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Multi-World Champion "Amazing" Layla McCarter: Up Close Interview!
by Sue TL Fox
November 11, 2015

(NOV 11)  Layla, first of all,  I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be interviewed by WBAN.   Your career, as you probably know,  began at about the same time that WBAN came into existence in 1998.   

Fox:  When you first entered the arena of professional boxing, what was your impression as to where the sport was going at the time?

McCarter:  Thank you Sue. Always an honor to be included in a WBAN article. Great question! When I turned pro in 1998,  Christy Martin was becoming a regular feature on Mike Tyson events. These were major fight cards promoted by the most famous promoter of all time, Don King. There seemed to be no limits to the potential of women's boxing.
Fox:  You had a rocky beginning in the sport and yet, you appeared to be determined to get to a point that you would eventually succeed, which you obviously have done throughout the years.  What changed your career around?  

McCarter:  I was always focused on becoming the very best. I knew through hard work and determination that anything was possible but needed to make the choices that would take me there. I moved to the boxing capitol of the world Las Vegas, Nevada to find a manager and trainer that would give my career a chance. I was very fortunate to meet Luis Tapia who did just that. Aside from my own efforts, I owe all my success as a fighter to Luis Tapia. He prepared me for war, we took every fight that came, but this time around I won! Also, throughout my journey in boxing Iíve been blessed with others who helped or inspired me, especially kickboxer Marc Costello who did both.

Early photo of Layla McCarter and her longtime Trainer/Manager

Fox:  In about what year did you relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada, and how did you end up meeting and working with Luis Tapia?

McCarter:  In early 2000, almost 16 years ago, I left Spokane, Washington to make Vegas my home. I was almost 21, checking out the local boxing scene and trying to survive. I was training at Richard Steel's Nevada Partners gym and working at Pat Clark Pontiac. I booked a fight with America Presents on Fox TV at the Regent Hotel/Casino in Vegas. My undefeated opponent didn't show up, so my fight was cancelled. Heavyweight contender Friday Ahunanya was on the same show vs. Augustine Corpus. Friday was managed by Luis Tapia. One of my sparring partners Dexter Williams mentioned that Tapia managed many fighters and owned the world famous Johnny Tocco's Ringside Gym.

Dexter briefly introduced us at the fight and Luis told me to stop by the gym. Tapia had me spar some guys there because he thought they would beat me up and he could tell me to get lost. Didn't happen that way. Luis eventually gave in and decided to help this persistent kid (me) and the rest was history.

Fox:   I know that sometime during the time from being in Las Vegas, in your earlier career, you were attending college and you earned a two-year degree in Criminal Justice,  is this something you look at in the future when you retire from boxing to get in a law enforcement type of profession or do you see yourself working outside the ring, but working with other boxers, etc,. or both careers?

McCarter:  Maybe both. Perhaps working with juvenile offenders.  I have assisted Luis with other fighters' conditioning etc. and have worked as his cut person throughout the past 15 years. In the future I'll continue to assist and advise young fighters to help them make the right decisions in the ring and in life. I think they can learn from my experience.

Fox:  You have fought JUST about any and everyone in this sport, and multiple times, I might add.  I know you have been wanting  to fight Cecilia Braekhus (which do you think that will ever be a reality for you?), But with that added to this question, who else is on your hit list?

McCarter:  I would like to fight Cecilia Braekhus. That would be a great fight. It just depends on whether K2 or any other promoters are willing to pay us closer to what we are worth. The only people left on my hit list are boxing promoters. Lol!

Fox:    We have really hit a lull in womenís boxing at late, especially in the United States, with you as a current boxer in the sport, what do you think could be done to reverse what we are seeing with the lack of activity on boxing cards for females?

McCarter:  It is entirely up to the promoters to change the sport. Females are being kept out of the game because of antiquated mentalities about women and their roles. It's hard to show them what we can do when good female fighters are never given a platform to be seen. I want to take that next step and become a promoter. Iím currently working toward this goal with some friends. I want to ensure that young boxers, especially females will have a place to build their careers. Hopefully by then, the networks and big promoters will have a change of heart and promote women's boxing the way it deserves to be promoted. UFC has done it with Ronda Rousey. She is an excellent MMA fighter but no one would know that if she was never allowed on the big stage. Good fighters plus good promotion equals money!  

Fox:   Where do you see yourself in five years?  Do you think you will continue to fight for that amount of time or do you have other ideas what you may be doing?

McCarter:  I'd like to fight as long as I'm able to enjoy it. The lack of promotion and negativity is a downer but my instincts tell me to keep going to the gym and keep pushing. Perhaps in 5 years I will be promoting others from outside the ring. I also play Texas Hold-em poker and will continue to do so. 

Fox:  If you were to give any advice to new female boxers on the scene, what would want to tell them from your veteran experience?

McCarter:  There is currently no gold at the end of the rainbow but donít give up if it's really your passion. Follow it as long as it makes sense to you. It's not only about the money. The experiences I've had in my life because of boxing are worth much more.

To make a living you must be realistic and make money at something because belts and memories don't pay the rent. Look out for yourself because no one else will. Carve out a secondary passion and work at it too.

Also, to get respect we must never lower the standards that male boxers aspire to. Don't ever limit yourself. Due to jealousy, insecurities, and other factors, people will always try to kill your passion. Fight to keep it alive as if your survival depends on it. ..It may in fact!

Fox:   Any last comments, anything I may not have asked, any other things you  would like to say to boxing fans and the boxing community.

McCarter:  Thank you to Sue Fox of WBAN for your tireless and fierce support for lady warriors. Takes one to know one! You are an inspiration to me. Special thanks to all the fans and members of the media who support and shed light where it's most needed. Battling it out on our behalf in person and on the net, you are appreciated more than you know! Thank you Sue Fox, Mary Ann Owen & Butch Gottlieb,  Stephen Blea, Amy Green, Franco Fontanero, James "Quick" Tillis, Vanessa Williams, Jaime Estrada, Randy Howe, Steve Carp, David Avila, Raymond Spencer, Rich Marotta, Rod Mahaffey (RIP), Chris Robinson, Jody Kohn, Rich Mortars, Michelle Corrales-Lewis the NVBHOF, Michelle Rosado and so many others!

To the fighters: we are here for a short time and we must give the best of ourselves and what we stand for. Your efforts may have the power to inspire the changes that we are striving for today! Love and respect.


Recent Video Interview of McCarter about Rhonda Rousey:


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