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Two-time World Tough Woman Contest champion Andrea DeShong (5' 6", 143 lbs) from Mingo Junction, Ohio had two careers in pro boxing as well as working as a security guard and massage therapist.

DeShong was born on March 15 1962. She first tried her hand at boxing in the late 80's. She made her debut at 135 lbs on March 11 1989 in Wheeling, West Virginia, knocking out Angel Horton (136 lbs) of Cleveland, Ohio in the first round.  After a 5-round point decision over Danata Griffin in Tennessee on April 8, 1989, Andrea won a four-round split decision over debut fighter Jamie Whitcomb at the Holiday Inn in Parkersburg, West Virginia on June 2, 1989.

Back at the Holiday Inn in Parkersburg on September 8, 1989 she TKO'd Sharon Taylor in the second round after knocking her down twice in the first round and again in the second,  On October 12, 1989 she won a four-round points decision over Susie Melton.

On November 4, 1989 in Bristol, Tennessee, Andrea DeShong faced a future icon of women's boxing, Christy Martin of West Virginia, then 21 years old and 2-1-1 as a pro boxer. DeShong had been in the ring with Martin once before, on July 30, 1988 over three rounds in a West Virginia Tough Woman contest    The fight in Bristol was a five-rounder, and DeShong battered Martin to a points loss.

On December 2, 1989 at the Valley Sports Arena in Roanoke, Virginia, Andrea won a five-round rematch with Jamie Whitcomb by a unanimous decision.  She then knocked out Rose Noble in the first round on March 10, 1999.

On April 21, 1990 she again faced Christy Martin in Bristol, Tennessee. This was won by Martin on a controversial five-round decision. (There was speculation that the referee was keeping Andrea away when the up-and-coming Martin was hurt.)

DeShong retired from the pro ring for six years after this, but she was lured back to it by the reaction to Christy's bloody-nosed defeat of Ireland's Deirdre Gogarty on the Tyson vs. Bruno undercard.

On April 27, 1996 in Chester, West Virginia, Andrea lost her comeback bout to southpaw Christine Butts of Des Moines, Iowa by a four-round decision. (Butts had a brief but successful pro career in which she went 4-0, winning all of her other fights by KO). 

On May 22, 1996 she bounced back by TKO'ing debut fighter Jackie Rodgers in the first round, and June 4 she repeated the performabce with a third-round TKO of Rodgers at Martins West in Woodlawn, Maryland.

On June 22, 1996 at Mark Etess Arena in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Andrea won a six-round decision over Stacy Prestage of Kansas City, who had been a pro boxer since 1990 and had held the WIBF Junior Lightweight world title, losing it to Dierdre Gogarty in 1993. Prestage fell to 8-3-3 with this loss to DeShong.

This win set up a match against Kathy Collins in Madison Square Garden that was carried live by the Cable USA Network on August 20, 1996. Although she faced a relative novice (Collins' record was a mere 2-0-1 compared to DeShong's 11-2), DeShong found that the road back was harder going than she had expected. After six well-fought two-minute rounds, Andrea was on the wrong end of a unanimous decision, and her readiness to face Christy Martin again was very much in question!

She KO'd Janet Green in the first round of her next fight at the Mountaineer Race Track, Chester, WV on September 27, 1996 and fought Isra Girgrah to a draw over four rounds in Washington, DC on October 1996.  On February 12, 1997 at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley, Idaho Andrea TKO'd Helga Risoy of Norway in the sixth round.

vs. Jane Couch, March 2 1997

Andrea was then outclassed and TKO'd in seven rounds by British champion Jane Couch in a WIBF welterweight title fight in New Orleans on March 2, 1997.  Andrea showed some power in the early going, but Couch worked her body well, then went to the head as Andrea faded. Several people who saw this fight told me that they believed Andrea's intended comeback against Martin was just wishful thinking.  

Andrea fought Christy for the fourth time on the undercard of Holyfield vs. Tyson II at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on June 28th, 1997. Andrea had punching power, and the motivation to hang tough with Christy, who she believed was over-rated. But to beat lightweight Christy again she needed to pull something out of the bag that she didn't have against welterweights Collins and Couch. And she needed to do it in the early rounds, as the 35-year-old's ability to bang with Martin over the full 10 rounds was questionable after her performance in New Orleans.

landing on Christy Martin, June 28 1997

Andrea bloodied Christy's nose in the second round, but Martin responded with good body punching, especially in the third. The fight then followed Jane Couch's script in New Orleans as Andrea again seemed ready only for a fight of Toughwoman length. She began to fade in the third and had become an easy target for Martin by the sixth.  The fight was stopped at 1:43 of the seventh when the referee led Andrea to a corner after Martin had scored about five jabs at will. The ring doctor said Andrea should not continue.

In a move typical of promoter Don King, Andrea had been named as Christy Martin's opponent only about a week before the fight (both Dora Webber and Isra Girgrah had previously been announced), so it's doubtful that DeShong was properly prepared for it.  In any case, Martin beat her the way Jane Couch had done, only Christy got her own nose bloodied badly in the process!

Andrea next fought Lucia Rijker on September 13, 1997 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. She defended well for two rounds but succumbed by TKO to a powerful Rijker body shot at 1:29 in the third round of a scheduled six-rounder. Rijker progressed to 8-0 as a pro boxer with this win.

On January 10, 1998 at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, IFBA welterweight champion Kathy Collins (136½ lbs) won a unanimous decision over DeShong (137½ lbs) for the IWBF junior welterweight championship;

On March 28, 1998 at the Market Center in Kansas City, Missouri, Sumya Anani (139 lbs) moved her pro boxing record to 10-0 with a 6-round unanimous decision over DeShong (146 rds).

On August 11, 1999 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mitzi Jeter (145 lbs) of Dalton, Georgia moved her own pro record to 11-3-1 with a ten-round decision over DeShong (146 lbs) whose record dropped to 13-6.  This would be Andrea's last pro fight.

DeShong had said that her eventual goal was to start a natural medicine practice and to live close to nature. She spoke of wanting to live in a log cabin on 100 acres somewhere in the mountains.

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Page last updated: Friday, 06 November 2015


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