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Interview: Layla McCarter / Luis Tapia
by Carlos Medina

July 1, 2009


(JULY 1) Layla McCarter has earned a reputation in boxing as a fighting champion by taking on the best of the best in the weight divisions she has competed in. This Friday, July 3rd she defends her WBA and GBU lightweight titles against highly ranked Fujin Raika of Tokyo, Japan in a highly anticipated rematch. We had a chance to sit down with McCarter and her trainer Luis Tapia and get her thoughts on the match-up

CM: You last met Raiko seven years ago. Is there anything you can take from that fight?

LM: It’s been a long time, so it’s sort of a new fight. If there’s anything I can take from it is that she still doesn’t handle angles well. I can take that, she still fights straight forward.

CM: You wanted this fight to be three-minute rounds but there was a problem with the Japanese comission. What’s the significance to you of fighting two-minute rounds instead?

LM: The significance is that this would be a better fight at three minutes. We are professionals at the top of our game and it’s insulting and beneath the both of us.

CM: It’s always been a cause of your for women to fight three-minute rounds in championship fights. Has you ever considered it an advantage due to your training?

LM: Not so much. Most women like me are professionals and are highly conditioned. In the gym we all train three-minute rounds.

CM: This will be your 50th professional fight, at this stage in your career do you start thinking about your legacy?

LM: Yes I think about that. I really want to break the ground on championship fights being 12 three-minute rounds. I want to show people in general what women can do in the ring.

Q&A with Luis Tapia

CM: You’ve handled a lot of top-level fighters. What drew you work with Layla.

LT: The things I like in any fighter is dedication and ability. Boxing’s not for everybody. Layla is very dedicated and not afraid to fight anyone. We’ve fought everywhere and won. She’s a quick learner and a natural fighter.

CM: You once told me that you think she could at some point make a million-dollar purse. Do you still think it’s possible or are the politics of boxing too hard?

LT: I think it’s possible. She’s very popular and she’s at the highest level. It’s one thing to fight all over the world. We’ve fought all over the world and won. Yes I think she has a chance.

CM: What’s more difficult to conquer for women’s boxing to succeed, public perception or the politics of the sanctioning bodies?

LT: They both come to perception. We’re still in a world that’s ran by men and there’s a lot of chauvinism. When you see women coming up in sports they are doing things that couldn’t be done before. We have a woman as Secretary of State and in general they’re moving up in society. I grew up in a household where my mother made most of the money so I’ve always believed in the ability of women. In terms of the santioning bodies you gotta remember that most of them are still ran by Latin males that have very old-world views.

CM: I asked Layla this question too, but what can you take from their last match-up since it was so long ago?

LT: I think Layla’s 300% better now. The question you gotta ask is, is Raika better now? I don’t think so. Layla’s going forward and Raika’s going backwards. I realize for her is a great opportunity and she’s going to be motivated but I think she’s got no chance.

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