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Behind the Scenes with the "Amazing" Layla McCarter
by Sue TL Fox
November 19, 2013
Past photo: McCarter


(NOV 19) This last weekend at the Andre Ward vs. Rodriguez fight that took place in Ontario, California, I got an opportunity to not only spend time with Two-time world champion Jolene Blackshear---but also with Six-Time World Champion Layla McCarter.

As I have said before---there is nothing any better or personable than to meet the fighters in person, and not just communicate solely through Facebook, emails, text messages and phone calls.

First photo I ever took of Layla McCarter - June 23, 2001
Lucky Eagle Casino, Rochester, Washington

I first met Layla McCarter on June 23, 2001, at the Lucky Eagle Casino, in Rochester, Washington. She was not fighting on the card but was working a corner of a male boxer that was on the card. That was the first time she signed autographed gloves for WBAN. Throughout the years I have either been at McCarter's fights or saw her briefly at the fights.

But this last weekend I got an opportunity to spend quality time with her and her manager/trainer Luis Tapia.

I learned so much about her personal struggles in the sport, what she wants to accomplish in the sport, and what she has done outside the ring that may not be on the net.

[Layla] Check out your Epic-Failure Bunny ears....

Layla...Let the "Fox" teach you the correct way
to pose with Bunny Ears!
Jolene Blackshear (The lil' one on the left) Fox in the Center, and McCarter on the right

 I also got to see some great old photos of her when she was young, and when she was in martial arts. McCarter is not only down to earth, and "very funny"---she also makes one feel right at home with hanging with her.

One of my very favorite stories that I ever wrote on McCarter was inspired by the below photo of McCarter and her grandmother. 

In June of 2006, the headline read:  Grandma takes a shot at McCarter.  I wrote the following at the time: "No..This is not Layla McCarter's next opponent---it is McCarter's grandmother, shortly after McCarter stopped Shadina Pennybaker in the fifth round on June 24th! "

Grandmother [RIP] takes a shot at McCarter...

One thing I did not ask McCarter is how she got the ring name "Amazing."

Regardless of the reason, I will tell you folks that it could not be a more "fitting" name for a boxer like McCarter.

Throughout the years of covering women's boxing, I have seen fighters come, I've seen fighters go. There are boxers out there who had perfect undefeated records---and yet never fought the tough opponents who were in their weight class. I've also seen female boxers with undefeated records---that the second they got a loss or two---they quit.

Well......McCarter the "Amazing" is not one of those fighters!

McCarter made her pro debut in September of 1998, at the Coeur d'Alene Casino, in Worley, Idaho, after having a 12 fight amateur boxing career. She won her first fight by a four-round unanimous decision over Deshawn Mohammed.

With what she felt was getting off to a great start in the sport----she then took a three straight loss in her next three fights---with a then 1-3 record.

She then fought Tamara Hudgins in June of 1999 just to earn a four-round draw. Six weeks later returning to the ring to fight Laura Serrano losing a controversial four-round split decision.

So what is a fighter to do----She now had a pro boxing record of 1-4-1.

McCarter, being the "Amazing" boxer she is, picked up her things, relocated to Las Vegas with a little cash, and her car that kept breaking down. She connected with boxing manager and trainer Luis Tapia and the rest is history.

 McCarter vs. Byrd - July 7, 2001

After McCarter's last fight when she TKO'd Tenge, she is named the Top #1 Cream of the Crop fighter  - 2012- by David Avila in Ring Magazine

But the "Amazing" part of McCarter, with over 50 fights on her resume, and six world titles later goes even, much, MUCH deeper, in addition to what she accomplishes in the ring. 

OUTSIDE the ring...she is one of the strongest Advocates and Role models we have in the sport at this time.

McCarter is "'THE" reason why women boxers can now fight 12 rounds, three minute rounds in Nevada. Because of her taking this issue to task, females boxers can exercise this option in the state of Nevada when fighting for a title.

In September of 2012, when she fought in South Africa, and knocked out their local champion Noni Tenge in the eighth round. The people in that country fell in love with McCarter's courage and dedication to the sport and to wanting to help others. 

After her fight with Tenge, she returned to South Africa, by invitation by the Government. She went over there to assist new boxers, help mentor teens to make right decisions in life, to help with a new program to fight domestic violence and education, and be a representative to KO drugs [Video]       

In June of 2013, McCarter received a top honor by the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame by being named the Nevada Female Fighter of the Year.

McCarter Accepts Hall of Fame Award by the Golden State Boxers Association on November 9, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, on November 9th, in Monterey Park, California, McCarter was awarded by the Golden State Boxers Association, being inducted in their Hall of Fame, receiving a beautiful award, along with a certificate from the City of Los Angeles for her significant impact in the world of boxing.

Going "behind the scenes" with the "Real Deal" McCarter has been one of the best experiences I have had in a long time in this sport---and I guess I can say it was an "Amazing Adventure" to see the spirit of this fighter firsthand. Thank you Layla for that experience.


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