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Trina Ortegon Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen


5'9" middleweight Trina "Iron Butterfly" Ortegon from Albuquerque, New Mexico began boxing as an amateur light-heavyweight in 1995, while she was a student at the University of New Mexico.  Her weight had been as high as 236 lbs and she was looking for a way to get it under control.

Trina had friends who were into kickboxing, but she had not wished to get into that sport. She tried aerobics and weight training, but her life changed when she noticed a new sign near her house, for "A Woman's Place" Boxing Gym.  Trina contacted the owner and trainer, former kickboxer Irene Garcia, and Garcia told her to come by to see if it was something she would be interested in. 

As Trina put it after trying out a boxing session ... "I traded in my new tennis shoes for some boxing gloves."

She competed in the 1997 USA Boxing 178-lb national amateur championships held in Augusta, Georgia and lost in the semifinals to 1997 New York Golden Gloves Heavyweight Champion Veronica Simmons by a 4-1 score. (Simmons went on to defeat Suzette Taylor for the 1997 gold medal, and repeated as the national amateur champion in 1998 and 1999)   Tina's original ambition had been to  fight in the Olympics, but she discovered that women's boxing had not been approved as an Olympic, so she decided to enter pro boxing.

Trina made her pro debut weighing 157½ lbs, at Arizona Charlie's in Las Vegas on February 6, 1998, where her punching power persuaded Arizona's then 0-1 Penny Cook (156 lbs) not to continue after the first round.

Ortegon quickly moved on to stiffer competition, and lost a four-round majority decision to Canadian ex-patriate Marsha Valley at the Grand Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi on February 15, 1998. Valley, who has given a lot of middleweights trouble, improved her own record to 3-0 with this win.

Undaunted, Trina (at 160½ lbs) moved on to take a unanimous four-round decision over Atlanta's formidable Suzette Taylor (162 lbs) on April 18, 1998 at Arizona Charlie's in Las Vegas.

Ortegon returned to Arizona Charlie's on June 6, 1998 weighing 158½ lbs to fight a much less challenging Atlantan ... winless Bethany Payne (156 lbs), who she stopped at 1:47 of the fourth.

A six-round unanimous decision over Brenda Drexel (160½ lbs) of Los Angeles on June 14, 1998 in Coachella, California was followed by a six-round split decision win in a rematch at Arizona Charlie's on August 15. Trina weighed in at 157 lbs for the second fight.

On March 11, 1999 at the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, Mississippi she was down to a trim 153 lbs and moved her record to 6-1 with a four-round unanimous decision over Diane Clark (158 lbs), who fell to 7-2.

On August 6, 1999 at the State Fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio, Trina won a ten round unanimous (99-91, 99-91, 97-93) decision in a rematch with Suzette Taylor to capture the vacant IBA World Middleweight title. Ortegon's strength on the inside was the difference as Taylor never could mount a sustained attack from the outside. Despite this second loss to Ortegon in her 5-2-1 record, Taylor still held the IBA World Heavyweight title (at 168 lbs)!

Trina OrtegonOn February 11, 2000 in Kenner, Louisiana, Trina weighed in at 160 lbs and won a unanimous (96-94, 97-93, 98-92) decision over Kendra Lenhart (6'1", 163 lbs) of Lenoir City, Tennessee in a clinch-filled struggle for the newly-created IFBA Super Middleweight title. Ortegon and Lenhart took this fight, which was televised live on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights, at relatively short notice. Neither looked quite ready for the ten-round battle of attrition that ensued. Ortegon was stronger in the early rounds but she let Lenhart back into the bout in a grabby in-fighting affair that was not a thing of beauty. Ortegon impoved to 8-1 with the win while Lenhart fell to 5-6-2.

On April 22, 2000 at Centennial Hall in Hayward, California, former IFBA World Middleweight Champion Gina Guidi (153 lbs) of San Leandro, California won a hard-fought majority (97-93,97-97,96-96) decision over Trina (also 153 lbs) to win the vacant IWBF World Middleweight title. The close scorecard doesn't begin to tell the story of a barn-burner of a fight between two of the grittiest female fighters, so please read the round-by-round report from Women's Boxing Page correspondent Walt Hall!

Guidi advanced to 13-1-1, while Ortegon fell to 8-2.

On June 3, 2000 at the State Fairgrounds in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Trina weighed in at 153 lbs and won an eight-round decision (78-75, 78-74, 79-74) over Los-Angeles-based Canadian Marsha Valley (156¾ lbs). Ortegon moved her pro record to 9-2 while avenging her loss to Valley from February 1998. Valley's record slipped to 6-4-4.

On April 20, 2001 at Sky City Casino in Acoma, New Mexico, Mary Ann Almager (5'8", 160 lbs) of Midland, Texas won a ten-round split (96-94,93-97,97-94) decision over Trina (160 lbs) for the IBA women's Middleweight title. Ortegon was busy and aggressive but Almager landed the heavier punches in a hard-fought bout. Both had some trouble making weight for the fight, with Ortegon initially coming in at 163¼ but making weight on her third try a few hours later while Almager trimmed from 160½. Almager progressed to 12-4 (8 KO's) with the win. [See the full Fight Report by Chris Cozzone at New Mexico Boxing.]

On August 17, 2001 at Sky City Casino, Acoma, New Mexico, Mary Ann Almager (5'8", 159½ lbs) TKO'd Trina (155½ lbs) in the ninth round of their much-anticipated rematch for the IBA Super Middleweight title. Almager landed the more telling blows throughout the bout and Ortegon's corner threw in the towel at 1:28 of the ninth round of the scheduled ten-rounder. Almager moved to 13-4 (9 KO's). [See the full Fight report and photos by Chris Cozzone at New Mexico Boxing.]

Trina with trainer Irene Garcia
Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

In October, 2001, Irene Garcia, the former kickboxing champion who ran the well-known all-female gym in Albuquerque stepped down as Trina Ortegon's trainer for health reasons. Tina is now training under Luis Chavez, who also trains Frankie Archuleta and Jose Ramirez. Garcia remained as Ortegon's manager.

Valerie Mahfood vs. Trina Ortegon in November 2001

On November 16, 2001 at the Convention Center in Austin, Texas, IWBF Super Middleweight and WIBF Light Heavyweight (also former IWBF Light Heavyweight) champion Valerie Mahfood of Groves, Texas won a ten-round unanimous (96-94,96-94,98-92) decision over Trina for the WIBA 168-lb world title. Mahfood landed heavily with power shots in the earlier rounds but Ortegon rallied in the late going despite damage to her right eye which was closing up. Mahfood improved to 12-4 (7 KOs) while Ortegon fell to 9-5 (2 KOs) with the loss.

Trina training at Irene Garcia's gymIn March 2002, Trina announced that she would retire from active competition because of she required surgery for a shoulder injury which would keep her out of the ring for a year.

Trina's career was a a model of the competitive pro boxer, taking on the best in her division since 1995, and her presence within the ring will be much missed.

Other Trina Ortegon links

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Page last updated: Friday November 06, 2015


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