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Fight PosterDaniŽlla Somers
Leah Mellinger

Arenahal in Antwerp, Belgium
 March 14th, 1999

Fight report
for Women's Boxing Page
by Rod Mahaffey


A sell-out crowd at Antwerp, Belgium's Arenahal witnessed hometown favorite DaniŽlla Somers perform her own brand of magic as she snatched the IWBF title laurels from the pretty head of the favored American invader, Leah Mellinger.

Somers, a recent victim of Belinda Laracuente in a non-title go in the USA, was given little chance to pull off the victory over the highly-regarded champion but she was able to draw on her lengthy experience and engineer the best effort of her career.

In a tussle that could best be described as 'entertaining', it was lacking the fiery action of Mellinger's recent victories over Kathy Collins and Fredia Gibbs, but it was nonetheless, well received by the throng of partisan Somers fans in attendance.

A victory for a hometown girl usually is well-received and the verdict was an honest one. No 'biased voting' here. Two of the judges were Americans while one was Belgian. That should dispel any notions to the contrary.

Recapping the action, round one opened with the usual 'feeling-out' process. Few effective punches were landed but Mellinger, moving and sticking, had the edge in the somewhat lackluster round. Leah 10-9.

Round two saw the action pick up a bit with Mellinger using her jab while circling but it didn't seem to have its usual snap. Somers retaliated with combinations of her own, enjoying the edge in the set. Score it DaniŽlla 10-9 and a running tally of 19-19.

The third set found Somers, in typical European style, moving in and out, able to land several right-left combos while Mellinger continued to circle, using her left jab. Once more, score it for Somers 10-9 and the lead 29-28.

Frame four found Mellinger scoring early with her jab and a few combinations but Somers, surprisingly quick, avoided any telling blows while landing with her own counter combinations which carried the round 10-9 and a running tally of 39-37 in favor of DaniŽlla.

In the fifth, Mellinger scored with several solid flurries set up with her jab. Somers did little and Mellinger carried the frame 10-9. The running tally was now 48-47 and still anyone's battle.

The sixth stanza saw Mellinger land a solid right hand early on while Somers responded with some good body work. Leah was the busier fighter and probably won the round 10-9. At the end of six, call it dead even at 57-57. Evidently, this fight was going to be determined by who would finish the best and as usual, Leah started the seventh round quicker, landing early but Somers landed several very effective right hands, worked the body well and appeared to be taking charge in the latter stages of the stanza. DaniŽlla's advantage 10-9 and a slight over-all edge of 77-76.

Round eight found Mellinger scoring with a good left hook and a follow-up uppercut. Somers continued to work inside on the body while scoring well upstairs with left hooks. Too close to call..Give each fighter 10 and a a slim 77-76 lead for Somers entering round nine.

Round nine was the most decisive round and the pivotal set of the fight. Somers stepped up her intensity and forced Mellinger to back up, scoring with her best combinations of the evening. At one point, Somers trapped Mellinger in a corner and scored with numerous volleys of hard shots with little response. Somers took the round BIG TIME!! Give her 10-8 and a 87-84 lead entering the final frame.

The last round was all Somers as she finished in style, dominating the action. Leah, evidently aware that she was behind, fired volleys of wild right hands in a desperate effort to score the knockout. But Somers, displaying a quickness, was able to avoid the wild misses while countering with her own effective arsenal. Easily Somers's round (10-9) and a final tally of 97-93 for the Belgian lass.

From the scorer's table, the vote of the two American judges were respective tallies of 96-93 and 96-94 while the Belgian official had a wider margin at 98-92. There was little doubt that Somers was the better fighter this night.

In evaluating the action, several things were conspicuous by their absence. The patented snapping left jab of the American seemed to be missing. It didn't pop the way it did when it stopped Gibbs in her tracks or the way it chopped up Kathy Collins's eyes. Also missing was the race-horse speed that Mellinger usually commands. She was slower than usual. Jet lag? Who knows? The Mellinger team didn't make any excuses. Leah was involved in more infighting than is her normal fashion and she was losing most of them. She spent more time loading up her right hand and trying to land the bomb. Was it a lack of respect for Somers? Again, who knows? In any event, she didn't display that usually sound game plan.

Both fighters were in seemingly tip-top condition and neither appeared weary at the conclusion. The crowd was satisfied and gave a rousing round of applause to both fighters at the end.

With Somers victory, a new player is added to the mix in the most popular division of women's boxing. Add Somers to the traffic-jam that includes Couch, Gibbs, Collins, Anani, Sjauw, Rijker and Moraetes as well as Leah herself and we have a group that can manufacture some very exciting future action. All we have to do is 'put them together'.

All in all, this bodes well for the continued growth of the sport.

When he wrote this report, Rod Mahaffey was the editor of Women's Boxing World, a print magazine and website about women's boxing that is, alas, no more.

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Page last updated: Friday, 06 November 2015


Fight Report by Rod Mahaffey



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