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Is Kaliesha West the Next Female Great?
By David A. Avila
©Courtesy Photo by
Paul Hernandez/Punch News
February 22, 2006
     
     
     
   
   
   
   
   

 

   
   
   

(FEB 22) As a Moreno Valley middle school student Kaliesha West’s reputation as a boxer led to taunts and challenges from fellow students.

She resisted, fortunately for the other students.

After seven years in the amateurs West now enters the professional ranks on Thursday at the San Manuel Casino against a former world title challenger Suszannah Warner (2-2) of Great Britain. Don’t expect wild exchanges.

You see West’s mission is to display the art of boxing at its highest level.

“I hate it when they show women flailing punches around,” West, 18, said giving an example of how some women fight. “My goal is to show a woman can be skilled just like the men.”

She’s following her dad’s footsteps.

Juan West, her father and trainer, formerly boxed until fatherhood demanded he hang up the gloves while he sought a means to put food in the cupboards and milk in the refrigerator.

“He was a slick fighter,” said Art Carrillo, Juan West’s former trainer who still prepares prizefighters in Mira Loma. “He had some skills.”

As a child Kaliesha attended her father’s fights and got the bug.

“She would be the one shouting the loudest,” said Juan.

Periodically Kaliesha would ask her father to teach her.

“I didn’t want her to box,” he says.

But the persistence she shows today in the ring was also a common mantra for the always-smiling girl. Her father decided to appease her by giving her snippets of boxing exercises in punching.

“He would tell me to throw jabs like this,” said Kaliesha, adding she would practice in front of mirrors to get a better fluidity. “It was fun.”

After she mastered the stance and the punches, he made her practice hoping she would weary of the monotonous exercises. It never happened. So he took her to a gym and let her loose. In her first boxing match, she lost.

“I thought that would make her quit,” said Juan.

Instead, she jumped out of the ring more eager than ever to return and return and return.

Kaliesha emerged into one of the finest amateur boxers in the country winning numerous tournaments and honors including 2002 National Golden Gloves tournament in the 125-pound division.

Now she is a pro.

“I’ve always wanted to fight professionally,” Kaliesha said, adding that the first time she saw females fight was Christy Martin engaging in a match on television around 1999. “I wanted to be in there so bad.

During the last several years Kaliesha has sparred with many pros including Mariana Juarez, Heather Percival and Chevelle Hallback. All of those women agreed she was talented.

“That girl is going to be something some day,” said Hallback, considered one of the top female fighters in the world today.

That day is Thursday.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for,” Kaliesha said.

For tickets and information call (800) 359-2464.
 

 
     
     
     
     
   
 
     
     
 
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