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Lady Luck Casino,
Lula, Mississippi
 October 24, 1997
fight reports
for Women's Boxing Page
by Erik Anderson


Coming off a very successful second card in Biloxi, Mississippi on August 2nd, the people at the IFBA had set a pretty high standard.

This one really could have lived up to that standard and maybe even exceeded it.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be altogether only a mediocre card.

This card had both the high and low points of the IFBA series so far.


Bridgett "Baby Doll" Riley vs. Tina "The Black Russian" Speakman

Riley vs. Speakman Bridgett Riley (left)
stalks Tina Speakman

Starting off this card, Bridgett was assured the TV time that she missed out on with the last card when she beat the up-and-coming 18-year old Shirley Prescott over eight rounds. But she didn't get to show her skills against as good of an opponent this time around. She may have made a bigger impact this time, as she did get the knockout, but really was not as impressive, at least to my view.

Speakman, with one more pro bout under her belt than Riley, was clearly not in the same class. She tried to establish a jab to keep "Baby Doll" off of her but Riley broke through that defense and landed a right hand. As soon as this happened, Tina abandoned her game plan and started throwing wild punches which Bridgett was able to easily dodge. Surprisingly, Riley was having trouble connecting with Speakman in Round One and actually did take a couple of the wide punches thrown by her opponent.

Gabriel Gonzales must have given Riley some good advice between rounds because she found her mark right away in Round Two. She immediately landed a landed a left hook to the temple. Speakman tried to come back but her wide punches left her open and Riley came with a hard right hand that wobbled her opponent. Speakman tried to tie Riley up to give her time to regain her footing but could only get her right arm around Riley and Bridgett landed five uppercuts prompting the referee to step in and give Speakman a standing eight count.

When the fight was allowed to ensue, Riley wasted no time. She scored with another big right hand and left hook. She came downstairs with a straight right and a left to the body and then brought her punches back upstairs and got one more left in before the referee decided he had seen enough.

After the fight was over, Bridgett challenged Yvonne Trevino. If Yvonne and Bridgett do fight, it will certainly provide a more even fight than this one and could be quite a brawl. Hopefully, they'll stop talking about it and get it on pretty soon. This kind of fight doesn't do much to advance Riley's career. She is already considered a contender and needs to be fighting other contenders, not beginners. Trevino certainly qualifies as a contender and so should Teresa Arnold, since she did hand "Baby Doll" her only two losses. Hopefully, eventually, WIBF Champion Cheryl Robertson will also be brought in to have her go at it.

Fredia "The Cheetah" Gibbs vs. Annaliese "Bam Bam" Kolan

was way too much for Annaliese Kolan
Gibbs vs. Kolan

Annaliese Kolan may have a future in this sport, but against she was no match for the experienced Gibbs in Friday night's fight. Both ladies started out dancing around on the outside and the bout looked even for about a minute, but as they came together, Fredia began to assert her dominance. She landed right hands to the body and the head and it looked like a standing eight would be given but the referee decided not to give the count and told them to fight on. Gibbs again backed Kolan up and threw overhand rights while Kolan covered up. This time a standing eight was really given. Gibbs might have finished but the round was over by the time the standing eight was finished.

Gibbs came out aggressively in Round Two and with much the same formula she got inside and started scoring with rights to the body and head. Two standing eight counts were given but while giving the second, the ref decided to call the whole fight as he saw that Kolan's eyes were dazed.

One thing that may cause Gibbs trouble in future fights is her tendency not to use her left hand. She uses it as a jab but rarely throws left hooks and in fact, she uses very little other than a strong overhand right. She has the power and speed to be a force in the lightweight division, but she needs to diversify her attack.

For Kolan, there is still time. She was outclassed in this fight, but she may be able to use it as a learning experience. She is only 20 with four fights under her belt.

Jolene Blackshear vs. Anissa "The Assassin" Zamarron



Jolene Blackshear vs. Anissa Zamarron

Hands down, the fight of the night and easily the most exciting IFBA fight yet. These two women poured everything into this fight and went at each other the whole way.

Zamarron and Blackshear practically ran out of their corners to meet each other at the opening bell. They spent little time on the outside, preferring instead to stand toe-to-toe and throw bombs. Both did their share of damage in the first few rounds, which were very tough to score. Zamarron would often start the rounds quickly and Blackshear would finish rounds strongly, but the time in between was pretty evenly split between the two.

Zamarron seemed to be taking over in Round Two when she backed Blackshear up to the ropes with a hard left-right combination, but Blackshear came roaring back to bloody her opponent's nose and even up the round.

Jolene's own face started to show the results of the punishment she had been taking in Round Three. By the end of the round, she already had a welt around her right eye and small cuts on her lips.

The fast pace inevitably slowed down in the fourth round when both backed off, although only slightly. This seemed to benefit Zamarron at first and she was able to slip more of Blackshear's punches.

Blackshear was far from finished though, and she found a home for her right hands in the very next round. She landed a few to the belly of Zamarron late in Round Five that made Anissa bend at the waist. She did well in Round Seven as well by using the jab more to set up combinations and not leave herself open as much to the punishment of Zamarron.

If the middle rounds had provided a slower pace, it picked up once again in the final two and both were going toe-to-toe again. After the final bell, the two boxers were given a standing ovation. The decision was surprisingly one-sided (99-93, 97-93, 96-94) for Blackshear although she probably was slightly ahead. She took home the IFBA Flyweight World Championship as well as welts on both her eyes, swelled and cut lips. The loser took home a broken nose.

My Scorecard:
            1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10   F
Blackshear 10 10  9  9 10 10 10  9 10 10  97
Zamarron    9 10 10 10 10  9  9 10  9 10  96

There's no doubt we'll see both of these women again and hopefully we will once again see them in the same ring. The flyweight division just keeps churning out good fights and this one was about as good as you'll see anywhere unless you're a fan of defensive boxers. The announcers for the fight were touting the lightweight division as easily the most talent-laden division, but the fly and bantamweight divisions are the most entertaining if not the best.

Bonnie "The Cobra" Canino vs. Cora "White Sugar" Webber


Canino vs. C. Webber

In contrast to the fly, bantam, and lightweight divisions, the featherweight division seems quite weak. These two fought for the title of best in the world at that weight and didn't produce a great fight (especially in comparison to what they had to follow) but produced a pretty decent, very rough bout with a controversial ending.

Cora Webber seemed out to intimidate Canino. Her staredown was intense. That probably didn't do much to scare the experienced Canino, but "The Cobra" looked very flat in her effort. Cora Webber was able to get inside and take away Bonnie's fight plan of staying on the outside and jabbing. Webber got inside often and did some pretty good body work throughout the first two rounds.

In Round Three, Canino got off to a quick start but was hurt late when Webber landed a left hook that snapped Bonnie's head back. Canino's head was also snapped backwards in Round Four when she caught a straight right from Webber. She survived both situations, but didn't look much better as the fight continued. Webber continued to land body punches on the inside.

Both corners accused the opposing fighter of using illegal tactics. Both had good cases. As always, Canino led with her head. It's unlikely she does this intentionally but it often results in head butts. Webber also appeared to be holding and hitting and using occasional rabbit punches.

Round Nine was the best of the fight. Webber landed a solid right that buckled Canino early. Canino landed her best punch of the fight later on with a right that wobbled Webber, but Cora came right back and rocked Canino again.

Unfortunately, the rest of the fight was less eventful, but it looked like Webber had done enough to win. The judges saw it otherwise (97-95 for Webber, 97-93 and 98-93 for Canino). Webber demanded a rematch and Canino said she would give it to her. If the two don't fight again, it would be hard to think of many that could challenge either. Deirdre Gogarty is the only other name in this division that comes to mind. Perhaps some of the bantamweights like Yvonne Trevino, Bridgett Riley, or Teresa Arnold could come up in weight to bring some life to what I see as a boring division.

My Scorecard:
        1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10   F
Canino  9  9 10  9 10 10  9 10  9  9  94
Webber 10 10  9 10 10 10 10  9 10 10  98

Dora "The Destroyer" Webber vs. Jane Couch

Dora Webber
celebrates as
she gets the
decision over
a stunned
Jane Couch

Webber had the motivation to win after her sister had been given what appeared to most viewers to be a bad decision, but she still faced pretty big odds facing an unbeaten and much taller British fighter in Jane Couch. She proved to have more than we might have thought.

It didn't take Webber long to get started and she landed some heavy body shots and also utilised a pretty strong uppercut catching Couch up against the ropes.

Couch was able to get Webber with her back to the ropes early as well, but was far less effective. Webber was elusive and was winning the battle on the inside with ease.

Couch, as mentioned was much taller than Webber and had a much longer reach to go with that height, but she continued to go inside with Webber for some reason. Instead of utilizing her advantages by using a stiff jab from the outside, Couch attempted to take the fight to Webber, while throwing a weak short jab. She gave herself even more problems by crouching low, making herself no taller than her opponent, and therefore an easier target.

The effects of Webber's good counterpunching began to show in Round Four. Couch was cut around her right eye and later on the bridge of the nose so there was blood all around this eye, possibly making it hard for her to see.

In Round Six, Webber, not satisfied with just getting the decision, began to press for the knockout and deliver some good combos. The fighter who needed the knockout was forced into a defensive mode and, though she did land her share in the round, had no chance of winning.

Again, the judging was called into question when one judge gave Couch the fight by a 59-55 scoreline. The other two judges favored Webber though this time (60-55, 58-56) and so the Webbers narrowly avoided being robbed twice in the same evening.

My Scorecard:
          1  2  3  4  5  6   F
Webber   10 10  9 10 10 10  59
Couch     9  9 10  9  9 10  56

Tracy "The Lady" Byrd vs. Bethany "I'll Bring You" Payne

Bethany Payne Bethany Payne Tracy Byrd Tracy Byrd

Besides having the stupidest nickname of the group of fighters, Payne was also the worst and she was paired with a world champion for the second time in her career in what was supposed to be the main event of the evening. Bethany had learned absolutely nothing since her "fight" with Christy Martin almost a year ago.

Tracy was dominant the whole way through and Payne threw no correct punches that I saw. Still, Byrd had trouble putting Payne away, perhaps partly because of her height and the fact she wasn't used to fighting such an unorthodox boxer.

After three rounds of chasing Payne around the ring, Byrd connected with a good combination that staggered her early in Round Three. But Payne still managed to survive after being given a standing eight count and the fight agonizingly dragged on to the fourth round.

Byrd finally came up with the knockout in that round. Byrd landed a right uppercut-left hook combination that wobbled Payne and pushed her back to the ropes. Byrd began teeing off and the referee came in to deliver a standing eight count. Payne couldn't even stand up to receive the count and the fight was thankfully over.

Why the promoters would put this together is a mystery. First of all, it's disappointing for the fans to watch such a mismatch. In contrast to the very evenly matched fights like Blackshear and Zamarron, this was a match that provided very little excitement and took away from some of the other competitive fights on the card.

Also, it did nothing for Byrd's career. If anything, it slowed her career. She is trying to get a fight with Christy Martin, but it took her four rounds to get rid of an opponent that Martin decisively beat in one. If she had fought Isra Girgrah and given a good account of herself, it would give the fans reason to think she deserves a fight with Martin, but this fight makes Byrd look bad.

Tracy still delivered her challenge to Martin saying she should fight for a real belt instead of standing "out on an island by herself." I agree that Martin's belt is bogus but the ironic thing about those comments is that Martin is coming an extremely hard fought bout with a much more eligible opponent than the one Tracy fought on Friday night. I would like to see Christy Martin fight for a real title with a real rankings system, but I would rather see a real fight for a phony belt than a phony fight for a real belt.

There is no reason we should ever see Bethany Payne or anyone as bad as her again. As the announcers kept saying during the broadcast the lightweight division is a very talent laden one. I wouldn't go as far as to say it is the best as they had claimed, but the talent pool is not shallow enough for any promoter to have to sink to the depths of choosing an unskilled opponent like this.

Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker both have their own promoters and may be impossible targets for IFBA fighters, but how about seeing IFBA Lightweights like Byrd and Gibbs against ranked opponents like Isra Girgrah, Laura Serrano, DaniŽlla Somers, Stacey Prestage, or any of the other opponents that they have correctly placed in their top ten lightweights. As champion, Tracy Byrd should not fight any more unranked fighters. Now, I don't want the IFBA to start using the corrupted rankings we've seen in men's boxing, but rather they should actually use the fighters they have in their current rankings.

Dee "Dynamite" Dufoe vs. Odelia Rodriguez

Odelia Rodriquez vs. Dee Dufoe Rodriguez (left)
survived an early
knockdown by
Dee Dufoe

Dee Dufoe bounced back in style after her loss to Tracy Byrd on the May 17. She came out with a flashy outfit and a matching style. Right away she got on top of Odie Rodriguez and knocked her down in the first round with a right hook. She had Rodriguez ready to go with about 20 seconds left in the round, but couldn't finish.

Dee came out throwing hard in Round Two as well, but Rodriguez showed she wasn't going down as easily as it looked like she would early as she came back with some good hooks and uppercuts. But Dufoe came back strong and had Odie hurt again with a big left hook late in the round leaving Rodriguez with a nosebleed.

Rodriguez had her moments in this fight, especially in Rounds Three and Four, but Dufoe didn't seem to mind taking a few good shots as long as she was overpowering Rodriguez in the long run.

Just as Rodriguez seemed to be mounting a comeback in the middle rounds, Dufoe took back over when she pushed Rodriguez away from a clinch into the ropes and landed right and left hooks that rocked Odie.

She controlled the bout the rest of the way, but did take a few good shots late. She could avoid taking so many of these in the future if she didn't keep her head up as much as she did.

My Scorecard:
           1  2  3  4  5  6   F
Dufoe     10 10  9 10 10 10  59
Rodriguez  9  9 10 10  9  9  56

Dufoe, unfortunately wants to keep moving down in weight. If she stayed in the featherweight class, she could really bring some spark to the division, but she wants to go down and fight Yvonne Trevino. She said she would fight Bridgett Riley too, but believes that to fight Bridgett she would need to get more experience. So as it stands, Trevino should have no trouble finding a fight, with both Bridgett Riley and Dee Dufoe knocking at her doorstep. Maybe one of these fights will happen in a couple of months at the next event.

Page last updated: Friday, May 28, 2004


Fight Report by Erik Anderson



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