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The Best and the Worst of 2008!

Another year has gone by and it is time to have the "hot"
picks and "not" picks for  the year 2008! There were definitely
the GOOD, the BAD, and the NOT so good this year 
in women's boxing! [It's A Rap for 2008]


Fighter of the Year
Katie Taylor
More on Taylor

Katie Taylor, 22 years old, of Bray, Ireland, recently won the World lightweight championship at the 5th AIBA Women's World Championships in Ningbo City, China.  This was her second World title after beating Cheng Dong of China 13-2 at the Ningbo Youngor Gymnasium.  Taylor, who is coached by her dad, Peter Taylor, registered 67 points in China and conceded just 11 in her five fights in China. In that tournament, Taylor was awarded the "boxer of the Tournament" award that was presented by the AIBA. In addition, Taylor had been nominated for the RTE Sportsperson of the year Award. In December, Taylor was not only WBAN's December 2008 Fighter of the month, but she was also named AIBA World female boxer of the year in Moscow in December.  Taylor is not only a role model for other women boxers, she continues to fight anyone and everyone in the amateur ranks.  Article #1  Article #2   Article #3   Article #4  

Top European Boxer
of the Year
Susianna Kentikian

Susianna Kentikian, has remained undefeated at 23-0-0 (16KO). She had an impressive win over Mary Elizabeth Ortega, when Ortega was stopped in the first round. The stoppage with Ortega was a tremendous upset, as Ortega is considered one of the top women contenders in the sport.  Kentikian currently holds the WBA - WIBF World title belts in the flyweight division and is ranked #1 with WBAN.  Kentikian has a tremendous and inspirational background in her struggles to become a boxer.  Her bio is a "must read".  More on Kentikian

Top South America Boxer
of the Year
Marcela Acuna
More on Acuna

Acuna entered into pro boxing, fighting her pro debut against Christy Martin, and going 10 rounds with her.  Acuna then fought Lucia Rijker in her second pro fight losing by a fifth round TKO.  These two fights took place in 1997 and 1998.  Acuna is now 31-5-0 (15 KOs).  She also holds the WBC - WBA Junior Featherweight World titles, and is ranked #3 with WBAN.  In December of 2008,  Acuna fought one of the most in-demand fights in Argentina when she faced Alejandra Oliveras (the boxer who KO'd Jackie Nava in their first fight).  Acuna defeated Oliveras in a 10-round unanimous decision.

Top Amateur Boxer
 of the Year
Mangte Chungneijang Merykom
(aka: Mary Kom) of India

Mangte Chungneijang Merykom (aka: Mary Kom) of India, has won an unprecedented fourth successive gold medal in the 46ki category at the fifth World women's boxing championships at Ningbo city in China.  She has worked for years to become of one of the best amateur boxers in the sport today.  After winning gold at the world championships in Delhi two years back; Mary Kom walked away from the ring. She went back to Manipur and gave birth to twins. She then re-entered the sport and won the world championship for a fourth time. 

Honorable Mentioned:  Arianne Fortin (70kg) from Canada won gold at the 2008 World Championships; Karolina Michalczuk (54kg) became Poland's first gold medalist at the 2008 World Championships; Cynthia Moreno (54kg), from the US, won PanAmerican Championships and got bronze at Worlds.


Oldest Boxer of the Year 2008

Molly Reeves
 100 Years Old!

Molly Reeves is 100 years old! Molly Reeves trains in boxing once a week to stay---"fighting fit". Reeves attributes her good health to her fitness regime. This amazing woman not only has boxing in her regular fitness program but she was also a mountain climber---climbing the summit of Mount Versuvius in Italy at the age of 88! Molly was born in 1908, and was married for 59 years, before her husband passed away.

Highest Achievements
 of the year 2008

Holly Holm

This year multi-world champion Holly Holm fought one of the top women boxers in the sport twice, Mary Jo Sanders, in her hometown, and then in Sanders home turf. She was nominated for an ESPY award, and she won the first history-making WBAN Independent world title belts.  She has literally fought every top woman in her weight class, and has ventured out of her weight class to fight others. 

Most Improved Boxer
of the Year 2008
Carina Moreno 

WBAN has followed Carina's boxing career for many years now, and we were very impressed with how much she has continued to improve.  Moreno is a multi-world champion with a  20-1-0 (6 KOs) record. Even though she is a very light boxer,  Moreno has learned to utilize her body weight to be very powerful and highly technical in the ring.  Moreno is #1 in our WBAN Ratings, and has been for some time. More on Moreno

Most Inspirational
 of the Year 2008

Eileen Olszewski

Olszewski has taken on some very tough competition in her short time in the sport.  In just 2008, in Zurich, Switzerland, she fought Nadia Raoui, defending her WIBA world title against Raoui;  Eileen fought Carina Moreno, in another multi-world title championship on June 13, 2008;  she fought world champion Simona Galassi of Italy in a 10-round WBC title bout (in Italy); and she fought Elena Reid in a 10-rounder for the WIBA flyweight title, winning that title. She still has less than 10 pro fights on the books, and yet because of the calibre of fighters she has fought, she has an impressive #5 world rating with WBAN!  More on Eileen

WBAN "Top Honors"
 of the Year
Layla McCarter
More on McCarter

WBA’s World champion Layla McCarter, of Las Vegas, Nevada, has not only once this year---but TWICE been named,  “WBAN’s Fighter of the month!”  She was chosen as fighter of the month in February, and again in April. McCarter is one of the toughest and most skillful warriors in the sport. She will fight anywhere, even when it commands fighting a boxer in their hometown repeatedly, as she had done this year when she fought Jelena Mrdjenovich of Edmonton.  In March of 2008 McCarter not only fought Mrdjenovich in Canada, winning by a 10th round split decision and retaining her WBA Lightweight World title belt, but she fought in the same month, stopping Dominga Olivo in the sixth round by TKO.

Hottest Rising Stars in
the Sport 2008
Melissa "Huracan" Hernandez
More on Melissa Hernandez

Hottest Rising Stars in
the Sport 2008
Jennifer Barber
More on Barber


Best-Kept Secret in
Women's Boxing
Ava Knight
More on Knight

Ava Knight, 5-0-2 (2 KOs, of Chico, California, is definitely one to be reckoned with in women's boxing. Knight, who at the time only had four pro fights, fought tough veteran IFBA flyweight champion Elena Reid, who was 19-4-5 (5KO), going into a fight against Knight in June of 2008.  Knight fought Reid to a  draw!  Knight then went into New York, fighting Noriko Kariya, stopping Kariya in the fifth round....and she then fought undefeated Kaliesha West, for the IFBA Americas title, and delivered West her first pro loss when she won by an eight-round unanimous decision.  Knight is already ranked #10 with WBAN as a bantamweight.

The "Road Warrior" of 2008
Nicole Woods

Nicole Woods, now 7-3-0 (1 KOs), of Stone Mountain, Georgia,  has been boxing professionally since September of 2007.  Woods has not fought ONCE in her own hometown or state.  Her last fight took place in Montevideo, Uruguay, on November 28, 2008. She was prepared to fight hometown favorite Chris Namus, of Montevideo, UR, when Namus cancelled out on the fight after Woods was already in Uruguay.  THAT left Woods without an opponent. The promoter got Woods a last minute opponent, and without a moment's thought Woods took whoever they put in front of her. She beat that opponent, by winning an eight-round unanimous decision.  Woods has also fought in Mississippi, North Carolina, Florida, Canada, and Connecticut.  "Road Warriors" generally do not have pristine boxing records---they are boxers who seem to add interest in the sport due to their toughness and their "Take no prisoners" approach to facing unpredictable fights.

Biggest Upset of the Year!
Mary Elizabeth Ortega stopped in first round
in  fight with Susi Kentikian


In 2008, at the Brandberge Arena, Halle an der Saale, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, Susi Kentikian (21-0-0) caused a major upset by defeating Mary Elizabeth Ortega (29-5-2) by TKO in the first round of the WBA / WIBF world title fight in Flyweight.
Kentikian caught Ortega with a left right combination, that sent Ortega to the floor 50 seconds into the round. 20 seconds later Kentikian hit the target with another hard right hand, that made Ortega's legs buckle, but she managed to stay on her feet, much to the surprise for Kentikian who was already heading for the neutral corner.  The relentless attack from Kentikian continued, and Ortega had to take another 8 count after being knocked down about 90 seconds into the round. She was visibly shaken when she got off the floor the second time, but the referee let the fight go on, keeping a close eye on Ortega.  However, he decided to stop the fight 10 seconds before the end of the round, after Ortega was backed up against the rope, unable to block much of the incoming fire. The United States boxer immediately protested against the stoppage---although her corner did not seem to join in the protests.  WBAN nor boxing fans ever expected this fight to end in the first round, and thought for sure it would go to a 10-round decision.

Top Rookie of the Year 2008
Ronica Jeffrey

Folks...Be on the lookout for this highly talented boxer, and former amateur boxing champion, Ronica Jeffrey.   Jeffrey, of Brooklyn, New York,  paid her dues in the amateurs and it is evident when you see her fight as a pro.  WBAN sees a potentially bright future for Jeffrey in the sport.


Biggest Fight Card of the Year
 for Women Boxers
June 13, 2008 - Pay-Per-View
Four Women's World Title bouts

This was a huge card for women's boxing, and high-exposure for the sport.  There were four World title bouts with the top-demanded fight between Holly Holm vs. Mary Jo Sanders.  The other fights included Jeannine Garside vs. Chevelle Hallback, Carina Moreno vs. Eileen Olszewski, and Holly Dunaway vs. Wendy Rodriguez. 

"Most Avoided" Boxer
of the Year 2008
Melinda Cooper

WBAN has run many "Do you Want to Fight" announcements to let boxers and their teams know of opportunities to fight this talented and skillful boxer.  Even when the purse is above average, it is nearly impossible to get Melinda Cooper a match, unless it is a boxer who already has a shaky record.  WBAN hopes to see some of the talented, experienced boxers in 2009 step up to the plate and test their skills with Cooper---boxing fans will love it!

The "I Forgot my real Name" Boxer of the Year

Roxana Tenea?

WBAN ran a story in October of 2008, about a fight that took place on September 27, 2008, in London, UK, where Shanee Martin fought a female boxer, who allegedly used the name of another boxer, Elena Miftode.  At the same time, apparently the “real” Miftode was fighting in Germany on that same night!! WBAN asked the public to IDENTIFY this boxer.  WBAN then received convincing evidence that the true boxer was in fact,  Roxana Tenea, 0-4-0.  More


Top Fights of the Year

Chevelle Hallback vs. Jeannine Garside
Chevelle Hallback vs. Melissa Hernandez
Ann Marie Saccurato vs. Emiko Raika
Melissa Hernandez vs. Ela Nunez

Photo: Mary Ann Owen (top photo)
Photo: Lori Steinhorst (Middle photo)
Photo: Mary Ann Owen (bottom photo)


Top News Story of the Year
Hopeful News that Women
will be included in the 2012 Olympics

WBAN ran a story on August 19, 2008, that there was news on Yahoo Sports, that the AIBA (The International Boxing Association) president Wu Ching-Kuo, said that they would press to introduce women’s boxing in the 2012 London Olympics. President Wu Ching-Kuo was quoted as saying after a meeting of the AIBA’s executive committee in Beijing, “We will make a proposal and submit it to the International Olympic Committee, boxing is the only sport in the Olympic program without women and we believe we are ready.”   “There would be 11 weight classes, like in men’s boxing, and the bouts would held over four two-minute rounds, with  existing world and continental championships used as qualifiers,” stated Joyce Bowen, who chairs the ruling body’s women’s commission.  This is the best news Women's Boxing could have heard in 2008!

"It's Time to Stop Being an Opponent" Award 2008
Svetla Taskova

Taskova has not won a fight since 2001, and has 23 straight losses.  Taskova, 38 years old, of Bulgaria,  is 4-25-1 (1 KOs). She has fought some of the top women boxers in the sport that have included former WBC - EBU world champion Stefania Bianchini, fighting Bianchini in October of 2008; she fought Viktorio Milo in 2008; Nadia Hokmi;  Hagar Shmoulefeld; Simona Galassi; and the list goes on....One may say....well she goes the distance with most of these boxers....that may be so---but shouldn't boxing fans be entitled to having at least some element of surprise as to who the winner will be when attending these fights?

Biggest Rip-Off of the Year
Jeannine Garside vs. Irma Balijagic-Adler

There does not seem to be any dispute that Jeannine Garside was ripped off on December 17, 2008, when she fought Irma Balijagic-Adler at the Olympic Arena, in Sarajevo, Bosnia----but the solution became more of a problem than the "rip."  The fight was barely over when WBAN began receiving the "rip off" allegations.  We had open letters from Garside's manager, Jackie Kallen, and from the WIBA after the fight.  Apparently Balijagic can count this fight as an early Christmas present in the world of women's boxing. Full Story by Sue TL Fox  Open Letter by Jackie Kallen   Response by WIBA -  Ryan Wissow 

Biggest Shocker of the Year
Ada "The Ace" Velez
Sentenced 21 Months


WBAN reported in February of 2008, that in a report with the Sun Sentinel that Ada  Velez was sentenced to 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to grand theft. According to this news source, Velez was arrested for giving away more than $100,000 worth of free play vouchers at the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino, where she was a casino service representative, between March and August of 2006.  Full Story   More on  Velez

A Special Thanks and Tribute from WBAN
 to these Boxers who fought professionally for many years.
 They announced their retirement in 2008...


Boxers Who Retired in 2008

Laura Serrano
Shelley Burton
Terri Moss
Jane Couch
Sarah Goodson


Laura Serrano - Retirement letter received on April 5, 2008. Link
Shelley Burton -  Retirement letter received on January 18, 2008.  Link
Terri Moss - Retirement letter received on May 10, 2008. Link
Jane Couch  - retired in 2008, no letter sent to WBAN.
Sarah Goodson - Retirement letter received August 22, 2008. Link
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