A FIGHTER WITHOUT A
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
TL: How did this fight come about, How
did Lena get mixed into this mismatch.. Do you know or have any
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
TL Fox : So did you fight Akesson was in
Louisiana? Do you think that she knew much about you before the
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
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
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
Sparks: Because Reggie didn't have any gauze.
TL Fox: How does this guy get away with
Sparks: I don't know... I should have said
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
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