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Suzy Taylor
Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen


5'10" Suzette (Suzy) Taylor Taylor was born on November 2, 1967 in Lancaster, California. She has always been athletic and played several sports. She also coached girls' softball at Van Nuys High School in California, where she lived until the Northridge earthquake destroyed her home. She moved to Atlanta and started working out at a kickboxing gym, where a trainer encouraged her to learn boxing.

She competed in the first USA Boxing Women's National Amateur Championships held in Augusta, Georgia on July 16-19, 1997, losing in the 178-lb division to the formidable Veronica Simmons of Brooklyn, N.Y. by a score of 5-0. (Veronica Simmons went on to become the first three-time winner of the national amateur title.)

On April 18, 1998 at Arizona Charlie's in Las Vegas, Suzy (162 lbs) lost her pro debut to Trina Ortegon (160 lbs) of Albuquerque, New Mexico by a unanimous (40-36, 39-37, 39-37) four-round decision. Ortegon moved her own record to 2-1-0 (1 KO).

On August 15, 1998 at Arizona Charlie's in Las Vegas, Suzy (163 lbs) stopped debut fighter Pat Minton (161 lbs) of El Paso, Texas at 0:50 of the third round in a scheduled four-rounder.

On October 17, 1998. at Arizona Charlie's in Las Vegas, Suzy (160½ lbs) won a unanimous four-round decision over Kymm Pearson (157 lbs) of Las Vegas. Pearson was making her pro debut.

On October 30, 1998 at the Orleans in Las Vegas, Suzy (160 lbs)  fought to a six-round draw with Canadian expatriate Marsha Valley (158 lbs) from Toronto, boxing out of Los Angeles. Valley moved her record to 5-0-1 (2 KO's), and was previously 14-0 as an amateur light-heavyweight. (Post-fight picture at left is copyrighted by Las Vegas boxing photographer Mary Ann Owen). 

On February 26, 1999 at Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Suzy (168 lbs) won the IBA heavyweight title with a ninth-round TKO of former American Gladiator Shannon "Dallas" Hall (168 lbs). The scheduled 10-round bout was stopped at 1:30 in the ninth round when Taylor trapped a rapidly-fading Hall in a corner and unleashed a furious barrage. Hall had been undefeated in ten fights in Toughwoman contests, winning the 1996 Toughwoman World titlist and in 1998 and in 1998 an IFBA-sponsored Platinum Heavyweight Championship. Hall reportedly had lucrative contracts waiting for if she had won this fight ... but she had more than she could handle with a full 20 minutes of action against the hard-hitting Taylor.

The fight began with Hall apparently in control in the early rounds, but Taylor and trainer Jesse Reid were apparently prepared to have her survive Hall's early powerful onslaught and take it to her in the later rounds, despite the fact that Taylor had never been beyond six herself. Suzette began to turn the tide in the fifth and was starting to take charge with good combinations behind her jab. At the start of the ninth it was now Taylor getting the best of the exchanges and landing harder until she trapped Hall in the corner and uncorked a barrage of left hooks and overhand rights that persuaded referee Elmo Adolph to stop the fight as Hall was not firing back and her nose had been broken.

"It was a great fight", said the exhausted Taylor afterwards. "I think Shannon was beating me, she kept avoiding my jab. In the ninth, I caught her with a left hook, she stumbled back, so I threw the kitchen sink (at her)". One scorecard had the fight 79-73 for Hall, two were tied at 76-76 at the time of the stoppage.

On March 25, 1999 at the Pontchartrain Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, Suzy moved her record to 4-1-1 with a six-round unanimous decision over Kathy Rivers of Hollywood, Florida, who fell to 6-1. Rivers was knocked down for the first time in her pro career in the fifth round of this fight, and Suzette put her on the canvas again in the sixth.

On June 11, 1999 at Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Suzy won by fifth-round TKO over Kendra Lenhart of Lenoir City, Tennessee 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 stopped by the referee after another knockdown. This was Lenhart's second fight in a week, and she fell to 2-5 as Taylor improved to 5-1-1.

Johnson vs. TaylorOn July 2, 1999 at the Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, in a badly mismatched fight, Suzy, who weighed in at 168 pounds, was matched against last-minute substitute "Killer" Sophia Johnson (148 lbs) of Colege Parl, Georgia. Johnson stood a head shorter and 20 pounds lighter and the referee stopped the uneven bout early in the second round. Johnson fell to 1-1 (1 kO).

It was a different story on August 6, 1999 at the State Fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio as Trina Ortegon (160 lbs) of Corrales, New Mexico won a ten round unanimous (99-91, 99-91, 97-93) decision over Suzy (now 160 lbs) for the vacant IBA World Middleweight (160 lb) title. Ortegon's strength on the inside was the difference as Taylor never could mount a sustained attack from the outside. Suzette failed to avenge her debut loss to Trina from April 1998 as her defense wasn't up to slipping Ortegon's jab. Suzette ended this fight badly bruised. Trainer Jesse Reid screamed instructions to her during the round all fight, while Ortegon came closer to carrying out what Reid was telling Taylor to do. A ringside correspondent told me "Suzy was beaten to the punch constantly and seemed to cock her head to one side, making her an easy target for Trina's jab." Despite this loss Taylor remained the IBA World Heavyweight champ (at 168 lbs)! Ortegon is now 7-1.

On October 16, 1999 in Bay St. Louis, Mississipi, she knocked out Bethany Payne of Atlanta (1-7-0) in the first round.

On December 17, 1999 at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri Suzy (171 lbs) stopped Karen Bill (172 lbs) of Lawton, Oklahoma at 1:40 of the third round. My correspondent told me "Both women were very aggressive trading both head and body punches in the first two rounds. It could have gone either way as both had been connecting with solid shots. But in the third Suzy started to take over. Then Karen didn't have anything left in the tank and was covering as best she could and was taking a beating. Karen showed a lot of heart but once Suzy took command all she do was cover and try to run. Once she was cornered she took about a dozen unanswered punches and was clearly rocked. The ref stepped in and stopped the match. Suzy showed superior hand speed and concentration and once she focused she really rang Bill's gong. Bill had to sit on her stool for several minutes to collect herself. Both women showed great skills and determination, as well as good sportswomanship, hugging after the fight when the winner was announced." Bill fel to 1-3 with the loss.

On February 10, 2000 at Harrah's Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Suzy won by unanimous decision over Britt Van Buskirk of Carbondale, Illinois who fell to 8-8-1.

On March 23, 2000 in Tunica, Mississippi: Suzy won by a sixth-round KO in a rematch with Kendra Lenhart, who slipped to 5-7-1.

On May 5, 2000 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mary Ann Almager (162 lbs) of Midland, Texas moved to 11-3 with an exciting six-round split decision over Suzy (164 lbs). This was a donnybrook from bell to bell. Almager was knocked down in the opening round but came back to outlast Taylor in a fierce battle that saw two judges split by one point each leaving a 57-54 score for Almager as the decider. "We were both bleeding like stuck pigs", says Taylor, "I took 10 uppercuts in the last round. But that's what makes it an exciting fight. If I take a couple of punches and she takes a couple, the crowd gets into it."  (Don't miss the blow-by-blow account of this ding-dong battle by correspondent Rod Mahaffey).

Suzy throws a right to the head of Gina Nicholas
Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On June 23, 2000, Taylor returned to the Hard Rock Hotel for another tough battle with a Texan ... junior middleweight Gina Nicholas of Longview, Texas. Nicholas defeated Taylor by majority decision in a hard-hitting six-rounder that moved her own record to 11-4-2, while dropping Taylor to 9-4-1. (Check out Mary Ann Owen's fight report, photos, and video clip of this fight!)

On September 9, 2000 at Civic Auditorium in Laporte, Indiana, Suzy won a fifth-round TKO over local favorite Karrie Frye of Michigan City, Indiana in a scheduled ten-rounder for the IBA Super Middleweight title. Taylor (photo at left by Garrett Boxing) sent Frye to the ropes with a left hook and two straight rights before the fight was stopped at 1:12 in the fifth.
According to one Women's Boxing Page correspondent, "Suzy Taylor survived 2.5 rounds of hell from Karrie Frye before Frye ran out of steam. Frye had nothing left as the fight entered round four and was pounded from post to post before the ref stopped the fight." Another said that "Taylor appeared to be in trouble early but started to turn the fight around in the third and sent Frye to the canvas for a nine count at the end of the fourth. She went after Frye hard in the fifth and landed many heavy shots to Frye's head."  Frye suffered vision problems and loss of hearing in her right ear; she was hospitalized for several days after the fight. Karrie Frye fell to 5-2 with the loss and has not competed again.

Taylor's strategy against Frye was similar to that she used to wear down Shannon Hall. "I was going to work my jab for a couple rounds," she told local reporters, "(When she) rushed in I covered up when she threw her big bombs and it worked." Taylor's endurance is one of her strong suits against less experienced boxers, and Frye paid the price in this fight, ending the bout disoriented with a concussion that sent her to a local hospital for several days.

Suzy Taylor vs. Monica Mcgowan
Suzy Taylor trades with Monica McGowan in April 2001
Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On April 6, 2001 at Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Suzy dropped a clear six-round decision to Monica McGowan of Rusk, Texas, who moved to 4-2, 3 KO's. All three judges scored the fight for McGowan 59-55.  Las Vegas photographer Mary Ann Owen who took the photo above, told me "Suzy ran out of gas in Round 1 ... Monica McGowan fought with commitment and heart, even though she was visibly overweight for her frame she was in better condition than Taylor. She brought the fight to Taylor and continuously tagged her."

On December 14, 2001 at Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jacqui Frazier-Lyde (169 lbs) advanced to 8-1-0 (8 KOs) and won the WIBA light heavyweight title with a TKO at 1:44 in the fourth round over Taylor (177 lbs). Frazier-Lyde traded bombs with the more experienced Taylor from the opening bell. Taylor landed a left hook that shook Frazier-Lyde as she was coming in but Jacqui landed several rights on Taylor as the two fought on the inside. Taylor won this round on the basis of her left hook. Frazier-Lyde used more movement in the second and made Taylor come after her. Taylor fired away with rights and left hooks, but Frazier-Lyde started throwing, and landing, her right hand behind her jab. Taylor was getting wild, and Jacqui was boxing well and countering with hard rights to the head. Frazier-Lyde turned up the pressure in the third as she landed a string of hard rights to Taylor's face and exploded with a four-punch combination to Taylor's head and body. Taylor seemed unable to answer Frazier-Lyde effectively and was cut over the bridge of her nose. Frazier-Lyde dominated the fourth round against an increasingly wild and ineffective Taylor. The fight came to a sudden end when Taylor appeared to twist her ankle and went to the canvas for a nine count. Taylor was limping after this and the bout was stopped.

On August 17, 2002 at Aladdin Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada,  Laila Ali (165½ lbs) won the IBA Super Middleweight belt before a capacity crowd and a national PPV audience by TKO'ing Suzy (166 lbs) at 1:11 in the second round. Referee Kenny Bayless halted the scheduled 10-rounder after titleholder Taylor absorbed a barrage of unanswered punches. Ali showed good hand speed and her body punching had Taylor in trouble in the opening round. Ali was frequently beating Taylor to the punch and showed a combination of speed and power that spoke volumes about her progress as a boxer.

According to a WBAN correspondent, "In the second round, Ali began catching Taylor with just about everything she threw although she took a couple of hard rights from a retreating Taylor. Then, to our astonishment, Ali digs to Taylor's body. A three-punch combination drove Suzy into the corner. The body shots had rendered her helpless and she dropped her hands to her side."  Ali progressed to 12-0-0 (9 KO) with the win while Taylor fell to 10-7-1 (7 KOs).

Suzy is married with two daughters.

"My fights are always really exciting," she says. "I throw a lot of shots, but my defense isn't really good, so I get cracked with a couple shots. That's what the crowd likes to see."

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Page last updated: Friday, 06 November 2015


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