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So where does Reggie Strickland (the guy getting Sparks fights) live and what is his background in boxing? 

According to Sparks, Reggie lives in the same apartment complex in Indiana as she and Heather Shoffner reside. Heather Shoffner is a friend of Sparks, and sporting  a 0-5 boxer.   Shoffner has gotten some boxing matches through Strickland, including her pro debut with Corinne Van Reykdegroot, that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the undercard of the Mike Tyson card! The fight on the Tyson card, did not last long as Shoffner was KO'd in the first round. Infact all five fights of Shoffner has resulted in a KO. 

Sparks had a hard time telling me exactly what Strickland's official capacity was in boxing. She said that Reggie had been labeled by some as the world's worst boxer, tallying up 221 losses out of 296 fights. Out of those 296 bouts, he has only six KO's on his record. According to Sparks, Reggie makes matches, and he will try to make any match, at any time, and apparently with little regard for the skill-level of the boxer when matching up opponents.

Sparks also revealed that Reggie's girlfriend is none other than Nicolyn Armstrong. Armstrong is a 1-6 boxer. Armstrong is mostly known for fighting Laila Ali, and Jacqui-Lyde Frazier. Frazier KO'd Armstrong in the first round, Laila Ali KO'd Armstrong in the second round. Armstrong's only win, came by KO'ing Lanette Brown. On her losses, Armstrong has never made it the distance, and has never made it past the second round.

Sparks spoke about "Reggie's strategies" of marketing "fresh meat". 

You see, Reggie has caught on to the fact that his stable of women are worth more if they have some wins. Sparks said that Reggie wanted to get Shoffner and her matched up this week so that Sparks could get another win on her record. According to Sparks, Reggie told her that she would make "lots of money" by getting her the wins by fighting her friend, Shoffner. Reggie even mentioned that he could get her a match with Laila Ali, and he brought up the March 2nd date. I asked Sparks some questions about Reggie:

TL Fox: Is Reggie a matchmaker, a trainer, what is he?

Sparks: He is a little bit of everything. He's a hustler, well since they put that tape out (Sparks said that Reggie was on HBO or ESPN2 about being the worst boxer) on him and embarrass Indiana state boxing commission. Fred Barnes, the promoter for here decided that every fighter has to take drug, but he fought the other night in Greensboro, some guy pulled out of the fight, and so he filled in.

TL Fox: Do you know who he fought?

Sparks: No, because I was so embarrassed. I didn't even want to show my face. I stayed in the dressing room, for the most part and the only time I was out of the dressing room was when I was out the door.

TL Fox: How old is Reggie, and is he a boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend?

Sparks: He is 35, 36 years old.  He is not a boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. I met him at the fairground when Susie Saylors fought Dianna Lewis.

TL Fox: After Saylors made her pro debut, did she ever fight again?

Sparks: No she has never had another fight.

TL Fox: Did Reggie ever get you a trainer or a gym to train in?

Sparks: I have never been in an actual gym. The night that I fought Dianna, Martin Bellas he has been a trainer for a long time, he gave me his card at the fairgrounds the night after I fought Lewis. A couple of weeks later, I decided to call this guy out and check it out. I started going over there.

TL Fox : And was that a regular gym setup?

Sparks: He's got a patio out back. He's got speed bags and a bag. Photos of her patio gym

TL Fox: Did you get any training like going inside of a boxing ring and work and spar with other people?

Sparks: No. We sparred over there, but it was on the pavement, which was kind of dangerous, because I got knocked down a couple of times.

TL Fox: So he was the only one you sparred with?

Sparks: I brought my friend (Shoffner) over there, besides working with Marty.

TL Fox: Is this how Shoeffer got on the Tyson card in Las Vegas. Did Reggie Strictland get her that fight?

Sparks: Yes it was. I was not real happy about the fact that Shoeffer was given that opportunity of the Tyson card, when initially I had brought Shoeffer over to where I was training just to have someone to spar.

TL Fox: Has Heather Shoeffer ever been in a boxing gym to your knowledge?

Sparks: No all we had was over at Martys'.

TL – Which was the patio area?

Sparks: yeah...

TL Fox – Did he ever encourage you to run or jump rope?

Sparks: I would run a little route that he told me to run. You see I was a smoker, and I didn't stop smoking until two weeks before I fought Sabrina Hall the first time. And so it really made it hard on me, so I felt I couldn't say to much about Marty helping me out, because I was not helping myself.

TL: When you fought your pro debut, if we want to call it that. And then you were thrown into the Lion's Den with Lena Akesson, for G...Sakes...How did that happen?

Sparks: I asked him Reggie about what Lena was all about. He said that Akesson had only had a couple of fights, and that she had only won a couple of fight. (Lena's record was 8-0 at the time.)

TL: How did this fight come about, How did Lena get mixed into this mismatch.. Do you know or have any idea?

A: I'm just thinking that Reggie will find any fight, if there a big fight available, if he knows someone at the right weight, he will put them in there, as long there's money involved.

TL Fox : So did you fight Akesson was in Louisiana? Do you think that she knew much about you before the fight?

A: Yes, the fight was in Louisiana. I told her I wanted to talk to her after the fight, and Akesson told me that she had bad vibes when she saw Reggie.... and that's when I told her, that he is so unprepared.

TL Fox: So she didn't know until she had seen Reggie?

Sparks: No, she didn't. I told her about him. I didn't have a nice pair of shoes or trunks. Akesson gave me a pair of Pony Shoes and trunks after the fight. She was very nice and invited me to her room.

TL Fox: On the Sumya Anani Fight...were you originally told it was a four rounder?

Sparks: Yes, and then when I got there to fight her, I saw on the fight card, that I was suppose to go six rounds with her. Reggie didn't come down for that fight, and Marty was there with me because he does all of the driving. When we mentioned that "Reggie Strickland" said that the fight was for four, the guy (promoter?) got upset, and said not to ever mention Reggie's name.

TL Fox: Was it the promoter? Someone had to know it was Reggie who the fight for you.

Sparks: I thought it was the promoter. But I really don't know much about it. I was kept from the people involved in boxing, and Reggie would pocket half of my money.

TL Fox: What was Sumya Anani's reaction to fighting you?

Sparks: It was kind of funny, because I felt that since I didn't have anything to offer, I came out swingin' at the beginning of the bell.. I only made it the one round with her and she gave me a pretty bad black eye.

TL Fox: What were you told about Sumya's background before taking the fight?

Sparks: I was told that she had a few fights. (Anani's record at the time – undefeated 10-0, three months before she defeated Christy Martin in Dec. of 1998)

TL Fox: What about your fights with Sabrina Hall. You fought her three times, and went the distance twice?

Sparks: I felt the last one fight should have been a draw. I didn't think that she beat Britt Vanbuskirk., and that fight should have been at least a draw.

TL :Has Reggie ever asked you to throw a fight or anything like that?

Sparks: No, he just told me and Heather, just to go four rounds, so that we could fight the "Columbia" Club. And he said that he was going to see that what he could do to get us out of our suspension.

TL Fox: How could he get you and Heather out of your suspensions? (Checking the suspension list, Heather Shoffner #IN053230 shows that she is indefinitely suspended as of February 10, 2001. Sparks was not listed as suspended)

Sparks: Reggie could work miracles. He talked the guy at the weigh-in to take 7 pounds off my original weight, and adding 7 lbs. onto Heather's. He got by with not having our hands wrapped. (Feb. 10 fight that the fight was called a No contest between Sparks and Heather Shoffner)

TL Fox: Why didn't you have your hands wrapped?

Sparks: Because Reggie didn't have any gauze.

TL Fox: How does this guy get away with this stuff?

Sparks: I don't know... I should have said something.

TL Fox: Do you feel that you took these fights for financial reasons and that you just had to?

Sparks: No, the money was not the first thing, it was because I enjoyed the sport, and I like to fight. I don't like to fight, physically on the streets unless I have to, but..I was felt the money came second.

TL Fox: Can you tell me anything about your fight with Denise Moraetes?

Sparks: I knew who Denise Moraetes was, because I saw a flyer on her when Marty and I went to the Golden Gloves. When I was offered the fight, Reggie didn't get me this fight. So when they mentioned Denise's name, I knew who she was. I didn't know that she turned pro, and I found out her record after the fight. It was a four rounder.

TL Fox: Out of all of the women boxers you had, who was your toughest opponent?

Sparks: I took a beating out of everyone I fought, but I got it the worst by Dianna.

TL Fox: Are you going to stop getting into these matches without being trained properly?

Sparks: I don't want to go into the ring like that again under those circumstances.  The only good things I have learned is how to take a punch. I know what they are thinking when I enter the ring--they already know what's going to happen. I can't concentrate on the fight. Reggie said that he could get me a match in March with Laila Ali. He said that he was putting me and Heather on and get me a couple of more wins on my record so that I could make $2,000.

TL Fox: How  does he think you are going to pull off these fights without training?

Sparks: Well the ones with Heather, he thought I could win, like I did before.

TL Fox: No, I mean with Laila Ali and Frazier?

Sparks: Reggie, Oh, he don't expect me to win. He more less expects me to get in there and you know... take a fall.

TL – what did he say you would get paid if you fought Frazier or Ali?

Sparks: Reggie said that he would give me $2,000. He said, "that is why I am trying to get you these little wins, so you can start making the big money." Well it's not the money, I want... I want the wins... I want respect. I want people to look at me different when I walk into the ring. I'm tired when I walk into the ring it is on my conscience. Hey, I'm the loser. I want to be the one that they say, "you did good."

TL : And you know what it looks like from my view, or other person's view, "Hey this person is taking a dive for these fighters to pad their records."

Sparks: Yeah and it is also not fair to the people who pay to see the fights. It is not fair to anyone.  BACK TO PART I

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