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Kendra Lenhart

6'1" super middleweight Kendra Lenhart was born in Lenoir City, Tennessee on July 16, 1974. She is trained by her husband Marvin and fights out of Tennessee (originally Lenoir City, then Knoxville) and Georgia.

At the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City on March 21, 1998, Dalton, Georgia's Mitzi Jeter (164 lbs) won a four-round unanimous decision over Kendra, who weighed in at 168 lbs. Jeter improved to 3-1 with the win.

On May 24, 1998 at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, 6'0" heavyweight Kathy Rivers of Hollywood, Florida TKO'd Kendra in the fourth, moving her pro record to 2-0.

On August 21, 1998 at the Belle Casino in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Kathy Rivers (173 lbs) won a six-round unanimous decision over Kendra (177 lbs) in the rematch, advancing her record to 4-0 (1 KO).

On December 2, 1998 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Kendra knocked out Valerie Mahfood of Port Arthur, Texas in the third round of a light heavyweight bout, dropping Mahfood's record to 3-2.

On June 4, 1999 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Kendra won by a second-round KO of Francis Williams of Atlanta, who was making her pro debut.

On June 11, 1999 at Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, IBA women's heavyweight champion Suzette Taylor of Atlanta, Georgia won by fifth-round TKO over Kendra in a give and take slugfest. Trailing going into round four, Taylor dropped Lenhart for an eight count with a tremendous left hook. Taylor came out fast in the fifth and the bout was soon stopped by the referee. This was Lenhart's second fight in a week, and she fell to 2-5 while Taylor improved to 5-1-1 (3 KO) as a pro boxer.

On August 6, 1999 in Tunica, Mississippi, Kendra Lenhart scored a third-round TKO over Genevia Buckhalter of Columbus, Mississippi in a light heavyweight bout. Buckhalter was knocked down in the first round and took a standing eight in the second before succumbing to Lenhart's pressure early in the third. Buckhalter fell to 1-2-1.

On August 28, 1999 in Traverse City, Mississippi, Kendra (172 lbs) won a first-round TKO over Marjorie Jones (175 lbs) to move her pro record to 4-5. Jones fell to 1-3-1 with the loss.

On December 10, 1999 at the Grand Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, A scheduled four-round bout between Kendra (158¾ lbs) and Gina Nicholas (5'5", 154½ lbs) of Longview, Texas was declared a technical draw between the third and fourth round because an unintentional head butt in the first round caused excessive bleeding to Lenhart. Nicholas was 10-3-2; Lenhart 4-5-1.

On January 13, 2000 at Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Kendra moved to 5-5-1 with a KO over debut fighter Lisa McQueen of Mississippi in what was said to be the first leg of an IFBA four-round Heavyweight tournament. Lenhart stopped McQueen in the first round with solid body shots.

On February 11, 2000 at the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Louisiana, Trina Ortegon (5'9", 160 lbs) of Albuquerque, New Mexico won a unanimous (96-94, 97-93, 98-92) decision over Kendra (163 lbs) in a clinch-filled struggle for the IFBA Super Middleweight title. This fight was a late substitute for a scheduled title bout between Florida rivals Chevelle Hallback and Lena Åkesson, and neither Ortegon or Lenhart seemed fully ready for a ten-round battle of attrition. The bout became a grabby in-fighting struggle that was not a thing of beauty as Ortegon upped her pro record to 8-1 while Lenhart slipped to 5-6-1.

On March 23, 2000 in Tunica, Mississippi, Suzette Taylor of Atlanta, Georgia moved her pro record to 6-2-1 (4 KO's) with a sixth-round KO of Lenhart, who fell to 5-7-1.

On September 23, 2000 at Camp Jordan Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Kendra (170 lbs) won by a KO at 0:50 of the first round over Ashley Hall (180 lbs) of Spartanburg.

On October 20, 2000 at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Laila Ali (5'10", 165¼ lbs) advanced to 8-0 (7 KO's) with a unanimous (58-56,58-56,60-54) six-round decision over Kendra (165½ lbs) who fell to 6-8-1. This was Ali's first fight to go the distance. Lenhart rocked Ali and bruised her face with several swinging shots to the head. A hard right from Lenhart knocked Ali's mouthpiece out of the ring with 20 seconds left in the second round and Lenhart hurt Ali with a left-right combination in the third. Ali rallied to take the final three rounds with more decisive and disciplined punches, especially to Lenhart's body, as both tired to the point where they looked nearly exhausted by the end of the bout.

"I am a little disappointed that I couldn't knock her out and that I got hit too much," said Ali after the fight. Marvin Lenhart had warned several days earlier that "this is the biggest mistake Ali's camp has made", and for the first three rounds it had seemed that way as the 34-year old Lenhart had pressed the action and landed the harder shots.

Lenhart was disappointed with her performance against Ali, saying "I did a terrible job tonight. She fought a great fight and was in great shape. She is definitely a tough fighter, but I really think I could have done better. She stayed with her game plan. She was a better woman tonight."

On April 19, 2001 at the Civic Center in Beaumont, Texas, Kendra (164 lbs) showed that her first win over Valerie Mahfood was no fluke! Lenhart KO'd the favored "Wolfe" (168 lbs) at 1:07 into the second round of a scheduled ten-rounder for the vacant WIBF Super-Middleweight (168-lb) title after knocking Mahfood down three times for eight counts. Some boxing commentators, perhaps discounting Kendra's KO potential, saw this result as a total surprise, but Lenhart had been quietly confident in a pre-fight interview. Lenhart moved to 7-8-1 (7 KO's) while Mahfood fell to 11-4 and retained the WIBF 175-lb title.

Kendra was named WBAN's Fighter of the Month for May 2001.

Kendra LenhartOn July 20, 2001 at Crystal Park Casino in Compton, California, 5'10" Canadian-born Marsha Valley (171 lbs) of Los Angeles TKO'd Kendra (171 lbs) at 1:59 in the third round of a scheduled six-rounder. Valley knocked Lenhart down near the end of the second round with a right to the head. Lenhart looked tired by the third round and Valley unleashed a barrage of unanswered punches to end the fight with Lenhart slumped in the ropes. Lenhart took a standing eight count as the bell rang and the referee called a halt.  WBAN correspondent Brian Low said that Lenhart wasn't aggressive and Valley was able to do what she wanted in the ring. Valley moved to 7-5-4, (3 KO's) while Lenhart slipped to 7-9-1 (7 KO's). (Also see the fight report by Craig O written for the Women's Boxing Page.)

On June 7, 2002 at DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Mississippi Kendra (175 lbs) won a TKO at 1:29 of the second round over Lisa McFarland (205 lbs) of East Point, Georgia, who was unable to continue after the first round. This badly-matched bout was on the undercard of Laila Ali's comeback bout after her shoulder surgery. It was the first in which Lenhart fought on a card promoted by Ali's husband. McFarland fell to 2-3 (1 KO).

Kendra, WIBF President Barbara Buttrick, and Jacqui Frazier-Lyde
pose before the Lenhart-Lyde WIBF title fight

On December 13, 2002 at World Fitness Center Gym in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a crowd estimated at 1200 saw Jacqui Frazier-Lyde (165 lbs) win a ten-round unanimous (99-90,98-91,98-91) decision over Kendra to take the WIBF super middleweight title away from Kendra (and add the vacant GBU 168-pound title to Frazier-Lyde's collection). Frazier-Lyde knocked Lenhart down with a big right in the third and controlled the rest of the bout. "I should have used my boxing skills," said Frazier-Lyde after the fight. "Kendra is ... tough ... it was unbelievable the amount of punches she took."

Said Lenhart: "Jacqui is a good strong fighter and hits real hard." Lenhart says she was knocked out on her feet in the first round and was surprised by Frazier-Lyde's speed and power. Frazier-Lyde advanced to 10-1-0 (9 KO) while Lenhart fell to 8-10-1 (8 KO).

Kendra with Jacqui Frazier Lyde after their title fight

Lenhart played basketball and threw the discus for Delta State University and she holds Mississippi power-lifting records. "I've always been an athlete" she told Jackson, Mississippi reporter Rick Cleveland, adding that she'd be doing roadwork, weightlifting and endless sit-ups whether she was boxing or not. "I've always stayed in shape ... I've always enjoyed competition. I'm used to the rigors of training. I actually enjoy it."

Kendra's boxing career has been full of KO's ... her opponents or hers ... but she also said "I've gotten hurt worse sparring than anything else. When you get hit real hard, it's like whiplash. Your neck hurts. That's the worst part."

Kendra and Marvin, a former Southern Mississppi football player who builds log houses, have three children, a boy and two girls.

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Page last updated: Friday November 06, 2015


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