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Daisy Lang (Bulgaria)
Galina Koleva Ivanova (Bulgaria)

Oberfrankenhalle, Bayreuth, Germany
 November 15th, 2003
fight report for Women's Boxing Page
by Ewan Whyte



Supporters of Silke Weickenmeier will tell you that Daisy (‘The Lady’) Lang is no lady at all. After their controversial draw in January (which most observers felt Weickenmeier had won) and Lang’s even more controversial win in May — a nasty brawl in the course of which the Bulgarian was reprimanded for butting, throwing elbows and punching behind the neck — the recriminations were flying in all directions. 

Weickenmeier’s management, Galaxy Promotion, published photographs purporting to show the head butt that had required twenty stitches above Silke’s left eye, whilst Lang’s camp replied that ‘it takes two to make a dirty fight’ and claimed it was in fact Weickenmeier’s head butts and elbows that had turned the match into a brawl: Lang was, her management assured us, ‘admired for her technically clean and clever tactical boxing’, whereas Weickenmeier, they claimed, was ‘known for her dirty style of boxing’. 

The decision, which was roundly booed by the Stuttgart crowd, also came in for criticism in the broadsheets.

Weickenmeier was ‘clearly superior’ opined the heavyweight Stuttgarter Zeitung, whilst the no less prestigious Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung dismissed the whole encounter as ‘a hen fight’. Although the decision went against her, the 24-year-old Weickenmeier, who runs the Café Bogarts in the centre of Speyer (where she was the town’s carnival princess!) is said to have received 10,000 letters after the match — mainly, one assumes, of support. 

Fortunately as she sat down at ringside in the Oberfrankenhalle in Bayreuth last Saturday to watch Lang defend her WIBF world title in the Super Flyweight class against fellow Bulgarian, Galina Ivanova, the scars of battle were less evident on Weickenmeier’s face than her exasperation at the other woman’s prevarication and evasiveness: on the eve of the Bayreuth fight, Lang was still rehashing the events of that night in the Schleierhalle: ‘I’m a technician,’ she told ZDF. ‘But against a boxer like Weickenmeier, I could not box technically... It’s a pity she’s never learnt what “boxing cleanly” means,’ and insisting that “if Silke Weickenmeier wants to fight me again, then she should come down to my weight class. I’ve twice made an exception and accepted her as an opponent. If someone’s going to keep talking the whole time and issuing challenges, they should at least come down to my weight class (114 lbs).”

Given the difficulty Weickenmeier had getting down to 121, a rematch on those terms isn’t likely to happen. In view of the visceral hatred between the two women — which (bless them) the German tabloids love — it must have been hard for Weickenmeier  to conceal a Schadenfreude at times bordering on glee as the match unfolded, because Ivanova took Daisy Lang apart. 

Watching the match on Saturday, it was hard to believe it was Ivanova that had the speckled record and Lang that had not lost for six years. The only impressive thing about Lang on Saturday evening was her entrance. With the camera waist height and the floodlights behind her, she looked like one of those granite monuments to the heroic working class with which they littered Eastern European capitals in the communist era. The rigid arms of an unseen lackey held the world championship belt aloft behind her head, the sinews of her neck stiffened, and an opera singer roared out a spine-chilling extract from The Twilight of the Gods (I’m guessing) in a growling bass. By the time Ivanova had finished driving her backwards across the ring with a flurry of eight shots to the face (only one of which she managed to block) in the ninth round, her already aquiline nose had swollen to such proportions that she looked like a flamingo in a wind tunnel. A more impressive demonstration of boxing’s merits as a weight-loss programme would be hard to imagine. 

Perhaps flummoxed by Ivanova’s southpaw stance, Lang slipped into the absurd habit of walking straight toward her, jabbing with both hands. On one occasion, missing three times on the way in, she rested her right hand on Ivanova’s shoulder in what she fondly imagined to be a clinch, only to be disabused of the notion by an overarm left that caught her full in the face. Another time, she led weakly with a left, which Ivanova slipped, and then pawed the air frantically with her right as she saw the left hook coming in. Even Silke Weickenmeier must have winced when that one landed. Like nearly all Ivanova’s best shots, it was aimed not at the jaw but at the upper part of Lang’s face. This was as early as the third round, and it probably broke her nose. 

Going into the fifth, Lang’s corner told her she was already three points behind. Her response was to become even more frenetic in her movements, pummelling Ivanova’s midriff with punches she probably didn’t even feel in the hope of impressing the judges, and constantly leaning forward in an attempt to push her opponent into the corner. ‘Daisy, watch your head,’ warned the referee, but to judge from the enormous swelling subsequently to appear on the right side of her forehead near the hairline, Lang’s strategy of leading with her head instead of her hands had finally backfired. 

Ivanova, who has a pleasant face and auburn hair, is a marvel of lucidity. She doesn’t flinch. Even in the clinches, she keeps her head up and watches calmly for an opening. Her gaze never strays from the target area: her opponent’s eyes, nose and cheekbones. In the sixth, the slow motion shows her catching Lang with a horrible right hook that scrapes across her face as though calculated to take her nose off. As Lang’s mouth opens to emit a cry of pain, Ivanova notes the effect and takes a smooth step backwards to steady herself for the follow-up, which hits the temple and is perfectly timed. This is the Lizzy Borden school of remorse. 

‘She’s getting tired,’ volunteers one of Lang’s corner men hopefully at the end of the sixth. Fat chance of that. There’s the same spring in Ivanova’s legs in the tenth round as the first, and if anything she’s hitting harder. In her only real display of emotion, she leaps high into the air three or four times as the decision is announced and jumps into the arms of her trainer, while Lang looks on, limp and dejected. 

IvanovaIvanova’s is the textbook example of what an athlete’s body is supposed to look like. Broad shoulders. Narrow waist. Legs strong but not stocky. Apart from the biceps, the muscles are nowhere on permanent display like those of a bodybuilder; they appear the instant they are needed and vanish just as quickly into the skin when the movement to which they have contributed is complete, leaving a surface as smooth as marble. She isn’t as stylish a fighter as Jessica Rakoczy, say, but she has great economy of movement and two good hands. 

On the basis of this performance, it will not be easy to wrest the title from her.  

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Page last updated: Wednesday, June 2, 2004


Fight Report by Ewan Whyte



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