for the Eastman Chemical Company in Longview, Texas as a Furnace Fireman,
firing up several furnaces to about 1950 degrees F to make a highly flammable
product called Synthesis Gas. Before going to work for Eastman in 1992, she was
a Firefighter/Paramedic for eight and a half years.
She began boxing in July 1996, but her first love was power-lifting ... a
three-event sport where you lift as heavy as you can in Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift.
She was on the 10-woman USA Powerlifting Team that represented the US at an international
event in Canada in 1996, where she placed seventh overall in the world, and second in the
world in Bench Press. She holds the Texas State Deadlift record and the Bench Press record.
After this competition, says Gina, "I decided to try something new and boxing was
my next adventure. I had no prior experience so Ken Jones (at the East Texas Boxing Club)
had his hands full. I was slow as a hill. Big and strong, but slow"
Like many other women who began boxing at this time, Gina was motivated by
seeing Christy Martin box on TV, and had decided that prizefighting was
something she could do!
Gina's first professional fight was on July 1 1996 in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where she defeated
debut fighter Gwen Smith on points over four rounds.
On 25 February 1997 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she moved to 2-0 with a
first-round TKO over Colleen Hodges, also making her debut.
On March 11, 1997
at Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, she
won a third-round TKO over Rolanda Andrews of Atlanta, Georgia in a
scheduled four-round bout.
On June 5, 1997 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Gina
moved her pro record to 4-0 (3 KO's) with a first-round TKO of unbeaten Julie Ardwin
in a scheduled four-round bout. Ardwin fell to 5-1 with the loss.
On October 28, 1997 in Humble, Texas, Gina (146¼ lbs) moved her
record to 5-0 with 4 KO's when she TKO'd
Sherrie Painter (151 lbs) at 0:51 in the first round of a scheduled six-round bout.
On November 6, 1997 in Biloxi, Mississippi, Gina suffered her first
loss: a hard-fought split decision over six rounds to
Leah Mellinger of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This was a rugged fight as Mellinger
pitted her jabs, straight rights and ring movement against Nicholas's superior
punching power. By the third round, Gina was bleeding from her mouth (after
colliding with the ring ropes, she tells me) but her aggression kept her in the
fight and persuaded the judges to hand out the split decision. Mellinger
improved to 4-3-1 with the win.
"Mellinger was my toughest
Chris Cozzone of Inside Women's Boxing in an interview in 2000. "She
was well-schooled, taller—as most of my opponents are—and she moved around the
ring beautifully. I wanted to brawl, go toe-to-toe, but Leah rolled, dodged and
moved. In the fourth, I hit her with three solid right hands in a row. The third
knocked her down but it was ruled a slip. At the end of six, it was a
split-decision loss for me.”
Gina rebounded from this tough loss at Casino Magic, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi on
January 6, 1998, when she weighed in at 152 lbs and TKO'd Sylvia Johnson (150
lbs) of Atlanta, Georgia in the first round of a scheduled
six-rounder. Johnson fell to 0-2.
On February 8, 1998 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Gina (148 lbs) ended a scheduled four-round
bout with Dywanda George (147 lbs) of Florida early by first-round TKO.
On February 20, 1998 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she TKO'd Taquella Hoskins
(152 lbs) of Cleveland, Ohio in the
first round of a scheduled six-rounder, moving her pro record to 8-1 with 7 KO's.
Hoskin fell to 0-2.
On August 21, 1998 at the Belle Casino in Baton Rouge, Gina weighed in at 152 lbs
to face veteran Mary Ann Almager (154 lbs) of Midland, Texas in the Main
Event: a scheduled 10-rounder for the IWBF Junior Middleweight
Championship. Gina landed some excellent shots in the first round but Mary Ann's
chin kept her in the fight. The second round followed the same script until
a head butt brought blood from Gina's forehead midway through the round.
Almager sprang to the attack and landed an overhand right to put Gina on the
canvas. Gina took an eight count, then went down again after a four punch flurry
from Almager. The referee stopped the bout immediately, and Mary Ann
went to 10-2 with the TKO.
On February 18, 1999 at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana,
Mitzi Jeter (148 lbs) of Dalton, Georgia scored a TKO over
Gina (at 151¾ lbs) at 01:59 of the fourth round in a
scheduled six-rounder. Jeter moved to 8-2 with 4 KO's with the win;
Nicholas slipped to 8-3.
On April 30, 1999, again at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana,
Gina (149¼ lbs) rebounded from these two back-to-back losses with a four-round unanimous decision
over Maria Fortaleza Recinos (144¼ lbs) who fell to 5-5-1.
On May 27, 1999 at the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, Mississippi,
Gina (151 lbs) got back on the kayo trail with a TKO of Karla Redo (144 lbs) at 1:47 of the second round
in a scheduled four-rounder. Nicholas was now 10-3 with 8 KO's; Redo fell to 2-1.
On August 20, 1999 at the Argosy Casino in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
Gina (152½ lbs) and
Britt Van Buskirk (5'11", 150¼ lbs) of Carbondale, Illinois battled
to a majority draw over four rounds. Van Buskirk used her reach
and ring experience to stymie Nicholas, who led by 39-37 on one
scorecard, with the others tied at 38-38.
Britt Van Buskirk fell to 7-2-1 with the loss.
On December 10, 1999 at the Grand Casino in Tunica, Mississippi,
Nicholas weighed in at 154½' lbs) for a scheduled four-round bout
with Kendra Lenhart (6'1", 158¾ lbs) of Lenoir City, Tennessee.
The match was declared a technical draw between the third and fourth rounds
because an unintentional head butt in the first round caused excessive
bleeding to Lenhart, whose record moved to 4-5-2.
On April 26, 2000 at the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Louisiana,
Gina was knocked out at 0:17 in the second round by fellow Texan
Ann Wolfe of Waco, who was rapidly making
tracks through her weight class as a pro boxer. Gina held her
own in the the first round but was sent down hard by a right hand
early in the second. Gina got up but the referee stopped the
fight as she looked out on her feet. Wolfe moved to 5-0, while Nicholas
slipped to 10-4-2.
“Fighting Ann Wolfe
when I did was my mistake,” Gina
Chris Cozzone. “I was on vacation in Vegas for a week and when I got
back, my manager says I got a fight in Kenner, LA with Ann Wolfe. ‘Who is
she?’ I asked. He said she was 4-0 with 3 KO’s and there was no information
on her. We went back to the gym and I had a week to get ready."
“In the first round, she was swinging wide
hooks and I was throwing punches that, at one point, had buckled her knees.
But, in the 2nd, she came over the top of my jab and hit me
square on the jaw. I hit the canvas, got up wobbled and the ref stopped the
fight. That was
the hardest I’d ever been hit—even by men. That girl hits like a mule! At
first, I thought she had to have had something in her gloves because I’ve
been knocked out three times by heavyweight men ranging from 198 to 240 and
no one has ever hit me as hard as she hit me."
On June 23, 2000, Gina rebounded from this loss with a hard fought battle against
Suzette Taylor at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.
Nicholas defeated Taylor by majority decision in a hard-hitting six-rounder that
moved her own record to 11-4-2, while dropping Taylor to 9-4-1.
Gina mentions that two six-month layoffs contributed to her losses to Almager
"I could have taken Mary Ann and Mitzi if I had been prepared and busier without ring
rust problems", she says. Still, she adds: "No excuses here though. Things happen for a
reason and the Lord saw it fit to have things happen the way they did for a reason.
I'll let the Lord handle my fate and I'll give it my best shot to overcome my obstacles."
Ann Wolfe vs. Gina Nicholas in 2001
© Copyrighted photo taken by Sue TL Fox
On November 16, 2001 at the Convention Center in Austin, Texas,
IFBA Junior Middleweight champion
Ann Wolfe (151½ lbs) of Waco, Texas
moved to 10-1 (7 KOs) with a third-round TKO of
Gina (150½ lbs) for the WIBA World Junior Middleweight title.
Nicholas fell to 11-5-2 (8 KOs). Wolfe had Nicholas in trouble at the end of
the second round and knocked her down for a five count with a series of
rights midway through the third. The referee then stopped the bout, which
had been scheduled for ten rounds.
Gina dropped out of professional boxing for five years after this second loss to Ann Wolfe, but her
love of boxing and hot places took her to Iraq in 2004. WBAN
heard from her
in a March 2005 email to Sue TL Fox from Baghdad:
"It’s a long story, but the highlights are that I
came here to support the troops because first off, I am ex-military and sitting
back home seeing the efforts made me want to help. Then Kellog Brown and Root
who is based in Houston had a job fair so I was off from work that day and
decided to give them my resume. After about two weeks, I was offered a job as
an Incinerator foreman. I took a leave of absence from my job to do this and I
still have my job when I return home. While over here, I was sent to a place
called Camp Falcon. My incinerator had yet to be built, that was my job to build
and operate the incinerator project at this site. As I was waiting on my
materials to be delivered …sometime in June 2004, I began working in the gym. As
I was working in the gym where we have weights, cardio equipment and boxing
bags.....well, I started to train the soldiers (in the gym), etc. So the
military sent a letter of appreciation to the Regional headquarters about the
work I was doing here and the regional manager offered me a position at another
camp as a Fitness/Boxing Supervisor. So next week I will be moving to Camp
Anaconda to start up their boxing and fitness program. This is what I am doing
Gina Nicholas vs Mary Jo Sanders
© Copyrighted photo taken by Dan Graschuk
On January 12, 2007 at the Palace in Auburn Hills,
Michigan, WIBA Junior Middleweight champion Mary Jo
Sanders (160 lbs) TKO'd Gina (160½ lbs) in the second round of a scheduled
10-rounder for the IBA Middleweight title.
Sanders improved to
23-0-0 (7 KOs) while Nicholas fell to
11-6-2 (8 KOs).
For more photos of this
fight by Dan Graschuck,
see WBAN Photo
Gallery #425 on the WBAN Records Member Site.
Gina told me in 2001 that
her career choices are always "hot" somehow, and that hasn't changed (see
above about her tour of duty in
The "Silent Storm" wasn't at all silent when I asked her for her "take" on
women's boxing! "I believe that there are a lot of challenges in this world," she said.
"Not all are as visible to the public eye ... but they are all just as difficult and
rewarding. Many of the challenges that people face depend on the direction their life has taken
and what the Lord has for them in their future. Some need challenges of the heart,
some need challenges of the mental, and others of the physical. But for whatever the challenge,
I believe we all have a duty to face each challenge as a way of growing to be a better
person for the future."
"Women's boxing is in itself a great contact sport for me," says Gina. "I need the
physical and mental challenge in my life. It is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do, to
prepare for. Powerlifting was different. It was about lifting heavy: either you lifted it or you didn't.
Boxing ... you win or lose by the opinion of others who
see the fight ... that's if it goes the distance. Young women could be encouraged to box for reasons
of self defense and self confidence, not to mention the cardiovascular benefits that
come with the sport. But it should be known that the dangers are real and they are as
serious a concern as one person should not take lightly. People have been and can be permanently
damaged in this sport. It takes someone of great will and courage to do what we do."
She added with a laugh, "and maybe a little crazy thrown in for good measure."
To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with huge digital photos you can go to
the WBAN Records Member Site
Other Gina Nicholas Links
Page last updated:
Friday, 09 August 2013