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Mellinger Literally Robbed in Antwerp

from Thomas Gerbasi
March 16, 1999

 
   

In the sometimes seamy world of boxing, anything can happen. And this past weekend has unfortunately brought out the worst in the sport.

First it was the unconscionable decision rendered in the unification bout between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield on March 13, and a day later, IWBF junior welterweight champion Leah Mellinger was literally robbed in Belgium against Belgian challenger Daniëlla Somers, losing a ten round decision.

The ten round unanimous decision (96-94 (twice) and 98-92) was admittedly close, but the cards were stacked against Mellinger from the opening bell. The fight was held in a non-regulation, less than 16 foot, pro wrestling ring. The floor was also padded with a 2 inch thick wrestling mat, loosely covered with canvas, and emblazoned with a corporate logo which was loosely stitched on the canvas by only two of the four corners. All Belgian officials involved with the promotion conveniently forgot the English language when this was brought to their attention.

The fight was closely contested, but the most damaging punches were landed by the unmarked Mellinger, who left Somers with two black eyes. The raucous crowd didn’t help matters either, possibly swaying the officials with their partisan cheering. But no complaints were heard from Team Mellinger, who win with class, and accept losses with dignity.

But any chance of the Americans receiving like treatment from their hosts was eliminated when, as Mellinger fought, thieves broke into her locker room, stealing money, credit cards, and personal belongings from the entire American contingent, including trainer-manager Terry Nye’s eight-year old son. Promoter Johnny Van Velthoven’s response was "Sorry, but you shouldn’t have left your stuff there."

Fortunately, Terry Nye had the foresight to expect such misfortunes, and a rematch clause with Somers was included in the contract.

After the proper inquiries are made, hopes are high to stage the rematch sometime this Spring.

With the win, Somers raised her record to 9-2. Mellinger falls to 9-4-1, but is still the IFBA Junior Welterweight title holder.

(The July rematch with Somers was later cancelled, after Mellinger split up with lon-time trainer Nye ... Dee).


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Page last updated: Friday, 06 November 2015

 
     
     
     
     
 

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