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Stephanie Jaramillo Steps Up, Again
by Bernie McCoy
September 27, 2010

     
   
   
   
   

(SEPT 27) On December 3, 2004, Stephanie Jaramillo did what few female boxers had done during the first eleven months of that year, she stepped into the ring with Sumya Anani. At the time, Anani was considered, by many, to be the best female fighter in the sport and judging by the dearth of opponents that were able to be coaxed into fighting her, that seemed a valid premise. The previous week, another ranked female boxer had withdrawn from a scheduled bout in Anani's hometown in Kansas City. On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, a frantic Kansas City promoter placed a call to Albuquerque, NM. Stephanie Jaramillo answered that call, literally and figuratively, and eight days later Jaramillo stepped into a hometown ring with Sumya Anani.

On August 14, 2010, Stephanie Jaramillo stepped into the boxing promotion arena in New Mexico, a hometown territory, dominated by Albuquerque boxing impresario, Lenny Fresquez, considered by many to be the best promoter in the sport of Women's boxing. Jaramillo, under the banner of Golden Girl Promotions, presented a seven bout card, featuring two female bouts at the Santa Ana Star Casino in nearby Bernalillo. Featured on the program was Melissa Hernandez, who brought to New Mexico memories of last December's aborted bout with Holly Holm, the crown jewel of Fresquez Promotions. In August, Hernandez overwhelmed local fighter, Victoria Cisneros, winning 23 of 24 rounds on the three judges scorecards and her (Hernandez) ring skills also served to win over much of the crowd, many of whom had arrived hoping to see the New York fighter go down to defeat.

"The entire card was a success, " Jaramillo states, emphatically, by phone, recently, from Albuqueque. "Everyone, from the sponsors, vendors to the casino personnel were very happy with the sellout crowd, which topped 2,000 fans. We received fantastic support from the local press, print and broadcast, but the best proof is that we're coming right back with another show on October 16 and this time it's all about the women.

The upcoming card might reflect something Jaramillo learned in her two and half year career as a professional boxer: stick with what's working. The promoter notes, "The main event is Melissa Hernandez fighting Lindsay Garbatt in a return of a memorable bout these two lightweights staged in June (a majority decision for Garbatt). We will also feature five supporting bouts, all female fights and it will be the first all-female card in New Mexico history." Jaramillo is quick to add, "There was a previous card, in which all the televised bouts were female fights, but there was a male bout, which was not televised on the under-card, so I think we're safe in claiming this as the first all female card in the state."

All such claims aside, the fact is that the Hernandez/Garbatt bout, which is for the GBU jr. lightweight title, has also received the added heavyweight imprimatur of being fought for the WBAN belt, the fourth time a title bout has been so chosen. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the WBAN belt selection committee, but, at the same time, as an observer of the sport, I feel secure in suggesting that Hernandez/Garbatt could very well be the best female title fight in the US this year (although that could be construed, by certain cynics, as faint praise, given the year's past and upcoming female title fight competition).

The first Hernandez/Garbatt bout was eight rounds of bell/bell action and Jaramillo expects a continuation on October 16, "Styles make fights and this is a classic example of a puncher (Garbatt) and a boxer (Hernandez), who has some of the best ring movement in the sport. I was told by some ringsiders at the first fight (Hernandez/Cisneros) that Johnny Tapia was overheard praising Melissa's movement in the ring. It'll be a great bout." The remainder of the card includes three veteran fighters: Belinda Laracuente, Monica Lovato and Mia St. John along with two bouts featuring local female fighters from Arizona and New Mexico at the outset of their careers.

The sport, particularly in the US, has, for far too long been absent compelling, competitive female bouts. Those bouts, have, for the most part, been staged, when staged, outside the US, in Europe, Mexico and Japan where, it seems, more attention is given, by promoters, to the match-ups of female fighters and where it is all too obvious, knowledge of the sport of Women's boxing and the fighters exists at a much higher level on the part of both the promoters and the fans. One of the best elements about the emergence of a Stephanie Jaramillo into the ranks of fight promotion is that she becomes one of the few promoters who understand the sport of Women's boxing from both inside and outside the ropes and whose focus is not driven by association with only one fighter.

Stephanie Jaramillo's focus is clearly on moving the sport of Women's boxing ahead and making a match like Hernandez/Garbatt, on October 16, she takes a big step in that direction. In fact, along with the estimable Lenny Fresquez, Stephanie Jaramillo could be heading toward making Albuquerque the epicenter of the sport, at least from the standpoint of a concentration of a couple boxing promoters who "get" what it takes to reenergize the sport of Women's boxing in this country. Let's hope so.

Bernie McCoy

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