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KnockOuts At Coushatta
By "The Big and The Bad"
Valerie Mahfood
January 23, 2005

I would like to start with a personal acknowledgement to Nora Popillion of Coushatta Casino Resorts and Jimbo Stevenson of Bayou Promotions. When J & P Photography, the usual reporters/photographers of the event were unable to attend, Popillion and Stevenson went to great lengths to assure WBAN access to the fights. Thank You.

“KnockOuts at Coushatta VI” lived up to its reputation of hard hitting action and excitement from the initial bell of this six bout card. This evening, the action was dubbed “The Big and the Bad.” It certainly was that. Along with a women’s 10 round IBA Welterweight Championship, the Coushatta hosted five male bouts. Each one was as captivating as the next.

As the co-main event,
Sumya "Island Girl" Anani placed her IBA Welterweight Belt on the line against Belinda "Brown Sugar" Laracuente. Coming into the fight, Anani, 142 pounds from Kansas City, Missouri, sported a record of 24-1-1 (10 KO’s). (Her only loss came by way of split decision against Britt Van Buskirk.) Belinda Laracuente, 136 pounds from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, also had an impressive record of 21-5-2 (9 KO’s).

The fighters entered the ring in the usual way. As the challenger, Laracuente walked first. She made a very calm, almost regal appearance. Contrast this with Anani’s entrance, which strongly resembled a child off her ADHD medication. She moved about the ring to such an extent, I had to wide angle the camera to capture her on film.

It was in this moment that the fight was won. Before the referee (Keith Santeez) gave the instructions, before the first punch was thrown and long before the final bell ended the match, Anani claimed her victory. For you see, her entrance into the ring merely foreshadowed her plan of attack.

Imagine this: take a piece of raw steak and throw it into a pool of live sharks. The frenzy that would ensue, would pale in comparison to the aggression displayed by Anani. From the opening bell, she was wired for sound and nothing could have taken her focus away.

Within the first ten seconds of round one, the two women clashed heads above their right eyebrows. Anani, however, suffered a cut as a result of it. At no time did the cut threaten the stoppage of the fight, but it did require minor medical attention afterwards.

Rounds one through six all played the same tune. Anani attacked and Laracuente moved. The majority of the time, Anani remained the aggressor. She consistently backed Laracuente into the ropes and then unleashed a flurry of both body and head shots. Laracuente was able to retaliate at times, yet, it was simply wasn’t enough.

When Laracuente threw consecutive punches, Anani traded with her. When Laracuente threw single shots, Anani absorbed the punches and continued undaunted. To me, it seemed as if Laracuente simply couldn’t find her rhythm. Or perhaps, Anani’s aggression refused to allow it.

The most controversially moment of the fight occurred in round seven. From my perspective, it appeared to be a clean left hook to the body that dropped Laracuente. The referee, however, immediately called a time-out and sent Anani to a neutral corner. Laracuente held her glove over her head and complained of a head-butt. A few moments passed before the referee ruled the contact an accidental head butt. Half the crowd hissed, half the crowd cheered.

When the fight resumed, it continued much on the same path as before. The final scoring for the fight was 100-90, 99-91 and 97-93, all in favor of Anani.

Upon the successful defense of her IBA Welterweight title, Anani was reissued her belt by the first female member to the Louisiana State Athletic Commission and former featherweight world champion, Dierdre Gogarty.

©Photos by Valerie Mahfood and Team Mahfood





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