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Mary Ann Almager

Lucia Rijker vs. Mary Ann Almager

Monday, March 23, 1998 in Mashantucket, CT
exclusive report by Chuck McAllister
originally published 3 April 1998 on the Women's Boxing Page

This was a super lightweight non-title match shown live on FOX TV Network.

Lucia Rijker of Los Angeles won on a technical knockout of Mary Ann Almager of Midland, Texas at 1:03 of the first round. The referee stopped the fight after giving Almager an eight count and then did not lift gloves when asked. She was blinking her eyes and shaking her head, from the effects of a solid left hook, that dropped her.

The scheduled 10 round championship fight for Rijker's WIBF super lightweight title was changed to a 6 round non-title match when former WIBF super welterweight champion Mary Ann Almager failed to make the 139 pound weight limit. The statistical graphic took the "historical" approach and showed her weight at one pound over the agreed weight limit, at 140 pounds. It was noted by commentator Gil Clancy that  she was nearer to 149 pounds. In a post-fight interview, Rijker thought that was about right, suggesting Almager had "blown up a few pounds" since the day before's weigh in.

Rijker quickly put to rest pre-fight concerns about her facing her first left hander, as a pro boxer. A fact only reputedly learned by the Rijker camp a week or two before the fight. Her performance clearly showed she is a fast study, having excellent training. Perhaps, there was residual memory too, from facing "lefties" during her 39 bout kickboxing career. She jumped all over Almager from the opening bell. It proved to be excellent strategy, keeping pressure on Almager, who was returning to the ring after a layoff of over a year.

   Rijker              Almager     30       Age        29     5'6"     Ht.        5'9"     139      Wt.        140  (really 149?)     68"      Reach      71"    Records After This Bout  W    L    KO        W    L    KO  10   0    9         9    2    7

Round 1

The fighters race to the center of the ring and touch gloves. Almager circles right, waving a jab short. Rijker powers a straight right hand. Almager parries it, with her left hand extended and backs to her right. Almager puts out a right jab that Rijker slaps down with her left. Rijker beats Almager to the punch, landing a right on the left shoulder as Almager's left sails over Rijker's head, as does her right hook. Rijker is short with a left hook and her right is slipped by a slight head movement. Rijker digs a left hook to the body, as Almager again misses high with a hard left, carrying her off balance to her left. Its a fortunate move, as Rijker's left hook is short.

Rijker dances away as Almager is short with a long jab. Almager's jab is blocked, as Rijker follows with a right hand lead, short of the mark. Almager jabs short on a backing Rijker, who reverses stepping in fast and lands a hard right to the head and jabbing short to cover retreat. Rijker steps in with a straight left swatted by Almager's right hand. They each jab short, with Almager moving, to her right. Almager pulls left short, to duck Rijker's left.

Rijker steps back with Almager following, cranking her right, to throw a big right hook. It's short on the backing Rijker, as is a jab. Rijker parries the next jab and powers a right to the top of a bending Almager's head. Almager gets her head and shoulder against Rijker, moving her back. Rijker misses a left hand short, as Almager misses over the top, as a counter glances off. Rijker moves back and right as they bounce on their toes, out of range.

Almager goes right, then steps in behind a long overhand right. Rijker drops under it and powers a right hook. It lands to the solar plexus area, but must have missed it, or this would be over. Almager moves to wrap up Rijker, who pushes free. Almager now freed right raps Rijker on the head. Rijker ties up Almager. The ref breaks the fighters.

As they come in, both throw punches at the same time, Almager's jab misses, as Rijker's right hook lands hard to the body, as she rotates to throw a left hook that lands to the head. Almager sweeps a right high over Rijker's head. Rijker retaliates with a right hook to the midsection and a left hook to the body. Almager misses a sweeping left high. Rijker lands a hard jab to the head, to set up following hard right, to the body. It folds Almager, who jumps back, as Rijker's left hook misses her head. Almager backs into the corner, waves a jab, brushed aside by Rijker, who lunges in, powering a right that smashes the front of Almager's right shoulder, who recoils bouncing off the ropes. Rijker follows, powering a left hook to the side and sweeps a right to the head. Rijker bounces back to open some punching room, as Almager paws a jab short, then a sweeping overhand left over the top. Rijker steps in powering a right hook to the midriff. She follows through to the left, straightens up, rotates landing a short left hook, to the side of the jaw. Almager is spun to her left, dropping to the canvas.

Almager gets both gloves to the floor and then uses the ropes to get to her feet by the count of six. But she is blinking and shaking her head when the referee stops the count at eight and decides, rightly, to stop the fight.

Post Fight Comments

Don't be deceived by the "lefty" talk, to diminish Mary Ann Almager. Rijker was primed to meet a dangerous opponent. There was nothing left undone in preparation or strategy. She moved fast, in and out, to engage and break off contact, sliding to her left for prime position, away from the potent left.

Early on she used right leads, to influence Almager to keep her left hand home. Then she used her left to swat down and parry Almager's hard working right.

By my unofficial punch count, it appears Almager fought one handed, throwing her left, overhand, four times and missing them all while using her right nineteen times to jab and hook.

Almager's failing was to take a year off and then go along with an overly ambitious match. However, the incentive to be featured on a network TV and get down to her previous fighting weight levels was enough for her to take this fight. On February 2nd, Almager canceled her March 6th appearance against California middleweight Diane Clark in favor of this fight.

Unofficial Punch Chart.        Thrown Landed  %Rijker     32    21   66Almager    23     4   17

Chuck McAllister

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Page last updated: Sunday, April 25, 2004


Fight Report by Chuck McAllister



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