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Ria Ramnarine
© Copyrighted Photo from Team Ramnarine


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 interview.

In 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", says Ramnarine.

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”, added Ramnarine. 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 pound!

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 Leona Brown (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: Leona 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."

On December 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 one-two's and 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 Board.

© Copyrighted Photo taken by Durell Wambolt

On 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, Alberta, Canada, 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 punches to the midsection that Ramnarine was unable to block or counter effectively. 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 too."  (Go here to read Erin Linley's account of this fight.)

On July 31, 2004, at Saith Park Indoor Arena in Chaguanas, Trinidad, 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 KO). 

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 local 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.

According 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."

On 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,’ Tada 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 (5 KO's).

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).

On 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!” says Ramnarine. 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."

As 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 beneficial. "Sometimes I would be so tired, I’d fall asleep in taxis or take a 15 or 20 minutes nap just before class started…” she says. 

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 Engineering."

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:
Email: kick1o1@yahoo.com or quietriot78@hotmail.com
Coach: Bharath Ramoutar -(868) 671 9952
Darren Vidale -(868) 672 7081 ext 5067
Manager: Bharath Ramoutar

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Page last updated: Friday, 06 November 2015


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