(MAR 6) In our second series of
"Where Are They Now" WBAN made contact with
Brenda Bell Drexel,
Check out their latest updates for boxing fans!
I currently transitioned out of
the Law Enforcement field and I am a license insurance agent and
sell Life, Health and Medicare Insurance. I work
part-time transporting and delivering Lab work to hospitals. My
daughter is currently expecting and will have a boy. I don't
feel like a grandmother, but will enjoy experiencing the
benefits of a grandchild. I am in a new relationship with my
partner who has two 6 year old fraternal twins. I still trail
run, hike and also taken up bicycling. I will always miss
fighting and enjoy watching it on TV if televised locally. Still
working toward retiring from Insurance field in hopes of
training others interested in the art fighting.
I admit fighting some very tough
bouts in the ring with top women boxers and I do admit on taking
many tough battles through the years of my boxing career in 1996
to 2007 brawling with Marsha Valley, Trina Ortegon, Daniella
Somers, Jane Couch, Snodene Blakeney, Dakota Stone, Ljeoma
Egbunine, Vienna Williams which I will never forget the fight.
Chevelle Hallback, a fight that will not be forgotten at all!
Especially of all our rematches! and Anne Wolfe with a split
decision on her pro debut, a fight that I thought I won.
I look back on this, because its all I have in my memory box, My
long term memory is no problem, my short term memory sucks. I
will not forget where I've been, where I've gone, who I've met
or who I've trained with. But I do know, I am still that fighter
at heart today. I've learned I had a organic brain disorder,
known as "Dementia Pugilistic" and struggled with alcoholism as
well, realizing that I was aging at 43 and could no longer box,
it was hard for me to believe that I was actually aging. I have
to laugh at that now. I had hit my bottom and ended up in a
"insane asylum" for awhile.
Today, I can say I look back on all this! I am still the "Tiger
Lady" strong and sure balanced in mind and body. I am 47 years
old and I walk a different journey today, in a process of
publishing a book, I now go to school for Fine arts and
communication. My main goal is to get out there and do some
public speaking, motivational/inspirational speaking and this is
where I am at today. I also have a weblog out.... check it out!
I have a son that will be 5 on
March 10. He's in Preschool now and starts Kindergarten in
August. Still can't convince him to try boxing, but he goes to
the gym with me occasionally. I still live in Arizona and I own
a gym In Chandler called Phoenix Combat Academy. Its an MMA gym
where we hold classes in Boxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian
JiuJitsu. I'm the head coach for Boxing and Thaiboxing. I've got
a solid team of fighters, male and female. All amateurs right
now. I coach several successful fighters including the male 151
lb Arizona State Golden Gloves Champion, The male 159lb United
States Muay Thai Association State and Regional Champion. I'm
also the striking coach for the female 135 lb Tuff Nuff MMA
Champion. The gym is doing really well and continues to grow. We
have classes for men, women and kids of all ages. I also hold
Women's self defense seminars for various organizations. The
latest was a seminar for a group of senior women at a retirement
community in Awatukee, AZ.
Other than my classes, I do personal fitness training and
nutrition consultations. With the success and growth of the gym,
we are looking into expanding and moving into a bigger facility
later this year.
At the moment I am still
promoting boxing and managing boxers also. So still
very much involved in the boxing world in the UK. I
also promote dinner shows say you get a big name from boxing and
do an evening with say Roberto Duran who we have in Bristol in
May and Joe Calzache who we have in June it involves the fans to
get to talk to there heroes and meet for a photo and a meal they
are great nights and we are getting quiet a good reputation in
England by putting on great shows whether they be boxing shows
or a evening with.
I'm also involved with a
company called Sounds Commercial which is owned by my very good
friend Sarah Ross, and through them we set up a company
called MUSCLE which helps out with any big jobs they have on say
they need stuff moving from job to job and derigging I get the
boxers I work with to do the moving and lifting.
It keeps them fit and its a bit of extra money in between
fights. I just did a stint filming----laugh I played
a radio DJ in the boxing film Risen The Howard Winstone story,
which I enjoyed I do a bit with TV and Radio and have found a
place Lagos in Portugal that might become my second home in the
Team Blackshear trains out of Old
School Boxing and Fitness Center in San Diego and can be found
training there any day of the week. Although Team Blackshear has
not been able to secure a fight since October 2009, attempts to
jump at several opportunities have been made, but none managed
to manifest for reason or another. Regardless, Jolene continues
her regular training and remains in world class shape, ready to
fight from 105-108lbs.
Jolene continues in her professional career outside of boxing,
regularly mentors younger athletes and is deepening her yoga
practice. She has been caring for an ill family member and is
actively pursuing a volunteer opportunity at a local hospice.
Boxing is still an integral part of Jolene's life; and, she is
one of the best female athletes in the sport who wants to fight
and is looking to continue competing in the ring.
Well, I am still here trying to
get a few more fights before I retire to peruse a professional
referring position. I have to tell you the truth it is very
upsetting when you keep putting your name out there and you
can’t get a fight because I am considered either too old or to
tough a fight. If you lose to me you lose to an old lady, if you
bet me you bet an old lady…
How did I become the past so soon? I have only been boxing since
2001, granted I started late but my body has not taken the abuse
others who might be younger but are veterans in the field of
I was first exposed to boxing in 2001, I was getting divorced
after ten years of marriage and I tipped the scale at 218 lbs. I
am a martial artist and was going to compete in a kickboxing
show. My instructor took me down to learn my hands at a boxing
gym, Bonnie Canino’s. Long story short I won my fight (it was at
180lb) and Bonnie asked me if I wanted to amateur box. I was in
my thirties and this was the first time amateur boxing was ever
mentioned to me. I mean I knew about the Olympic boxing but I
had no idea that it was open to women. If only I had been
exposed to it earlier? If only!!!
Well, I have tried to live my life never saying, “If only I had
done this, or that.” So I said yes and finished my amateur
career at 14/3 with the Silver Medal at the World games in 2002
for USA in Turkey. Seventeen fights was a lot back then, now I
see these young women and I am glad I am Pro. The talent these
young ladies have and they sacrifices they make are amazing.
No, I haven’t retired yet, but yes I am aware that the time is
coming nearer each day. I have fought at 175lb, 168lb, 160 lb,
154lb, 147lb and MMA at 145lb. Yes, I said MMA, I will get to
So five weight divisions in what 10 years, is that common I wish
I could say no which would make me special – well more special –
(wink). Fact is that there just where not that many women
fighting back then –DID I really just say –BACK THEN.
When I am asked my record is say 7-14 and they just smile and
walk away. No, I don’t have a winning record but I a damn proud
of who, where and when I fought. I, like many, although that is
changing, did not have a promoter and was at the mercy of the
(for lack of a better word) them.
Being the first Women’s WBC Middleweight World Champion and
first American Women to fight on the continent of Africa for a
title, didn’t change my life monetarily. But yes it did change
my life goals. I have fought all over the world and met some
amazing people and have had my eyes open about the business of
Like all fighters I have not always been given a fair deal. But
then who said life is fair, right? I have been on Islands with
no boxing commissions and the other girl’s promoter is the one
who picks and pays the judges. On another Island fight, the
girls asked for a rematch before they raise her hand!!!! After
checking the score cards they scored 3 rounds 10-10, Hmmm. I
have had to take a stress test the day of the fight for one and
had to get my eyes dilated 3 hours before I was to fight. The
list goes on and I am sure many others (female and male
fighters) have similar or even worse stories.
So, what am I doing now?
I am making the transition over to training, promoting at the
amateur level and announcing. it appears that the only thing
that I can’t seem to stop talking about is boxing! I have been
officiating for USA Boxing for 8 years now and when I retire
from competition I hope to become a Professional Referee, the
first in Florida.
I hope to have a few more fights. I would love to box in Florida
once before I retire but it is more likely that it will be in
MMA. The MMA world seems to understand the age thing a little
better than the boxing world.
Will I ever stop boxing or sparring in the gym? Ask the guys I
spar they will tell you. I am in the best shape of my life
thanks to this sport. I have traveled the world and met some
amazing people both here and around the world. Yes, I see the
crop of fighters coming up behind me and damn are they good.
I look around and see White, Black, Latino, Male, Female, Young
and Old, men and women from all over the world all boxing each
other and helping each other to get better. I see in the gym
people with no facades just being people boxing and for an hour
or so there is nothing else. There are no bills, no bosses only
the bags which we use to punch out the problems of the world.
The business of the sport like anything that has a payday is
corrupt. But if you want to learn about yourself, if you dare to
learn about who or what you are made of try it. Look past the
contact and into the technique. See the chess matches that
happened between the fighters. Yes, the changing of the guard is
near, but this sport is very addicting, I will transition into
other areas, but no, boxing is stuck with me and me with it. And
yes I still love it.