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The Best and the Worst of 2009!

Another year has gone by and it is time to have the "hot"
picks and "not" picks for  the year 2009! There were definitely
the GOOD, the BAD, and the NOT so good this year 
in women's boxing!


Special Tribute of the Year
Giselle Salandy
 [Special Tribute Flash Photo Slideshow of Salandy]
[Biography of Giselle Salandy]

What could easily be the saddest day in 2009 for women's boxing, on January 4, 2009, Giselle Salandy, 21 years old, died in a tragic car accident in Trinidad and Tobago.  Salandy was a huge boxing star in her country, and she was not only a champion inside the ring, but outside the ring. She would give presentations to youths in her country, and other public service tasks to represent her country in a positive light.  Salandy made history twice in women’s boxing, by first becoming the youngest world champion at age 14, and then fighting for six world title belts in a unified championship bout in 2006.  Salandy had defended three of her world titles on December 26, 2008--- just prior to her death.


Fighter of the year
Olivia Gerula
[Biography of Olivia Gerula]

What set Gerula on top was not only did she take very tough bouts, but she fought in others hometowns and countries.  On March 3rd, in Tokyo, Japan,  Gerula, of Canada, defeated Japan's Fujin Raika by an eight round split decision.  In April, at the Shaw Conference Centre, in Edmonton, Canada, Gerula, won a 10-round unanimous decision over Edmonton's Jelena Mrdjenovich.  The two were fighting for the WBC junior lightweight world title.  Gerula then went to France in December,  and successfully defended her WBC junior lightweight title against Myriam Chomaz of France winning by unanimous decision.

Top European Fighter of the Year
Myriam Lamare
[Biography of Myriam Lamare]

Junior welterweight Myriam Lamare, not only came to the United States in 2009 to fight Holly Holm in a highly competitive bout---but she soundly defeated Ann Marie Saccurato for not only the WBF World title belt but the history-first WBAN  Independent belt in Europe.

Top Amateur Boxer
 of the Year
Katie Taylor
[Biography of Katie Taylor]

Katie Taylor of Ireland, continues to be one of the world's top amateurs and will be a tough fighter to beat at the 2012 Olympics when we will see a History First, with women boxers being included in that upcoming historical event for the female boxers.  Taylor continues to be a role model and has brought a lot of positive attention to the sport in her country, and worldwide.  Taylor has been named WBAN's Top Amateur of the Year in 2006, 2007 and now 2009! 

Most Inspirational
Boxer of the Year
Esther Schouten
[Biography of Esther Schouten]

Esther Schouten is an inspiration to all.  On the top of her game, she was KO'd by Cancer a while back---but this did not detour her from what she wanted to do.   After she went through Chemo and Radiotherapy, she returned to the ring in 2008 to train for a comeback.  She has had eight fights in 2008 and 2009, winning the WIBF junior featherweight world title belt against Bettina Volker in July of 2009.  More on Schouten     Schouten's Comeback Trail  

Most Accomplished
of the Year
Holly Holm
[Biography of Holly Holm]

Holm is not only an accomplished boxer inside the ring, but considered by many to be one of the best pound for pound boxers in the sport at this time. It was announced in February of 2009, that she received top honors by being named the 2008 Ring Magazine Female Fighter of The Year. Holm, who has a huge fan base in her area, will fight to a sold out crowd anytime she is featured on a card.

Rookie of the Year
Amanda Serrano
[Biography of Amanda Serrano]

Not only did Amanda Serrano fight five times in 2009 as a rookie, but she took on significant competition.  In her last fight in 2009, she took on a very tough opponent Ela Nunez (The boxer who stopped the now world champion Kina Malpartida in 2007).  Serrano had a four-round draw against Nunez.  Serrano also moved around to outside venues to fight some of her opponents, including traveling to the Dominion Republic for one of her fights. 

Advocate of the Year
Christy Halbert, Ph.D.

Christy Halbert, Ph.D. is a certified elite-level amateur boxing coach, and has represented the United States as a coach in several international events, including the first women's World Championships. She is also a nationally certified amateur boxing official. Dr. Halbert conducts certification clinics and workshops for coaches and officials. She strives to teach boxers how to understand boxing so that they can make smart decisions about training and ring strategy.  In 2001 she founded Boxing Resource Center, a boxing program and club dedicated to teaching boxing principles.  The International Olympic Committee gave the final okay to include women's boxing this year for the  summer games in London in 2012, and  Halbert played a significant part in advocating for the sport to get this to happen. 

WBAN "Top Honors"
 of the Year
Marcela Acuña
[Biography of Marcela Acuna]

Marcela Acuña, 33-5-0 (16 KOs) of Argentina, has been a huge force for the sport within Argentina for many years and has brought much attention to women's boxing.  This year she revenged her loss by defeating Alicia Ashley for the WBC Junior featherweight belt.  In one media source they reported that Acuña was looking for rematch with Oliveras for her final fight this December, then retiring to a political career, with Yesica Bopp as her successor in women's boxing for Argentina.  Whatever Acuña decides to do, she has earned "Top Honors" with WBAN for the many years she has dedicated to the sport.

The Busiest Boxers
of the Year
Zita Zatyko. Zsofia Bedo,
Yesica Marcos, Marisol Molina,
Borbala Kocsis

All five of these female boxers had a total of eight fights for the year, and we had a five-way tie!  The record breakdown of these boxers were the following:  Zsofia Bedo, 2-6; Zita Zatyko, 7-0-1; Yesica Marcos, 7-0-1, and ranked #9 in her weight class with WBAN (inset photo); Marisol Molina, 6-2;, and Borbala Kocsis, 7-1.

Best-Kept Secret
In Women's Boxing
Amanda Serrano
[Biography of Amanda Serrano]

WBAN cannot say enough about this boxer. Serrano is what WBAN would consider "old school", and when we say that--- it is truly a compliment.  Serrano, a very young boxer, who began her pro career this year, has shown the heart of a lion---that is probably the highest compliment that WBAN can give a boxer.  Serrano has tried desperately to stay active, fighting any and everyone, and she really doesn't care if she risks a loss, or where she fights.  Through all of this she has still remained unscathed with a 4-0-1 (3KO) record---fighting some very tough opponents thus far!

Most Improved Boxer
Ana Julaton

Ana Julaton had a very impressive win this year when she fought tough veteran Kelsey Jeffries, and won a 10-round decision for an IBA World Title.   She then had another world title fight against Donna Biggers, and won another world title. 

Most Entertaining Boxer
Melissa Hernandez
[Biography of Melissa Hernandez]

This girl is a character!  She is extremely entertaining and sometimes (controversial), but no one can say that Melissa Hernandez is not one of the most entertaining boxers in the sport.  She can certainly liven up any press conference or weigh-in with her "Bad Girl" antics. 

Biggest Comeback of the Year!
Jolene Blackshear
[Biography of Jolene Blackshear]

After over a nine-year break from the sport, with Jolene Blackshear's last fight taking place in February of 2000, she returned to the sport and convincingly won her return to the ring in her first fight after the long layoff.   In just her second bout on her return, she fought for a world title in South Korea.  There was controversy over the decision of that fight---but anyone viewing the footage would more than likely agree that Blackshear defeated her hometowner opponent.

The "Cool" in 2009


A Moment in Hope in 2009
Rita Figueroa
[Biography of Rita Figueroa]

What could have been another sad story in 2009, became a time of hope when Rita Figueroa, who was seriously injured after a fight she had in 2009---and she survived.  Rita told WBAN on November 24th,  "I thank God everyday, and I am doing really good considering my friend Francisco Rodriguez suffered a similar injury and passed away yesterday following his brain surgery."  More on story

A Wonderful Tribute to
Noted Boxers and More
IBA Gym Gets an Artistic Touch
[Flash Photo Slideshow of the artwork]

In 2009, the IBA gym had undergone a beautiful makeover when Tony Rila of the IBA flew in a fantastic artist who created artwork on all of the walls of the IBA Boxing Gym that is located in Las Vegas, Nevada! Flash Photo Slideshow of the artwork  Photos by Rick Pineda

Women Boxers Approved to
Participate in the 2012 Olympics
August 13, 2009

It took a lot of work and dedication on the part of many in the sport, but it finally happened! Women Boxers have been approved to be included in the 2012 Olympics in London.  Christy Halbert told WBAN, "2009 will be an exciting year for boxing and for LetThemBox.org.  By October of this year we will know if women's boxing events have been added to the 2012 Olympic Games. 2009 marks the last round in our fight for 2012 inclusion, and LetThemBox continues to play an important part in the movement to get women's boxing into the 2012 Olympic Games.  Good job Christy and all who helped in getting this approved!

Rijker inducted into World Boxing Hall of Fame

On October 24th, 2009, Lucia Rijker, 17-0 (14KO), was the first female boxer (retired now) to be inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. The WBHF is the smaller of the two recognized boxing halls of fame, the other being the International Boxing Hall of Fame. 

WBAN Makes History in Europe
[News Story on this history-making event]

WBAN,  for a second year in a row, has made boxing history for women's boxing.  In 2008, we had two WBAN Independent Belts fought for in the United States.  Never before in the history of the sport has there been any organization that had an independent world title belt for women boxers.  Male boxers had Ring Magazines belts up for grabs---but that was solely for male boxers. So in 2009, we again made history by having the first-ever WBAN Independent belt that was fought for in Paris, France.  We now have three champions: Holly Holm, Junior Middleweight; Chevelle Hallback, lightweight, and now Myriam Lamare, junior welterweight.  

Kelsey Jeffries in one of
the best Boxing Documentaries
After The Last Round

As one of the best documentaries that WBAN viewed in 2009.  Jeffries was part of the documentary where the film crew followed her at various times over the past three years, documenting the consistent effort she puts forth in order to perform at the level she does.  The film crew also filmed Jeffries at college when she was in class. They also went to training camp with Jeffries and Anderson in Vero Beach, Florida, and to fights in Cancun, San Jose, Pechanga Casino, Albuquerque, and Oregon.  Jeffries is the “Success” story of the film, which shows that male or female, a fighter is special, and the best ones can really fight, regardless of their gender. Kelsey reflected the " Heart and Soul " of one fighter and the price the best ones pay to do that which they love including the Trials and Tribulations along the way.

Lucia Rijker Works
 Lamare's Corner

How in the world could it get any cooler than to have Lucia Rijker work a boxer's corner?  Rijker, who was featured in the best movie of the year Million Dollar Baby, and has been a very high-profile fighter for many years, inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009. worked Myriam Lamare's corner when Lamare came to the United States to fight Holly Holm.  Rijker also trained Lamare prior to this mentioned fight. 

Fight Topped the Ratings
Kina Malpartida vs.
Halana dos Santos

In June of 2009, as predicted, the fight that took place in Peru between Kina Malpartida vs. Halana dos Santos drew almost three times as many television viewers as the popular show Gisela Valcárcel's "El Show de los Sueños".  That was a very "cool" thing that happened in women's boxing---Malpartida is very big in Peru! 

The "Not-So-Good" picks....


Biggest Shocker of the Year
WBAN's Former photographer
convicted of multiple murders
[Link to story]

On August 15, 2006, WBAN ran a story about a former photographer Dale Hausner, who provided coverage for WBAN with photographs of events that took place in Arizona. At this time in 2006, Hausner was arrested, along with a roommate, in Arizona, where he was facing allegations of murders (serial murderer), and a string of other crimes that terrorized his area in Arizona.  AP reported this year that Hausner was convicted of six murders, and 18 attempted first degree murder charges, two conspiracy to commit first-degree murder charges 16 aggravated assault charges, 23 drive-by shooting charges, nine animal cruelty charges, three counts of discharging a gun at a structure, one count of unlawfully discharging a gun and two counts of arson of an occupied structure. He was found guilty of 80 counts out of the 86 charges he was facing. Hauser received the death penalty for these crimes.

Top Women Boxers
Missing in Action
Melinda Cooper
Chevelle Hallback

These two women boxers are a couple of the most talented boxers in the sport.   And yet, Melinda Cooper (top photo) only fought one four round bout in 2009, and Chevelle Hallback (WBAN's lightweight champion and multi-world champion) did not fight at all in boxing.  When the level of talent that these two boxers have and they cannot make the type of purses they should be getting and not getting the top-level fights they deserve in this sport---it is "not so hot" in women's boxing.

Poorly matched World Title Bouts
Too Many to list....

When in the world are these federations going to get it?  Why are we seeing winless boxers, non-ranked boxers, boxers with 7-8 losses going into world title fights to fight for championships?   It is absolutely pathetic in some of the supposed "title" fights we are seeing and it just seems to appear that the bottom line for these federations are sanctioning fees, and whatever they gaining by approving some of these poorly matched title bouts.

Biggest Weight Difference
Title bout of the Year
 Ragosina vs. London
60-lb weight difference

Who would have thought that multi-world champion super middleweight Natascha Ragosina would go up several weight classes to fight a much heavier (60 lbs. more) boxer, Pamela London in the heavyweight division.  There are very good reasons for having weight classes in boxing, and this was just a tad bit too much weight to give away.

One of the STRANGEST
Incidents of the Year!

In August of 2009, retired professional boxer Roger Mayweather had been arrested on charges of coercion with force and battery-strangulation and booked into the Clark County Detention Center. Mayweather, brother of welterweight Floyd Mayweather, was accused of harassing female boxer Melissa St. Vil, at a home he owns on Trotwood Lane in Las Vegas, according to a Metro police arrest report.  Police said they found St. Vil being held by Mayweather and coughing up blood when she was let go. They said paramedics found signs of strangulation on her throat and defense wounds on the side of Mayweather's face. Police also said after being struck in the ribs several times and choked to near-unconsciousness, St. Vil fought back with a lamp. A laceration was found on Mayweather's head, and the lamp was found to have blood on it, the arrest report said.  St. Vil told police she heard Mayweather knock on her door, but she did not answer it. She said as a boxer, she had trained with Mayweather about three months ago, but was now training under new people. She said her roommate was renting the home from Mayweather.  St. Vil said Mayweather has been following her and harassing her.

"Interim" Title Belts - "Interim" Boxing Champions

Isn't this sport confusing enough with all of the alphabet federation belts? Do we have to add to that confusion by having Interim title bouts and Interim Champions when the organization already has a champion?

The "Top Comments" in 2009


Top Comments of the Year
Kaliesha West

Kaliesha West - January 9, 2009  -To all promoters, the media, news, advertisers, magazines, HBO, and Showtime…Give women in boxing the same opportunity in this land of opportunity that you give to men in boxing; treat women boxers as equals, this the start of a new era. There are more great women fighters out there that are training every day draining our bodies and deserve to be in the same position as a top professional male fighter when we retire. Women lack the same opportunities in the sport.

Top Comments of the Year
Nicole Woods

Nicole Woods -We as athletes have to show promoters and networks that we can command a market. For example, Holly Holm and Mary Jo Sanders have proven they can do that in there individual hometowns. If you look around,  boxing is not the only sport that is going through this dilemma. Look at the WNBA. The WNBA plays 35 regular season games compared to the NBA who plays 83.  If the networks and owners of these teams thought it was more money to be made they would add games to the season. Women have buying power----but we just don’t use it. How many of you have supported a WNBA game this year?

WBAN would like to thank everyone for their input in the 2009 Yearly Awards.  There are a few categories not included in 2009, that that is due to not having enough information, or fighters not really dominating in those categories.

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