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One on One Interview with Kelli Cofer
October 5, 2006


(OCT 5) Keli Cofer was interviewed this week about her upcoming bout that will take place in Africa. In this exclusive interview with Edward Sande,  Cofer talks about a past disappointing boxing matchup she lost, the boxer she respects most and four beautiful dogs. For her, the chance to fight in Africa is worth all the work put into the training. Cofer will face off against Yarkor Charvez of Ghana for the WIBF Super featherweight Intercontinental title.

Edward Sande: What does it mean to you to be coming to fight in Africa?

Keli Cofer: One of the primary reasons I began professional boxing years ago was because I felt it would offer me the opportunity to travel around the United States. I would earn the chance to see things and do things beyond my normal capacity. Never did I imagine it would eventually lead to such an exciting event as a title fight in Kenya. The strong cultural heritage and the reputed beauty of the surrounding countryside make Nairobi one the most attractive places to visit in the world. Now we are being offered the chance to go there and compete. I hope that we will be in Africa long enough to be able to experience some of the culture and wildlife outside the city because this is a very rare opportunity we are being given. I hope to learn and experience as much as I can!

Edward Sande: Who has been your toughest opponent in the ring?

Keli Cofer: My toughest opponent in the ring has been Terri Blair. Terri and I both fight on the road and so unfortunately have not had the luxury of hometown judges. I have fought several world champions at one time or another and no one has impressed upon me the determination and resolution of Terri. She will not back down from fighting anyone, any number of times, and she will keep the fight in your face. To me, that is “tough”, not the girls out there with nearly undefeated, promoter protected records who only look good on paper because there is money behind them. I must also mention that no one has ever hit me harder in the ring than Trish Hill!

Edward Sande: If given a chance for a rematch, who would it be and why?

Keli Cofer:  First and foremost I want to establish the fact that every girl I get in the ring with, boxing or kickboxing, I have the utmost respect for. This is a hard sport and I can only assume that they are putting at least as much effort into their training as I am. With that said I also believe that this is a professional sport and that we, as women athletes, need to act professional.

Although this was a kickboxing match, there is one girl who completely disgusted me in her behavior both in and out of the ring. She was completely unprofessional in both her talk and her actions; she flashed herself repeatedly to the crowd, stood on stage cussing out to the crowd, etc. In the ring she had terrible sportsmanship. I fought her with a broken arm and a sprained ankle and lost a split decision on her father’s promoted show. Needless to say, I wanted a rematch once I was healed. Despite the contract stating there would be a rematch, I was never given one and the girl “retired” despite having been undefeated when she fought me. This is one fight that I definitely want because I both felt cheated with the decision because of the biased judges and I disliked the girl on a personal level because of the way she represented all women fighters.

Edward Sande: Children or no children?

Keli Cofer:
Although I do not have any real children, anyone who has dogs will relate with me when I say have four kids. I have four “boys” ranging in size from 65- 95 lbs. My puppy is a 65lb, blue-eyed wolf hybrid, whose wolf father I also have; he is my biggest at 95lbs. I also have a German Shepherd. My fourth boy is a blue-eyed mix between a shepherd and wolf-hybrid.

Edward Sande: give me your thoughts on the development of women's boxing

Keli Cofer: I think the future of women’s boxing is still very much up in the air, not in regards to the athletes themselves or their talent. The new talent in the sport is increasing dramatically and on almost every show the best fight of the night is the “girl” fight. In general, women are becoming more knowledgeable about presenting themselves and the sport in a positive light. The problem facing the sport is that there are too many highly publicized fights out there that are jokes. Girls getting television time with opponents who shouldn’t even be in the ring at all. These fights get air time and the integrity of the whole sport is questioned. What can be done? It is hard for one fighter to simply “do” anything since there is so much money involved etc. However, we simply have to keep fighting fights. Hopefully, these sham fights will get replaced soon by good fights, as is being attempted by “A Ring of Their Own” back in the US. Ideally, more girls will fight not just to pad a record, but to go in and give a great fight. (I am suggesting more Layla McCarter's and Terri Blair's need to come along…)

Edward Sande: Any advice for other girls thinking of joining the sport of boxing?

Keli Cofer: For ladies just entering the sport I have to say: you better be doing this because you love the sport and the competition. Boxing is not fair, and to carry the ideal around that it is will lead to some very disappointing times. Keep going to college and stay focused on other aspects of your life, because it will be a while yet before women can live comfortably off of their income as professional athletes. With this negative aspect said, you will also meet some of the most inspirational and motivating individuals you ever will in your whole life. The majority of the women who fight are great women who all have unique accomplishments and stories to tell of overcoming personal hardships. They will serve to motivate you for success in other areas of your life you can’t even imagine. Keep an open mind, and you will be amazed at how much you will learn from the people in the sport and the friendships you will make. In addition, there are always these “once in a lifetime” opportunities that come along! For most of us, the chance to fight in Africa is worth all the work put into the training!

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