LOUISVILLE – (MAY 30) On Saturday,
May 27th, at the Louisville Gardens, Terri ‘Road Warrior’ Blair came
home for the sweetest of homecomings, when she successfully defended
her IBA welterweight title against Sumya "The Island Girl" Anani.
This was a rematch for Blair and Anani, when Blair had won in a
stunning tenth round TKO of Anani two months earlier in Indiana---a
neutral venue for both boxers.
In that first fight with Anani, some may
have thought Blair's win was a fluke.
However, Blair proved in front of her family, friends, and all that
attended this night, that it wasn’t a fluke at all – not by a
long shot--- when she knocked Anani down, not once or twice, but
four times, once in the fifth round and three times in the ninth
round, before referee Bobby Dixon stopped the contest with one
second left in the round.
It’s a shame only a sparse crowd had witnessed this event; but, for
Blair to win in this fashion, the homecoming couldn’t have been
Louisville has produced some noteworthy boxing champions in history
– heavyweights Marvin Hart, Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Ellis, and Greg
Page. Among that list of kings, Louisville now has a queen of boxing
in Terri Blair.
Before the fight, I asked Blair if she was nervous. She replied,
“Well, a little. There are some butterflies, but I know she (Anani)
is going to try a few different things tonight. We’ll just see what
she puts in front of me and deal with it, as it comes.”
In spite of that nervousness, Blair was exuding confidence and it
Before the bell: Terri ‘Road Warrior’ Blair with
amateur boxer Caitlin Dance
After the fight, I
asked Blair’s fellow gym mate and corner help, amateur boxer
Caitlin Dance, if she was surprised how the fight ended.
Dance replied, “No, Terri was very calm. We knew that Sumya was
getting tired. It was just a matter of time”.
Abdul Jarvis, had no doubts about the outcome. As he said a week
before, “It wouldn’t even be close”. With the way it ended,
Jarvis must have known all along.
Trainer Abdul Jarvis and Terri Blair celebrate afterwards
With all the
handshakes and autograph requests from the fans directed at both
woman boxers, after the fight, you couldn’t really tell who won or
lost the fight. Both women were just as gracious to oblige those
that just witnessed this exciting match, a true mark of a champion,
in the eyes of anyone that observes their graciousness.
Anani signing autographs
for some young fans afterwards
celebrating with fans, signing autographs, afterwards
got an opportunity to talk with Anani. I asked Anani what happen in
the fifth round, when she was first knocked down. She replied,
“Well, she (Blair) is just a tough girl
and she just caught me with one.”
respect for Blair, Anani inquiringly said,
“Isn’t Terri a sweetheart?”
In respect for
Anani, I replied, “It takes one to know one”.