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  Bettina Völker lives in Karlsruhe, Germany, where she works as
a secretary. Her spare time is dedicated to her other line of
business, professional boxing.

She began her ring career in 1990. Kickboxing was the obvious -
if not the only - choice for German women, who wanted to lace up the gloves and prove themselves in the ring in the early nineties. Neither The German Amateur Boxing Association (DBV) nor the German Professional Boxing Board (BDB) approved women's boxing until 1995/1996.

Völker proved very successful in the kickboxing ring, winning the German Title 3 times. She also competed on the international scene in title fights for the European Championship against Corinne Geeris in Amsterdam and the World Championship against Emilinda Fernandes in Milan. The closing of her Kickboxing Gym in 1993 also meant the end for Bettina's kickboxing career.


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Her absence from the ring lasted until 1997, when she took up boxing at a local Karlsruhe gym. Völker made her debut in the pro ring in January 2001. Where as most boxers get a chance to "test the water" against an easy opponent in their pro debut, this was far from the case for Bettina Völker. She traveled to Amsterdam to face Esther Schouten, who later became the WIBF Super Bantamweight World Champion. Bettina had worst possible start to her pro career and was stopped in the first round.

Volker's career was hampered by a number of injuries and a work load that often made it difficult for her to stay in a satisfactory shape for boxing, and she did not get back into the ring until September 2004 where she won a 4 rounder over Kirsten Schönig in Karlsruhe. Her winning streak continued in 2005 where she defeated Jolanta Van de Breuk on points and KO'ed Sabina Walter in the 5th round, both fights within the month of April.

2006 was the busiest year for Bettina Völker so far. Her first fight of
the year was at a SES event in Aschersleben in January against Carolina Alvarez of Venezuela, which ended in a draw. She continued with two further draws against Emilina Metodieva of Bulgaria in Karlsruhe in May and fellow German Maya Frenzel in July, also in Karlsruhe. Her last fight in 2006 took place in Offenburg in September, where she scored a points win over Isabell Huber of Germany.

Her latest fight, and most important to date, took place on 12th May
2007 in Bertinoro, Italy. The fight was for the vacant EBU European Flyweight Title against Simona Galassi. Bettina Völker accepted the fight on short notice. She only had 3 weeks to make weight and prepare for the 10 rounds fight against Galassi, who turned pro last year after an amateur career second to none, in which she won the World Championships 3 times. The odds were heavily stacked against Völker. She put up a brave fight, but suffered a  TKO 42 seconds before the end of the 10th round.

Statistics:
Date of Birth: 19th September, 1972
Nationality: German
Weight Division: Super Flyweight
Height:  5'5" - 165 cm
Kickboxing record: 13-4-0
Pro Boxing record: 4-2-3
Promoter: Self managed
Trainer: Jürgen Lutz

Bettina Völker - Portrait of a true fighter

Consider the following scenario. You are a semi pro boxer (4-1-3 record accumulated over 6 years) and is offered a shot at the European Title on 3 weeks notice. You will need to continue your 9 to 5 job right up to the fight, and use your spare time to get in shape for the fight. Although your opponent is fairly new in the pro game (2-0-1), she has an astonishing amateur career behind her. 3 times European and 3 times World champion and a 86-1-0 record. Your opponent is southpaw, a first time experience for you, and you are unable to get a southpaw sparring.  The fight will take place abroad, on your opponents home turf, and it will be your first 10 rounder. You are just back from a visit to the US, where you let yourself be tempted by the many delicious dishes, you don't get in Europe, so you have to loose an extra 5-6 lbs to make weight.

Most boxers, who are not in desperate in need of the money, would
probably turn down a fight, where the odds are stacked so heavily
against you. It can be argued, that you would either have to be mad, or have an unusual amount of courage and a big fighting heart to accept such a challenge.

I had the great pleasure of talking to Bettina Völker, who took up
such a challenge against Italian boxing legend Simona Galassi, and I can assure you, that she is not mad. Anybody who has seen Völker in the ring can testify to her huge fighting heart and "never quit" attitude.

I have to disappoint those of you, who are waiting for a fairy tale end
to this story. Galassi's large experience and excellent boxing technique proved to be too big a hurdle for the game German. Throughout the bout, Bettina Völker fought for her chance, trying to find that big punch that can turn a fight. She kept coming forward despite Galassi's effective counter punching, and at no time did she attempt to spoil the fight by holding or using any of the dirty tricks of the trade. A moments lack of concentration 42 seconds before the final bell, left Völker's chin open for a hard right hand from Galassi, who followed by a left and another right also spot on target. Voelker was still standing after this combination, that would have sent most boxers to the floor, but the referee stepped in to stop the fight.

Bettina Völker is a true fighter, and although she may not be the best known female boxer in Germany today, her story deserves to be told. Germany can truly be described as the hotbed for women's boxing in Europe just now. Hardly a week goes by, without a new hopeful boxer can be seen making her debut in the pro ring. Most of these young talents have a solid schooling from the amateur ranks. When they turn pro they are usually in the good hands of top professional trainers and managers to help them polish their skills and build up their career.

Bettina Völker's story is a different one. She belongs to the pioneers
of women's boxing in Germany. Völker took up kickboxing, not only at the same time, but also in the same city as Regina Halmich. The two even met each other in kickboxing match in Karlsruhe back in the early 1990'ties. It was a very close fight that ended in a narrow decision in favour of - the then still fairly inexperienced - Halmich.

In those days the martial art studios had opened their doors for women who wanted to take part in combat sports, while the conventional boxing world maintained its more conservative "men only" attitude. Both Völker and Halmich later changed from kickboxing to boxing; Halmich as her chosen career and Volker as a second job/hobby. Völker expresses her admiration for Halmich's achievements both inside and outside the ring, and the invaluable impact she has had on the popularity of women's boxing. She admits, that it also prompts her to ask herself "what if?".
While Halmich followed her dream, Völker's family and friends strongly advised her to learn a trade and get job. She followed the advice and now works full time as a secretary. How far could she have made it, if she had concentrated 100% on her boxing career, and had the training, coaching and build-up of a professional promotion company?

Asked why she decided to take up the tough sport of kickboxing, Bettina explained, that it was something she had always wanted to do. Back in her school days she was very active, self confident, and probably slightly rebellious. She was regarded as a kind of guardian angel for the other girls in her class. If any of them had strife with the boys, Bettina was called upon to settle matters. She tried out various activities such as artistic gymnastics, ballet, and body building before ending up with taek-van-do. Although she liked the combat part of the training, she admits getting slightly bored by the individual exercises and posing which took up most of the training sessions. While still practising Taek-van-do she took a part time job in Fitness Studio. There she first encountered kickboxing and realised that this was the sport for her. She was persuaded to step into the ring after only a few weeks of training. Bettina laughingly explains about her first fight, "technically it wasn't pretty but I won the bout on my fighting spirit". She went on to win the German kickboxing championship 3 times and took part in European and World Championship fights in Amsterdam an Milan.

Völker stopped kickboxing in 1993 when her instructor moved back to Thailand and the gym closed down. There followed a four year break from combat sports until Jürgen Lutz - Halmich first boxing trainer - encouraged her to join his boxing team. She decided to take him up on his offer, dusted off her boxing gloves and returned to the gym in 1997.  She had her first pro fight in January of 2001. A short summary of her boxing matches to date is included in her profile elsewhere on this site.

I asked Bettina Völker how she manages to co-ordinate boxing with a full time job. She admitted that it is very difficult at times. You really have to be in top shape for boxing, and when training is restricted to evenings and weekends it is hard to maintain a satisfactory state of training. This has sometimes forced her to turn down fights offered at a short notice, at times where a heavy work load has forced her to cut down on her training. Although her employer has an understanding for her passion for boxing, she is not receiving any special treatment or support. When she has to go away for fights, she either takes vacation or buys herself free from work.

Bettina Völker is presently self managed, which gives her the freedom to take fights when it doesn't collide with her work or other obligations. The downside is, that tends to restrict the opportunity to fight the opponents best suited for her. Many of her fights came about on very short notice, and, in some cases, looked like attempts to pad the other fighter's records. Her 4-2-3 record proves that this has backfired in most cases.

Her favourite past times reflects both the feminine and masculine sides.  Bettina enjoys dancing, a very useful skill for a boxer, and also likes riding her motorcycle, even though an accident on the freeway a couple of years ago, meant a few days in hospital for her. Nothing will keep this fighter down; she got up from her crash, and is back on her bike.

Thanks to determined veterans like Bettina Völker, women's boxing in Germany is more popular than ever. Women's boxing in the early
1990'ties was mainly an object of ridicule and, at best, tolerated. If
the pioneers of the time hadn't persisted and worked hard to prove, that women should be allowed to - and can - box, I doubt there would be such a richness of female talent in both the amateur and pro rings in Germany.

To contact Bettina, go here:  Bettina.Voelker@gmx.net 

 
     
     
     
     
 

Profile by: Torben L. of Denmark

 
     

 

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