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Another year has gone by and it is time to have the "hot"
picks and "not" picks for  the year 2004! There were definitely
the GOOD, the BAD, and the NOT so good this year 
in women's boxing! WBAN ran a survey for BOXING FANS and relied on their input in this year's picks!

     
   
 

Fighter of the Year
Kelsey "Road Warrior" Jeffries
(Second Year pick!)
This was a VERY difficult pick this year with many runner-ups.  Runner up:  Laila Ali, Mary Jo Sanders, Sumya Anani, Jessica Rakoczy, Ann Wolfe, Wendy Rodriguez, Bettina Csabi,  Mia St. John.  Kelsey is the IFBA World Featherweight Champion!

 

 

 

Highest Achievements of the year
Bettina "Box Princess" Csabi
Csabi, undefeated, and a fantastic boxer and champion from Hungary, not only a boxer,  but she has earned her doctoral degree in Europe at the same time.  Bettina received a doctoral degree in law in Szeged, Hungary, from the University of Szeged faculty of law in 2003.  In 2004, she has had six fights, including winning the GBU Bantamweight title.

 

 

 

Sumya Anani

Most AVOIDED Boxer of the Year
Sumya "Island Girl" Anani
Notice we did not say “most feared” because we will give opponents and their teams the benefit of the doubt that the general reason given for not fighting Anani is due to wanting a higher purse with Television.  So....Anani has been named the “most Avoided” because Anani would literally fight anywhere, anytime, if given the opportunity, but getting another boxer in the ring with her is nearly impossible!

 

 

 


Jerri Sitzes
 

Boxer who took on "ALL" tough opponents in the year 2004
Jerri Sitzes has been picked by WBAN as the boxer of the year who took on ALL tough opponents that were difficultt fights, without succumbing to fighting less-skilled opponents to pump up her record.  Sitzes fought Kelsey Jeffries, Lisa Brown, Melinda Cooper, and Mary Elizabeth Ortega.  Sitzes, with a misleading record of  5-6-1 (3KO), is definitely a boxer to be reckoned with.

 

 

 


M.  Sanders

M. Cooper

Hottest Rising Stars of the year!
Mary Jo Sanders
Sanders, who fights out of Detroit, Michigan, undefeated at 13-0-0 (4KO),  has fought and defeated some tough competition this year.  She earned her first belt when she defeated Chevelle Hallback for the IBA  Jr. Welterweight Title.   Sanders has fought many very good opponents in her young career in the sport thus far.

Melinda Cooper

No other word to describe Melinda than a "boxing sensation."  Cooper has been boxing since the age of 12, has an extensive successful amateur background,  and turned pro at 17.  She fights out of  Las Vegas, Nevada, and has accumulated a 13-0-0 (8KO).  Cooper is another boxer having some tough times finding opponents to step into the ring with her.  She is not only a highly technical boxer, but is an exciting boxer to watch in the ring. A REAL Rising Star in this sport!

 

 

 

Five Top
Picks...

Most Improved of the Year
Laila Ali
Hollie Dunaway
Franchesca Alcanter
Stephanie Dobbs
Eliza Olson


Laila Ali


H. Dunaway

F. Alcanter

S.  Dobbs

Eliza Olson

 

 


Mahfood

O'Neil

Most Inspirational Boxer(s) of the Year
Valerie “The Wolfe” Mahfood.
Mahfood is one of the most resilient boxers in the sport today. Mahfood keeps a positive attitude no matter what she is confronted with.  Mahfood approaches the sport with not taking herself or others too seriously. She is truly an inspiration to others, and a positive influence for other women boxers.


Gwendolyn O’Neil
O'Neil, a mother of five,  is an inspiration and a role model for women boxers and has made her country of Guyana extremely proud of her accomplishments.   She has made great achievements in the sport, including winning the first-ever world title in Guyana,  when she defeated United States Kathy Rivers.
 

 

 


Jane Couch

Top European Fighter
 Jane "The Fleetwood Assassin" Couch

Jane Couch not only fought in one the BEST fights of the year against Jaime "The Hurricane" Clampitt, but she was named WBAN's July 2004 Fighter of the month. Couch will fight anywhere, which she has shown time and again, when coming over to the United States to take on the very best competition.   Runner Ups: Bettina Csabi and Regina Halmich
 

 

 


L. Robinson

W. Rodriguez

Best-Kept Secret(s) in
Women's Boxing
Leatitia Robinson

Leatitia Robinson, a talented boxer out of Chicago, is a "sleeper" in  waiting for Laila Ali.  Robinson has a strong amateur background and has been impressive since turning pro. She IS the  TOP "Best-Kept Secret" in the year 2004!

Wendy Rodriguez

Wendy Rodriguez, 108 lbs., NABA Women's Junior Flyweight World Champion,  is a definitely women's boxing "Best-Kept Secret", although she has been boxing for years, she keeps a low-profile, and boxing fans have no idea what a little dynamite boxer she is.  Rodriguez will also fight ANYONE, ANYTIME, and puts on a great show anytime she is in the ring!

 

 

 


Emily Klinefelter

Top Amateur
 of the Year

Emily Klinefelter

Emily Klinefelter, 110 lbs., open,  of Iowa City, has won many titles, including the International Gold in Taiwan this year.  Runner up this year is Stella Nijhoff , 119,  open,  of New York.
 

 

 


Molly McConnell

Top Rookie
of the Year

Molly McConnell

Molly McConnell, boxing a short time as a pro has already accumulated a pro record of 3-0-0 (1KO).  She has paid her dues in this sport by competing in the amateurs for years before deciding to turn pro.  Her amateur experience has paid off and she is off to a great start as a pro!  Runner up:  Jeannine Garside

 

 

 



Jaime Clampitt



Chevelle Hallback

Best Fights of the Year (Tied)

Jaime Clampitt vs. Jane Couch
In a fight between Jane "The Fleetwood Assassin" Couch, 140,  and Jaime "The Hurricane" Clampitt at the Foxwoods Resort Casino, in Mashantucket,  the two brought down the house.  The Boston Globe wrote: "In a spirited co-feature, 35-year-old Jane Couch won a close but unanimous decision over crowd favorite Jaime Clampitt to wrest the International Women's Boxing Federation and NABA women's junior welterweight titles. The 10-round slugfest had the audience on its feet through the closing stanzas, as neither boxer took a step backward."

Layla McCarter vs. Chevelle Hallback
At the Pala Casino, in California, and televised on ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights" At the Pala Casino, in California, and televised on ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights", Chevelle "Fists of Steel"  Hallback  successfully defended her IBA world title when she won a 10-round unanimous decision over Layla "Amazing" McCarter in a non-stop action packed bout that was featured as the co-main.  This was the best fight of the night and of the YEAR in Women's Boxing. ©Photo by Tony Duffy.

 

 

 

Biggest Knockout of the Year
Ann Wolfe vs. Vonda Ward
There was no doubt that this fight would be the Biggest Knockout for the year 2004.   Ann Wolfe, at  5'9" took just 1:06 seconds to knockout Vonda Ward, 6'6".  Ward was carried out on a stretcher after being on the mat for 10 minutes.  (By the way, WARD has made a fantastic comeback defeating Marsha Valley.)

 

 

 

 

THE BUSIEST
Boxer of the Year
Mia "The Knockout" St. John
St. John nearly had a fight on an average of one a month. She had 11 fights over the year of 2004. A Close second was Stephanie Dobbs who fought nine times!

 

 

 


Jerri Sitzes






 

Biggest Upsets of the Year
Jerri Sitzes Stops Mary Ortega
In Kansas City, Missouri, where hometowner Mary Ortega, takes on most of her foe, was surprisingly stopped by Jerri Sitzes, 117. Sitzes TKO'd Ortega in the fifth round of a scheduled six-round bantamweight bout.

Ann Wolfe vs. Vonda Ward
Many boxing fans nominated this fight as the biggest upset, although in terms of Wolfe KO'ing Ward in the opening round, at the time just prior to the fight, WBAN's feedback from boxing fans was that Wolfe would defeat Ward. So in that aspect it was not an "upset" other than how quickly the fight ended.  WBAN will list it as an upset due to the response from boxing fans who viewed it as the biggest upset.

The "NOT SO HOT" In Women's
Boxing For the Year 2004!

 

Biggest Rip Off of the Year
Elena Reid vs. Regina Halmich

It happened on September 11, 2004, (of all days), in Karlsuhe, Germany, when Elena "Baby Doll" Reid of the United States did not take home a world belt after being ripped off after fighting Regina Halmich of Germany. EVEN the boxing fans from Germany could not believe the decision.   The judges scored it 98-94 Halmich, 97-93 Reid and 97-97 for a draw.  The media called two of the judges scores “scandalous”.

 

"Opps I did it again" Award
Donna Biggers
No....there is no relation in regards to Britney Spears hit song "Opps, I did it again" and the Boxer - Donna Biggers.  But it may be a good ring tune for Biggers if she keeps fighting the same opponent, as she did when she fought Nicole Perkins three times in a four-month period!  Oh, yes, Biggers scored three BIG KO's on her already questionable and pristine 11-0-1 record.  Biggers fought and defeated  Perkins on 11/19/04, 8/28/04, and 07/17/04, with Perkins never making it past the second round.  

 

"The Dirty Fighter" Award
Amy Johnson
June 25, 2004 - Edmonton, Canada
This cannot go to none other than Edmonton's Amy Johnson.  WBAN was in disbelief when we viewed the fight tape and watched Johnson fighting Tonya Harding with dirty tactics as trying to lace/scrap with her gloves on Harding's face.   The fight took place on June 25, 2004, in Edmonton, Canada. 

 

The Most Outrageous Request to
WBAN for the Year

WBAN received an outrageous request for contact information for 26 female boxers that were being considered for an upcoming card in November of 2004. These 26 boxers were to fight some very highly quality opponents.  Out of those 26 boxers who were on the list for assistance to this particular promoter/matchmaker of this upcoming event----only ONE boxer had ONE win on her record! AND almost EVERY boxer that was listed, had not had a fight from two years to 13 years. OUTRAGEOUS!

 

Biggest Mismatch of the Year
Too many to list, especially with some of the inferior world title bouts that took place in 2004.  If boxers, trainers, matchmakers, managers, promoters, and FEDERATIONS want this sport to flourish, stop this insanity of these awful world title fights that are taking place, and world champions fighting inferior opponents. Everyone needs to step up to the plate and move this sport to another level.  Stop making excuses---take viable opponents, and fights.  No Guts...No glory.

 

HOT COMMENTS FROM BOXING FANS
SENT INTO WBAN!

 Most Inspirational:  Brenda Bell-Drexel
She keeps going on! And has not giving up and willing to fight anyone!

Fighter of the Year:  Laila Ali
At times she has not chosen the best fighters to fight, but she deserves this award for staying busy and keeping the sport in the spotlight, especially at a time when it needs it most.

Fighter of the Year:  Leatitia "Baby Girl" Robinson
Leatitia Robinson has shown she is capable of fighting and winning consecutive championships to include stepping up in a different weight class.

Fighter of the Year:  Mia “The Knockout “ St. John
The world nominates Mia St.John for WBAN "Fighter of the Year" Award 2004.   Mia was the busiest this year, she made the most money this, she single handedly gained more X-posure for female boxing this year.  Lastly, she challenged some of the high profile fighters in her division who declined the opportunity to fight her this year and she closed 2004 with a BIG Bang!! TKO, first round, at the Staple Center, on the Tarver vs Johnson card one of the greatest cards since Muhammid Ali and Joe Frazier.  It might not be what you want but it is what it is so let's keep it real,  Mia St. John  WBAN "Fighter of the Year" 2004 !!!!

Fighter of the Year:  Jessica Rakoczy
She is one of the best female fighters around and does not get the recognition she deserves.

Most Improved: Laila “She Bee Stingin’ Ali
She did not have much technique and ability at first, but through continued improvements she has proved to be one of the best female boxers around.

Most Inspirational:  Ann “Brown Sugar” Wolfe
She is a true inspiration, someone who has beaten the odds and overcome tough times to reach a level of being one of the best boxers in women's boxing.

Fighter of the Year:  Kelsey Jeffries
Busiest champion who takes on them all.

Most Inspirational:  Vonda Ward
A boxer's toughest fight is the one after a bad ko. She not only came back, but came back and won.

Best Kept Secret: Laila Ali
I picked Laila after seeing her fight with Gwendolyn O'Neil.

 Fight of the Year
Jane Couch vs. Jaime Clampitt deserves "Fight of the Year" without contention
IMO. Yes, Jaime is my wife - so I guess I am biased. But if that were the case than why would I want a "loss" to be highlighted? I do, because I think Jane & Jaime made THE best fight in women's boxing in 2004 bar none and they both should be commended.

Fighter of the Year:  Eliza Olson
Win or lose Eliza fights anybody, anywhere, anytime.

Most Inspirational:  Valanna McGee
Valanna comes from a little town in northern California, where most people have not even heard of pro women boxers.  To train pretty much out of her garage and advance as far as she has is very inspirational.

Most Improved:  Mia St. John
Her past fight were sloppy but now her technique has improved so much.

Fighter of the year:  Kelsey Jeffries
Girl is always busy. 

Fighter of the year:  Kelsey Jeffries
Only person on my list to make the top five two years in a row. I must say that Mary Jo Sanders is a close second though.

Most Inspiration:  Jessica Rakoczy
First a 13 month come back from an auto accident, then a 6 month come back from a leg injury. 

Most Improved:   Kristy Follmar, Cindy Serrano, & Carino Moreno
All went 4-0 in 2004 and are true contenders. Follmar has been boxing longer, and her
14-1-0 (9) record should lead to a title fight in the near future.

Best European Fighter:  Myriam Lamare
She had a great year 5-0 against ever tougher opponents. I must give an honorable mention to Bettina Csabi, but some of her opponents were novices.

Best Kept Secret:  Leatitia Robinson
Leatita beat Mahfood, Epillon, and Reis this year, but her division is mostly overlooked. Honorable mention goes to Wendy Rodriguez who just doesn't get the press coverage she deserves.

Top Rookie of the Year:  Cristy Nickel
She lost a decision during her debut, then ran off six strait victories, 4 by KO. I give honorable mentions to two Jr. Welters, Ingrid Hayes and Tawnyah Freeman, both 4-0 with 3
KOs.

Biggest Upset:  Mariana Juarez vs. In-Young Lee
On paper, it looked like a mismatch, then Juanita pulls off a decision in Korea. Honorable Mention to Natalie Toro for her win over Jane Couch.

Most Inspirational:  Stephanie Dobbs
She continues to always mix it up and is always busy.

Most Improved:  Kelsey Jeffries
After losing 8 fights she has won like 20 in  a row?

Fighter of the Year:  Ann Wolfe
For the best KO ever seen in women's boxing, against Vonda Ward.

Biggest Upset of the year:  Ann Wolfe vs. Vonda Ward
Never thought I would see that girl go down like that!  She can be the next unstoppable force in the game.

Most Inspirational:  Jaime “The Hurricane” Clampitt
She went through a lot, having her trainer die and all, but never once did she make an excuse.

Most Improved:  Mia St. John
She's actually trying to fight good opponents, finally. At least she's technically "trying." 

Biggest Upset of the year:  Ann Wolfe vs. Vonda Ward
Undefeated champion knocked out in the first minute of the first round. what more needs to be said?

Fighter of the Year:  Melinda Cooper
I feel she has made a name for herself and she has done an exceptional job. She has been boxing for how long? and she already is in the process of getting a title fight.

Best kept Secret:  Kara Ro
Girl has huge Knockout Power.

Top Amateur of the Year:  Jennifer Han
She's the only boxer who's weight class is packed to the fullest!!! She fights the best topped ranked girls, even the up and coming. She's the best as of right now. She works hard, goes to school and boxes.

Biggest Upset of the Year:  Couch vs. Clampitt
First everyone wanted to see Jaime fight Jane, which was very very disappointing. Then, we see a match between Clampitt and Olson that was one round short of terrible. On top of that, Jaime clearly lost that fight, but do you think they would be fair, no way. A show put on by CES could not let their best lose, so what happens? A draw. It's bull, Jaime got rocked and Olson deserved that belt.

Best European Fighter:  Bettina Csabi
Every time I read about her, she's chalked up another win.  I'd wish there were MORE international bouts. I would like to see more of her.

Most Inspirational:  Valerie Mahfood
"Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'"  --old Timex commercial.

Best Kept Secret:  Eliza Olson
Really good skills!  Smart Boxer!

Most Inspirational: Television actress – Hillary Swank
She has made a contribution in the effort to make Female Pro Boxing legitimate.  I'd list Clint Eastwood too, but, he's not a woman.

Biggest Upset of the year:  Wolfe vs. Ward
Ann Wolfe KO'd Vonda Ward in first round.

Comments:   The reluctance of better fighters matching against each other meant few top fights in 2004. The best were Munoz/Nava, Rodriguez/Zamarron, Hill/Weickenmeire, Christensen/Velez, and probably the years two top upsets, Toro/Couch, and Juarez/In-Young Lee. Unfortunately, Wolfe/Ward was a one round bust, and Halmich/Reid was a robbery draw.

Comments:  Two significant events happened: Burton/Reis televised on SHOWBOX, and a North Korean, Kwang Ok Kim fighting as a pro, in China (the site of the next Olympics).

Comments:  Get Jaime and Jane to fight. Then after Jane wins back her belt, go after Olson.

Comments:  Women's boxing needs more innovation and strategic decision making at all levels to help push it to the next level. These girls need more television exposure, more coverage in popular boxing magazines, higher purses to entice mega fight-deals, and perhaps short or long term promotional ventures with male boxing promoters to help attract more interest by allowing the women to put their talents on display. I have seen a lot of girls out there whose boxing talent is awesome. I would suggest that WBAN add a component to it's website to solicit input/ or ideas from visitors of the website. Then, a group of individuals evaluate comments to figure out how to best transform them into actionable plans that ultimately add value to the sport for females. It would be nice to see the women's boxing community get the exposure, respect, and earning that it deserves.

Comments:  Wish List for 2005 by boxing Fan:  1. For women's boxing to finally be accepted by more of the boxing fans at large.  So that all of the women fights get there just reward for being in the sport; 2. For the promoters finally to realize they need to pay the female fighters more for there fights.  so that any fighter who needs an opponent as a sub for another can find a quality opponent.   How many has that happen to that is never heard of.; 3.  To have the TV networks broadcast more women fights on TV.  So that the sport can sell it self to the fans: 4.  Make the divisions mean something.  By having the champions defend there titles against opponents from there divisions.  Without better divisions in the sport it will never grow: 5. Finally have much much waited fights take place that the fans want to see.  Especially the too long over due Christ Martin - Lucia Rijker fight.  Ali-Wolfe also needs to be held.  Besides other ones that I cannot think of.

NOTE:  Thanks to All who participated in the WBAN POLL to help in this year's picks! 

     
 
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