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
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
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)!
On 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
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
from Women's Boxing Page correspondent Walt
Guidi advanced to 13-1-1, while Ortegon fell to
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)
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.
In 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
To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with huge digital photos you can go to
the WBAN Records Member Site
Page last updated:
Friday August 09, 2013