"She's powerful; she's sexy; and now she's also the richest female
boxer in the world," is how GEORG NOLTE describes Regina Halmich in
today's Bild. And he would appear to have a point, though the
fighter herself is quick to point out that her manager will take 35
per cent, and the taxman half the rest, of the one million euro
(over one and a quarter million dollars) she's being paid to defend
her WIBF flyweight title in Magdeburg tonight. The fight is being
televised live at 22:30 CET (9.30 GMT) on ZDF (Astra satellite),
whilst the supporting bill featuring Ina Menzer, Alesia Graf and
others, begins at 0.30 CET (11.30 GMT).
Her opponent, Ria Ramnarine of Trinidad & Tobago, could use some of
that. The 26-year-old had to give up her relatively well paid job in
a flour mill in Port of Spain because the frequent night shifts were
interfering with her training. Now she works days, which only bring
in half as much, and this is doubtless why her parents, who were
appalled when she took up full-contact at the age of sixteen but are
now her biggest fans, haven't made the trip with her: "It would
simply have been too expensive."
Nonetheless, even though she's seen no video whatever of Halmich and
knows that almost all the 8,000 spectators in the Bördelandhalle
will be cheering for her opponent, Ramnarine's not worried. "All it
comes down to at the end of the day is Regina and I in the ring.
Actually, I'm looking forward to the fight — after all, fighting's
the thing I do best."
Halmich is afraid — afraid of losing, as she candidly admitted on
Thursday. "I want to retire in 2007 before my 31st birthday," she
said. "— preferably undefeated. I want to become a TV presenter:
lifestyle or sport. But for that I need my face; which is why I'd
better out quick, while I still look presentable."
In a sense, Halmich stopped being a fighter a long time ago. She
doesn't follow up her best shots for fear of getting caught on the
counter, and seems content nowadays to look busy and impress the
judges. After each round, or almost, she asks her trainer whether or
not she's ahead, and when he tells her she is, she looks relieved —
which is natural — but seems almost to relax, as though she were
saying to herself: "That's OK, then. No need to fight."
Menzer still has the hunger — or had. Maybe the "Whatever you do,
don't lose" mentality's begun getting to her too. Tonight she's
fighting a princess. A real one. I point that out, because the
advertised opponent of her stablemate, Alesia Graf, is a 'little
panther', and I suspect this will just turn out to be a girl in a
panther suit or something of the kind, which will doubtless come as
a relief to Graf, but the children are going to be terribly
disappointed. They see through things like that in a trice.
"Princess of where?" you're wondering. Not sure. "The Zinu tribe"
said the press release, but when I looked that up in Encyclopaedia
Britannica just now, all it could tell me was that "the Ainu are the
indigenous people of Hokkaido, Sakhalin,…" Maybe so. But I said "Zinu"
not "Ainu". (Idiot!). Anyway, she's 22, she's called Leli Luz Flórez,
and she comes from Montería (Colombia). "I'm well prepared," she
assures us. "This type of opportunity doesn't come along every day,
which is why I want to seize it and bring Colombia yet another world
title — this time in women's boxing; we've already had plenty of
male world champions." The high point of her career so far,
according to Diario Deportivo, were her first round knockout of
fellow countrywoman Viviana Teherán on the 1st October (it says
'1005' but I suspect the first digit might be wrong) and her
unanimous points victory over Patricia 'The Lioness' Quirico - (and
yes, it was a woman in a lion suit. I asked).
A date has been set for Alejandra Oliveras, who has been out of
action for several months with an injury to her right hand, to
defend her WBC super bantamweight title. The fight will take place
on the 7th October in Córdoba (Argentina) and her opponent, as
originally announced, will be the Mexican teenager Jazmín "La Rusita"
Rivas of Torreón, Coahuila. The winner will then have to defend the
title at the end of November or beginning of December against the
woman from whom Oliveras took it: Jackie Nava, in Tijuana. In the
meantime, Nava has a warm-up fight scheduled for the 20th October.
"There are things that would make you laugh if they weren't so sad,"
writes Hernán Lo Iacono on the Página Argentina de Boxeo.
The disciplinary commission of the Argentinian Boxing Federation
has just suspended the UBC world bantamweight champion, Carolina
“Chapita” Gutiérrez, "for having a poor memory for faces." At least,
that's how Lo Iacono sees it.
Gutiérrez, you may remember, knocked out the same woman (who was
using a different name on each occasion) twice in the space of a few
months. "It isn't the fighter's job," protests the author, "to check
on the identity of her opponents." The commission described the
suspension as a 'preventive measure' pending a full hearing —
fearing, I suppose, that the fighter, unless checked, will go on the
rampage and start beating up Argentinians-
masquerading-as-Brazilians wherever they raise their pretty little