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Olga Vlasova
© Copyrighted photo taken by Bob Marovitz

 
   

5'7" lightweight/junior welterweight Olga Vlasova was born on May 25, 1976 in Academtown near Novosibirsk, Siberia and lived there until 1998. She was an only child and always enjoyed the love and closeness of her family.  Her early athletic interests included skiing (at age 3!), running, basketball, fencing and Tae Kwon Do.

"From childhood I loved sports", she says, "There was competitive gymnastics, swimming, athletics, basketball, fencing and the others. I was successful in these all, but can’t be carried away with these kinds of sports for a long time. In 1991 I start training in Tae Kwon Do and three months later I became champion of Siberia."

Olga won the Siberian Tae Kwon Do championship in 1991 amd 1992 but she was drawn to kickboxing in 1993 after witnessing a televised 10-round title bout between American champion Ramona Gatto and Russia's Natalya Larionova in Moscow.

"In 1993 I start training in kickboxing and Muay Thai", she says.

"Four months later I became Russian Muay Thai champion and one month later I became the Russian kickboxing champion. Since that time I have found myself through competitive boxing. My victory over the life is inside the ring!"

Olga had about 30 kick boxing bouts and 20 amateur boxing matches with only 2 losses. She won the Russian Muay Thai title in 1993 and 1994 and the ISKA Russian Kickboxing Championship in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996.   She also won the ISKA/IKF World Title in 1995 and in 1997 the Russian Amateur Boxing Championship.

Olga VlasovaOn May 13th, 1995, in San Jose, California, a crowd of over 4,000 people saw Olga (then 9-2 with 3 KOs as a kickboxer) make her international debut in an event co-sanctioned by the IKF and the ISKA for two world flyweight titles.

Olga took on world champion Ramona Gatto of the USA for Gatto's ISKA World Title and for the vacant IKF World Flyweight Title. The aggressive local favorite Gatto seemed to have more weapons and movement than Olga early in the 10-round match, but the taller Olga refused to be flustered, worked past Gatto's attacks, and kept landing accurate combinations. By the eighth, Gatto looked tired and was losing the bigger exchanges. The last two rounds saw a lot of grabbing and clinching in which Gatto succeeded in bloodying Olga's nose at close quarters, but Vlasova kept her cool and continued to land hard clean shots. When it was all over judge Susan Thomas had scored the bout 98 to 92.5 for Gatto, but judge Dwight Brown had it 99 to 97.5 for Vlasova and judge Igor Oranski of Russia had scored it 99.5 to 97.5 for Vlasova. The titles were awarded to Vlasova by split decision ... then the trouble began!

Ramona Gatto displayed the same out-of-ring tantrums she had shown after losing another close match to Kathy Long. Berating the officials and an ESPN2 interviewer, she huffed and puffed that she had been robbed and that she was the one the crowd really came to see. She had not been "bad" enough inside the ring to put the fight out of the judges' hands, but she made her anger clear outside it and has not fought since.

The controversy over the Gatto-Vlasova bout continued later as the IKF reversed the judges' decision abd belatedly decided that it had been misled over the appointment of the judges. Thomas had been appointed by the California State Athletic Commission while Brown and Oranski were appointed by the ISKA. Brown was a judge against whom Gatto had previously filed a protest, while Oranski was actually Olga's manager, a fact that had apparently escaped the IKF's attention! The IKF voided the award of its title to Vlasova and gave it to Gatto.

In my opinion this circus made both kickboxing federations look bush league. While the choice of judges was questionable, the questioning should have happened before the fight, not after it was over and a decision had been announced ... the women had fought their hearts out for two world titles, and both deserved better from the event's organisers.

Olga writes: "My trainer told me about my opponent only two day before the event. He wanted to prevent any nervous feelings. I think it was right. Ramona is the great boxer and I needed then all my forces and character to stop Ramona’s attacks. And I took from her inside the ring two belts as world champion from ISKA and IKF! I know IKF has change his decision later in Ramona’s favour, but that's ok. My love is of hard training and good fighting but not the sport’s politics!" 

This fight turned out to be Gatto's swansong as a competitor but the younger Vlasova set her sights on a boxing supremacy and began to train first as an amateur and then as a professional boxer while continuing her kickboxing career.

Olga posted an 18-2 record as an amateur boxer and won the 1997 Russian Amateur Boxing Championship.

In November, 2000, Olga was a member of the Russian amateur women's team that visited the USA for the first Russia-USA Dual Meet in New England, competing twice in the 139-lb division. On November 15, 2000 at the Good Time Emporium in Somerville, Massachusetts, she defeated Stephanie Jaramillo of Albuquerque, New Mexico by an 8-4 score. On November 17, 2000 at Rockingham Park, in Salem, New Hampshire, she lost by a 2-1 margin to Melissa "Missy" Fiorentino of Cranston, Rhode Island (an American two-sport champion who also turned professional in 2001).  Olga moved to to Florida and then to Chicago to pursue her pro boxing ring career in the USA.

On August 12, 2001 at Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Illinois, Olga (135 lbs) won her pro boxing debut with a TKO at 1:37 of the third round over Rima Freeman, (133 lbs) who fell to 2-2-1. According to FightNews correspondent Robert Hoffman, "Vlasova ... completely dismantled the game Rima Freeman. Freeman pressed forward trying to land, but Olga defended herself rather aptly and made Freeman pay for her efforts with punishing blows to the face and body. By the middle of the first round, Freeman had a golfball sized knot under her left eye and blood streaming from her nose. In the second round Olga landed even more blows after she figured out a strategy to overcome Freeman's southpaw stance. With her eye almost completely swollen shut and her nose likely broken, Freeman looked to referee Pete Podgorski to step in."

On September 2, 2001 at Silver Star Hotel and Casino in Philadelphia, Mississippi, Olga (135¾ lbs) moved her pro boxing record to 2-0 (1 KO) with a four-round unanimous (39-37) decision over Jodi Kombrinck (134 lbs) of Tallahassee, Florida who fell to 2-2 (2 KOs). The fighters went toe-to-toe in the early going but Vlasova began to wear Kombrinck down with body punching as the bout progressed. This fight was seen live on Fox Sports Net.

Vlasova (in black) vs. RomeroOn December 21, 2001 at Pechanga Center in Temecula, California, Olga (135 lbs) stopped Janae Romero (5'6", 134 lbs) of Denver, Colorado at 0:43 in the second round of a scheduled four-rounder. Vlasova advanced her pro record to 3-0 (2 KOs) with the win, while Romero dropped to 2-1-1. The bout was seen on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights and featured straight-ahead action with Romero very active but Vlasova landing the harder and cleaner shots. The TKO came when Romero looked stunned after taking a hard overhand right from Vlasova and her trainer husband Steve asked for the fight to be stopped. Vlasova had raised a bad bruise under Romero's left eye and Romero seemed confused about whether the fight was over so this was a good stoppage.

On February 8, 2002 at Pechanga Center, Temecula, California, Olga (136 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-54) decision over Imelda Arias (136½ lbs) of Juárez, México, who fell to 8-13-1 (8 KO's). Vlasova dominated the shorter Arias with an effective jab and hard straight rights. She also showed good footwork and kept slipping Arias's looping shots to shut out the game Mexican on every scorecard.

On March 10, 2002 at Green Valley Ranch Resort and Casino in Henderson, Nevada, Olga (137 lbs) advanced to 5-0 (2 KO's with a unanimous (40-36) four-round decision over 2001 National 139-lb USA Boxing national silver medalist Kanicia Eley (138 lbs) of Norfolk, Virginia who fell to 2-1-0 (1 KO). Vlasova was the aggressor in the early going and hurt Eley with a hard right but Eley also caught her with several hard rights as she was coming in. Vlasova began to control the action in the second round and landed her own right to good effect, following one particularly solid right with a hard left hook. Vlasova won the fight going away in the third and fourth as a bloody-nosed Eley tired. Eley put in a game performance against the hard-hitting Russian but her boxing skills weren't enough to hold her off in the later rounds.


Olga takes it to Patricia Demick in June 2002
© Copyrighted photo taken by Sandy Goldberg

On June 15, 2002 at Miccosukee Hotel and Casino in Miami, Florida, Olga (137 lbs) continued her winning ways as a pro boxer with a TKO at 1:27 in the third round over #10 Ranked Welterweight Patricia Demick (139½ lbs) of Hallandale Beach, Florida. Vlasova came out aggressively and pounded Demick with body shots against the ropes in another strong performance that helped to stake her claim as a title contender. Vlasova moved her pro boxing record to 6-0-0 (3 KO) as Demick fell to 7-4-1 (5 KO).

On July 21, 2002 at Table Mountain Casino in Friant, California, Olga (134¼ lbs) fought to a six-round (58-56,57-57,57-57) majority draw with veteran Gloria Ramirez (135¼ lbs) of Sunland Park, New Mexico, the #4 ranked Lightweight. Vlasova advanced to 6-0-1 (3 KO) while Ramirez went to 9-11-4 (2 KO).

On November 9, 2002 at Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio, Colorado, Olga (slimmed down to 128¼ lbs) won the IFBA Junior Lightweight title with a ten-round split (98-92,96-95,93-97) decision over reigning champion Sandra Yard (127¾ lbs) of Palm Desert, California. Vlasova soon set the pace, aggressively pursuing Yard, whose strategy was to try to keep her distance and counterpunch. Vlasova worked effectively when she caught up to Yard and could go to work at close quarters. Yard needed to stick and move as Vlasova showed she had the power to do damage whenever she got close. Early in the fight, Yard's ring savvy and movement kept the fight on close to even terms with both landing solidly at times and trading good combinations. Vlasova began to take control in the seventh as Yard appeared to be tiring. But with her title clearly in danger, Yard made a big effort in the final round and was able to turn the tables and keep Vlasova on defense. The bout made for an exciting co-main event on the card and had the crowd cheering a fine effort by both boxers. Vlasova advanced to 7-0-1 (3 KO) while Yard fell to 12-5-2 (3 KO).

In May 2003, Olga Vlasova announced her retirement from professional boxing.

Olga is the only child of Anatoli and Nadezgda Vlasova. She has a degree in economy and business from the State Academy of Management and Economy in Novosibirsk. She enjoys studying English, reading and writing poetry, and is a music-lover who intends to learn the guitar.

Other Olga Vlasova links

  • Interview with Bob Marovitz
    WBAN, June 2002

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