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Elena Reid, Lucia Rijker and more
By David A. Avila
March 22, 2005
©photo courtesy
of Elena Reid
Life imitates art even in the world of female prizefighting.

With the recent announcement that Lucia Rijker will be fighting Christy Martin for a $1 million prize to the winner, it opens the door for female professional boxers such as Elena “Baby Doll” Reid (16-1-5, 5 KOs) who fights on an all-women fight card Saturday in Laughlin, Nevada.

Because of the phenomenal success of Academy Award winner Million Dollar Baby - a film that has grossed more than $75 million to date - boxer promoters are stepping up to take advantage of female boxers.

“She’s a real million dollar baby and probably the best female fighter in the world,” said Arum of Rijker, who guest starred in the film as the villain in the movie that won Best Picture for 2004.

Rijker, 37, has long been considered the best, but in recent years has fought only three times in four years.

Meanwhile, fighters like Reid, Mariana Juarez, Mary Jo Sanders, Sumya Anani and others have proven through multiple fights they are the new breed of female fighters ready to contend with the legend of Rijker.

“I’m really happy for Lucia Rijker and Christy Martin that they’re making a million dollars,” said Reid, who fights Alicia Ashley (10-5-1) at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino in a bantamweight match. “But truthfully I wish it were me.”

At 5-3 in height and weighing 114 pounds, Reid has overcome her looks to enjoy status as the number one junior bantamweight in the world.

In the beginning of her career, she became the top pinup girl for boxing fans worldwide on an Internet boxing site. On a daily basis web surfers eagerly punched in that site to view the newest photos of the attractive Reid.

But several years ago that all stopped and now she’s known as the girl that traveled to Germany and whipped that country’s world champion Regina Halmich. But only received a draw.

“I still get calls from the German press,” said Reid. “They say I was robbed.”

Reid would never say she “was robbed,” it’s not like her. It’s one of the reasons that German promoters are trying to convince Halmich to offer a rematch.

“I was told I was going to get a rematch with Regina, we’ll see,” said Reid, 23, who now faces a fellow southpaw in Ashley. “So far no contract.”

It won’t be easy pickings for Reid when she faces Ashley, who regularly fought against heavier girls at 126 pounds. And she’s left-handed too.

“Even southpaws hate fighting southpaws,” said Reid, with her trademark giggle. “Honestly, it’s something you don’t do very much. You do better if you don’t think. Everything is just right down the middle as far as your punches. It’s just a lack of training that can mess you up.”

For preparation, Reid has sparred with junior flyweight world title-holder Yvonne Caples, a tall left-handed boxer.

“I’ve sparred nothing but southpaws, I don’t even want to think when I get in there,” said Reid.

Though she yearns for a world title fight, it’s not the most important goal for the pleasant Reid.

“I’d love to fight on a big HBO show or a big fight card like last week,” said Reid, alluding to the Manny Pacquiao fight against Erik Morales. “But other than that, I just want to fight.”

Sounds vaguely familiar to the words of the heroine of Million Dollar Baby.

Other fighters on the all women fight card will be Shelly Burton (5-1) facing Akondayne Fountain (4-1); Jennie Salinas (5-0) matched against Laura Norton (2-0), Asa Sandell (2-0) against Yolanda Swindell (3-2) and Bose Ijoala (0-1) meeting Liana Owens (1-2).

For ticket information call (702) 298-4600.

Rijker and Martin
The former kickboxing champion Rijker signed a contract with Martin (45-3-2, 30 KOs) to fight at the Staples Center on July 9. Top Rank will promote the fight card.

They were supposed to meet in 1999, but a melee that erupted between the two at the LA Boxing Club, scuttled the fight that was supposed to bring $1 million purses. Martin and Rijker could never sign a contract and the fight evaporated. It looked like it would never happen.

A week ago, Top Rank offered Laila Ali to fight Rijker with the winner taking $1 million and the loser getting $250,000. Ali’s team turned it down.

“It’s a mismatch,” said Ali who weighed at 175 for her last fight a month ago. Rijker weighed 134 and a half pounds in her last fight in the summer. “It won’t prove a thing for me.”

So the next big name was once again Martin, this time she didn’t turn it down.

Two years ago, Martin told the Press-Enterprise that she would fight Rijker for the right amount of money. So when Top Ranked made her the offer, she grabbed it.

“I had to adjust to the change because I wanted to fight Laila Ali because she beat Christy,” said Rijker (17-0, 14 KOs) at the Staples Center on Monday. “But I thought for a moment, Christy Martin paid her dues. She put women’s boxing on the map, she fought her heart out and we both worked hard to fight.”

Chevelle Hallback wins another title
The Florida junior lightweight grabbed another world title by beating Emiko Raika (12-1-1) for the WIBA super featherweight world title in Tokyo, Japan a week ago. She already has the IBA junior lightweight title that she won by decision against Layla McCarter last summer.

“This fight was tough, really tough,” said Hallback (24-4-1), on Sunday after returning home. “That girl came to fight.”

Hallback said the long air trip drained her of energy. And despite having a few days to recuperate, it wasn’t enough.

“They had to drag me out of the dressing room, I was so tired,” Hallback said. “For the first five rounds I didn’t have a lot.”

But her corner man, Nate Campbell, a junior lightweight contender himself, warned her she could lose the fight.

“She hit me hard and that woke me up,” said the fighter known as Fists of Steel. “After the fourth round I was on it.”

After 10 rounds, the judges rendered their scorecards and Hallback was declared the winner.

“I really have to hand it to the Japanese judges, they were fair,” said Hallback.

Hallback is scheduled to fight on the under card of Laila Ali’s next card.


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