(SEPT 15) In the sport of boxing
there are two constants---there is a winner and a loser. For
centuries around the world people have been fascinated seeing
two men pitted in battle one on one to see who was superior, and
had the ability to destroy the other man. From the times when
men fought on horses with swords to modern times when the
battles are settled in the ring nothing catches peopleís
attention more than a fight. Over the past twenty years though
there has been a change. No longer has it just been men fighting
but also females have joined in the battle to become gladiators.
No longer are boxing gyms filled
with just men or boys but also now women and girls. And just
like men and boys these women and girls train, bleed, sweat, cry
and go thru the same emotions. To be a fighter male or female
the same rules apply----you train hard, you donít eat bad
foods, you run you sacrifice and you are rewarded with well
there isnít a guaranteed reward.
Seven years ago Blanca Gutierrez
came up with the idea of having an all-female fight show. With
the goal of showing female fighters they and they alone had the
ability not only to fight well but they also could should and
did deserve to have an event just for themselves to display
Five years ago I went to my first
show with my teammate at the time the queen of the ring Melissa
Monroy. She not only was my teammate but also my sparring
partners, my training partner and my best friend at the gym.
Every day we beat the crap out of each other for four rounds in
the ring hitting each other with every punch we could. For 12
minutes we hated each otherís guts every day but after we both
ran to our parents to complain about the other while they took
our head gears off we just as quickly ran to same heavy bag to
hit and then jogged together.
At the time I had no idea there would only be girls on the show.
I couldnít believe there were girls even smaller than Melissa
and some women who were adults all fighting. I remember Melissa
won her fight and a few other girls I knew at the time fought
like Little Giant Graciela won too. At the time I didnít think
anything of it but damn I wanted a belt just like them.
Since then I have returned four more times to see Beautiful
Brawlers. Many of the same girls still fight on the show just a
year older and a year better, just like guys. I met at the time
number one Heavyweight contender Martha Salazar to then WBC
world champion Martha Salazar. I met "Mighty" Melissa McMorrow
who also was a world champion as well as many of the best
amateur females in the world.
If you have ever been to a boxing show you know what to expect.
Little kids, teen kids maybe a few older guys and girls
fighting. You know someone will win someone will lose and thatís
that. I canít remember ever seeing a fight though at Beautiful
Brawlers that was a mismatch. Every girl or woman fights someone
close to their ability and the winner has to bring it because
they are matched really close. Most other shows have several
I have had a chance thru Beautiful Brawlers to see and meet the
best amateur boxer alive Heaven Garcia. I donít care what anyone
says because no one can prove me wrong on this there is no boxer
alive male or female who has her skill set. She can win left
handed or right handed and she can dominate any opponent
standing in pocket or slightly moving with body shots or
slipping punches and countering. If there is a better fighter in
amateur boxing I have not seen them and I wonít lie itís not
even close between her and whoever is second.
I also became friends with another world champion boxer my old
teammate Lupe Gutierrez who just like Heaven went and won worlds
in China. Lupe used to be Brawler but now she fights the way I
use to before I became a football player moving around the ring
picking her spots and pop shotting opponents. Lupe knows her
style makes it where a mistake or two in any round can cost her
fight but she is skilled enough to take the risk.
At the show this year the fighter with most pressure was Lupeís
sister Layla who is also a skilled great boxer. Layla though is
most like me because like me, she fights under the shadow
of being related to a world champion and has pressure that no
one will ever know. I remember being under the same pressure as
her being at the gym with four national champs and knowing no
matter how many fights in a row I won I wasnít considered crap
because my parents wouldnít let me travel. Layla
wonít admit it but she faces same pressure but she loves boxing
No matter male or female boxing is a blur. Everything happens
fast and in under 10 minutes all the training all the running
dieting sore hands sweat and pain is either worth it or
worthless. One mere mistake as small as it may seem can turn
into another. Soon game plans are gone panic sets in and no one
feels it more than fighter. Not coaches with mad faces or judges
who act like they once owned the sport or doctor who gets
annoyed after fights when boxers donít run straight over to get
checked but need seconds to compose themselves.
Layla fought a great first round but then got caught with a
small shot that flustered her. Same shot she or any other boxer
gets hit with in sparring but in ring in front of crowd
sometimes that shot or any shot turns a fight. The jab stops
being used game plan isnít used anymore instead of fighting too
much thinking clock running coach yelling friends parents
yelling and all while damn clock is running. Layla fought ok not
her best and she never told me this but I know in her head that
no shot hurt her. Her nerves took over and the damn clock kept
going too fast. She lost a close decision to a very skilled
boxer and doesnít need to feel sad.
Layla though just like any other person in boxing who doesnít
get win had that sick feeling. I saw the tears my dad saw them
he even had them for her too, even though he doesnít know I saw
them because he knew and I know the pain she felt feeling she
let everyone down when reality is no one else in building had
close to pressure she did. I am proud my friend. Layla is a
boxer and a champion.
My other former teammate Brandy Soto also fought on the show. No
one fights harder than Brandy. She is a nice person and like me
a Cowboys fan but if you get in ring with her you better is
willing to fight. There were many good fights on this show but
Brandyís fight was like Haggler Hearnís nonstop action. At the
end they gave decision to other girl but it was so close both
couldnít argue on who had won or lost.
Seven years ago, Blanca made a decision to showcase female
boxing. Many females have come through her shows. Some like
Heaven Garcia, Lupe Gutierrez, Bambi, Sandra Tovar and a girl
from Vegas Czarina Mc Coy, as well as others I am sure will
compete for right to go to Olympics. Others, just like guys will
still love boxing but quit competing. All will have the memories
of fighting on the premier female boxing show in USA. Some will
have the belts to prove they are champions others will have the
Jose Sulaiman Medal which in my opinion is best award I have
seen aside from my trophy when I won best boxer 12 and under at
Junior Olympics years ago. What they will have most is the
memories of being so important that they were invited to be on
the biggest best female show in USA.
Boxing has been same for over a century. There is a winner there
is a loser. Both with same goal one succeeds other walks away
with empty spot in their heart. Male or female it doesnít matter
ask any fighter they will tell you this and I know this feeling
as a fighter. Beautiful Brawlers gives females young, old and in
middle to have that dream to for one day be that fighter
everyone goes home talking about.
I finish with how a fighter describes themselves. All fighters
are similar but I will give you her words, not mine.
ďMy goal is to be an Olympic Champion for my country and my city
and my family. I started watching boxing on TV and wanted to be
powerful like Johnny Tapia who was from my city in Albuquerque
New Mexico. I love the competition of trying to be best even
though boxing is a lonely sport where training is hard
sacrifices are tough but I love it. ď
These are the words of a fighter not a male fighter not a female
fighter but a fighter. Anyone who has ever fought not only
understands these words from Beautiful Brawler Estrella
Iturralde they live these words. Thatís why they are fighters
and FEW have courage to ever become one.
Blanca started this event 7 years ago and now people from Canada
and all around USA including Mission, Texas birthplace of
greatest NFL coach ever Tom Landry come to compete and because
of Blanca that city not only has 2 Super Bowl Trophyís but also
Beautiful Brawler Championship belt..
About writer Joe Phenneger
Joey Phenneger started boxing at
9 years old and is 14 years old now. He has had 22 amateur
boxing bouts. His favorite sport is boxing. He says,
ďBecause you always are at gym working out and everyone has to
do same thing. Itís also fun to listen to coaches in boxing talk
and tell stories."