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Sue Fox Named  in the "Top Ten" Most -Significant Female Boxers of All Time - Ring Magazine - Feb. 2012

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   5'8" Valérie Henin, junior welterweight kickboxer, boxer, three-time world champion and part-time model, was born on February 3, 1968 in Nancy, France.   Valérie looked at the top of her game defeating Belgium's Zelda Tekin at a kickboxing meet in Barcelona in the spring of 1994.

Henin easily defeated the smaller Tekin for the ISKA world junior welterweight title. She looked sharp, with strong kicks and punches, and moved well. She also showed toughness, getting her nose bloodied midway through the fight but continuing to punish the smaller Belgian who seemed to have a chin of iron.

Late in this tussle, which is occasionally aired on tape by ESPN2, Henin clearly went for the knockout. But Tekin survived some tremendous shots and somehow kept going to last a full 10 rounds.  

Valérie Henin was also one of the few kickboxers to present some strong opposition to Lucia Rijker before being kayoed in the fourth round. Henin went after Rijker in the first round and shook her with some good shots, something rarely seen. Lucia replied with hard kicks to Valérie’s right leg. In the second round, the same pattern continued, but Lucia went down twice! The referee ruled these as slips, but the first was a real knock down according to a review of the tape. In the third, Lucia began to dominate with more solid punches. Valérie began to weaken and was knocked down for an eight count. Her legs were hurt, and she was knocked down again ... to be saved by the bell. But the fourth round brought the inevitable as Valérie took a powerful left hand and was knocked out, remaining on the canvas for some time.

Henin made her U.S. debut in in Karate Mania IV in April 1994.
Arriving in the U.S. billed as the "world's most dangerous woman", Valérie's reputation and good looks attracted media attention.
But her fight against then 8-0 Fredia Gibbs, a flashy KO specialist, did not follow the script (picture at right!).

Valérie looked dominant with her speed and movement in the early going. But she was clocked silly with one right hand and sent to the canvas by another from Gibbs in the second round. Fredia celebrated wildy as the stunned Henin was counted out! This fight cost Henin her title and was the launching pad for Gibbs's career, not hers!

Since then, Henin has fought as a kickboxer in the Women's Ultimate Fighting Championship, got married, and started a career as a Western-style boxer.

In her first fight as a WIBF boxer, she challenged for the WIBF super welterweight (since renamed junior middleweight) title against Mary Ann Almager, a previously undefeated (8-0) champion from Ruidoso, New Mexico. After eight fierce rounds, a badly beaten and bloody Almager seemed unwilling to continue. But the fight, held in a suburb of Tokyo on the undercard of a heavyweight card featuring George Foreman, went into the ninth round. Almager suffered a TKO and Valérie Henin Wiet became the WIBF champion in her first outing as a professional boxer.

On May 26, 1998 in Atlantic City she won a six-round unanimous decision over Gwen Smith of Charlotte, North Carolina. Henin Wiet now has a perfect 2-0 record as a pro boxer.

On July 8, 2000 in Las Vegas, Valérie TKO'd Crystal Bolles of Springfield, Missouri at 1:30 in the first round of a Muay Thai bout.
Some skeptics questioned the legitimacy of women's boxing titles based on Henin Wiet's debut success against Almager. We've been asked "how can women's world titles mean anything if a rookie wins one?" One answer is "watch the fight", which looked to us like it meant something! Another is to realize that the relationship between men's boxing and kickboxing is almost reversed in the women's ring. Women's pro kickboxing has flourished for years in many countries, while women's pro boxing was in the shadows until recently. Many current stars of women's boxing got their first ring experience as kickboxers. A kickboxer with a good punch, the athletic skills to adapt her stance and strategy appropriately (not using her kicks as longer-distance weapons) can effectively "kick start" her career as a boxer! And she has better chance of success than in the men's ring, where kickboxing has long been a "poor relation" of pro boxing, in terms of mass attention and rewards. Men's pro boxing doesn't have a comparable supply of "rookies" like Henin.

Her kickboxing record is 32-2 with 25 KO's. She is managed by Jimmy Finn, and can be contacted at teamhenin@email.com.
 
 
     
     
     
     
 

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