(APR 21) This Sunday, on April 24, Sumya "The Island Girl" Anani will be
featured on Dateline NBC with Stone Phillips. Check your local listing
for the time that this will be shown.
Anani wanted to give boxing fans a background of what the show will be
about...Anani wrote the following:
As many of you may not know, I've had a lot of unsolicited press from the
Million Dollar Baby movie. Stone Phillips came out to my house to
interview me, and Paula Zahn from CNN is coming next week. I guess a
fighter, I fought in the beginning of my career, Katie Dallam,
might be the inspiration for the character Maggie in the Million Dollar
Baby. (NY Times...3/9/05)
Katie and I fought in December 1996. I had only been boxing for a few
months. She outweighed me by 37 pounds, and she had gotten involved in a bad
car wreck the night before the fight. Neither Katie nor her trainer reported
the car wreck to the ringside doctors. The choice she made to fight anyway
proved almost fatal.
She fainted after the fight. She was rushed to the hospital. Her brain had
massive swelling from a ruptured vein, and her skull had to be removed. I'm
telling you this to prepare you for the pictures you might see. And to tell
you that this story is not really about me per say...it will probably focus
on Katie's recovery in the past 8 years. She has been through a lot.
There is some irony to this story, though I don't know how much of it will
be aired on Dateline. As you all know, Lucia Rijker is in the movie Million
Dollar Baby. I've been challenging Lucia publicly and privately for two
years Well, since the movie's release has hit so big and won all these
awards, Rijker has signed for the first million dollar payday in women's
boxing history. She will fight Christy Martin, who I already beat back in
1998. Christy never would rematch me.
In my last public challenge to Lucia Rijker in the summer of 2004, I offered
to fight Rijker for expenses only and donate my entire purse to charity. The
charity I was going to donate the money to is Katie Dallam. I've always
hoped to make money in boxing to help Katie financially.
I want to donate the money to her out of a sense of compassion. For many
years, I was mad with them...How could they (her trainer and her) have made
the choice to fight after being in a car wreck? Her trainer was in the car
and sustained a serious bleeding head injury that required emergency care.
Katie had no visible injury, but I've talked with many doctors. They tell me
that she most likely suffered a subdural hematoma. What happens is the brain
continues to move forward in the head on impact and actually bounces back
and forth off the front/back or side to side of the skull. The injury
remains hidden, but that is how many cases of 'brain bleed' start. Then, it
didn't help matters to get hit in the head in a boxing match the next day.
I still can't believe the choice they made to fight. First of all, the life
threatening and life changing position Katie was in. Second, the position
they put me in...or any fighter for that matter. I believe that no matter
who she fought that night, the results would have been the same. Boxing is
not ping pong, and it's not swimming.
Of course, I don't know how much of the story will be aired on Dateline.
Many news pieces sensationalize the story by downplaying the seriousness of
the accident because she suffered no external injury. Sometimes they don't
even say that she was even in an accident. Sometimes the stories make me
into this great fighter and Katie was an innocent victim thrown in to the
tiger. This is so far from the truth. I had only 3 fights, a few months of
training, and no previous combative experience of any kind. Katie ran
marathons, had been in the Armed Forces, and had been a kick-boxer. She was
no stranger to the ring and no stranger to serious competition.
Anyway, just wanted to tell you a little about it, because they only have so
much air time to fill.