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Copyrighted photo taken by Mike Alberts


5'5" featherweight Sandy 'Lil Tyson' Tsagouris from Brampton, Ontario, Canada was born on February 21, 1981. She had an athletic background in high school, where she competed in sports from badminton to tackle football. A boxing demonstration in her ninth grade gym class motivated her to try the sport and she began to compete on the amateur scene in Canada in 1997. 

On December 1, 1999 at the Canadian national championships in Campbell River, British Columbia, Sandy defeated  Roseanne Blackburn of BC  in her 54-kg preliminary bout. (The division was won by Lisa Brown).

On June 25, 1999 in the USA vs. Canada Dual Meet at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Sandy defeated Krysti Rosario (USA) by a 13-10 margin in a 132-lb bout.

Her boxing career was nearly ended when she was diagnosed with two herniated disks, a condition which left her bedridden and unable to stand or walk for six months.  Sandy eventually rehabilitated with strength training and found her way back to the boxing gym and to amateur competition.

On Saturday June 7, 2003 in Hamilton, Ontario, she defeated future Canadian champion Katie Dunn of the Border City Boxing Club by a unanimous decision.

In 2004, Sandy decided that boxing as an amateur would not satisfy her passion for the sport so she elected to turn pro, at age 23.  Her amateur record stood at 18-2, plus five exhibitions.

Sandy (left) vs Olga Heron in her pro debut
Copyrighted photo taken by Durell Wambolt

On April 17, 2004 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Sandy (123 lbs) won her pro debut over Olga Heron (126 lbs) of Mississauga in a four-round unanimous (40-36) decision. Tsagouris was the busier fighter in this four-round featherweight bout. She charged out of her corner at the opening bell, throwing everything she had. And although she settled down to box after this initial outburst of energy, she still landed more than her much more experienced opponent, her right hand often finding its mark. Heron caught her opponent coming in with her own right hand a couple of times, but had difficulty in getting her punches off against the stronger and quicker Brampton fighter. The judges also saw it that way and gave Tsagouris, an accomplished former amateur fighter who has been absent from the ring for several years, the unanimous decision. With the loss, Heron's record dropped to 3-3 (1KO).   For more fight photos by Durell Wanbolt, see MPEG/Photo Gallery #244 on the WBAN Member Site.

On September 16, 2004 at the Mississauga Grand in Mississauga, Ontario, Sandy (123 lbs) TKO'd pro debuter Monique Velasquez (126 lbs) of the USA at 1:20 in the first round of a scheduled four-rounder. 

Sandy TKO's Urbaez in Mississauga, March 2005
Copyrighted photo taken by Durell Wambolt

On March 10, 2005 at the Mississauga Grand in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Sandy (124 lbs) won by a TKO at 0:56 in the second round over Judith "Austria" Urbaez (5′ 6″, 126 lbs) of the Dominican Republic. According to WBAN correspondent RIck MacLean, "Tsagouris came out to a thundering ovation from the home town crowd and used that energy through the entire match. Tsagouris came out swinging in the first round which I do not think Urbaez was expecting ... Tsagouris landed solid straight left, right combinations that kept Urbaez on the defensive. Sandy was able to “duck under” or “side step” any counter punches that Urbaez offered. Urbaez’s only success came when she grabbed on to Sandy and held because it seemed to frustrate Tsagouris. Within the first ten seconds of round two Sandy came out and connected with a straight left followed by a crisp right hook that snapped Urbaez’s head to the side and crumbled her to the canvas. Urbaez regained her footing at the count of eight but at that point Sandy smelt blood and never let her off the hook. Tsagouris chased Urbaez around the ring until finally cornering her and set her up with a solid left hook to the ribs followed by another right to the head that sent Urbaez through the ropes and almost in to the front row. I had to take evasive action, however Urbaez still bumped into me. Urbaez did not have the opportunity to get up again because her corner threw in the towel. The match was ruled a KO at the 56 second mark of round number 2."  Tsagouris improved to 3-0 (2 KO’s) while Urbaez fell to 6-4-1. (For more fight photos by Durell Wanbolt, see MPEG/Photo Gallery #244 on the WBAN Member Site).

Sandy put Candy Sarver down three times
Copyrighted photo taken by Mike Alberts

On April 8, 2006 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Michigan, Sandy TKO'd 33-year-old Candi Sarver of Lansing at 1:37 in the third round of a scheduled four-rounder. . According to Andre Courtemanche of FightNews, "Tsagouris put on an impressive display of boxing skills as she dismantled tough Michiganian Candy Sarver, 0-4, finally stopping her at 1:37 of the third. Fighting out of an educated shell, Tsagouris had Sarver down three times before referee Steve Daher indicated he had seen enough. After the fight, Tsagouris got on the microphone and challenged Grand Rapids native Jennifer Salinas. Salinas had been the originally scheduled opponent, but pulled out due to an apparent hand injury." Tsagouris improved to 4-0 (4 KO's) while Sarver fell to 0-4 with the loss. (For more fight photos by Mike Alberts, see MPEG/Photo Gallery #354 on the WBAN Member Site).

Sandy lands a right on Olga Heron in their rematch
Copyrighted photo taken by Durell Wambolt

On November 18, 2006 at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Sandy (127 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-54,59-55,58-56) decision in a rematch with crosstown rival Olga Heron (129 lbs). According to WBAN correspondent Rick McLean, "This match was one of the most exciting and vocal matches of the evening due to the grudge between the two fighters. Each boxer had a huge local fan base in the arena which was evident when they were being introduced. The opening round saw Heron taunting Tsagouris with a smile that rarely left her face for the entire match. Heron was on the defensive during the round as Tsagouris pressed the action and landed many powerful overhand rights and an occasional uppercut to the head of Heron. However, Heron did not seem fazed by the hard shots and continued smiling, moving backwards in a defensive posture, and counter punched well to the body and head when she had the openings. Rounds two and three saw much of the same action as Tsagouris moved forward pressing the action and again landed powerful right hands and uppercuts on the inside while Heron stayed defensive and on the move, trying to counterpunch. At this point of the bout it was apparent that Tsagouris was the harder puncher and more accurate boxer who continually beat Heron to the punch. During the rest period between rounds three and four it appeared Tsagouris was becoming frustrated that she could not knock Heron out or make her stop smiling. At the start of round four Tsagouris came out swinging with the intentions of ending the match. Many of Tsagouris’s punches landed clean and Heron seemed stunned but Olga was able to survive the storm countering with body punches and occasionally landing hard punches to the head of Tsagouris. The last two rounds of the fight saw both women trading many hard punches toe to toe which brought the crowd to its feet. However, for the first time in the bout Heron had Tsagouris moving backwards. Olga was able to zero in on Tsagouris and landed often with scoring punches. At the end of the match both women embraced and it seemed that any ill will between them had been settled in the ring."  Heron fell to 4-8 (1 KO) with the loss. For more photos of the fight by Durell Wambolt, see WBAN Photo Gallery #397 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

Sandy lands a left to the face of Olivia Gerula
Copyrighted photo taken by Durell Wambolt

On October 13, 2007 at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Sandy (128 lbs) remained undefeated when she won an eight round majority (76-76,77-75,77-75) decision over Olivia Gerula  (128 lbs) for the vacant Canadian Boxing Federation (CBF) Female Super Featherweight title. According to Shawn McWilliams of FightNews Canada, "Both fighters entered the ring looking focused and determined. Tsagouris had ... success ... scoring points on nice counter punching and punishing her opponent with a stiff and constant jab . Olivia's offence was mounted scoring the majority of her points with sporadic straight right hands and right hooks. Both ladies fought hard and did not give an inch. The fight's end saw both women bloodied and was entertaining wire to wire. This is a benchmark in women's boxing here in Canada and hopefully is to be the beginning of many exciting bouts in the future."  Gerula slipped to 8-10-2 (2 KO's) with the loss.  Tsagouris had been ranked #10 at featherweight before the fight by WBAN, while Gerula was ranked #18 at junior lightweight. For more photos of the fight by Durell Wambolt, see WBAN Photo Gallery #448 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

Sandy battles Ina Menzer in March 2008

On March 8, 2008 at KoenigPALAST in Krefeld, Germany Ina Menzer (125 lbs) battled Sandy (126 lbs) to a hard-fought unanimous (96-94,97-33,97-93) decision for the WIBF featherweight and the vacant WBC Featherweight title. Menzer was badly cut over her right eye by a clash of heads, but she battled through the injury to edge a fired-up Tsagouris in a hard-fought, even battle that many at ringside thought Tsagouris had won. Menzer improved to 20-0 (8 KO's) with the win. 

Sandy said about this fight: "I must say that although Menzer is a great fighter I believe I fought a great fight and I realized what I am capable of as a fighter. That fight hasn't shaped my training in any different way... but I am thankful that the hard work that Billy Martin and I put in on a daily basis was displayed on one of boxing’s world stages. It was an honour to fight for the WBC and WIBF Titles."

On August 22, 2008 at the Twin Rivers Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island, USA, Sandy (128 lbs) appeared for the first time on a CES Boxing card and won a six-round unanimous (58-55,58-55,58-55) decision over Adawirky Lopez (126 lbs) of the Dominican Republic, who fell to 1-1 (0 KO's) with the loss.  As reported by WBAN correspondent Ken Castro, "Tsagouris, the latest stable acquisition of Rhode Island promoter Jimmy Burchfield, and her opponent former 2007 Pan American Games champion Adawirky Lopez thoroughly entertained the crowd ..in a six round featherweight boutAt the outset of the fight, Tsagouris ... displayed the power and killer instinct that earned her the tag of "Lil Tyson" in her go-around with Lopez. Just a dozen seconds into the fight, Tsagouris connected with a short, quick right that briefly stunned Lopez, moving her back a step. But Lopez, with more than 50 amateur outings to her credit responded well in the middle rounds. As evidenced iIn the third, Lopez rocked Tsagouris with a hard right hook. And although Tsagouris scored by going to the body in the latter rounds her defensive acumen lacked the sharpness that she displayed in the beginning of the match-up. Still, Lopez who increased her rate of aggressiveness as the bout progressed fell into the syndrome of 'a little too late.'  A head butt in the fourth round produced a small gash to Tsagouris's left eye- a gash that ultimately required a few sutures.Fellow Canadian and world champion Jamie Clampitt worked the corner for Tsagouris.

Sandy TKO's Maria Jose Nunez Anchorena in September 2008
Copyrighted photo taken by Durell Wambolt

On September 27, 2008 at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Sandy (125 lbs) TKO'd Maria Jose Nunez Anchorena (122 lbs) of Uruguay in the fourth round of a scheduled eight-rounder for the vacant NABA Featherweight title.  WBAN correspondent Rick McLean wrote: "Tsagouris came out in round one aggressively throwing accurate combinations and broke down Nunez’s defense early. To counter this,  Nunez would back up trying to counterpunch Tsagouris as best she could but it was to no avail. Round two saw much of the same as Tsagouris was able to land big right hands behind an accurate jab but a very game Nunez held in there and exchanged with Sandy as best she could. By the midway point of round three Nunez was finally dropped by a Tsagouris right hand. Nunez was up by a 5 count and was able to hang in there to finish the round. The effects of Tsagouris’ combinations were showing as Nunez was overwhelmed by short accurate punches and was once again dropped by a right hand early in round 4. Nunez was once again able to get up and continue but was dropped by a left hook near the midpoint of the round. Nunez beat the count but was very unsteady on her feet. Tsagouris saw the opening to finish the fight and pinned Nunez on the ropes where she landed a half dozen unanswered punches before the referee stepped in stopping the bout at 1:24 mark. Nunez deserves credit for coming into Toronto as an underdog for this match. She could have stayed down early on and collected her pay and nobody would have thought any less of her but instead she kept getting up and fought her heart out. She just was unable to match Tsagouris’ superior skills but the willpower was definitely there. Nunez stated that she wants to fight more often in North America and Europe because there is more opportunity and the skill level is much higher than in South America."  The Uruguayan-born unez Anchorena, who now lives in California,  fell to 9-6 (7 KO's) with the loss while Sandy improved to 9-1 (4 KO's). For more photos of the fight by Durell Wambolt, see WBAN Photo Gallery #491 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

On November 14, 2009 at the Convention Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Sandy Tsagouris (124 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-55, 60-54 and 60-53) decision over previously undefeated Mayerlin Rivas (125 lbs) of Venezuela in a six-round contest.  According to WBAN correspondent Rick McLean, "In the opening round, Tsagouris pressured Rivas and landed crisp head and body shots mixing up her combinations well. However, Tsagouris was warned for hitting behind the head and Rivas protested loudly to the referee. The same action continued through rounds two and three as Tsagouris utilized her jab, cut off the ring well and started to break down Rivas' defence. To her credit Rivas was a hard puncher with a lot of heart and determination who kept trying to unload bombs. In the fourth round Tsagouris was cut over the corner of her left eye however it did not impair her vision. In round 5, Rivas came out strong and nailed Tsagouris with two hard rights to the head however she seemed to punch herself out and was only able to fight in spurts for the rest of the round. Throughout round six Rivas looked exhausted as she continually backed up and tried to hold on. Tsagouris was able to pound away at Rivas but was unable to drop her. A game Rivas showed a lot of heart and won over the Hamilton crowd and is a definite contender. She deserves a lot of credit for her determination."  Rivas fell to 5-1 (4 KO's).

On April 29, 2011 at Chungei Temple in Yesan Gun, South Korea, Hyun-Mi Choi (126 lbs) of Seoul, South Korea TKO'd Sandy Tsagouris (126 lbs) at 1:39 in the third round of a scheduled ten-rounder for the WBA Featherweight title. Tsagouris, who took the fight at a few weeks' notice after a 15-month layoff, fell to 10-2-0 (4 KO's) while Choi improved to 5-0-1 (2 KO's).

In August 2011 Sandy told WBAN that she would be taking time out from the ring to have a child but promised she would be back, saying "For all those featherweights who think they are safe watch out cause 9 months goes quickly..."

Tsagouris manages Rhino's Gym in Toronto, Ontario. She says that she prefers sparring with men so she can “let loose” on them. Her main concern with women’s boxing is its lack of media exposure. She hopes this will change so the sport can flourish.

Other Sandy Tsagouris links

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Page last updated: Friday, November 06, 2015


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