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Kristy Follmar
Copyrighted Photo courtesy of Team Follmar

 
   

5'8" featherweight/junior lightweight Kristina Rose (Kristy) Follmar was born in Cedar Lake, Indiana on August 20, 1980.   “I remember watching boxing with my dad,” she says. “It stuck with me. I always wanted to try it and see what it was like.”

Kristy told reporter David Alan Beck in 2004: “Growing up, my family was typical, and everything was hunky-dory. We were a really close family. But then, out of nowhere, my father committed suicide. When my mom broke it to me, I asked, ‘How?’ When she said that he shot himself, I just remember getting so completely pissed off. I was just so mad that I wanted to hit something. My mom happened to be standing in front of me. I don’t even remember doing it, but I guess I whacked her.”

Kristy added, “I come from a family of bad tempers, and I just let everything build up inside of me. But my mom bought me a punching bag and a pair of gloves. Instead of blowing up and punching doors or whatever, I just went out there and beat it up.”

Kristy took up boxing for real in the Muncie PAL club while a sophomore at Ball State, to channel her athletic energy. (She had been a three-sport star at Hanover Central High, playing volleyball and softball and running cross-country and track).  She had also run cross-country at Ball State, but says it began to seem routine. 

Her first experience of boxing competition came in a Tough Man contest, in which she won two fights on the same night.  Kristy eventually came under the eyes of trainers Mark Lemerick and Rodney Cummings and went 7-1 as an amateur before turning pro. She won the 130-lb division of the Indiana Golden Gloves in 2000 and 2001. "I could see that she had a lot of raw ability," Lemerick said. "She worked really hard to improve."

She made her pro boxing debut on February 26, 2002 at Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kristy (128 lbs) won by a first-round KO of Annie Briant (139 lbs) of Martinsville, Indiana, who was also making her debut.

On April 26, 2002 at Horizon Convention Center in Muncie, Indiana, a crowd estimated at 400 saw Kristy (125 lbs) win her second bout by TKO over late replacement Yvonne Sidney (135 lbs) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 1:02 in the first round. The bout was stopped when Sidney, making her own debut, walked to her corner and refused to come out again after taking a series of punches. (Follmar's originally  scheduled opponent had been Willicia Moorehead, a 2-8 fighter also from Milwaukee.)

On May 18, 2002 at the Silver Star Casino in Choctaw, Mississippi, a near-capacity crowd was unhappy with a majority (39-37,39-37,38-38) decision for Mia St. John (5'7", 136 lbs) over Kristy (133 lbs) of Cedar Lake, Indiana. Follmar came out aggressively and appeared to control the bout despite swinging her punches too much. Follmar moved well and kept a clearly rattled St. John backing up with right-left combinations to her face. St. John tried to tie Follmar up in the fourth. Follmar wasn't able to press her attack steadily but was taking the fight to St. John just before the bell and the decision was loudly booed. St. John, who was now 25-1-1 (12 KO), was angling for a bout with Christy Martin. She grinned knowingly when she heard the decision and was greeted by a steady chant of "Kristy! Kristy! Kristy!" from the fans while she was being interviewed for FOX Sports, whose own commentators scored the bout 39-37 for Follmar.

I find it hard to see how any impartial judge could have scored this bout in St. John's favor ... also see Sue TL Fox's commentary on this result! 

On November 30, 2002 at Cumberland Place in West Lafayette, Indiana, Kristy (130 lbs) won by a second-round TKO over pro debut fighter Cheryl Jacobs (144 lbs).

On February 25, 2003 at Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana, Kristy (132 lbs) won by a first-round TKO over newcomer Melissa Sturgeon (137 lbs) from Knoxville, Tennessee.

On April 26, 2003 at Delaware County Fairgrounds in Muncie, Indiana Kristy (130 lbs) TKO'd debut fighter Stephanie Ladner (150 lbs) at 1:46 in the first round.

On May 17, 2003 at the Civic Center in Hammond, Indiana, Kristy (132 lbs) won by a TKO at 1:46 in the first round over Ileano Serrano (145 lbs) of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who fell to 0-2.  "I'm only taking one fight at a time," Follmar said. "I am not looking past anyone because that's when you get into trouble."  Follmar is associated with F and F Berns Boxing out of Indianapolis, the group that put on the Hammond card. "I trust them to keep me busy," Follmar said. "It's worked out well. I work on my boxing and they work on getting me fights." 

On August 22, 2003 at McBride Hall in Gary, Indiana, Kristy (125 lbs) TKO’d Willicia Moorehead (127 lbs) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 1:59 in the second round.  Follmar knocked Moorehead to the canvas twice in the first round. Moorehead fell to 1-14 with the loss. 

On October 10, 2003 at McBride Hall in Gary, Indiana, Kristy (126 lbs) of Muncie, Indiana pounded out a four round unanimous (39-37,40-36,40-36) decision over Renee Richardt Douglas (5'5", 127¾ lbs) of Fenton, Missouri in a fight seen live on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. Follmar overpowered her opponent in the early rounds, aggressively moving in to land strong combinations for which Douglas had few answers. Douglas began to time her counters better in the final round but by then it was too little, too late, to offset Follmar's strong start. “Douglas can take a punch, and she’s got a lot or experience in the ring,” said Follmar, adding "I was trying to concentrate a lot more on my combinations, but sometimes I just had to change my strategy.” Richardt Douglas fell to 10-2-1 (4 KO).

On November 25, 2003 at Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana, nearly 10,000 fans saw Kristy win an eight-round unanimous (79-71,80-70,78-72) decision over Shelby Walker of Indianapolis for the NABC and Indiana State Featherweight titles. The fight was fought at a blistering pace for all eight rounds as the fighters took turns at rocking each other, to the delight of a cheering crowd. Follmar scored two standing eight counts in the seventh and advanced to  9-1-0 (7 KO) while Walker slipped to 6-3-1 (5 KO). [Fight photo gallery]

On March 2, 2004 at Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana, Kristy (128 lbs) won a six-round majority (57-56,58-55,55-55) decision over Talia Smith (128 lbs) of Cleveland, Ohio, who fell to 3-3 (3 KO).

“She wasn’t my toughest opponent, but it was my toughest fight," says Follmar. “I was so nervous I didn’t eat all day. I was throwing up before the fight. “I knocked her down in the third round. I threw like a 20-punch combination. When she went down, I was hoping that she wouldn’t get up, but she got up and kept on coming.”  Kristy felt that lack of food and subsequent vomiting had weakened her so she did not defend herself as well as she should later in the fight. “It wasn’t until after the fight that I realized that I took too many punches, in the last two or three rounds. For the next week, I couldn’t focus, my head and neck hurt; I felt sick, and all I wanted to do was sleep.”

On March 19, 2004 at Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Indiana, Kristy (123 lbs) stopped Carrie Crawford (123 lbs) in the second round of a scheduled four-rounder.


Kristy (left) vs. Liz Drew in 2004.

On Friday April 30, 2004 at the Civic Center in Hammond, Indiana, Kristy (129 lbs)  edged Liz Drew (5'7", 131½ lbs) by a six-round split (58-56,58-56,56-58) decision in a toe-to-toe fight shown on ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights". Drew successfully kept pressure on Follmar for most of the six hard-fought rounds. The heavy-handed Drew wanted to keep the fight at close quarters and fight inside while Follmar tried to fight outside. Drew forced the issue early and kept Follmar on her toes.  With the crowd cheering her on, Follmar landed a big flurry with about 25 seconds to go in the second round but there would be no early KO this time and Drew began the third round on the attack. Follmar was looking to counter-punch but Drew straightened her with a straight right about a minute into the third, and began to land the harder shots. Drew also cut off the ring well to make Follmar face her toe to toe in the fourth. They went toe-to-toe in an exciting fifth round, Drew landing the harder shots early while Follmar finished the round with a late flurry. Follmar came out in the sixth and final round trying to box and jab again, and landed the cleaner punches, including a big right to Drew's forehead with about 10 seconds left. ESPN2's Teddy Atlas scored the fight a 57-57 draw, but Follmar escaped with the split and dropped Drew to 7-7-0 (2 KO).

Once again Kristy had been sick to her stomach before the fight. “I definitely had some butterflies before the match, but I'm happy I came out with a win. The fight was a little too close for comfort and, honestly, if we were in her home town, she would’ve probably gotten the decision. I definitely didn’t perform the way I’d like to. But it’s all part of the learning process.,”  she said. "It's exciting to be on national TV, but you've got to block it out and do what you do in the gym. I’m just glad I came out of here with the win. I’ve fought on ESPN and Fox Net before; I just needed to control my nerves. I knew she would be a tough fighter. I just had a feeling it would go the distance. Drew is just a tough girl and a good boxer. She’s had a lot of experience fighting a lot of good fighters.”

WBC/IBF/IBO heavyweight champion Hasim "the Rock" Rahman said of the Follmar-Drew fight “I think that ESPN should get this tape out to all the heavyweights in the division, if all the heavyweights fought like that, boxing would be in great shape.”

Trainer Mark Lemerick sees Kristy's pre-fight nerves as part of her learning process. “Sometimes I wish that Kristy would be a little more cocky, a little more confident. I don’t think that she realizes just how really good she is. I think that she is one of the best female fighters in the country. She has a lot of courage and is determined to get the most out of her ability."

On September 26, 2004 at Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Indiana, Kristy (135 lbs) won by a TKO at 1:50 in the second round over Vikki Clardy (5'1", 128 lbs) of Cincinnatti, Ohio.  Follmar pounded Clardy's body, sending her to the canvas twice before referee Bill Paige stopped the fight, which had been shceduled for four rounds. "She's a little bit shorter than me and snuck in a few punches, but I had trained for that," said Follmar. Clardy fell to 2-6.

On November 23, 2004 at Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana, 4500 fans saw Kristy (127 lbs) win a hard-fought unanimous (77-75,75-74,77-74) eight-round decision over Franchesca Alcanter (129 lbs) of Kansas City for the NABC Ladies' Super Featherweight (130-lb) title. Follmar withstood a barrage of right hands in the early rounds to come back and win the decision.  A partisan crowd gave Follmar overwhelming support as the fight went back-and-forth throughout the early rounds. Follmar consistently landed more blows in the late rounds and Alcanter's left eye had swelled shut by the end of the bout.  According to one correspondent, the injury was caused by an accidental head butt in the first round and had been monitored closely by the ring doctor throughout the bout.  A ringside correspondent told WBAN "It was one of the best fights ... evenly matched and action packed ... that I have seen in quite a while. Franchesca was mobbed when she finally left her dressing room with people seeking autographs etc. From then until the fights were over and we left she was signing programs etc."  Alcanter fell to 15-6-1.

On March 1, 2005 at Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Kristy (130 lbs) won a four-round majority (38-38,39-37,39-37) decision over Kim Colbert (133 lbs) of Southfield, Michigan, who fell to 2-6-0 (2 KOs).   The victory improved Follmar's record to 15-1 (9 KO's).

On March 12, 2005 at the Marconi Museum of Exotic Cars in Tustin, California, Kristy fought a four-round exhibition bout with IFBA Junior Bantamweight champion Mariana Juárez. Kristy had been expecting to fight Lisa Lewis in this charity event, but Lewis weighed in seven pounds over and Juárez agreed to step in as a last-minute substitute. Juarez had been sparring eight rounds earlier in the day at Maywood Boxing Club and was asked to be an alternate in case Lewis pulled out. According to WBAN correspondent David Avila at ringside, "In the first round Juárez and Follmar traded jabs and matched wits with expertise rarely seen. Punch for punch, block for block, the two title-holders exchanged cautiously unable to exploit openings in the first round. In the next three rounds the tempo increased with Follmar firing more combinations and moving in and out. Juárez always pressed forward blocking with one hand then hitting back with that same hand. Her right hand found the mark. Follmar used her quick jab to score from the outside, then jumped in occasionally with three punch combinations. Juárez picked off punches and countered to the body or head, whatever was open."

“It was great to fight someone like her", said Follmar, "it wasn’t like my other fights were girls just come in brawling, she was fun to fight. I was excited to be fighting in California. I hope my next trip here is a world title fight."
Juárez complimented Follmar saying "she has good technique, her hand speed was pretty good.”  Juárez was scheduled to defend her 115-pound title in China at the end of the month, and her team said that the exhibition was good preparation for her. Because it was an exhibition the fight was not scored.

Kristy has a degree in telecommunications with a minor in sociology. She balanced a heavy load of courses at Ball State with her boxing training, but said boxing helped with her studies. "It relieves the stress and clears my head," Follmar said. "Besides, I like to keep busy. I don't like sitting around doing nothing." 

At first, Kristy's mother was less than enthusiastic about her pro boxing career, but her family about 50 friends are now a traveling cheering section for her fights. “My family has come to love boxing. When I first started, nobody wanted me to do it, but now they are fighting for tickets and go all over Indiana to watch me fight.”

Coach Cummings believes that Kristy should make boxing her vehicle to something better. “My guess is that Kristy has two years left.", he said in July 2004. "The goal is, of course, a world championship. She doesn’t want to do this long-term, and I don’t want her to either.”

“Honestly, I don’t enjoy hitting people,” Follmar says. “I’ve felt bad during and after every single fight, but that’s the nature of the sport. If I don’t swing first, I’m going to get hit. I'm an extremely competitive person", she adds, "it's really intense out there in the ring, and I love it. This may seem ironic, but I am not a violent person. I don’t believe in fighting … People who don’t know me can’t understand why I love to box. But people who know me probably notice that I’m the most unstressed, laid-back person in town. And maybe that’s because I take out all of my stress in my workouts.”

On September 13, 2005 Kristy wrote to WBAN "After months of serious consideration about the direction of my life, I have decided to walk away from boxing. For almost 6 years, I was blessed with opportunities and accomplished things I never imagined I would do. However, there are factors in my life now that have become unbalanced due to the extremely demanding lifestyle of professional boxing. I have chosen to channel my energy into my career with Pathway Productions, as well as embark on new (and less hazardous!) adventures."

Follmar became the chief trainer at the Rock Steady Gym in Indianapolis, a not-for-profit gym where she uses training techniques that she learned as a boxer to help people with Parkinson's disease combat the debilitating effects of the neurological disorder. According to Follmar, an intense workout benefits the participants by raising their dopamine levels. “People with Parkinson’s lose dopamine. The workouts increase the dopamine levels in the brain, resulting in a lessening of the symptoms.”

In 2008 Kristy reversed her decision to retire from boxing and decided to resume her competitive career with her former trainer Mark Lemerick. "I've thought about returning for awhile and when the chance came I realized I should take it," Follmar told the NWI Times. "I'm already in pretty good shape through my training at the gym so right now it's really just a matter of getting my boxing skills back. The people at the gym were enthusiastic and I thought that if they can fight through something then making a comeback is the least I can do. I think my skills are coming back. There's been some rust but I expected that. I'm surprised at the progress I'm making and it's great to be working with Mark again."

In September 2008, tragedy returned to the Follmar family when Kristy's younger brother Tommy committed suicide. "When my brother died, I had a really hard time for the first couple months snapping back into reality and finding motivation to work," Follmar told reporter Nate Ulrich. "Then this fight came up, and even though I had made the decision to hang it up and focus on my family, I felt like it would give me something else to focus on. It's almost therapeutic for me. It gives me something positive to work toward, which is a world title. My mother asked me a couple weeks after he died if I was going to fight again. She said, 'I understand if you're not, but we just need something like that.'"


Eva Jones-Young vs Kristy Follmar in March 2009

Kristy returned to competition on March 3, 2009 at the Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana, weighing in at 136 lbs and winning a ten-round unanimous (97-92,97-93,98-92) decision over 44-year-old veteran and former IFBA and WIBF world bantamweight champion Eva Jones-Young (138 lbs) of South Bend, Indiana for the vacant World Boxing Foundation Junior Welterweight title. Follmar is now 16-1 (9 KO's). Jones -Young dropped to 15-4-1 (5 KO's).

On April 25, 2009 at the Civic Center in Hammond, Indiana,
Mary McGee (133 lbs) of Gary, Indiana won a 10-round majority (95-95,97-93,97-93) decision over Kristy (133 lbs) for the vacant WBC International Junior Welterweight title.
According to Jacob Chavez at FightNews.com, "As the ladies entered the ring, the shouting and applause from the audience was deafening as the action got started right away. Both fighters aggressively looked to establish a jab. Follmar displayed good footwork as she circled the ring and used her taller frame to keep the action at a good range. The crafty McGee demonstrated great skills in her aggression. She landed solid combinations while fighting on the inside which gave her the ability to cut-off the ring. McGee continued to press the action in the second while she displayed better accuracy in her punching. Follmar was very game when trading with her opponent but often ate more punches than she connected with. Follmar began to make adjustments in the third as she circled McGee more effectively and found a better rhythm with her punches. She also focused more on the jab, but McGee wisely stuck to her strategy. Midway into the round, she pounced on Follmar and lured her into trading power shots. Again, the fans went berserk as they came together for explosive exchanges.  McGee once more had a higher connect percentage as she shortened her punches, despite absorbing plenty of punishment herself. Follmar looked to step up the pace in the fourth by becoming more aggressive than in the previous rounds. She focused early on the body and scored with solid combinations. But McGee however did not back off as she successfully countered to the head of her opponent. Round five would go to Follmar due to her steady and relentless pressure. This seemed to be taking somewhat of a toll on McGee as she slowed slightly. Round six also saw terrific trading with Follmar once again landing and moving, however McGee connected with the more effective punches. Rounds eight and nine were extremely close. Follmar stuck to her guns with combinations on the outside. McGee continued to land with hard counters within close range. The tenth and final round showed what makes certain fights special and keeps people talking for years to come. The grueling and debilitating exchanges from both fatigued women had fans on their feet throughout the stanza. Both woman wanted the win and pushed for it. There was no more boxing or back peddling; it was all toe-to-toe trading. In the end McGee let out a cry and fell to her knees in tears when announced as the winner, and like a true sportsman, Follmar applauded and congratulated her."  McGee improved her record to 17-0 (10 KO's) while Follmar fell to 16-2 (9 KO's).

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 Kristy Follmar links

Page last updated: Friday, 09 August 2013

 
     
     
     
     
 

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