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The Best ......and the Worst of 2011

Another year has gone by and it is time to have the "hot"
picks and "not" picks for  the year 2011! There were definitely
the GOOD, the BAD, and the NOT so good this year 
in women's boxing! 


Anne-Sophie Mathis
of France


Fighter of the year
Anne-Sophie Mathis
[Mathis photo taken by SteveSnowden.com]
WBAN ran a poll for the public to vote on their top fighter picks. The over-whelming majority gave their thumbs up for Anne-Sophie Mathis.  There were some other close runner-ups ---but Mathis topped the bill on this award!  Mathis fought in THE "Biggest fight" of the year in 2011, when she came from France to fight Holly Holm on December 2, 2011, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  That bout was named one of WBAN's top picks for the BEST fight between two top women in the sport, and it was also named as one of the greatest "knockouts" of the year, when she stopped Holm by KO. In that world title bout, Mathis won the WBAN Independent World Welterweight title and the IBA belt against Holm.  


Jelena Mrdjenovich


Most Improved Boxer of the Year
Jelena Mrdjenovich
WBAN had the pleasure of meeting Jelena Mrdjenovich in Las Vegas, Nevada,  at the WBC Convention where she was receiving an WBC award.  As I told Mrdjenovich in Vegas, "You have come a long way!"  In 2011, Mrdjenovich became our "WBAN October 2011 Fighter of the Month", when she went into foreign territory in September, in Tokyo, Japan, and defeated their "hometown queen" Fujin Raika, in a 10-round unanimous decision for the WBC super featherweight eliminator contest, then in December, she had one of the greatest KO's of 2011 against Olivia Gerula.


Anne-Sophie Mathis

Cecilia Braekhus

Top European Fighter(s)
of the Year

Anne-Sophie Mathis
Cecilia Braekhus

WBAN had a tie for the 2011 Top European Female boxer in the sport.  Both Anne-Sophie Mathis, 26-1-1 (22KO), of France,  and Cecilia Braekhus, 19-0-0 (4KO), of Norway received this honor this year. 

Both Mathis and Braekhus currently fight in the "welterweight" division.  WBAN has Anne-Sophie rated #1 in our world rating, and Braekhus is rated #3.   Braekhus was the 2010 top European Fighter of the year with WBAN also.


Ana Maria Torres

Ana Maria Torres and Jackie Nava made history when they fought for the first-ever WBC Diamond World Title Belt...


Best Latina Fighter of the Year
Ana Maria Torres
Ana Maria Torres is a long-time veteran in the sport who has been boxing as a pro since July of 1999.  She had a stellar year in 2011, when she fought one of the top women boxers in the world,  Jackie Nava twice in 2011.  Her first fight with Nava ended in a draw, and the second title fight she not only won the fight, and title, but she made history with the WBC, when her and Nava fought for the first women's Diamond WBC Belt.  The Torres vs. Nava II was only picked as one of the best fights to take place in 2011.
Honorable Mentioned:  Jackie "Aztec Princess" Nava, Yesica "Tuti" Bopp, and Mariana "Barbie" Juárez.


Katie Taylor


Top Amateur Boxer
 of the Year
Katie Taylor
Katie Taylor of Ireland is one of the most outstanding amateur female boxers in the world today.  She has been WBAN's  Fighter of the Month and Amateur Boxer of the Year many times.  She is just "Unstoppable". Her current goal in the sport is to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London. 


Melissa Hernandez

Most Entertaining Boxer of the Year
 Melissa "Huracan" Hernandez
[Photo by Mary Ann Owen]
This "Lil" Bad Girl is definitely "Hands down" the most entertaining boxer in the sport.  There is "never a dull moment" around this fighter. Not only that---the girl can fight! She makes those fights a night to remember for boxing fans with her talent and interesting style of boxing in the ring.


 Juarez accepting her WBC Award for "Female Champion of the Year 2011"


Most Accomplished
of the Year
Mariana "Barbie" Juarez
[Photo by Mary Ann Owen]

WBC World Champion, Mariana "Barbie" Juarez, just 31 years old, and living in Mexico City, Mexico, has been boxing since 1998.  She has accumulated a 32-5-3 (15KO) record and has fought worldwide.  In December she was an honored guest at the WBC Convention where she received a TOP HONOR award, and deserving so, the Female Champion of the Year 2011!  WBAN was present at the Awards Dinner and was able to see her receive this prestigious award.  


Diana Prazak

Ada Velez



Most Inspirational
Boxers of the Year
 Diana Prazak
Ada "The Ace" Velez
[Photo of Velez by Mary Ann Owen]
Diana Prazak joined a boxing gym in 2008, coming in as not only a heavy smoker, but weighing 196 lbs.  She lost that weight through training in boxing, and got hooked on the sport.  She had a fantastic win this year, when she stopped Lindsay Garbatt on September 24, 2011 in Australia and won the WIBA Junior Lightweight title by a TKO over Lindsay Garbatt between the ninth and the tenth rounds.

Ada Velez began boxing professionally in 1999. She fought for about eight years, with her last fight taking place in 2007.  Velez made a "comeback" in 2010.  In January she first fought a very strong opponent Kaliesha West and had a six-round draw with West.   She then took Stacey "Stay-Lo" Reile in February of 2010, and defeated Reile by a six-round unanimous decision. Velez followed that up by defeating Mary Elizabeth Ortega by a unanimous decision in December. This year, she took on undefeated Melinda Cooper for the IBF Junior Featherweight world championship, and delivered Cooper her first loss as a boxer, and winning the IBF belt. Velez then rematched with Cooper in November of 2011, and again defeated Cooper.


Ava Knight


Hottest Rising Star in
of the year 2011
Ava "Lady of Boxing" Knight

Ava Knight is not only WBAN's TOP PICK as the Hottest Rising Star in the sport---but she also lives up to her ring name "The Lady of Boxing."  She IS a lady outside the ring---but in the ring, she is one of the toughest in the sport.  2011 was a fantastic year for Ava.  She began with first knocking out Gloria Salas, then fighting another top boxer, Kaliesha West for the WBO Bantamweight Belt having a draw with West. Ava then in another world title bout,  KO'd Arely Mucino in the second round to win the IBF Flyweight Title.  Lastly, Knight was named by Comcast SportsNet for their Inaugural NorCal Boxing Awards, as the female professional fighter who achieved the most success in 2011.  Link to award
Honorable Mention: Amanda "The Real Deal" Serrano;  Tatina "Lil Tyson" Anderson Ana "Hurricane" Julaton, Kaliesha "Wild Wild" West.


Yesica Bopp

Amanda Serrano

Katia Gutierrez


"Best and Busiest"
Women Boxers
in 2011

Yesica Bopp
Amanda Serrano
Katia Gutierrez
[©Details by Dee Williams]
WBAN has sometimes had a "busiest boxer" category in its end-of-year summary. This category can be hard to interpret because the boxers who've had the most fights are not necessarily making good progress in their ring careers. 2011 is an example of that - this year the statistically busiest boxers were four who had nine fights apiece:

WBAN judges YESICA BOPP, AMANDA SERRANO, and KATIA GUTIERREZ to be the three "best and busiest" women boxers of 2011!

It's no coincidence that so many of our "best and busiest" are from Latin America, as that's where the fastest-growing activity in women's boxing was in 2011.  (US-based Amanda Serrano also fought two of her six fights in 2011 offshore, in the Dominican Republic.)     

We'll also give an honorable mention to busy novice Nikki Adler of Germany, 6-0 in 2011, who would be ranked #2 at Super Middleweight by WBAN's computer except there aren't enough fights overall at her weight for us to want to publish our computer scorings.  Adler stayed busy despite the general lack of fights at her weight and she won all six of her fights, so she's a promising arrival on the European scene. 

Full Details of our TOP THREE Picks!


Ann Wolfe


Trainer of the Year
Ann "Brown Sugar" Wolfe

Ann Wolfe was not only one of the best female knockout artist in the sport when she was boxing, outside of the ring she is just as ferocious of a boxing trainer as she was a fighter.  This year, Ann was picked by Yahoo Sports for 2011 as the boxing trainer of the year.  Boxing Writer Kevin Iole wrote the following: "Her only fighter of note is James Kirkland, but her impact was so great upon him that she’s the 2011 Yahoo! Sports Trainer of the Year.  WBAN could not agree more!


Tatina Anderson


Best-Kept Secret in
Women's Boxing
Tatina "Lil Tyson" Anderson
[Photo by Mary Ann Owen]
WBAN had heard some really good things about Tatina Anderson from many of the boxing folks, but then we got to see this "Lil Tyson" in action on November 20, 2011, when she did what no one else was able to do, including some of the best fighters in the world when she stopped Victoria Cisneros!  "Lil Tyson" definitely lives up to her name---minus chewing off her opponents earlobes when she fights!  


Debora Dionicius


"Rookie of the Year"
Debora Anahi Dionicius
[Photo : Boxrec]
Can you spell T-A-L-E-N-T!  This new "Rookie", Debora Dionicius, of Argentina, who joined the pro ranks in 2011, has a reported 109 amateur fights coming into the pros---and she is currently undefeated as a professional boxer with a 7-0-0 (3KO) record. Debora accumulated this boxing record in less than one years time which qualified her as our top "Rookie" boxer of the year.   An interesting tidbit of information on Dionicius is that she made her pro debut on her birthday, and her last fight on December 17, 2011, she fought just hours after getting marriedHow is that for a die-hard boxer?


Jennifer Barber


Missing in Action for 2011
Jennifer "The Razor" Barber


Jennifer Barber, 10-1 (4KO) who won the IFBA Super Featherweight World title in December 2010, seemed to drop out of sight, and never fought in 2011.  WBAN was told she retired from the sport, but we never confirmed this "Missing in Action" boxer who will truly be missed in the sport if she does not return!   Jennifer Barber---please come back....

Holm Goes Down for the Count...

Mrdjenovich hovers over Gerula

Top THREE Biggest Knockouts of
the Year 2011

[Courtesy photo by Team Mrdjenovich
Photograph by: Guhdar Photography]

Anne-Sophie Mathis vs. Holly Holm
Jelena Mrdjenovich vs. Olivia Gerula
Ava Knight vs. Arely Mucino


Olszewski vs. McMorrow

Prazak vs. Garbatt

Biggest Upsets of the Year

Melissa McMorrow over Eileen Olszewski
Diane Prazak TKO over Lindsay Garbatt


On June 24, 2011
, in Woodhaven, New York, flyweight
Melissa McMorrow, 111, of California, won an eight-round split decision over local boxer Eileen Olszewski, 110.5.  The two fought for a local New York Flyweight title.  

On September 24, 2011, at the Grand Star Receptions, Altona North, Victoria, Australia, super featherweight Diane Prazak won by TKO in the ninth round after her opponent Lindsay Garbatt who had suffered a complete closing of one of her eyes. Prazak won the WIBA super featherweight title.


Melissa Hernandez


 "Road Warrior" of 2011

Melissa "Huracan" Hernandez

If you do just a little bit of checking on Melissa Hernandez, originally from New York, and now presently living in Florida,  you will see that Hernandez has fought out of her area in just about every fight that she has ever had! In 2011, she traveled to Argentina, Australia, Canada, North Carolina, and previous to that in 2010 and further back, she has fought in New Mexico, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Panama, Las Vegas, Nevada, Primm, nevada, Connecticut, California, Stateline, Nevada, Georgia, Oregon, Washington, South Carolina.

Laura Serrano

Honorable Mention:
Ijeoma Egbunine


Biggest Comeback
Fighter of the Year
Laura Serrano

WBAN's top pick for the biggest comeback boxer in 2011 goes to Laura Serrano, 17-4-3 (6KO).   Serrano, a long-time veteran has fought since 1994.  Serrano then left the sport, got married, had a child with her last pro fight taking place in 2007.  Serrano made a surprising comeback into the sport in 2011, when she fought on December 16, 2011, in Las Vegas.  Serrano did not take an easy opponent. Serrano took on a tough veteran Ela Nunez, who has been very active, and fighting some of the best in the sport.  Serrano and Nunez fought to a six-round majority draw.  At the age of 44, that is quite a comeback!


Holm vs. Mathis

Cooper vs. Velez


Santana vs. Reile

Top Five Fights of the Year

Anne-Sophie Mathis vs. Holly Holm
Diana Prazak vs. Lindsay Garbatt
Dahianna Santana vs. Stacey Reile II
Ada Velez vs. Melinda Cooper II
Ana Maria Torres vs. Jackie Nava II
[photos of Cooper/Velez Santana/Reile by Mary Ann Owen]
In 2011, we saw one of the biggest fights in the history take place when Holly Holm and Anne-Sophie Mathis fought in New Mexico.  The fight was not only action-packed but we saw Holm get stopped by the relentless and aggressive Mathis. 

We also saw an upset happen when Diana Prazak took on world champion Lindsay Garbatt.  At the beginning of their bout, it did not look good for Prazak, but she ended up winning the fight by a stoppage, and win the  WIBA Championship. 

In an outright war between Dahianna Santana and Stacey Reile was a toe-to-toe action bout, that boxing fans enjoyed thoroughly. It was one of the best fights of the night on this card that took place in Las Vegas. NV.

In the main event on the same card as the Reile-Santana
, Ada Velez and Melinda Cooper went non-stop for 10 rounds.  This was a grudge match in the making of this rematch, that finally was resolved when Velez won the fight by decision, and successfully defended her IBF title. 

In the rematch of Ana Maria Torres and Jackie Nava, it was nothing short of fantastic, when they fought for a  WBC  championship title.  These two also made boxing history with the WBC to be the first females to fight for the WBC Diamond World title belt.

These five top title bouts are what women's boxing are all about.  In WBAN's view, every one of these boxers was a winner----and they represented the sport at it's finest....


Mary Ann Owen
 of BILV


Top Photographer Covering Women's Boxing
Mary Ann Owen

Mary Ann Owen of BILV (BoxingInLasVegas.com), has been covering women's boxing and the top major men's bouts for many, many years now.  WBAN met Owen in 1998, and she has been featuring her coverage on WBAN with women boxers since that time.   WBAN would like to honor Owen for 2011 for her devotion to the females, giving them coverage that would not have happened if she had not been at the event...and taking some of the top female boxing photos in the sport today.

The Top "Cool" In the sport for 2011

Ring Magazine Gives Due Respect to Women's Boxing

Ring Magazine, THE BOXING MAGAZINE of the sport began having a special segment in their magazine featuring stories on some of the women boxers.  In 2011, we have seen a segment in the magazine with exposure to what is going on in the sport. 

This is just one of the types of coverage women's boxing needs, and it is greatly appreciated to see due respect given to many of these boxers.  

Let's hope that with the upcoming 2012 Olympics that will be taking place in London, will lift the sport to a new level of exposure, and that more television networks will begin to have more on the women on their programs.


Full Story with Photos

Steinhorst not only was involved in this event, but she also held a boxing camp in the same year for the women boxers...


All-Female Amateur Boxing Card - "Beautiful Brawlers"

This event that took place on Saturday, September 10, 2011, is a prime example of "giving back to the sport."  Not only did Lori Steinhorst of Bad Girls Boxing have another significant event that took time, money, and an undying devotion to the women boxers, but she is also looking to always be there to help these women in the sport---some of them struggling, and really need that help.  Also, involved in this event was Blanca Gutierrez, of BabyFace Boxing. This was a history-first that took place at the Pacifica Moose Lodge. Female boxers from all over California including San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Palm Desert, Fresno, Southern California, Oregon and Nevada made their way to Pacifica to the first ever all female amateur boxing event ever to take place in California.


Full Story

Flash Photo Slideshow

All-Women's Boxing Camp held in Coachella

This is not the first Camp that the Bad Girls Boxing Camp held for women boxers---but this is the camp that WBAN attended down in California at the Coachella Valley Boxing Club.  Their one-week boxing camp began on May 16, 2011. Lori Steinhorst of the BGB, had several amateur and pro female boxers attending the week long camp, with world champions Ann Marie Saccurato and Molly McConnell as the coaches.  This was definitely one of the top "Cools" in 2011 for the sport!


Full Story with Photos

Denver Police and WBC Cares Give to Local Children for Christmas

Denver Police Officer Nicholas Grove, on behalf of the Police Christmas Crusade, and Police District 4, and retired Police Officer C.C. Edwards, (director of the Denver Police Brotherhood Youth Boxing Team), and Head Coach Stephen Blea, and assistant coaches Roman Sanchez, coach Steve Kniffin, were all on hand to give a pizza party to Brotherhood boxers and family members and local children of the neighborhood.  They gave gifts from Denver Police & Sponsors


Christy Halbert
Full Story

USA's Coach Halbert receives USOC's prestigious Olympic Torch Award

An Award that Christy Halbert received could not be any more deserving in 2011.  "This will be the first Olympic Games in history to include men and women in all sports." This statement by Dr. Christy Halbert in her acceptance speech received a thunderous applause from the Olympians, leadership, sponsors and fans in attendance. 


The "NOT SO GOOD" , the Ridiculous, and most Tragic in the sport for 2011!


Six-Round Baby Belt Title Bouts....PLEASE go away!

One of the very worst things to take place in the sport in 2011,  was when some federations took it upon themselves to have meaningless six-round title bouts.  12-minute bouts to fight for a belt.  For the sake of the sport of women's boxing----the federations who are sanctioning six round title "BABY BELT" fights need to abolish this practice for 2012. 



Reality Boxing Show for Women Boxers in Mexico

What in the world was all this hype about, with a REALITY show featuring women boxers competing for $100,000.  This show, according to early press releases was to give women boxers major exposure? 

Honestly, WBAN had to practically send out heat-seeking missiles to get any kind of information about this "reality" show that was video'd in Mexico to find out when it would air, who won...and the list goes on...

What a lot of initial FIZZLE, that ended in no more than DRIZZLE for the women in the sport in 2011!


Munoz was Robbed not once, but twice in 2011!

Women boxers may want to think twice about fighting in this area...


Biggest "In the Ring" Robbery of 2011

Loli Munoz vs. Chris Namus

On March 19, 2011, at the Palacio Peñarol, Montevideo, Uruguay,  in WBAN's top pick for the biggest rip-off of the year, it was simply amazing viewing the tape of this fight between Loli Munoz vs. Chris Namus.  WBAN had received instant reports that Munoz was severely ripped from this bout and the title they were fighting for.  It was such a disgraceful display of a poor decision that the fight was reversed to a no contest.  Not to mention the fact that the 10-round, was prematurely ended at 1:28 seconds, instead of two minutes...The two rematched this same year, and WBAN was "again" informed that Munoz was ripped a second time----only in the world of boxing!


Rola El-Halabi


Rola El-Halabi shot by her Step-Father shortly before she was to step in the ring to fight!

In April of 2011, female boxer Rola El-Halabi was shot just prior to entering the ring to fight.   Her step-father Roy El-Halabi, opened fire on her in her dressing room, just before she was to fight Balijagic Adler in a IBF title bout. Roy was her former manager as of January of 2011.


Mona Nelson


Absolutely Tragic: Former Female Pro Boxer Accused of Murder!

In January of 2011, 44-year old Mona Nelson, 1-3-0 (0KO) of Texas, was arrested for the murder of 12-year old Jonathan Foster, of Houston, Texas. Foster came up missing on Christmas eve, where he was living with his mother and stepfather. The boy's body was discovered in a ditch burned beyond recognition. Nelson had admitted to police that she had been with Jonathan on the day he came up missing, and she also made an admission to the police that she was the one disposing of his body in the ditch, but made no confession as to actually killing the boy.

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