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Brenda with IFBA title belt
Copyrighted photo courtesy of Brenda Vickers/Jeff Dudney


Junior lightweight Brenda "Real Deal Too" Vickers from Tampa, Florida was a bodybuilder and fitness champion before she turned to professional boxing.

Brenda was born in Tampa on March 8, 1965. She started her career in entertainment at the age of 15, in a high school fashion show. She then worked with various modeling groups in the Tampa Bay area. In 1989, she moved to Burbank, California and worked in several movies and music videos before returning to Florida to do modeling for Mary Kay cosmetics.

In 1997, Brenda won first place in the "Thunderbay Bodybuilding" show, held in Tampa, Florida. Two weeks later, she took second place in the Junior Florida show.

Brenda says she got interested in boxing when she and her husband Jeff Dudney, also a bodybuilder, stopped by a gym where they had a "two for one" deal.  They both began working out with a trainer who saw Brenda's potential.  She began boxing professionally in 1999 and named herself "The Real Deal, Too" after Evander Holyfield.

On April 30, 1999 at the Park Plaza Hotel in Hialeah, Florida Brenda made her pro debut at 131 lbs and dropped Marcela Guido (130 lbs) of Nicaragua to 1-2 with a TKO at 1:42 of the fourth round.

Brenda battling Snodene Blakeney
Copyrighted photo taken by Sandy Goldberg

On June 19, 1999 at Miccosukee Indian Gaming in Miami, Florida, Snodene Blakeney of Austin, Texas moved to 7-2 with a four-round unanimous decision over Brenda, who dropped to 1-1. This was Blakeney's second fight in eight days!

Jeff Dudney told me that Brenda took the fight at five days' notice and under what he felt were false pretences. "I want everyone to know what happened", he said, "We had an agreement with the matchmaker that we wanted to fight girls with similar experience, with Brenda just starting her career. He told us he didn't have the name of the girl we were to fight and had no contract for us to view. He would never let me talk to the promoter directly and for good reason. He gave me a phony name of the girl we were to fight and told us she had one fight and was 0-1. I have also found out that the contract he gave my wife to sign was not the contract for the fight. He didn't want us to turn down the fight because this was Snodene's ninth fight at 6-2 and I hear her two losses were very controversial. There were no weight restrictions in the contract and she weighed about 10 pounds more than Brenda. She had studied tapes of Brenda to see the best way to fight her, I found out from other people I have talked to. They froze us out in the dressing room for five hours as they kept changing the fight schedule. Not to make excuses but the cards were stacked against us. I hate to sound bitter but there was no excuse for what he did to us. We are now with a new reputable manager and matchmaker team and good things are in the future. Even with all those advantages Snodene barely won on points. Look for the "Real Deal Too" to be champion in the next few years!"

On August 28, 1999 at Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Brenda weighed in at 126 lbs and won a four-round unanimous (40-35) decision over Pamela Opdyke (126 lbs) of New Orleans, Louisiana. Opdyke was knocked down one minute into the first round and never got untracked in the bout, which dropped her record to 0-3.

On October 1, 1999, at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana, Brenda won a four-round majority decision over Demetrice Steele in junior lightweight action. The fight was Steele's pro debut.

On March 25, 2000 at Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Brenda weighed in at 130 lbs and defeated Mary Ann Haik (129 lbs) of Pearl River, Louisiana by four round unanimous decision (40-36 on all three scorecards). Haik fell to 6-8.

On November 24, 2000 at Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, IFBA Junior Lightweight champion Doris Hackl (129½ lbs) of Pugwash, Nova Scotia retained her title and moved to 6-0 with a 10-round split (97-95,97-95,92-98) decision over Brenda. This was a bout that one judge and Vickers thought she had clearly won with her stiff right jab.

"I kept this woman into my jab, I was having fun, I was having a great time and I won every round," Vickers told local reporters after the fight. "She's had many, many more fights, many, many more years of experience and for the level where I am, I did well. I really thought I had it won. I don't know (about the decision), I guess this a lesson I have to learn in boxing."

On May 19, 2001 at Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio, Colorado, Tracy Byrd (129¼ lbs) of Flint, Michigan made her ring comeback after an 18-month layoff from an injury by defeating Brenda (129 lbs) to take the vacant IFBA Intercontinental Junior Lightweight belt. Byrd, who was a former IFBA world Junior Lightweight champion, used body punching to wear down Vickers for the 98-92,100-90,97-93 unanimous decision. Byrd advanced to 12-2 (4 KO's) with the win.

On September 21, 2001 at Martinez Sports Center in Tampa, Florida Corinne VanRyckDeGroot (128 lbs) from Atlanta, Georgia won a unanimous six-round decision over Brenda (129 lbs), moving her own record to 8-0.   VanRyckDeGroot has said that this was her hardest fight ... "I got a black eye in that fight, but she was much worse off."

Brenda ended undefeated Doris Hackl's boxing career
while winning the IFBA Lightweight title


On March 28, 2002 at the Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Brenda (134 lbs) knocked local favorite Doris Hackl (133 lbs) of Pugwash, Nova Scotia down in the third, eighth and ninth rounds on the way to a clear ten-round unanimous decision for the vacant IFBA lightweight title.

Hackl came back from the third-round knockdown to keep the fight fairly even until Vickers settled matters with two more solid knockdowns in the late going. In this rematch of their November 2000 encounter, Vickers moved well and consistently beat Hackl to the punch to land heavy leather on the Canadian who had previously gone undefeated in 23 pro and amateur bouts. Vickers advanced to 5-4-0 (1 KO) with the win. Hackl fell to 6-1 (2 KO) and immediately announced her retirement from boxing.

In April 2002, Brenda was selected as WBAN's Fighter of the Month. 

Brenda credited hypnotherapist Herb Hamilton with helping her overcome her fears of boxing after her losses to Hackl, Byrd and VanRyckdeGroot. One technique of his was to make Vickers change the color of her boxing outfit, because she had begun to associate it with her losses. 

On November 9, 2002 at South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach, Florida, Brenda won a six-round unanimous decision over Brenda Bell Drexel. Vickers tried to box on the outside throughout this fight and used her reach advantage to keep the aggressive Bell Drexel at bay. She improved to 6-4-0 (1 KO) while Bell Drexel fell to 5-16-2 (0 KOs).

Brenda wanted to fight Mia St. John!
Copyrighted photo supplied by Jeff Dudney

Brenda then issued a challenge to Mia St. John, saying: "You should be ashamed to call yourself a champion when all you look for is give-me fights. Styles make fights, and your style suits us fine. We are now issuing you an open challenge, via the internet, so that if you refuse then what people are saying about you is the truth."  This match never occurred, and Brenda has since retired.

Vickers says the course of hypnotism worked so well for her that it also contributed to her retiring from the ring ... because she was now so good that no one was willing to fight her!

Asked about her advice to young boxers, Brenda said "First of all, go to a good gym. You need to be very careful because there are lot's of people that want to lead you in the wrong direction just to make a buck off of you."

In an interview with John Pengygraft of the St. Petersburg Times in January, 2002, Brenda spoke about her approach to boxing, saying:

"At my fights I try to wear cute little outfits. Flashy, shiny, a little bow in my hair. It's not like two guys fighting. About an hour before the fight I'll put on my outfit, put on some eyeliner. I can only use eyeliner because I'm going to have my face greased. Maybe just a little lipstick. I give the crowd a little cutesy-cutesy. You get the whistles, the cat calls. I can do all that. Then win the fight."

"Winning is great. You get to a peak in a fight when you know you've won. It's a great feeling; you know your opponent and you know you're going to beat them. You can know it in the third round of a 10-round fight. It's hard to describe, especially if it's someone with a title or who has more fights than you.

Then there's fights where you lose something. You lose the will, and no matter how hard you try you can't get it back. It's in your heart to, you want to get it back, but you can't. You're concentrating more that you're losing than on the fight. If you have heart you just keep on going and hope you'll get a lucky punch that'll knock her out."

>"To be a fighter means to be a warrior. Being a warrior to me is someone who can stand up and take the challenge, won't back down. That's in life and in boxing. If there's a challenge you take the challenge, if there's a problem you take the problem, you don't give it to someone else. That's a warrior . . . and you do it with pride."

More Brenda Vickers links

  • My Dream
    Brenda talked to John Pendygraft of the St. Petersburg Times
    published January 26, 2002

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Page last updated: Friday, 06 November 2015


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