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5'8" flyweight Para Draine from Mead, Washington was born on December 28, 1972. She had one career checking ID's and acting as backup bouncer in a nightclub, and another as a world champion boxer, winning the IWBF Flyweight and IFBA Junior Bantamweight titles. 

Her boxing career began in the basement of her family home where she punched out an older female cousin in what she's described as "some pretty brutal fights". The late 1990's surge in women's boxing was perfectly timed for Draine, who progressed from basement boxing to the top of her weight division, with wins over potent opposition like Eva Jones-Young, Bridgett Riley, JoJo Wyman, Marilyn Salcido and Yvonne Trevino.

Para Draine remembers being turned away at her local boxing gym in Spokane. "The gym didn't allow it (women to box)", she told WBAN's Brian Ackley, "I remember my Dad told me that when I was eight years old I came home crying because they wouldn't let me." Undaunted, she boxed with her cousin until sanctioned amateur boxing was finally opened to female competitors.

Para went undefeated in her four amateur fights, and won the Tacoma Washington Golden Gloves (where she defeated Carla Wilcox, who's also gone on to pro boxing, by just one point).

Para won her pro debut in 1997 with a four-round decision over Dolores Lira of Boise, Idaho. "She hit me and I hit her back real hard and she grinned at me," Para told Brian Ackley, "so I stepped up and hit her again with three or four punches and knocked her on her butt. I'm like 'there, smile now'."

Across the Canadian border at the PNE Agrodome in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 21, 1997, Para teamed with Sarah Schmedding of Spokane to defeat Canadians Tara Morneau of Vancouver and Olivia Gerula of Winnipeg, Manitoba in a "Tag Team Boxing" event with one six-minute round.

Four days later, at the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Bingo and Casino in Worley, Idaho, she defeated another Canadian, Trena Drotar of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, by a fourth-round TKO. Drotar fell to 2-1 wih this loss.

On July 10, 1997 in Lewiston, Idaho, she won a four-round decision over Natasha Wilburn of Atlanta, Georgia, who was making her own pro debut.

On August 14 1997, back at the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Bingo and Casino in Worley, she moved her pro record to 4-0, 1 KO with a 4-round unanimous (39-36,39-37,40-35) decision over Eva Jones-Young, who fell to 3-1-1.

On September 24, 1997 in Boise, Idaho, she won a four-round decision over Sue Chase of Ohio, who fell to 0-12.

On November 12, 1997 again at the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Bingo and Casino in Worley, Para (112 lbs) lost to Teresa Arnold (118 lbs) of Boise, Idaho by a 10-round split decision for the IBA (International Boxing Association) women's bantamweight (118 lbs) title in a battle of two then-undefeated fighters. The loss dropped Draine to 5-1, and was her first fight scheduled beyond four rounds. Arnold improved to 7-0 with the win.

On February 5, 1998 she advanced to 6-1 with a six-round unanimous decision over Winnipeg, Canada's Shirley Prescott in bantamweight action at the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Bingo and Casino in Worley, Idaho. Prescott was a last-minute substitute for Oklahoma's Brenda Rouse, and fell to 2-3 with the loss.

On May 24, 1998 at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, Para won the IWBF Flyweight title by stopping Britain's Michelle Sutcliffe (9-2 as a Thai boxer, then 1-1 as a pro boxer) in the fifth round of a scheduled 10-rounder.

On August 8, 1998 at the Spirit Lake Casino and Resort in North Dakota, Para (110 lbs) defended the IWBF Flyweight title with a hard-fought 10-round split (97-94, 98-92, 93-96) decision over Peoria, Arizona's Yvonne Trevino (112 lbs).

On November 12, 1998 in Kansas City, Missouri, she lost an eight-round unanimous decision to IWBF/WIBF bantamweight champion Eva Jones-Young of South Bend, Indiana, who improved to 11-1-1.

On April 18, 1999 in Mannheim, Germany, Silke Weickenmeier of Speyer, Germany moved her pro record to 9-2-1 and won the vacant WIBF junior featherweight title with a unanimous (96-95, 96-94, 99-92) ten-round decision over Para, who was fighting three classes above her usual weight! Weickenmeier was the busier fighter throughout, but Draine came on strongly in the late going to keep it close. "I had a lot left," said Draine afterwards, "I was making sure I didn't get tired toward the later rounds, and then at the end, I was like, 'Dang, I don't even feel tired.' That's not how it should be."

On July 10, 1999 the IWBF announced that it had stripped Para of the Flyweight title that she won against Michelle Sutcliffe for failure to sign a contract to defend it within the mandatory period.

On November 4, 1999 at the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Bingo and Casino in Worley, Idaho, Para won a six-round split decision over previously unbeaten Jo Jo Wyman of Los Angeles, who dropped to 4-1. Draine opened a cut over Wyman's left eye in the fifth round and cut her again over both eyes in the sixth round of a rugged battle.

On February 17, 2000 at the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Bingo and Casino in Worley, Idaho, 2700 fans saw Para (108 lbs) score a six-round split decision over Brenda Burnside (115 lbs) of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Draine dominated the first three rounds but was knocked down for the first time in her career in the fourth. "She hit me with a straight right hand, but I wasn't hurt. I didn't see stars or anything" Draine told reporter Hilary Kraus of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. "It was kinda like I thought `Hey, this is cool.' And I got right back up." Burnside later said she felt she won the fight, which dropped her record to 7-10-2 (many of her losses coming to top competitors).

On April 6, 2000 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, Draine lost by unanimous (99-91, 99-91, 96-95) ten-round decision to Margaret Sidoroff of Windsor, Ontario in a ten-round toe-to-toe battle for the IWBF Flyweight title. 3,500 fans saw Draine and Sidoroff trade punishing shots all night. These fans and women's boxing were also winner as this female fight was the high point of a four-fight card. Sidoroff, one of the best boxers ever to come out of the Canadian amateur ranks,  moved to 8-0 in front of a partisan home crowd. Draine continued to impress the women's boxing world with her willingness to take on tough opponents on their home turf.

On March 30, 2002 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington. Para returned to competition after a two-year layoff with a four-round unanimous decision over 2000 Canadian amateur flyweight champion Robin Pinto of Summerland, British Columbia. Pinto fell to 1-2 with the loss. According to Inside Women's Boxing correspondent Matt Sorenson, "Pinto showed skills way beyond her record, but Draine was sharp, using a stiff jab and a versatile right hand to earn a unanimous decision".

On April 12, 2002 at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, Nevada, In a 110-lb contest, Yvonne Caples of Las Vegas advanced to 5-3-1 (1 KO) with a six-round majority (58-56,58-56,57-57) decision over Para. Both fighters looked a little ring rusty, according to my correspondent.

On August 17, 2002 at Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, California, Marilyn Salcido (115 lbs) of Rialto, California battled Para (114 lbs) to a six-round majority draw (59-55 Salcido, 57-57, 57-57). Francisco Salazar writes that "Draine's awkward style seemed to befuddle Salcido from the outset of the first round. However, later in the round, Salcido seemed to crack the code to score against Draine as she began to land some shots to Draine's head. As the fight progressed, Draine seemed to make the bout more difficult for her to fight. Taller and with a longer reach than Salcido, Draine tried to charge in and score with awkward crosses and hooks when she might have been more successful establishing her jab. Salcido made her pay by connecting with crosses and a few uppercuts. In the latter half of the fight, Draine began to connect a little more with each passing round. Both traded in the final two rounds with each landing significant telling blows over one another." Salazar said that Salcido felt she had won the fight. "You give it your all in the fight and then you get this from the judges. It upsets me. Yeah, she was hard to figure out in the beginning, but I figured her out and scored at will against her." Salcido's record moved to 8-3-3 (1 KO) while Draine's became 11-5-1 (2 KO).


Para (R) lands to the body of Bridgett Riley in November 2002
© Copyrighted photo taken by Sue TL Fox

On November 14, 2002 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, Para (115 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-54, 59-55, 59-55) decision over former IFBA Bantamweight champion Bridgett Riley (115 lbs) of Hollywood, California. In this elimination bout for the IFBA Junior Bantamweight title, Draine used excellent movement, ring savvy and an effective attack to Riley's body to hand Riley a convincing boxing lesson. Riley's left hook and aggressive style were no match for Draine's skills and accurate counterpunching in a bout that Draine controlled. Both fighters did some dirty work at close quarters, and Draine was warned twice for holding Riley behind the head. Riley fell to 13-3-0 (6 KO). (There are more great pics and MPEG video of this fight on the WBAN Records Member Site).

On December 18, 2002 at the Marriott Hotel in Irvine, California, Para completed her ring comeback by winning the vacant IFBA Junior Bantamweight title with a ten-round split (99-91,98-92,94-96) decision over Marilyn Salcido of Rialto, California. Salcido, the crowd favorite, began the fight aggressively. She took the action  to the taller Draine at first, beating her to the punch and outworking her while Para looked to box outside and use her reach advantage. Draine got untracked in the third and fourth rounds, however, and began landing precisely timed right hands and uppercuts on Salcido. In the fifth and sixth, Para was able to back Salcido up and sometimes showed that she could outwork the Californian at close quarters. Draine paced herself to go the distance and fought the later rounds looking sharp against an obviously tiring but still very aggressive Salcido. Draine lost her balance in the ninth after swinging on a wild left, then tried to tie Salcido up. Both put on a big show of toe-to-toe action in the final round that had the crowd on its feet, cheering loudly ... for Salcido!  Draine wobbled Salcido with a hard right but Salcido kept coming forward to press the action as Draine finally began to tire. The crowd went wild as both fighters were lifted in the air by their corner teams after the final bell. Salcido fell to 9-4-3 (2 KO) with the split decision loss.

Winning the belt against SalcidoAfter this fight, Draine stated that Marilyn Salcido was "a great fighter" and that she herself had felt a bit sluggish in this fight. Para’s team also said that she would like to unify the women's Junior Bantamweight belts and then move up in weight.

Each boxer had been guaranteed just $3,000 for this ten-round world title fight. Said Salcido after the fight: "Para came to fight and I came to fight. I tried to stay away from her right hand. I tried to work her body. I threw some right hooks and stepped in with my jabs. But I wasn't able to really get to her like I wanted to. I had never gone 10 rounds before and it took a lot out of me." Salcido's trainer Bob Davison said his fighter couldn't match Para's strength. "Marilyn did land some power shots, but she wasn't really able to hurt [her]."

WBAN named Para Draine "Greatest Comeback of the Year" for 2002 for recovering her world title status.

On February 13, 2003 at Centennial Garden in Bakersfield, California, IFBA featherweight champion Kelsey Jeffries of Gilroy, California won a six-round unanimous (60-54,60-54,60-54) decision over Para. Jeffries advanced to 18-7-0 (1 KO) while Draine fell to 13-6-1 (2 KO). This non-title bout was added to the card at short notice. Jeffries was originally supposed to take on Marilyn Salcido and Draine stepped in to make the match possible at the last moment.

On October 17, 2003 at Orleans Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, a scheduled bout between Para and Melinda Cooper of Las Vegas was called off when Draine failed a pre-fight medical.

For Para Draine's complete record with detailed fight reports, huge digital photo galleries and MPEGs of her fight with Bridgett Riley, go to the WBAN Records Member Site.

Page last updated: Saturday, May 1, 2004

 
     
     
     
     
 

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