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JoJo Wyman vs. Karen Martin

Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California, January 31, 2002
fight report by Women's Boxing Page correspondent Craig O


JoJo Wyman (126 lbs) won a six-round split (57-56 Wyman, 57-56 Martin, 58-55 Wyman) decision over previously unbeaten Karen Martin (125 lbs) of Los Angeles in the card's Main Event.

By defeating Karen Martin, JoJo Wyman (at right in photo) showed why she is a force to be reckoned with, handing one of the most impressive and promising fighters her first professional loss.

Wyman and her trainer, Victor Hernandez, came into the fight confident in her progress as a boxer and looking for an impressive win. High expectations for a tremendous athlete worthy of them.

Wyman, explained Hernandez, was “more of a technician now. She avoids punches, she doesn’t come straight in like she used to.”

As promised, early in the fight she was slipping a lot of punches, mixing strong counterpunching with active side-to-side movement, making for a difficult target while working different angles of attack. While Martin came into the fight with the reputation for power (having dispatched four of her five previous opponents by knockout), Wyman rocked Martin hard in the early going and seemed to have her hurt near the end of the fight.

If the struggle was more difficult, the victory more narrow (as shown by the split in the judging), perhaps we have to remember that any win over Karen Martin is an impressive win. Martin is such a convincing fighter that she looked like she could remain unbeaten a long time.

The big punch of the fight, of course, was the knockdown of Wyman in the fourth round.

After smashing Wyman to the canvas, Martin triumphantly clenched her right fist in front of her, taking a long look at her fallen rival before heading to the neutral corner. The knockdown gave Martin (who won four of her first five fights by knockout) an immediate shot of confidence and put her back into the fight in a big way after being largely frustrated by Wyman’s effective movement & counterpunching in the first three rounds.

Wyman didn’t seem seriously hurt and still had her legs as she tried to avoid Martin’s charge and the sudden surge of her renewed attack.

Some thought that their feet got tangled in the exchange, contributing to the knockdown. After the knockdown, Wyman got up quickly and signaled to her corner she was OK, but she was rarely to connect again until the sixth round. From this point on, more of the fight was spent with Wyman throwing jabs too far out-of-range and Martin chasing Wyman towards the ropes.

As for Martin, the split decision was a tough way to lose her perfect record. Coming back after a long layoff due to an injury to her hand, she scored the only knockdown and was, for the most part, the aggressor.

You have to hope that these two will meet again with a title on the line.

This was an excellent fight between excellent fighters, two of the most dynamic women in sports, determined athletes and classy women with electrifying competitive desire.

The excellent card, which also featured some exciting men’s matches (including a devastating one-punch knockout by cruiserweight Darrius Watson), was put on by Cant Lewz Entertainment. The matchmaker was renowned referee Richard Steele.

Among those in attendance in a spirited, nearly full-house of 1200: Wendy Rodriguez, Marsha Valley, Sandra Yard, Layla McCarter. Laura Serrano, Fredia Gibbs, Nadine Salim, Johnny “Yahya” McClain (promoter, husband of Laila Ali) Henry Tillman (Olympic Gold Medalist who defeated Mike Tyson as an amateur), Wayne “Pocket Rocket” McCullough, and Mario Lopez (star of Saved by the Bell)

© Craig O (with photos taken by Sue TL Fox)

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Page last updated: Friday, May 14, 2004


Fight Report by Craig O



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