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"Leather and Lace"

Grand Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi
 August 2, 1997
fight reports
for Women's Boxing Page
by Erik Anderson



Anissa Zamarron W 8 Brenda Rouse (flyweight)
Fredia Gibbs TKO 1 Gail Grandchamp (lightweight)
Bonnie Canino W 10 Beverly Szymanski (featherweight title)
Kathy Collins TKO 2 Christina Berry (welterweight title)
Yvonne Trevino W 10 Suzanne Riccio-Major (bantamweight title)
Tracy Byrd W 10 Nora Daigle (lightweight title)

I was actually very impressed by the whole card. All the aspects that made the last event a disappointment had been fixed and it turned out to be a card not only good for women's boxing, but one that would be good for boxing as a whole. Although there have been several notable exceptions (Ex: Tapia/Romero), as of late, we've been doomed to watch disqualifications, each stranger than the last. Mismatches, like the fights, typical of Don King cards, that ruined the undercard of the disastrous "Sound and the Fury," have also hurt the sport.

However, on this card, we saw no DQs, no stoppages on cuts, and just about no controversy. What we did see were some actual competitive fights, often very entertaining. The undercard wasn't just filled, it was actually worth watching.

This broadcast of this card was also much improved over the last all-women card from this organization. This time around the sound was clear and the satellite feed was never interrupted. I thought they made an improvement by using "Blinkey" Rodriguez as Phil Stone's broadcast partner and the camera work, which was good the first time around, was even better. Now to the individual fights:

Anissa Zamarron vs. Brenda Rouse

Anissa Zamarron vs. Brenda Rouse Anissa Zamarron
works on
Brenda Rouse
against the ropes

The fight card started off with a bang as Zamarron literally went toe-to-toe with fellow flyweight Rouse for eight full rounds. From the opening bell, a pattern developed with Zamarron coming forward and her opponent trying to counter. Both women landed their share of punches in the first four rounds of the fight and neither were shy about punching to the body of their opponent. Rouse though was slightly better in those early rounds winning them mostly on effective aggression.

Between Rounds Four and Five, Tommy Morrison, who was working Rouse's corner for the fight, urged her to stay off the ropes. In Rounds One through Four she had often backed herself up against the ropes making her an easy target for Anissa. But, in Round Five, although she found herself against the ropes early, she seemed to remember Morrison's advise late and finished the round strong, landing several one-two's that stunned Zamarron and backed her up for the first time in the fight.

Round Six also was a good round for Brenda. She was able to establish a stiff jab that slowed down Anissa, who's nose had been bloodied in the last round's exchanges. Zamarron seemed to have lost the good lateral and head movement she had shown in the first four and she seemed to be catching punches on her face that had landed on her gloves earlier in the fight.

The momentum turned once again in Rounds Seven and Eight of the fight as "The Assassin" regained her good movement and as a result also regained control of the fight. She was able to score again doing good work on the body and head of Rouse. By the end of the fight, Rouse had some considerable swelling on her face and appeared to be the beaten fighter.

My Scorecard: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  F

Zamarron     10 10 10 10  9  9 10 10 78
Rouse         9  9  9  9 10 10 10  9 75

The judges did award Zamarron (8-4, 3KOs) a unanimous decision (78-76, 77-75, 77-73) and she certainly fought her heart out as did Rouse (7-2-1). However, both boxers have some faults that they will need to work on in order to become contenders.

For Zamarron, the most helpful adjustment she could make is to not throw as many arm punches. She is very aggressive and likes to drive opponents back, but she will probably have more trouble doing that in the future unless she changes her punching style. Basically, she just needs to put more of her body into her blows. This will also help her utilize the good body work she does. More powerful body punches will give opponents more reason to drop their hands.

Rouse, on the other hand, would be well served to develop a stiffer jab. She seemed to have one in Round Six of this fight but she'll need to use it more often. Brenda will also need to get rid of her habit of backing herself up to the ropes where she has no room to maneuver. She got in trouble with Yvonne Trevino in that situation and it did her no good against Zamarron either. The Zamarron fight was in a huge ring (22 x 22 ft.). She should have used the area she had better than she did.

Fredia Gibbs vs. Gail Grandchamp

Fredia Gibbs

first-round TKO
in a mismatch!

I won't waste very much time with this one. In by far the worst bout of the evening, Gibbs took apart the 42 year old "Champ" with ease. Grandchamp was completely ill prepared for this fight. Luckily, this one only lasted 1:10. Gibbs' first flurry consisted of mostly left hooks that miss but she did land one straight right and it was enough to send Grandchamp backing up. As she stumbled back ending up in her own corner Fredia unleased several sloppy looking overhand rights and Gail just covered up until referee Robert Williams stepped in to have a look at her.

After Grandchamp's mouthpiece fell out revealing a mouth which was missing several teeth, Williams stopped it. The teeth must have been gone before the opening bell, as Fredia didn't seem to do nearly enough damage to knock anyone's teeth out. Yet, there was speculation that when the ref saw her bleeding gums he was under the impression that they were knocked out and this is why he stopped it. In the end it really doesn't matter. Grandchamp looked like she was in there only to boost Fredia's record (now 3-0, 2 KOs).

IFBA Featherweight Championship:
Bonnie "The Cobra" Canino vs. "Battling" Beverly Szymanski


Bonnie Canino

notched another
world title


Beverly Szymanski

Early indications in this fight all pointed to a runaway victory for favorite, Bonnie "The Cobra" Canino. The southpaw dominated both Rounds One and Two with the same formula: stick and move, stay on the outside, and work everything off the jab. She was dancing circles around Szymanski who was getting hit over and over by the Canino jab usually followed by a straight left.

However, "Battling Beverly" closed the gap on the scorecards in the next three rounds by closing the gap between her and Canino. In Rounds Three, Four, and Five of this championship battle, Szymanski was occasionally able to slip Bonnie's jab. Once she was inside she was able to do her best work, pounding away at Canino's rib cage, occasionally setting up good head shots. In Round Five, she landed two good left hooks to Bonnie's head that had her a little wobbly.

Round Six started well for Szymanski as she landed a hard right hand early, but Bonnie regained the momentum after that and dominated the rest of the round as well as the fight with her speed. Beverly was occasionally able to get inside during the last four rounds to make a fight out of it, but for the most part, Canino's jab was superior. After the final bell, Canino was obviously confident that she would receive the outcome as she wore a shirt saying "Been There, Won That." The judges did score it for Canino (98-92, 98-93, 97-92) as she became the first IFBA Champion to be crowned. Bonnie's record moved to 7-1, 4 KOs while Szymanski's fell to 4-3, 3 KOs.

My Scorecard:

            1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10   F

Canino     10 10 10  9  9 10 10 10 10 10  98
Szymanski   9  9 10 10 10  9 10  9  9  9  94

IFBA Welterweight Championship
Kathy "Wildcat" Collins vs. Christina "The Tiger" Berry

Kathy Collins

Kathy Collins
Christina Berry


In the matchup of the felines, Kathy Collins proved to be true to her "Wildcat" nickname.

The first and only time I had seen Collins fight previous to this was the night she pulled off the big upset over Andrea DeShong. She appeared to be a very talented defensive fighter who works the body well. She did well to land against DeShong who isn't that easy to hit, but didn't seem to have any real threatening powerful punches.

The Kathy Collins that Christina Berry ran into, or rather got run over by, seemed to be a new and improved one though. She certainly didn't lack any power in her fists and her fists didn't have any problem finding Berry, who was like a statue in the ring with no head movement at all.

From the opening bell Kathy asserted her dominance. She threw jabs from the outside and then often worked her way inside, usually following her jab with good hard hooks to the body which would set up ones to the head.When Christina did manage to get punches off, Collins expertly dodged them with the good bobbing and weaving that seemed to be the key to victory in the DeShong fight. Berry was doing a good job of soaking up punishment, but that's about all she could do. She was already developing welts under her eyes though she had only been in the ring for one round.

In Round Two, Collins seemed to really start loading up more on her punches and the end looked imminent. During the second minute of Round Two, Berry threw a left hook which Kathy caught on her glove, and was greeted in return by an overhand right from Collins knocking her down and really cleaning her clock. Berry did manage to rise back up to her feet but she was clearly out of it. As the referee waived action back on, Collins charged out at her dazed opponent with another overhand right. The ref immediately stopped the action as Berry was in no condition to continue.

It was Collins' second KO as a professional out of the six wins she now has, (she's still unbeaten at 6-0-3). If she continues to fight like this though, expect her knockout to win ratio to improve. She just seems much more ferocious than in the past.

There is no doubt about who Kathy wants next. "Come on Christy, let's get it on!" is what she screamed into the camera after the fight. A Christy Martin / Kathy Collins matchup could well prove to be a great fight and I would certainly be interested in seeing it. A Martin / Rijker showdown is obviously the one in most demand but there doesn't seem to be any way that one will happen.

Could Collins beat Martin? Based on what I saw August 2nd I think so. I wouldn't favor her as heavily as I would Rijker but I may give her a slight advantage in the odds. Collins has a slippery style that could confuse and she now seems to be hitting pretty hard. I feel that what held Gogarty back is that she didn't punch hard enough to hurt Martin. Collins could hurt her I think and if she gets Martin going backwards, like Holyfield did to Tyson, she could win convincingly. The one unknown factor about Collins is her chin. We all know Martin hits hard and it will probably take someone who can take a punch to beat her.

Looking at it realistically though, Martin vs. Collins is unlikely to happen. First of all, Christy has only fought one fight, that I know of against someone in her weight class, that is on the same level as her as a boxer, Laura Serrano (a fight I haven't seen but most of what I heard suggests that if the judges scorecards weren't stacked against Serrano, she would have won). That was before she became a superstar. Since, the competition has been even thinner with most opponents getting almost no advance notice for the fight.

Even if Don King decides it is time to give Christy a real fight, still don't count on Collins as an opponent. King doesn't promote the IFBA and Collins has their title. Unless the IFBA would sell the rights to their card to King (something he's probably uninterested in anyway) forget about a Martin / Collins showdown.

Hopefully Collins will be pitted against someone in her class, if not Martin. It would be great if SHE could go against Rijker. Unfortunately similar problems as with making a Martin fight may arise as Arum owns Lucia. Other good matches for her could come against Valerie Henin-Wiet, Mary-Ann Almager, or Laura Serrano. Hopefully the WIBF will allow Wiet to face Collins without stripping her of the belt.


IFBA Bantamweight Championship:
Yvonne Trevino vs. Suzanne Riccio-Major




Suzanne Riccio Major

This one surprisingly turned out to be a tactical fight. In a change from her usual fight plan,  Yvonne Trevino didn't come after Suzanne Riccio-Major in a blaze. Trevino, in fights with Jolene Blackshear and Regina Halmich, paid for coming out too aggressively. Both fighters put her down in the first round although neither could score a victory. In this fight though she came out jabbing and trying to walk down an extremely defensive minded Riccio-Major.

Neither boxer did much damage in the first four rounds, but Trevino did more than Riccio-Major. In fact just about the only damage done to Trevino came on a clash of heads in the first round. Yvonne, for the most part, initiated the action and landed what few blows there were in these early rounds, but she was frustrated with herself for not getting to Suzanne more often.

The tide started turning in favor of Riccio-Major in Round Five she seemed to be lulling Yvonne into her style and Trevino left herself open to many of Suzanne's counters. Riccio-Major also made good use of her jab and seemed to be taking over the fight as much the same thing happened in Round Six.

It wasn't until the seventh round when Yvonne was able to get inside and do some real damage. Trevino was finally able to cut off the 22 ft. ring and once she had Riccio-Major against the ropes, Yvonne landed her best shots of the fight to the body and head of her opponent.

Trevino was able to continue cutting off the ropes in the eighth round and with about thirty seconds remaining caught Suzanne in the corner where she dished out some left hooks to her head. Riccio-Major was able to hold though, and Yvonne was unable to really hurt her.

Riccio-Major just couldn't slow down Yvonne in the closing rounds and Trevino erased any doubt about who the winner would be with a strong finish. Riccio-Major landed the occasional blows down the stretch but this time Yvonne kept coming and was able to get inside and land her own.

Overall, it was probably a disappointing fight for some people and I have to admit, I don't really care for fighters that never come forward and always wait for their opponents to make the first move as Riccio-Major did. However, it was an interesting fight to watch and although Yvonne wanted to do better, I thought she at least showed that she could be more patient than she had shown she could in the past.

Yvonne took a unanimous decision (97-94, 97-94, 97-94) upping her record to 8-1-1, 5 KOs although I thought she won by a larger margin than the officials that scored it did. Riccio-Major is much better than her record would indicate at 3-4-1, 1 KO.

My Scorecard:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10   F

Trevino       10 10 10 10  9  9 10 10 10 10  98
Riccio-Major   9  9  9  9 10 10  9  9  9  9  92

Yvonne is in a very exciting division and has all sorts of options for opponents that would make for good fights, many of whom are European. A rematch with German Regina Halmich would prove exciting. I'd also like to see her against Cheryl Robertson of England who apparently gave Halmich a fantastic fight. A rematch with Bridgett Riley, the only woman to beat Trevino at boxing, has been talked about. Or she could take on Kim "Fireball" Messer, who beat her at kickboxing a while back. Both have done boxing since then and Yvonne has become a much better fighter, sure to give Kim a better go of it than last time. There's really a lot of possibilities for great fights between the fly and bantamweight divisions although the landscape seems to get bleak when one goes a little higher into the featherweight ranks.


Tracy "The Lady" Byrd vs. Nora Daigle

Tracy Byrd


Nora Daigle

Tracy battles on while cut!

Tracy Byrd is another lady mentioned often in the same sentence as Christy Martin. She came out in a way one might expect more from the lady in the previous fight, Trevino. Byrd was able to slip under most of Daigle's early punches although she was intent on coming forward weather she was getting hit or not. With 20 seconds left in Round One, Byrd hurt Daigle against the ropes, but as would be the case several times later, Nora made it to the bell on her feet.

After a clash of heads in Round Two, Byrd is cut over her left eye. This gets her even more aggressive and she took shots as she came in. By Round Three both fighters were throwing bombs apparently not at all concerned about saving energy. Daigle actually did most of the early damage in Round Three but Byrd came roaring back and hurt Nora again against the ropes.

Daigle's situation seems hopeless in the sixth as Byrd has her hurt yet again, but Daigle somehow mustered up the willpower to survive. By Round Eight the fans in the casino were rallying behind Daigle, chanting "Nora!"

Round Nine turned out to be the most eventful of the fight. Tracy Byrd, who seemed to be easing up on Daigle went down to the canvas. She actually just slipped, but a Daigle left hook was thrown close to her chin and the referee thought in was a knockdown. This put fire back in Byrd and she raced across the ring after taking the standing eight and immediately put Nora to the canvas. Daigle got up to find herself in still another seemingly hopeless situation against the ropes being hammered on by Byrd. At this point, I believe the ref should have stepped in and stopped it, but he didn't and Nora amazed us all again with her determination surviving again

By the end of the fight, Daigle's left eye was suffering from some pretty bad swelling, she was red all over, and she had obviously lost the fight. However, the courage she showed, which was more really than what was good for her, delighted the fans and they gave a standing ovation. Byrd, by the way, took the fight (98-93, 99-90, 100-91) to remain unbeaten.

My Scorecard: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10   F

Byrd         10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 100
Daigle        9  9 10  9  9  9  9  9  8  9  90

I was disappointed to see that they ended the broadcast before showing the last two fights, especially since Bridgett Riley was fighting in one of them, but the people at IFBA were very good about it explaining to me that they ran out of time.

So I'm actually left with nothing to complain about after a big boxing event. Hopefully we will get to see more of this kind of event in both the women's and men's divisions. The only improvement the IFBA needs to make is bring in some more international talent. Too bad many of the fighters from Europe may refuse to fight IFBA fighters knowing that they will be stripped of their title.

Page last updated: Friday, May 28, 2004


Fight Report by Erik Anderson



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