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,
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
After smashing Wyman to the canvas, Martin triumphantly clenched her
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
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
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