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Corinne Van Ryck de Groot

 
   

5'5" Corinne "Goose" Van Ryck de Groot was born in East York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada on June 6, 1969. Her parents are from Guyana. Corinne's nickname "Goose" came from her childhood fondness for the "Mother Goose" nursery rhymes.

Corinne studied at Seneca College and played varsity soccer for several years before graduating with a BA in criminology and English from Carleton University in Ottawa.

She then joined the Ottawa-Carleton police force, at times dressing like a hooker in order to arrest johns on local streets. With no room in her tiny outfit or thigh-high black boots to hide a weapon, she relied on signals to her backup team. "My signal to them when I had made the john was I would zip my boot," she told reporter Ann Marie McQueen of the Ottawa Sun newspaper.

Corinne stayed on the Ottawa force for three years but she wasn't happy with police work. "Your dream is be helpful to people, but what really happens is you see the same small percentage of the public over and over again, the criminal element ... it was really hard on the spirit," she told McQueen. 

Corinne moved from police work into personal training and stunt work, but her entry into boxing was almost accidental. While on vacation shooting a Crunch fitness video in Los Angeles, she worked out at a boxing gym where "the bug just bit me."

She began her boxing career in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1998 under the tutelage of veteran trainer Ronnie Shields. She made her pro debut on July 25, 1998 at the Sons of Italy Lodge in Lake Worth, Florida, winning a four-round unanimous decision over Lisa Cuevas of Orlando in junior welterweight action. Cuevas fell to 0-2 with the loss.

On September 12, 1998, again in Lake Worth, Corinne TKO'd debut fighter Latasha Boyd in the first round. Boyd didn't fight again.

On January 16, 1999 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Corinne (136 lbs) stopped debut fighter Heather Shoffner (136 lbs) of Indianapolis at 1:05 of the first round of a scheduled six-rounder. 

On January 30, 1999 at Miccosukee Resort and Gaming in Miami, Florida, she TKO'd another debut fighter, Holly Curry, in the first round. Curry didn't fight again.


Corinne (back to camera) fights Sandy Liptak in 1999
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On April 3, 1999 at the New Frontier in Las Vegas, Nevada, Corinne (133½ lbs) moved her pro record to 5-0 (3 KOs) with a four-round unanimous decision over Sandy Liptak (135 lbs) of Chicago, Illinois, who fell to 2-2-1.

In 2000, Corinne moved to Atlanta, but she trained in New York with Joel Judah, the father of well-known boxer Zab Judah. She says that  “Team Judah” was where she learned lessons that still form the basis of her boxing philosophy ... that “speed is power” and that “defense is key.”

On May 3, 2001 at Argosy Atrium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Corinne moved her pro record to 6-0 (3 KO's) with a clear (40-36) four-round unanimous decision over Angie Bordelon of New Orleans, Louisiana, who slipped to 2-3.

On July 3, 2001 at Southern Star Amphitheatre, Six Flags Over Georgia, Corinne moved to 7-0 (4 KO's) with a second-round TKO of  Shakurah Witherspoon of Philadelphia. Van Ryck de Groot put Witherspoon on the canvas twice in the second before the bout was stopped. Witherspoon fell to 8-22-1 (4 KO's) with the loss.

Because Witherspoon was her first experienced opponent after a two-year layoff from competition, Corinne said that "I thought that (Witherspoon) was going to be my hardest fight (but) it was the easiest fight I'd ever had."

On September 21, 2001 at Martinez Sports Center in Tampa, Florida, Corinne (128 lbs) won a unanimous six-round decision over Tampa's Brenda Vickers (129½ lbs). Van Ryck de Groot improved to 8-0 while Vickers fell to 4-4.

"Brenda (Vickers) was a tough fight," Corinne told WBAN's Brian Ackley. "I fought her in her hometown, and I didn't know she was a left hander so I didn't prepare for that. I put in my sparring and running and everything you can do for a fight, but I didn't find out she was a lefty 'til the day before. That was what really was a turning point in my career, because I realized I do have the skill, and the ability and the talent to handle high pressure situations. She really came to fight, everybody was there cheering for her, I was getting the boos. By the end of the fight, that turned around."

On February 2, 2002 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, Corinne (128½ lbs) pounded out a six-round unanimous decision over Kelsey Jeffries (126 lbs) of Gilroy, California. Jeffries, a future IFBA world featherweight champion,  was already the WIBF Americas Featherweight champion and had been in several world title fights. Nonetheless, Van Ryck de Groot showed superior ring skills and outboxed Jeffries, bloodying Kelsey's face with her accurate counterpunching and knocking her down twice in the second round. Van Ryck de Groot advanced to 9-0-0 (4 KO) with this win while Jeffries fell to 11-6-0 (1 KO).

"I was hearing a lot of things before that fight (with Kelsey Jeffries.) I promise you so many people told me, 'Don't take that fight, it's too big a step up.' People look at me and it's like they see the outer appearance and they judge me on that rather than my work ethic," she said. "I'm up at 6 a.m. every morning and sometimes don't go to bed until 11 p.m. and in between it's just eating, training, sleeping. I've worked very hard. But it's OK, it's probably a positive thing that people underestimate me, and maybe it gives me an advantage. Kelsey was talking a lot before the fight, as were Brenda and Shakurah (Witherspoon), but I'm very quiet prior to stepping into the ring, I try to get myself into kind of a zone"

On June 8, 2002 at Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee, Corinne (129 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-54, 59-55, 58-56) decision over JoJo Wyman (128 lbs) of Los Angeles, another world class contender. Van Ryck de Groot used good footwork and quick jabs to the head and body to control a well-fought bout between the two southpaws. Wyman tried to force the action throughout much of the fight but she was unable to land solidly on the nimble Van Ryck de Groot, who countered well with right hooks in the later rounds. Van Ryck de Groot advanced to 10-0-0 (4 KO) with the win while Wyman fell to 9-5-1 (0 KO). This bout was on the undercard of the Lewis vs. Tyson world heavyweight title fight.

2002 had established Corinne as a rising star in the sport, thanks to her natural talent and her dedication to mental and physical preparation. She told Brian Ackley: "Whenever I step in the ring, I'm so thoroughly prepared. I have three different trainers. My training regimen is very strict. I don't feel like I'm going to lose, I always feel like I'm going to win and dominate the fight and learn something."

Although apparently poised for success as a pro boxer, Corinne took another timeout from competition in 2003 to compete on the NBC-TV reality show "The Next Action Star". She was pitted against 13 rivals for a $25,000 cash prize and for a role in "Bet Your Life", a made-for-TV action movie that screened after the show ended in August 2004. 

Corinne won the women's competition and the part, which cast her  as a bounty hunter who chases and then aids a cab driver who becomes prey in a rich man's urban hunting game.  (The cab driver was played by her fellow winner Sean Carrigan, also a boxer, and the villain by Billy Zane.)  "I thought it was very generic," said van Ryck de Groot of the formula movie, which gave her only limited opportunities to display her athletic talent. She added: "I like the genre. The physical nature of the genre comes easily to me. I think I'd like to be the female version of The Rock."


Corinne celebrates a win in 1999
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

Corinne returned to boxing competition on April 14, 2007 at the Becknell Gymnasium in Batesville, Arkansas, winning by a TKO at 1:08 in the first round over Cantrell Sewell of Shreveport, Louisiana, who fell to 0-2. Both had weighed in at 124 lbs. 

On June 30, 2008 Corinne earned a spot on the NBC American Gladiators TV show appearing as the character "Panther".

On September 26, 2009 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Georgetown, Guyana, Shondell Alfred (114¾ lbs) of Guyana delivered Corinne (117½ lbs) her first pro boxing loss via a 10-round unanimous (99-90,97-90,96-92) decision for the vacant WIBA Bantamweight title. Alfred knocked de Groot down at 1:13 of the second round but later went to the canvas four times which were ruled as slips by the referee. De Groot's team protested the decision and WIBA President Ryan Wissow has mandated a rematch, saying that "The referee missed a knockdown in round 10, but by then Shondell was well ahead on points and even if he scored other knockdowns, Shondell still would’ve won a decision. The referee did a good job from rounds 1 through 9” .  Alfred advanced to 11-5 (3 KO's) while de Groot's record slipped to 11-1 (5 KO's).

On June 5, 2010 at the Princess Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana, Shondell Alfred (116 lbs) won the mandatory rematch over Corinne  (118 lbs) in spectacular fashion, TKO'ing De Groot at 1:23 in the fourth round of the scheduled 10-rounder. As reported in the Guyana Chronicle, "The eagerness to put De Groot to sleep could have been sensed from the opening round as Alfred wasted no time to launch at her opponent with vengeance but yet still tactically planned her every attack. All the rounds were the same until the third when the Guyanese hurt the American in the closing minutes of the round ... Noticing De Groot was weakened from the blows of the previous round; Alfred came out like an assassinator in round four and went straight for the kill which she got in dramatic fashion. A three shot combination did the damage – it started with a launching right, then a hard left which followed by a jaw twisting right that sent De Groot through the ropes on the canvas. The crowd were more amazed than shocked and took some time to respond to what unfolded before there eyes as even President Jagdeo sitting ring-side couldn’t help standing to join Alfred in celebration." bAlfred advanced to 12-5 (4 KO's) while de Groot fell to 11-2 (5 KO's).

"My whole thing is I know that I can fight well", she says. "But outside the ring I also realize boxing is a business. People outside of it look at it as entertainment. So I make sure I'm in the best shape I can, I want to look good physically. I want to win, but I also want people to see there's someone who takes care of themselves, conscious of the way I look - boxing is such a brutal sport, it's a man's sport - so I want people to see you can have a beautiful woman and a beautiful personality, see something pretty, who at the same time who has worked hard and can step in the ring and put on a good show and be just as good as any man out there. You need to look good, you need to feel good, you need to be happy, you need to be healthy and you need to be skilled to step in the ring. I've got this opportunity, I'm going to prove to the people women can fight, that we put a lot of work in."

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