in June, Holly avenged a previous KO loss by “jabbing and grabbing” according to Ms. Owen. Holly sells a lot of tickets and has even fought and won MMA matches.
9) Myriam Lamare hails from France. Fighting at 145, she was an outstanding amateur fighter (49-3) who is now 20-3, 10 KOs as a professional.
10) Susi Kentikan is a German who is 20-1, 16 KOs, is coming off a Majority Decision loss recently to Melissa McMorrow (7-3) in what was a stunner! Fighting around 110 lbs., she can roll at 108 or 110.
11) Ada Velez fights out of Florida and is 20-4, 6 KOs. A bantamweight (118) who dropped a recent decision to (7-3) Melissa McMorrow, who seems to be the “upset” queen of female boxing.
11) Jackie Nava from the border town of Tijuana, MX is 23-3-2, 11 KOs. She has been rated at 118, 122, 126 & 130 lbs. and was the first ever WBC female champion in 2005.12) Hanna Gabriel Valle of Costa Rica won a title at 147, but making the weight affected her health. Now a jr. middleweight (154) she drew 14,000 Costa Rican fans fighting at home. Her record is 11-0-1, 6 KOs.
13) Diana Prazak is a 130 lb. from Australia who is training in Los Angeles, CA by the “greatest” female fighter in the minds of some in history, Lucia Ryjker. She is 11-1, 7 KOs.
14) Argentina’s Yesica Yolanda Bopp fights at light flyweight and has been WBA champ since 2008. She has added the WBO title and had six successful defenses in 2011 alone. Her unbeaten record is 20-0, 9 KOs and has defeated the extremely capable Carina Moreno in her first 2011 defense.
15) Carina Moreno is from Salinas, CA. A sweet girl outside the ring, inside the squared circle she is the “meanest (female) from Salinas. At light flyweight she is 22-3, 6 KOs.
16) Susie “Q” Ramadan of Australia fights only in her homeland and is 20-1, 8 KOs. In order to bolster her status at 118, she needs to fight in Europe or North America.
17) Kaliesha West is the WBO 118 lb. champ out of Moreno Valley, CA. At 15-1-3, 4 KOs, she started training at the age of 10 after watching her father Juan West box. Dad wasn’t too cool on having his daughter box, but her determination and will to fight overcame her father’s wishes and she is now one of the better fighters in the world.
18) Melissa Hernandez (16-3-3, 6 KOs) is from Puerto Rico. She is set to fight July 28, 2012, in Georgia against native Nicole Woods (11-9-2, 3 KOs) in Columbus, GA. Hernandez has moved around various weight classes, as have a lot of women just to get fights.
19) Last but not least is Christy “The Coal Miner’s Daughter” Martin who was born in West Virginia and now resides in Florida. She survived being shot and stabbed by her now ex-husband Jim Martin in late 2010 for her telling him she was leaving! Long in the tooth at 45, Christy is supposed to retire after her fight with Mia St John in August. Overall she is 49-5-1, 33 KOs. This was the women’s boxing “flag-bearer’ for most of the 1990s, supporting main events that had Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez and others on top. Now an admitted Lesbian, Christy’s time was the “golden era” of female boxing. The sport might never raise to the heights of popularity that it did when Martin and Don King brought female boxing into your front room on Showtime and Pay Per View.