5'2" flyweight Ria Ramnarine from Carapichaima, Trinidad was born on
October 12, 1978.
She has been involved in numerous contact sports, including karate,
ju-jitsu, kickboxing, and Muay Thai, since 1995.
She has had to fight for most, if not everything, she has in life
today as one of Trinidad's top women fighters.
One of the very few things she did not have to fight for was her own
individuality. With two sisters and two brothers, Ramnarine was the
eccentric one. Not coming from a sports-oriented family, being involved
in contact sports professionally made her stand out.
"I always loved
sports, but I was not allowed to participate in any since it was feared
(by my Dad) that it would distract me from my studies. I was on the
cricket team once though, in primary school and I also did some
cheerleading in high school, (our team came third)!", Ria told WBAN's
Sue Fox in a July 2003
August of 1995, she joined the Fine Line Gym in Chaguanas, where she is
still a member, and where she does her weight training.
"I really wanted to do this so I paid my first
fees with one dollar bills and coins I’d saved up",
The gym also offered classes
in aerobics, karate,
ju-jitsu, kick-boxing and boxing. Two months later she started karate
and after a long wait of two years, Ramnarine finally edged her way
into the kick-boxing class. “Like most parents, Dad almost
freaked out and Mom was overly concerned about me getting hurt”,
Nevertheless her parents became her #1 fans, and she says their support
and that of her siblings has been tremendous.
After just two months of
kickboxing training, Ramnarine fought her first fight, which ended in a
very controversial draw. Not to be discouraged, she continued her
training and after over a year she got her chance again, this time
scoring a second-round KO.
With just two fights under her
belt, Ramnarine had already created a
reputation and ran out of local competition. Her coach, Bharath
Ramoutar, knew that she was especially good with her hands, so he opted
to have her box also.
On December 3, 1999 in Port of
Spain, Trinidad , Ria (110 lbs) made her boxing debut scoring a 3rd
round KO over Wilma Skeete (112 lbs).
Having just lost a kick-boxing
fight (2 weeks
before) to world champion kickboxer and Muay Thai fighter, Vanessa
Bellegarde, Ramnarine was thrilled with her victory. “Whenever
I fall, I get up right after, brush my pants and move
on…so when I lose a fight, I like to get right back in the ring as soon
as possible," she said..
Ramnarine, like others in the
sport involving kickboxing and boxing,
she has gotten into mismatches that either was by weight, experience,
or in most cases, both. Ramnarine told WBAN that in only one of all of
her fights, she has outweighed her opponent---and that was only by one
Ramnarine recalls some of the
fights that stood
out, and told WBAN of a four-round kick-boxing bout against Vanessa
Bellegarde in Canada. The world champ was 13 pounds heavier and on her
home turf. It was Ramnarine's third fight, but even though she was much
lighter and less experienced, she stood toe-to-toe with her, earning
the respect of the crowd. Ramnarine tried to force the fight using her
hands but Bellgarde's kicking skills proved to be too much for her.
On May 3, 2000 in Port of
Spain, Trinidad, Giselle Salandy,
then aged 13, won a four-round decision over Ria.
On May 21, 2000 in Port of
Spain, Trinidad, Ria won a four-round decision over Erica Benjamin in a
kickboxing bout (this has been reported elsewhere as a boxing bout, but
Ria assures me that is incorrect).
On August 5, 2000, in Antigua,
Claudette Alexander (122 lbs) of the Netherlands Antilles won a
six-round decision over Ria (112 lbs). Ramnarine fought bravely against
the much taller Alexander, who improved to 2-0 (1 KO).
On February 10 2001 in
Trinidad, Ria (112 lbs) won a four-round rematch with Wilma Skeete (115
lbs) of Trinidad, who fell to 0-3.
On March 10 in Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago, Ria (110 lbs) knocked out Adanna Francis (122 lbs)
of Siparia, Trinidad in the fourth round. Francis fell to 1-1
with the loss.
On July 27, 2001 at Convention Center in Niagara
Falls, New York,
IFBA Junior Featherweight champion
(116 lbs) moved to 9-7 (4 KO's)
with a TKO over Ria (110 lbs) at 0:24 of the fourth round. Ramnarine told WBAN:
was hard but then again, I was under weight and not altogether totally
prepared psychologically, my mind just was not in the fight. Before I
went to the weigh-in I was 108 lbs. We thought if the weight difference
was too much, they would not allow me to fight, and I did not travel
all the way to the USA not to fight! So, any way, I ate a lot
before the weigh-in to ensure I was heavy enough! I know now that it
was not exactly the smartest thing to do ... This was a
turning point in my career, a wake up call. My coaches and I discussed
it and decided that being at a disadvantage 99% of the time was not
worth it. I won’t refuse a chance to fight but at the same time the
pros and cons have to be weighed. There’s that saying, getting your
feet wet without drowning."
26, 2001 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Georgetown, Guyana,
Ria (110 lbs) won an eight-round split decision over Shaundel Thomas
(112 lbs) of Guyana. Ria dominated the fight landing clean
uppercuts to her more aggressive opponent, who was intent on landing a
big right hand. Ria's movement
around the ring helped her frustrate her opponent. "Shaundel
Thomas made me work for my victory! She was good", says
Ramnarine. The fight was promoted by the Guyana Boxing
Copyrighted Photo taken by Durell Wambolt
July 12, 2003 at Chaguanas Indoor Sports Centre in Chaguanas, Trinidad,
Ria (110 lbs) easily won a six-round unanimous (60-54) decision over
pro debut fighter
Vicki Boodram (112 lbs) of Princes Town, Trinidad.
Ramnarine and Boodram had the boxing fans off their seats in this
action-packed six-rounder. The
Internet Express online news source
described the fight as the following: "Ria
Ramnarine, five feet two inches and coming in at 110 pounds, grabbed
all the plaudits from super welterweight Floyd Trumpet in the first of
a series of monthly professional bouts staged by Cosmic Promotions last
Saturday night. Ramnarine had the Saith Park crowd in
Chaguanas jumping off their seats as she pounded out a unanimous
six-round decision over game and promising Vicki Boodram."
On November 8, 2003 at Sun Center in Calgary,
Erin Linley of Calgary won the WIKBA Women's Flyweight (47.8 kg)
World Muay Thai title with a 5-round unanimous decision over
Ria. Linley outworked Ramnarine in the clinches using her knees and
to the midsection that Ramnarine was unable to block or counter
In the later going Linley was able to work a tiring and battered
Ramnarine against the ropes and in the corners. backwards to the ropes.
Ramnarine said, “A
WIKBA title was on the line and we were at least the same weight. Had I
won that fight, contact sport in Trinidad would have gained immediate
recognition and attention from the government and sponsors. But though
I lost, it was a major achievement in that it was the first time a
Trinidadian officially fought Muay Thai, and at such a high level
to read Erin Linley's account of this fight.)
On July 31, 2004, at Saith Park Indoor Arena in
1,500 boxing fans saw Ria (105 lbs) win an eight-round unanimous
(79-75,79-73, 78-74) decision for the WIBA Iberian-American
Mini Flyweight title over Diedre (Dee) Hamaguchi (5' 1½", 105 lbs) of
Harlem, New York, USA. There were no knockdowns but both exchanged hard
punches throughout the exciting bout and left the arena with
lacerations under their right eyes. Ramnarine went toe to toe
with Hamaguchi, and told local reporters after the fight "I
did not fight normally, I like to hit and move. I can't say why I did
but I tried to adjust to her style and it worked out in the end."
Ramnarine admitted that she was hurt in the fourth by a stinging
combination from Hamaguchi. But she was able to stay on her feet and
came back to win the bout, urged on by shouts of "Ria, Ria, Ria" from
her supporters and scoring freely with combinations to Hamaguchi's
head. "I am trained to take hard punches because I
train with guys and get hit pretty hard. I have conditioned myself to
overcome the really tough shots", she said, adding. "Diedre
is strong and really came to fight. I am happy to win this bout in
front of my supporters."
Hamaguchi, who had fought much of the bout with a
grin on her face, said "I really wanted to win the title but
Ria fought well. I would have been happy for a draw, but then you can't
win them all. I was grinning because I was enjoying the fight, I love
to fight." Hamaguchi fell to 1-7-2 (0
On May 27, 2005 at the Jean Pierre Sports Complex
in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago Ria (104½ lbs)
won the WIBA Mini-Flyweight World title over Yvonne
Caples (104½ lbs) of Berkeley, California
by a very controversial 10-round split decision. Ramnarine
went down in the second round after she missed with her right and
Caples caught her with a clean left to the jaw, but Ria came back with
a game effort later. Trinidad and Tobago judge George St
Aude and Derek Herbert from Barbados both gave Ramnarine the fight
97-93, while Andre Thorne of Guyana had it 97-93 in favor of Caples
Trinidad Express reporter Ian Prescott wrote
that "In the first round, Caples had the edge, setting up the
contender with the long right jab. Ramnarine was always open to be hit
by her opponent's left and was stopped in her tracks every time the
American connected. Ramnarine tried bobbing and weaving, but she was
always that second
slower than Caples, who stuck the jab out and moved away before
Ramnarine got set to throw her fists. A quick left from Caples sent
Ramnarine to the canvas in the second round.
Caples looked the better fighter, mixing up her punches, jabbing to
the head and stomach and dishing out the occasional uppercut and hook.
Ramnarine, on the other hand, wasn't getting anything off.
Caples won the fourth round and looked good landing a left to
Ramnarine's jaw. At that stage, every local supporter was worried, but
Ramnarine had a better round, and might have actually won the fifth.
The sixth saw Caples sticking out the jab and disappearing out of
range. She also landed several lefts flush on Ramnarine's face, but the
round was fairly close. A wicked uppercut tilted Ramnarine's head
backwards as Caples
rushed out at the start of the seventh round and proceeded to dominate.
Ramnarine looked to undo the damage by being more aggressive in the
eighth. She threw a few combinations, but Caples again landed the
cleaner punches. Ramnarine landed a solid right to the American's jaw
in the ninth, but Caples delivered good combinations. And by the tenth
round, all but Ramnarine's most loyal fans were silent.
The final round was the best of the fight as the T&T pugilist
mixed it up. Caples, though, landed the cleaner, harder punches and
clearly won the round...not according to two of the judges, who saw it
as a clear loss for the American."
Prescott also reported that "Many in the local boxing
fraternity felt Caples had won by a landslide. Tansley Thompson, a
local boxing promoter, manager of Commonwealth Games silver medallist
Kertson Manswell and former close associate of ex-WBA light heavyweight
champion Leslie "Tiger" Stewart said that while he is no boxing judge,
Ramnarine might not have won a single round. "If any of my boxers have
to win like that, I'd rather lose," Thompson said. "From what I could
see, it was a case of Ria needing a knockout to win the fight."
Analysis of the scorecard by the Trinidad Express
showed that the judges who favored Ramnarine also did not
credit Caples with a 10-8 round for the knockdown. Match
supervisor Molly Boxhill said Herbert was aware that Ramnarine had hit
the deck, but did not see it as a knockdown, despite the fact that
referee Tommy Thomas sent Caples to her corner and gave Ramnarine a
standing eight count.
to WIBA President Ryan Wissow "Yvonne absolutely
dominated Ria for the first half of the fight, but Ria kept the
pressure on and Yvonne tired a little, slowed down just enough for Ria
to win some rounds down the stretch. This fight was not the worst
robbery I've ever seen, it was a competitive and entertaining fight.
Ria showed me a lot just by her heart and her conditioning which was
excellent. She took a lot of clean shots early on and kept coming, kept
throwing punches. She wasn't as accurate as Yvonne but she threw more
punches, especially in the late rounds, and Ria was the one coming
forward most of the fight which may have also swayed some rounds her
way. Caribbean and South American judges score heavily for aggression."
Controversy had surrounded the staging of the fight
from the outset after Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board president
Melchior Taylor refused to allow it to go on without an all-local panel
of judges. Taylor's decision was backed by members of the Trinidad and
Tobago Boxing Board of Control who felt there were competent judges in
the country. WIBA President Ryan Wissow wrote
about the judging issue: "The
Trinidad commission was only going to allow Trinidad judges to work
this title fight. We had to beg them to let us bring in two
neutral judges. The judges were selected by Molly Boxhill, the WIBA
Vice President. The Guyana judge had Yvonne winning the fight, but the
Trinidad judge and Barbados judge had Ria winning. ... I
requested that a Trinidad judge named McKenzie Granger work this fight,
but Taylor insisted on ... St Aude ... who scored it for Ria."
May 31, 2005 Wissow stated that Ramnarine must face Caples in a rematch
or be stripped of the WIBA title. He said he disagreed with the
decision but did not want to make Ramnarine feel she is less than a
champion. He made it clear that the judges' decision was final and
Ramnarine had nothing to do with it. He said he is attempting to
arrange the rematch in Las Vegas, and that Ramnarine may have one other
fight before facing Caples again.
On July 14, 2006 at Central Regional Indoor Sports
Auditorium, Saith Park, Chaguanas, Trinidad, Ria Ramnarine successfully
defended her WIBA mini-flyweight title with a ten-round unanimous
(99-92,98-92,99-91) decision over Guyana’s Stephanie George. According
to Walter Alibey of Trinidad and Tobago Newsday: "Although
she looked rusty, the effects of the long lay-off, Ramnarine was able
to withstand an aggressive George who came out throwing punches and the
aggressor throughout the fight. Ramnarine said she felt confident after
the first round when she rocked George with a left hook but the
Guyanese came back strongly in the latter part of the round.
Ramnarine intelligently and skilfully devised a plan to dance around
her opponent and connect with her punches since George was content to
fight square-on. George’s attacks were countered with a left or right
hook followed by a left or right upper-cut. Midway in the contest,
points were evenly shared with the Guyanese being the aggressor and
Ramnarine tagging her around the ring. The versatile Ramnarine said she
did not really have a game plan. 'All I did was what my coach told me
to do and that was all.'”
According to Ian Prescott of the Trinidad and Tobago Express:
"Although Ramnarine seemed to have clearly won the fight, many of the
rounds were very close. The local fighter seemed to have justifiably
gotten the edge because of her better boxing technique, which allowed
her to accumulate points, while her Guyanese opponent was concentrating
on landing one big knockout punch. The aggressor throughout, George
tried several times to connect with a booming roundhouse right hand to
Ramnarine's jaw. Most times, she missed, but did land one big punch in
the third round, which drew concern from the pro-Ramnarine crowd."
On September 9, 2006 at
Bördelandhalle, Magdeburg, Germany Regina Halmich (111½ lbs) of
Karlsruhe, Germany TKO’d Ria (110½ lbs) at 0:54 seconds in the sixth
round in a scheduled 10 Main Event for Halmich's WIBF Flyweight title.
Halmich improved to 51-1-1 (16 KO's) with the win.
On March 7, 2009 at Jean
Pierre Sports Complex in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Ria
returned to the ring and TKO'd Nancy Bonilla of Camuy,
Puerto Rico at 0:20 in the eighth round of a scheduled 10-rounder for
the WIBA Junior Flyweight title. Bonilla, who was a late substitute on
the card, fell to 3-6 (1 KO).
On July 31, 2009 at the
Indoor Sports Arena in Saith Park, Trinidad and Tobago Ria Ramnarine
(105 lbs) won a ninth-round technical split decision over Ana Fernandez
(105 lbs) of Petare, Venezuela
in a scheduled ten-rounder for the WBA Interim and CABOFE Strawweight
belts. The fight was stopped after Ramnarine suffered damage to her eye
after a clash of heads in the ninth round. Ramnarine finished the round
but did not come out for the tenth. According to the referee, the fight
was stopped on the advice of the ring doctor, so it went to the
scorecards instead of being declared a TKO for Fernandez. Ramnarine won
the fight by a split decision after two of the three judges
T&T’s George St Aude 87-86 and Guyana’s Eion Jardine 87-85
scored in her favor, while Canada based Trevor Arno scored it for
Fernandez 87-85. The decision was seen as very controversial by many of
the fans, who turned out to give support to the hometown Ramnarine but
many ringside observers felt that Fernandez had done more than enough
to win the fight. Fernandez's record fell to 10-4 (7 KO's).
On January 2, 2010 at
Central Indoor Regional Auditorium
in Chaguanas, Trinidad and
Tobago, Ria Ramnarine (108 lbs) of Trinidad won an eight-round
unanimous (80-72,80-72,79-74) decision over Paulina Cardona (108 lbs)
of Barranquilla, Colombia. According to a fight report
received by WBAN, Cardona had the reach advantage so Ramnarine tried to
fight inside. At times, Cardona caught Ramnarine with the jab while
Ramnarine tried to get in but Ramnarine would score right
afterward. Ramnarine seemed to have Cardona in trouble at
times, especially with some very effective body shots. One of the most
lively rounds was in the seventh round when Ramnarine appeared to be
almost chasing the Colombian around the ring and delivering hard
punches. After the fight, Ramnarine said she simply tried to
fight by thinking more in the ring and was satisfied with her
performance, although she knows that there are areas she needs to work
on, as there is always room for improvement. Ramnarine described
Cardona as a game and somewhat awkward fighter. Cardona
dropped to 14-7-4 (6 KOs).
On April 24 2010 at Chaguanas, Trinidad and
Tobago, Ria Ramnarine (104 lbs) fought to a majority draw with Etsuko
Tada (102 lbs) of Kyoyo, Japan for the WBA Straw and Interim WIBA
Straw-weight titles. Ian Prescott
reported for the Trinidad and Tobago Express that "Ramnarine
put up a gutsy performance in her mandatory challenge for Tada’s (WBA)
title, fighting to a majority decision draw, which allowed the
28-year-old Tada to retain her belt. However, Ramnarine put up her best
performance in a local ring, and went a long way towards erasing
memories of the farce last July which saw her awarded a controversial
victory over Venezuelan Ana Fernandez ... Tada countered effectively
and landed the more effective punches for the opening three rounds. But
although missing a lot of punches early on, Ramnarine finally got going
when she landed a good counter right-hook in the fourth round.
Afterwards, there was an ebb and flow to the rest of the fight, but the
one consistency was that champion Tada aggressively ’walked down’ her
challenger. Two of the neutral officials provided by the WBA for
Saturday’s bout, David Singh (Panama) and Harold Laurel (Curacao),
scored the fight as a 95-95 draw, while Puerto Rico’s Raul Nieves gave
a lop-sided 97-93 decision in Ramnarine’s favour. And distraught that
the decision had not gone her way, Ramnarine immediately left the venue
without giving interviews."
’It was a bit harder than I expected,’
said through a Japanese interpreter. The Japanese champion
also felt the decision was ’a fair one’ and was willing to fight a
rematch, if Ramnarine was interested. ’This could
have gone either way,’
said 2008 Olympic Boxing Referee Trinidadian James Beckles. ’It
was a really close fight. It was a very good bout....one of the better
ones we have seen here. When Ria moved forward, she scored. But, she
was backing up a bit too much. She fought a wonderful fight, the only
flaw I saw was that she was backing up too much.’
Ramnarine had prepared for the bout by training at
Bonnie Canino's gym in Florida. Tada
moved to 6-0-2 (2 KOs).
On February 12, 2011 at at the Jean Pierre Sports
Complex in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Ria Ramnarine (104¾
lbs) won a hard fought ten-round split (99-94,98-92,95-99) decision
over Olga Julio (105 lbs) of Barranquilla, Colombia for the WIBA Jr
Flyweight and WIBF Strawweight titles. Julio fell to 9-10-1
On July 29, 2011 at the Jean Pierre Sports Complex
in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Ria Ramnarine (106½
lbs) lost a
10-round unanimous (97-93,96-93,96-94) decision to Florida-based Anastasia Toktaulova (5'3",
106 lbs) of Russia . WBAN was told by our correspondent that
the fight was close, with Ramnarine appearing to bring the fight to
Toktaulova. Toktaulova moved nicely in the ring, but
Ramnarine was more aggressive in the bout. Regardless, the
judges saw the fight go to the Russian. Bonnie Canino, who has been
training Ramnarine, told
WBAN, "Last night both
girls Ria Ramnarine and Anastasia Toktaulova took it in the ring. It
was an upset with Ramnarine camp thinking they did enough to win the
fight. But the judges gave the fight to Anastasia. She was surprised
and happy for the victory. Well fought fight from both boxers.
Ramnarine is looking to rematch her as soon as possible." Toktaulova
improved her record to 14-10-0 (2 KO's).
September 2, 2012 at the Woodbrook Youth Facility in Port-of-Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago, Ria Ramnarine (106 lbs) won a six-round majority
decision over Stephaney George (108 lbs) of Georgetown, Guyana.
George fell to 5-9 (0 KO's) while Ramnarine improved her record
to 15-6-1 (2 KO's).
Ramnarine trains under the guidance of Bharath
Ramoutar and Darren Vidale. “They are both great coaches and
they work very well together. What
one might forget or doesn’t think of, the other definitely remembers,
they are like two peas in a pod!”
Vidale had seen Ramnarine during a kick-boxing fight and recognized
that she had a lot of boxing potential. He instinctively saw that she
was a dedicated and determined person. Ramnarine said, "At
first I thought he was just another guy who just 'talked’
boxing'---- But Ramoutar always wants what’s best for his fighters and
he knew that Vidale was good so he allowed him to work with me."
Ramnarine is the only professional boxer in the gym, she does a lot of
one-on-one sessions with her coaches but she also trains and spars with
the other fighters.
During her years of training, Ramnarine furthered
her education and aced her exams. Ramnarine said that the combination
of training, studying and working was stressful and tiring but also
"Sometimes I would be so tired, I’d fall asleep in
taxis or take a 15 or 20 minutes nap just before class started…”
Ramnarine also became a certified Process
Plant Operator, and started to work in the industry at National Flour
Mills Ltd. She was the first and only female operator in her
department, and through hard work and determination, she worked her way
up. Ramnarine left the company just two months before becoming a full
plant operator, so she could concentrate more of her time in training.
She manages Fine Line and is also a private
academic tutor for kids. “This
way I get to train twice a day! Eventually though I’d like to get back
in the industrial line of work and also earn a degree in Mechanical
Ramnarine told WBAN, "I’ve
fought the good, the bad and the dirty (yeah one particular fighter did
some biting, butting and used the laces of her untaped glove to make
lacerations behind my neck). I’ve been in there with world champions.
I’ve won, lost and drawn some, taken some solid knocks and gave a lot
of my own. I know what it is like on each end. Everything that has
happened has contributed to making me the fighter I am today. And be it
some months, a year or two years from now, I will achieve my goal of
becoming a World Champion."
To contact Ramnarine's team:
Coach: Bharath Ramoutar -(868) 671 9952
Darren Vidale -(868) 672 7081 ext 5067
Manager: Bharath Ramoutar
To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date
boxing records, with huge digital photos you can go to
the WBAN Records
Page last updated:
Friday, 09 August 2013