WBAN AWARDS 2001
The Good, the Bad, and the
NOT so Good! So here it goes.....
(PRO BOXER ) OF THE YEAR
"THE ISLAND GIRL" ANANI
Sumya Anani, 17-1-1 (6KO) had lost to only one boxer in her pro
career – Britt VanBuskirk. Anani faced VanBuskirk
in a 10-round WIBF title fight, with one weeks notice. One
month later, Anani again stepped in the ring for another
world title shot with another federation, and fought "Cheetah"
Fredia Gibbs that ended in a draw. Anani also fought and
defeated Liz Mueller for the IBA 135-lb World title,
which brought her up to fighting three world championships,
winning two, and tying with one in the year 2001.
(AMATEUR BOXER ) OF
Moreno is a top-ranked amateur boxer, rated #1 in the 106 lb. weight division. Moreno won
2001 women’s National Golden Gloves; 2001 USA Boxing National;
and 2001 Women’s Continental championship. Moreno also won a
bronze at the Women’s World’s.
SECRET - BOXER OF THE YEAR
Veronica Simmons, 168, has an extensive amateur record,
and is a four-time
New York Golden Gloves champion, three time USA Boxing national
women's champion and 1999 Feenix Box Cup world champion.
She is 2-0-0 (2KO) as a pro, and will fight any
and everyone who will step up to the plate.
MOST ENTERTAINING BOXERS
OF THE YEAR (TIED)
"THE CHEETAH" GIBBS
VALERIE "THE WOLFE" MAHFOOD
Fredia Gibbs and Valerie
Mahfood were tied for the "most entertaining"
this year. Gibbs comes out in
her "Cheetah" attire---she wears a pair of
marquee-type glasses, and boxes with a flair that has the boxing
fans on the edge of their seat. The Wolfe" Valerie Mahfood comes
ring with music blasting, "Who let the dogs
out". Mahfood dresses in a wolfe-like boxing outfit. Her
Mohawk hair-do matches precisely the color of her boxing gear.
Wolfe has the letters "W-O-L-F-E" shaved out on the side of her
head. On the other side of her head, there is a shaved
imprint of a wolfe's paw. Mahfood has the entertaining
antics that is well-suited with how she projects herself in the
IMPROVED BOXER OF THE YEAR
Ramirez has stuck with this sport, taking the "ups and
downs" the sport has dealt to her. Because..... Ramirez has not been
afraid to learn her skills in the ring without worrying about that
"almighty boxing record", she has improved to the point of
becoming a serious contender to be reckoned with in the ring with
any of the best in the sport today.
INSPIRATIONAL BOXER OF THE YEAR
Drexel gives new meaning to "fearless." She has fought
fighters in their home turf, with little notice and ducks no one.
She keeps a positive attitude and inspires anyone who has the
pleasure of meeting her. She had four major opponents this year with
no inferior opponents on her record. Drexel finished up the year by
clearly defeating Snodene Blakeney, just prior to Blakeney fighting
for a WIBA World title fight against Chevelle Hallback.
ACCOMPLISHED BOXER OF THE YEAR
Wolfe had five fights
this year, winning them all. Four out of the five fights were by
way of knockout/Technical knockout---topped with winning the WIBA 154-lb World
title, IFBA Super-middleweight world title, and successfully
defending it. Wolfe has come a long, LONG way from her
beginnings in this sport. Wolfe once lived on the streets
with her kids, lost her mother at a young age to cancer, and
also lost her father and brother after they were murdered...
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
participated in the amateurs and accumulated a 12-6 record
before turning pro in February 2001 of this year. She fought
some very good competition in those eight fights that included
three matches with Yolanda Gonzalez (WBAN's January 2002
Fighter of the month), Lisa Foster, Lakeysa Williams,
and Gracie Roca.
STARS OF THE YEAR (TIED)
Age 16, (Las Vegas) - Amateur Boxer
112 lb. Weight Class
Age 14, (California) - Amateur Boxer
106 lb. Weight
Both boxers are undefeated in 2001; both won USA Boxing National
Championship; NationalGolden gloves; National PAL; and Ringside
Nationals; and both are very talented boxers.
SPORTSMANSHIP FOR THE YEAR
These two exceptional and
top women boxers of the world tied for the "Good
Sportsmanship" for the year. Gina Nicholas was
chosen by WBAN. Valerie Mahfood was nominated by boxing
fans who wrote into WBAN saying that they felt Mahfood deserved
this award for the way she gave her opponent, Kendra
Lenhart credit for her knockout of Mahfood. Mahfood made no
excuses and gave credit to her opponent for a job well-done.
SPORTSMANSHIP OF THE YEAR
WBAN got many responses
for nominations this year for the "worst sport" in
2001---And that honor (or dishonor) goes to Mia
"The Knockout" St. John. Fans pointed out that St. John's response to
her fight and only loss from Rolanda Andrews was less than
admirable. St. John was quoted as saying to
the affect that Andrews beat her (Mia) with a "lucky
punch" and that Rolanda would fade back into oblivion. Mia
went on to say about her opponent, "She does not replace
me, I am still Mia St. John. Christy and I will make the biggest
purse in the history of women's boxing."
"KNOCKOUT" UPSET OF THE YEAR
ANDREWS KO'D MIA ST. JOHN
Rolanda sported a 4-4-0 (1KO) record when climbing into that
squared circle to fight THE undefeated Mia "The Knockout" St.
John who had a flawless record of
22-0-1 (12 KO). Little could have many
predicted that Rolanda would hand over Mia’s first loss, with an
impressive second round KO---AND in the process gave new meaning to
St. John’s ring name, Mia "the Knocked-Out" St. John.
THREE TELEVISED FIGHTS OF THE YEAR
MARTIN VS. KATHY COLLINS (PAY-PER-VIEW)
SUMYA ANANI VS. FREDIA GIBBS (DIRECT TV)
LAURA SERRANO VS. CHEVELLE HALLBACK (FOX SPORTS NET)
WBAN asked boxing fans to
vote for their most favorite boxing match that had happened in
the year 2001. These were the three top fights that were
chosen by WBAN and boxing fans.
SPORTS NETWORK OF THE YEAR THAT FEATURED WOMEN'S BOXING
ESPN2 has continued to be the leading boxing sports
network to consistently have more women boxers on their televised
Honorable mention: FOX SPORTS NET
At the beginning of 2001,
it looked like Fox Sports Net would be more like the
"weakest link" for women's boxing on television, but
they began to put on some very good and higher calibre matches
throughout the year.
WORST SPORTS NETWORK OF THE YEAR FOR WOMEN'S BOXING (TIED)
There are only two words for
HBO and Showtime. They positively suck! Okay, that was three
"NOW YOU SEE IT-NOW YOU DON'T" AWARD
DEMICK VS. KARLA REDO
WIBA INTERCONTINENTAL WELTERWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT
On August 23, of this year at the Chili Pepper Nightclub, in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida, Patricia Demick fought a
"hard-fought" eight-round title fight against Karla
These boxers were fighting for the WIBA Intercontinental
Welterweight Title. The fight was "Power against Speed."
Demick knocked Karla down in the second round, and she took an eight
count...The fight was declared a split decision, naming Demick as
the new WIBA champion. The belt was placed on Demick, and all
was well....ah...until they retallied the scores! Karla Redo was the
actual winner and was brought back up to receive her belt. Karla
was so excited about winning the fight that she fell to the canvas
and cried.... Ryan Wissow who was the representative for the WIBA
said, "the first round was a feel out round, and then Demick
dropped Redo in the 2nd round. What would transpire for the rest of
the way was a very close grueling fight with both fighters landing
bombs. When the decision was first announced, it was announced as
a split decision, for Patricia Demick. So I put the belt around her
waist, congratulated Demick and her team, then I walked out of the
ring. Then I saw them call Karla back into the ring, and they
took the belt off of Demick and put it on Redo! The announcer
got the scores wrong. Karla Redo in fact had won the decision."
MOST TALKATIVE BOXER OF THE YEAR
Have boxing fans seen anyone else that could have compared with
this lady? She bragged, she promised to kick Laila’s booty (which
she did not by the way.) She went on, and on, and sometimes
unfortunately talking "on"……
CONTROVERSIAL FIGHT OF THE YEAR
VS. MICHELLE SUTCLIFFE
On September 29, 2001, in Hamburg, Germany, Daisy Lang fought
Michelle Sutcliffe for the WIBF World Junior Bantamweight title. The
fight came to an end when Lang failed to answer the bell for the 8th
round due to a bad gash over her left eye. However, because the
injury was held to have resulted from a clash of heads, the fight
went to the cards and Lang was declared the unanimous winner (68-66;
67-66; 68-66). One boxing fan, Jon Fox, said, "I have two
problems with this. Firstly, it is correct that there was a meeting
of heads early in round 7, but no blood was in evidence until late
in the round after Sutcliffe had landed in the area of Lang's left
eye with at least 3 good overhead rights. Secondly, at the end of
round 7, I had Sutcliffe winning by 69-66." Another boxing fan
said, "There has just been a robbery in Germany. Daisy Lang was
deemed by the ringside doctor, to not be able to continue, because
of a cut caused by her opponent’s punches, YET Lang did NOT lose.
In fact she was given the decision because she was ahead on points.
She WON. What a fix!"
HYPES OF THE YEAR IN THE SPORT
Talk of a
Christy Martin Vs. Lucia Rijker fight - didn't happen.
Talk of a Christy Martin Vs. Mia St. John fight - didn't happen.
Talk of a Christy Martin Vs. Laila Ali fight - didn't happen.
A lot of trash talk, but
very little action in these particular matchups. It would
be nice just to see Rijker fight---ANYONE (that was a
viable opponent) at this point. St. John, as much as it
would benefit her and Martin's pocketbook is far from a
legitimate match. Ali is NOT in Martin's weight class,
unless Martin was to pork up, fight Ali, and then go to Jenny
Craig. How about in the year 2002, Christy
Martin vs. Sumya Anani, remember...ah the girl that
gave Martin a licking in 1998!
"OUTLANDISH" COMMENT IN 2001 MADE BY A BOXER
"Laila Ali and Jacqui
Frazier-Lyde don't belong in the same ring as me," said
Foreman. "As far as I'm concerned, when they fight each other,
it's an eliminator to fight me. And the winner will become the
loser. I'll knock either of them out," she added. "Isn't
it interesting how neither of them will step up and fight me first?
They don't want to risk their big payday." (Excerpt from press
PUBLICIZED WOMEN'S BOUT OF THE YEAR
LAILA ALI VS.
JACQUI FRAZIER (Pay-Per-View)
You can love them---you can dislike them.....But…in
the year 2001, this fight was clearly the winner that received the
most publicity for women’s boxing. Ali and Frazier also pulled off
a surprise for skeptics when they fought a hard-fought eight-rounder
that had boxing fans off their seats---and in many cases had
journalists eating their words, when they wrote scorching editorials
just prior to their fight.
HOT COMMENTS PICKED BY WBAN FROM BOXING FANS WHO WROTE IN TO
CONTRIBUTE TO THE WBAN AWARDS 2001
Highlight: With an eye toward the future of women's boxing,
the best thing to happen to the sport in 2001 was the World Amateur
Championships that were recently held in Scranton, PA. If women's
boxing is going to flourish in the 21st Century, it's imperative to
have a very strong amateur base. Its inclusion in a future Olympics
as a medal sport will signal its arrival and full acceptance on the
global sport scene. Good work this year by USA Boxing and AIBA for
their efforts in this direction.
Lowlight: To Ryan Wissow for letting a Championship farce
take place between Frazier and Taylor. Neither "fighter"
even remotely deserved a title fight. One is a "has been"
and the other a wannabe. I'm beginning to see why this sport is
getting trash talk from within. This is a sad day. Letting things
like this happen will lead to the retirement of many good fighters
and understandably so. What is he thinking?
Lowlight: USA boxing held their women’s Nationals that
determined the world team within one week of the 9-11 disaster. This
should have been delayed, regardless of any logistical situation.
Only 50 women in all entered this very important qualifying
tournament. This is one reason why the U.S. did so poorly in the
Lowlights: Once again, the National silver gloves refuses to
allow girls in their National tournament. It is Ray Rogers, the president of the National Silver Gloves, and
the board of National silver Gloves call. Apparently there is
pending litigation about this issue.
Highlights: This year there were over 120 women who entered
the national Women’s Golden Gloves, and even better is that their
were over 40 Junior Olympic age girls (age 10-16), included in this
120+. Both a statistical record for a women’s tournament.
Good events - Inaugural AIBA Amateur World Titles, Pardo's All-women
card, (even if he did do the wrong thing by some people, the idea
was good & some boxers benefited from the exposure) & one
brief stand-out fight from Rolanda Andrews, exposing an over-hyped
boxer. Good sportsmanship award should go to Val Mahfood
(interview with Fox) for comments after her KO loss to Lenhart.
She's always been a good sport. Great Pretender award should
go to Juli-Julie Crockett. A close 2nd for being a Great
Pretender is Mia St. John---But she is the undisputed champion for
Bad sportsmanship. Example of that would be St. John’s
comments on Fightnews/insidewomensboxing Nov.12: Andrews supposedly
beat her with a lucky punch and would fade back into oblivion, `she
does not replace me, I am still Mia St. John..... Christy and I will
make the biggest purse in the history of womens boxing..' Does WBAN
have greed & arrogance awards as well? People who claim to have
lost to a `lucky punch' always want a rematch. MSJ hasn't mentioned
Highlights/Lowlights: I think the first-ever amateur world
championships in Scranton deserves a mention. The fact that we now
see AIBA sanctioned European and World Championships is a very good
sign that the sport is getting accepted and growing world wide. It
is also a good sign for the future of the pro game; The GOOD of
2001: The 2nd round knockout of Mia St.John by Yolanda Andrews. Say
hello to a reality check, Mia!; The BAD of 2001: Ali - Frazier 4.
Women's boxing definitely does not need this kind of phony hoopla
event. To be taken seriously the sport needs TV exposure of the more
talented women on a regular basis; The UGLY of 2001: Don King, Bob
Arum, Cedric Kurshner, et. al., who unfortunately control all the
purse strings in boxing and who would top this category in any year;
And the BEST thing in Women's boxing for 2001 was this
Good Guy Award - The award for the person with the most
forgiving heart and good guy award for 2nd chances would be Sue Fox
when she decides to return the FORUM. There are just no others (I
have looked and looked) that serve the many purposes that yours did.
Come on, let’s get the gang back together!!! Bill Whaley
Good and Bad: Mia St John of course is the bad and also
the good because she got what was coming.......
Hightlights/Lowlights: 2001-"Best"-Sue Fox and
WBAN. "Worse"-Female Boxing becoming a Side Show of Boxing
-"Ugly"-The General State of Boxing- It makes an honest lawyer look like Sister Theresa!
Richard Weintraub, Attorney at law
Highlights/Lowlights: Best Fight: Christy Martin
vs. Kathy Collins [PPV] great fight, the commentators even said it
was the most exciting fight on the undercard--Great for boxing; Worst Fight: Mia St.
John vs. Rolanda Andrews... just because Mia is so hyped and at the
forefront of women's boxing, and looked just awful on National T.V.;
Surprise of the Year:
Ali vs. Frazier-Lyde wasn't half bad. I'd say it ended up being good
for the sport - although they *could* have included another women's
bout or two on the undercard, it was great that the main event of
the PPV was a women's fight;
Worst of the Worst: okay, this wasn't women's boxing,
although some un-pc males would call it that: Hector Camacho Jr.
being a wussy-boy and quitting in his fight against Jesse James
Leija. I was there. Leija was bleeding worse. Camacho Jr. could have
kept fighting, his cut was nothing. I would say it was a waste of my
hard-earned dollars, but in a sense, I'm glad I was there to witness
this travesty of boxing first-hand. I don't know how Jr. can walk
around with his head up; Curiouser and curiouser: ESPN2 and
Fox Sports Net actually showed a few women's matches! I practically
had a heart attack when they came on. Let's hope they do in more in
Highlights - by Valerie Mahfood:
I was sitting at my desk thinking about your "2001 picks"
for the year and how I felt about last years. I thought I'd write my
piece of mind. For what's it's worth, this is how I feel. If you'd
like to print it, it would be okay. Harry and Austin might even like
what I had to say this time.........usually, I make them worry.
About this time every year we are inundated with "Best of
the Year" awards: fight of the year, boxer of the year, best knock out punch, come
back kids, you name it and people will generally rank it. While these lists
are entertaining (especially when I'm on them), they don't always
pronounce everything behind the reasons why something is as it
claims to be…..am I making sense? At heart today are my coaches: Harry Murdock and Austin
Green. Last year one of the regular commentators on the message
boards promoted an opinion poll in which boxing fans were encouraged
to vote on who they believed was the best "Coach of the
Year." Only one of my coaches was listed, Harry, but in my heart I felt the other was implied (Austin). I waited for the
votes to be cast and the decision was announced. My guys didn't win.
Of course, it didn't matter to them. And at first, it didn't
matter to me. It was just an opinion poll and when you think about
it, whose opinion was it really? Did the people voting know my
coaches? Did they know the other coaches nominated? For that matter,
who even nominated the coaches? Were they selected only as a
reflection of the fighters they train........? As you can see, my supply of questions was relentless. I can only
presume these challenges to last year's decision comes from my
unwillingness to accept my coaches as any thing less than the mark of excellence.
But mind you, this isn't an issue of pride on my part. I don't want them
to be honored because they're part of a championship team. No, I
want them to be recognized for the men that they are and the sacrifices they've
made. If I never lose again, it won't change the fact that the only reason I
ever won was because they continued to believe in me long after I stopped
believing in myself. Over the past six years, I've been through a range of
experiences. While I don't believe the things I've seen are any different then the
next female boxer; (the disillusionment, the heartache, and
happiness) I do believe the way I was carried through them has made
all the difference in how I feel about the sport I live in today.
When I look back I laugh out loud at al the good times I've had. And
even in the bad times, I still smile with resolution that what I did
then is what I still believe today to be the best that I could have
done. The source, the absolute source of my conviction lays in the men
who train me. When I cry, they gently wipe my tears away. When I'm upset,
they listen to me talk long after I've stop making sense. When I'm hurt, they
comfort me. When I'm hungry, they feed me. If I'm scared, they
reassure me. In short, with them I don't have to worry about being a champion.
I don't have to be strong. I only have to be myself. I can lean on
them and with them I can find the faith to face my fears. Because of
them, I can look my opponent in the eye and still believe that I am
good enough to defeat her. Don't get me wrong. I'm not always a bundle of nerves. I've had
more good times then bad. And when I'm happy, they're sincerely
happy for me. I've seen Harry laugh so hard he cried and Austin has
almost choked to death trying to stop from cracking up. My God, we
have had so much fun together. If I tried to tell you of even half
the joy we've shared, I think I might actually get tired of talking
(imagine that.....). I know that as people get older they look back on their lives and
think to themselves that those were the good old days. If they had known
then how it would have ended, they would have enjoyed their time a little
more. They would have taken the time out to notice what a beautiful
place life can be...............Well, I realize now that these are the best days of my life. I'm
thankful for the people that share them with me. Harry and Austin
are more than just my trainers, they're my friends. I appreciate
their presence in my life. It goes beyond telling me how to throw a
punch or jump a rope. They share with me a common connection, the
bond of human experience. I truly enjoy their company. I love them
both as sincerely as I've ever loved another man, or woman, in my
life. With that being said, it wouldn't matter to me whether they win
any "best" award. What matters to me is that they be aware
that I realize how much of an influence they've made in my life.
Boxing aside, they're still wonderful men. And if I had my way, that
would be the award I would bestow upon them. Not just "Trainer
of the Year", that's to limiting. Rather, "Men of the
Year" because it acknowledges them for everything else they are
besides just boxing coaches. I love them both..........I love you both. Sincerely, The Big Bad
Wolfe or to Harry and Austin: just plain val............Mahfood.
A FEW WORDS
WBAN asked boxing fans to
contribute their ideas of who should be nominated. WBAN
received many emails from boxing fans, and would like to say
thank you for many of the award picks. Sue TL Fox