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Lucia Rijker vs. Gwen Smith

Grand Casino, Biloxi,MS, USA
 June 14th, 1997
CBS-TV fight report
for Women's Boxing Page



 Lucia Rijker TKO'd Gwen Smith in the fourth round on June 14th, 1997 at the Grand Casino, Biloxi, Miss.

CBS Sports originally announced that this match (advertised as being against Cora Lynn Moody) would be televised live as part of their Budweiser Boxing Series. But it was on the undercard of a fight between James "Lights Out" Toney and Steve Little for the IBO light heavyweight title. I fumed as Toney vs. Little, which was less than spectacular, went the distance and filled the time slot! A live Rijker fight would have been another network "first" for women's boxing and good exposure to a receptive audience for the charismatic and dangerous Lucia.

On July 12th, CBS Sports showed the third and fourth rounds of the Rijker-Smith fight unexpectedly as a filler item in another boxing show. Fortunately, a regular visitor to the Women's Boxing Page saw the show, and kindly sent this detailed report on the Rijker-Smith fragment ...

The third round started with Lucia Rijker off her stool and waiting in the center of the ring for Gwen Smith. There was a brief exchange in the center of the ring, without damage to either one, before backing off. Gwen lunged in with a left and got a left in return. Smith got in a right hand and pushed Lucia back into a corner. Gwen missed with a left and right, while lunging forward. She ended up overextended and Lucia tied Gwen up. Smith stayed upright with her left hand grabbing to hold Lucia's head in. Lucia used her free right hand to stab two short uppercuts to the midsection, before they were separated.

Immediately after the break, Gwen landed a solid left to the head. Lucia grabs and holds on. There is about 50 seconds left in the round at this point. After the break, Lucia bounces away, apparently none the worse for wear. Gwen is flat footed and shuffles, with a wide legged stance.

As they come together, Lucia is on her toes and juking little feints, with both hands. Gwen lunges and misses a left. Lucia feints with a right and lands a straight left and moves off. Lucia moves back and Gwen greets her with a right to the head. Lucia responds with a solid left hook and a straight right to the head. Lucia follows with two left hooks, the first to the body and the second, to the head rocking Gwen. Gwen bent forward with her arms wide spread. Lucia tried to move in and slipped in a right uppercut that glanced off Gwen's head.

The ref was moving between and his position partially blocked the uppercut. He gave Gwen a standing 8 count. She took it standing at the ropes getting a quick drink of water, from her second. There was 20 seconds left in the round.

Lucia and Gwen squared off eyeing each other. Each stayed out of range, feinting moves, seemingly waiting for the other to make the first move forward. The round ended without another blow being thrown.

Between rounds we were given slow-mo replays, of Smith's left that caught Lucia, and of her hook that put Gwen in trouble at the end. Gwen's head snapped to the left and her eyes lost focus, as she sagged without going down.

Smith's second vehemently told her not to box with Lucia, as she was being set up by boxing. Lucia's corner continued to preach, she stay behind her left jab, as they had in previous rounds, per the announcer.

In the 4th, they met in the center of the ring. There was some back and forth with punches thrown by each with little effect. Their movement and body contact moved Gwen toward the ropes with Lucia moving in. There was some pawing to no effect. Gwen led with a looping right toward Lucia's head. Lucia ducked under and weaved to the left and threw a left hook, to the head over Gwen's extended right. Gwen's right knee collapsed and she went over backwards, her neck fortunately landed on the bottom rope.

The ref pushed Lucia backed to her corner. He turned to Gwen, who was trying to clear the cobwebs and gain some coordination to get up, when he stopped the fight with 1:10 left in the round.

Gil Clancey, the color commentator, said "you can't get hit any harder than that." The move was a classic training exercise, to avoid a right hand lead and cross over with a hook to the head.

He went on to say Lucia was the most professional woman boxer he has ever seen, and best of all the woman boxers around now. He personally is not happy with the idea of woman fighting.

My own editorial comment is that Gwen Smith was outclassed. She appears to be tough and can take a punch. She is a brawler with a punch and may have a career as the "opponent", for more talented fighters getting experience. Her record coming in was 2 wins, 2 losses with one knockout. She lunges and throws round house punches, that leave her off balance, perfect for a skilled boxer to use for target practice. Her performance looks exactly like someone starting out and in her fifth match. Her management would best serve her by taking her back to school, and not overmatching her in hopes of making a fast buck.

I'll bow to Gil Clancey's expert assessment of Lucia Rijker, not having seen the current crop of fighters in action. She shows the progress made by someone having been undefeated in about 35 kickboxing matches, prior to being undefeated in 8 previous boxing matches. Her conditioning, movement and short, swift punches show the result of expert training and instruction. She appears to be equally fortunate in her gene selection, as she appears to have an excellent constitution and inherent athletic ability, to build on. She's a joy to watch from outside the ropes.

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Page last updated: Sunday, May 23, 2004


Fight Report originally on Women's Boxing Page



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