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Sue Fox Named  in the "Top Ten" Most -Significant Female Boxers of All Time - Ring Magazine - Feb. 2012

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5'9" middleweight Ann "Brown Sugar" Wolfe from Waco, Texas moved into pro boxing in 1998 after competing in the 1998 USA National Championships as an amateur.

In the 165-lb division of the 1998 US Nationals held in California in May 26-31, Ann won a decision over Tami Hendrickson of Seattle in the quarter-final by 50-39, then stopped Shanie Keelean of Chicago 46 seconds into the first round in the semifinal before losing to LeKiea Coffen of Washington, DC by a disqualification at 1:23 of the third round.

Ann's final amateur record was 3-1.

Ann made her pro debut on October 17, 1998 at Seven Feathers Hotel and Casino Resort in Canyonville, Oregon at 157 lbs. She won a tough, close four-round split decision over fellow Texan Brenda Bell Drexel (161 lbs) who fell to 1-4. One judge called it 38-37 for Drexel, while the others both saw it as 38-37 for Wolfe.

On October 9, 1999 at the Mercer Arena in Seattle, Washington, Ann  spoiled the professional debut of 1999 USA national amateur 156-lb titlist Dakota Stone of Seattle. Wolfe knocked Stone down with a hard right in the second round, on the way to a unanimous decision win that moved her own pro record to 2-0. The two had met before, with Ann Wolfe handing Dakota Stone the only loss of her amateur career.

On January 20, 2000 in Houston, Texas, Anne won by TKO at 1:07 of the first round over Demetra Jones (148 lbs) in a junior middleweight bout. Jones was making her own pro debut (and appears not to have fought since). Ann's manager said that he felt it was a mismatch and that Jones had been a last minute replacement.

On February 5, 2000 on an IFBA card at the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Louisiana, Anne shocked WIBF Junior Middleweight world champion Mary Ann Almager with a first-round TKO. Almager fell to 10-3 with this loss.

On April 26, 2000 again at the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Anne continued to demolish well-regarded Texas opposition when she TKO'd Gina Nicholas of Longview, Texas with a booming right in the second round. Nicholas dropped to 10-4-2.

WBAN named Ann its "Fighter of the Month" in May 2000.

On May 24, 2000 at the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Louisiana, a bout between Ann and Christine Robinson (1-3) of Columbia, South Carolina was stopped in the first round and ruled a "no contest" when an accidental clash of heads badly cut the bridge of Robinson's nose (and broke it as well).

Wolfe (162 lbs) suffered her first setback as a pro boxer when she was KO'd in the third round by two-time world champion Valerie Mahfood (161½ lbs) at the Radisson Astrodome in Houston on November 30, 2000 (see left). Wolfe knocked Mahfood down 15 seconds into the first round of this exciting slugfest, but Mahfood came back to work on her with body punches in the second. Wolfe went to the canvas twice in the second round (once from a three-punch combination and one was ruled a slip). They traded powerful shots in the third, but then Ann was decked for the full count by an overhand right and left hook combination at 1:17 in the round.

Mahfood, who has won the IWBF Super Middlewight and WIBF Light Heavyweight world titles, moved her record to 11-3 (7 KO's) with the win. I was dazed early, she hit me harder than I expected, Mahfood said. I knew she was a lot stronger than me, but my experience kept me in the fight. I know what it feels like to be knocked out, and I was the better boxer, and it won me the fight. Wolfe knew she had been in a war. I bet she has never been hit as hard as she was tonight, said Wolfe. I needed to settle down, I was too anxious and got caught, but I know I can beat her.  (see below!)

On February 2, 2001 at the Hilton in Reno, Nevada, Ann weighed in at 153 lbs and won by TKO of Kelly Whaley (5'5", 153 lbs) of Cedar City, Utah at 1:19 of the fifth round. Wolfe won a new WBF Americas Junior Middleweight belt while Whaley fell to 2-6. Whaley was knocked down in the second round, and mounted very little offense against the clearly more skilled Wolfe. However, I'm told that the stoppage itself puzzled many ringside observers as Whaley did not seem to be in obvious trouble at the time.

On April 19, 2001 at Radisson Astrodome in Houston, Texas, Ann won by a TKO at 0:36 of the first round over Patricia Linton, who fell to 0-2.

On May 15, 2001 at Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, Hawaii Ann weighed in at 153¼ lbs and won the IFBA Junior Middlewight title with a ten-round unanimous (100-90,99-92,98-92) decision over Vienna Williams (150¾ lbs) of Philadelphia in a bout seen live on ESPN2's Tuesday Night Fights. This was a hard hitting tactical bout between two well schooled boxers that was well appreciated by the crowd of 3000 and the ESPN2 commentators. Wolfe came away battered (see picture at right) but victorious while the smaller but hard-hitting Williams took her first loss in six pro fights (she is now 5-1 with 2 KO's). [See the full fight report by Sue TL Fox].

On July 14, 2001 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, Ann weighed in at 160 lbs and moved her record to 9-1 (6 KO's) with a TKO over Diane Clark (160 lbs, now 7-3, 4 KO's) after the end of the fourth round. Wolfe had dominated the action and Clarke began to tire after the third round. Wolfe came on very aggressively in the fourth as Clarke appeared to be running out of gas. Towards the end of the fourth round, Clarke slipped to the canvas. After the bell rang, she was asked if she wanted to continue. She nodded that she did, but her corner had the fight stopped. The non-title bout had been scheduled for six rounds and was seen live on PPV on the undercard of the Comacho vs. Duran (Sr) main event. Both boxers had taken the fight on about a week's notice but Ann was clearly much more ready to rumble than the capable and well-regarded Clarke, who hadn't boxed competitively since 1999. [See the full fight report by Kevin Cockle].

On November 16, 2001 at the Convention Center in Austin, Texas, Ann won with a third-round TKO of Gina Nicholas of Pasadena, Texas for the WIBA 154-lb World title. Nicholas fell to 11-5-2 (8 KOs). Wolfe had Nicholas in trouble at the end of the second round and knocked her down for a five count with a series of rights midway through the third. The referee then stopped the bout.

On April 25, 2002 at the Civic Center in Laredo, Texas, Ann (158 lbs) easily upped her record to 11-1-0 (8 KO) with a first round TKO over #10 Ranked Junior Middleweight Shirvelle Williams (157 lbs) of St.Petersburg, Florida who fell to 4-2-0 (2 KO). Williams told local reporters that she did not know why the fight was stopped so quickly when Wolfe caught her with several hard shots against the ropes at 1:40 in the opening round.


Ann Wolfe vs. Marsha Valley in June 2002
Copyrighted photo taken by Tony Duffy

On June 21, 2002 at the Convention Center in Waco, Texas, Ann (162 lbs) used a relentless body attack to wear down and TKO late substitute Marsha Valley (5'10", 167¾ lbs) in the sixth round to take the vacant IFBA Super Middleweight title. A clearly tiring Valley took an eight count on one knee in the fifth after being hit by a left hook on a break. After softening up Valley up with a barrage of body shots and overhand rights, Wolfe ended the fight in the sixth with a three-punch left-right-left combination to her head that dropped Valley to one knee with her head between the ropes. Valley looked ready to beat the count when referee Laurence Cole waved the fight over at 1:06 of the round. I was trying to get a break, said Valley, who fell to 9-7-4 (4 KO), ... but I just tired out. I didnt have what it took to keep going. [For round-by-round details, see the fight report by Kevin Cockle.]

I dont have too many skills, but theyre coming, Wolfe said. And when they do, people better watch out.

Wolfe vacated her IFBA Junior Middleweight title and announced that she is looking for a high-profile bout with Laila Ali.

On September 25, 2002 at Radisson Astrodome in Houston, Texas, Ann (158 lbs) knocked out Genevia Buckhalter of Columbus, Mississippi at 0:39 into the second round. Wolfe quickly set about the overmatched Buckhalter with combinations to the head and then knocked her out with the referee apparently about to stop the slaughter. Buckhalter fell to 2-11-1 (2 KO) with the loss.

On December 21, 2002 at War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Ann (166½ lbs) stopped Marsha Valley (168 lbs) of Los Angeles at 1:12 in the tenth round for the WIBC super middleweight title. Wolfe had knocked Valley down in the fifth but Valley made the mistake of taunting her when the fight continued, only to absorb a thorough beating from the muscular and powerful Wolfe. Valley fell to 9-8-4 (4 KO) with the loss.

On August 23, 2003 at Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, Biloxi, Mississippi, Ann (163 lbs) avenged her only defeat with a ten-round unanimous (97-93,99-91,97-93) decision over Valerie Mahfood (164 lbs) of Beaumont, Texas for the vacant NABA Super Middleweight title. After some good early exchanges, Wolfe appeared to have the upper hand and bloodied Mahfood's nose but Mahfood fought back hard in the late going despite eating a steady stream of leather. Mahfood fell to 13-7-0 (7 KO) with the loss. This bout was on the undercard of the showdown between Laila Ali and Christy Martin, and positioned Wolfe, who signed a contract with Ali's promoter husband for three more bouts, for a long-awaited showdown with Ali.

In September 2003, WBAN named Ann Wolfe its Fighter of the Month.

On October 11, 2003 at Grand Casino Coushatta in Kinder, Louisiana, a crowd estimated at 6000 saw Ann (161 lbs) pound out an eight-round unanimous (80-72,79-73,77-75) decision over Sunshine Fettkether (5'8", 152 lbs) of Mesa, Arizona in a catchweight bout contracted for 158 lbs. Ringside reports that I received at the Women's Boxing Page said ... "Wolfe worked her body like a heavy bag. Then went upstairs and busted up her face. Sunshine was in over her head. She never had any defensive skills but a ton of heart, so she would never quit" ... and ... "Wolfe dominated a very game Fettkether with punishing body shots and snapping straight rights and lefts to the head. Sunshine's left eye was badly bruised and swollen early in the fight, but she battled on with a lot of heart. Wolfe was just too strong and too fast for Fettkether."

Former pro boxer Linda Robinson reported to WBAN that "Wolfe dominated the fight with quick jabs, straight rights and punishing body blows. Sunshine, however, definitely came to fight. She used superb boxing skills to land a good many shots of her own ... by the second round Sunshine's face began to puff up and bruise badly. With her left eye all but shut Sunshine repeatedly got Wolfe to the ropes where she gamely traded body blows and some head shots with Wolfe." Robinson also said that the very aggressive style of the two boxers made it the best fight on the card. Fettkether, who had recently been fighting as a high-end welterweight, where she'd won the IFBA world title, fell to 8-3-2 (4 KO).




5'9" Ann Wolfe KO'd 6'6" Vonda Ward in the first round!
Copyrighted photos by
Patricia Butaud and Janis Guidry
 
J&P Photographers

On May 8, 2004 before 5,000 fans at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, in Biloxi, Mississippi, Ann (172 lbs) scored a spectacular first-round knockout over undefeated Vonda Ward (6'6", 170 lbs) to win the vacant IBA Light Heavyweight (175 lb) world title. Trainer Emanuel Steward had advised Wolfe to attack the much taller Ward inside. Wolfe followed a vicious left hook to the body with an overhand right that caught her nine-inch taller opponent squarely on the chin and snapped her head back midway through the opening round. Ward fell to the canvas unconscious and lay there motionless for several minutes while the ringside physician and EMS technicians attended to her. She was removed from the ring on a stretcher wearing a neck brace and being given oxygen and was taken by ambulance to Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center for a CAT scan. She was diagnosed with slight concussion and then kept overnight for observation. Ward, who had been a star NCAA basketball center in Pat Summitt's prestigious University of Tennessee program, didnt land a single punch before being felled by Wolfe's right hand for the KO at 1:08 into the fight. Ward fell to 18-1 (15 KOs) with the loss.


Ann Wolfe with the IBA belt after her win over Vonda Ward
Copyrighted photo by J&P Photographers

 

In post-fight interviews Ann first expressed concern for the stricken Ward ... who had still not been taken from the ring, but added when I saw that big ole giant, I wanted to do the same thing David did to Goliath. I prayed and went in there with the confidence of David. You cant get that in the gym. Wolfe added, "I didnt even try to knock her out, its just God-given strength. Im just a fighter. Ive got to feed my kids.

Wolfe, who moved her pro record to 17-1 (12 KO) with the win and added the IBA Light Heavyweight title to her previous IFBA/WIBA Junior Middleweight and IFBA/NABA Super Middleweight belts, called on Laila Ali (16-0, 13 KO), the IWBF/IBA/WIBA Super Middleweight champion, to face her at super middleweight or light heavyweight, or get out of boxing. "How much more do I have to do to prove that I deserve to fight Laila?" Wolfe said. "It should not be difficult to call Laila out now because we're in the same division." Wolfe's manager Brian Pardo added that "Laila Ali has not lived up to the legacy of her father, Muhammad Ali."

Ali had previously stated that she would fight the Ward-Wolfe winner.

On November 6, 2004 at Fitzgerald Casino in Tunica, Mississippi,
Ann won a six-round unanimous decision over Cassandra Geiggar of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Geiggar was knocked to the canvas twice.
WBAN's "Ask the Trainer" Tom Moraetes was at the event and reported that "Ann Wolfe ... really looked awesome. I am very excited to possibly one day see her and Ali get together. Should be a great match."  Geiggar fell to 6-4-0 (6 KOs) with the loss.

On March 5, 2005 at Isle of Capri in Biloxi, Mississippi, Ann (168 lbs)  won by a first-round TKO in a rematch with Genevia Buckhalter (183 lbs) of Colombus, Mississippi in a scheduled six-rounder. Ann was now 19-1-0 (13 KOs) while Buckhalter fell to 2-12-1 (2 KO) with the loss.  Buckhalter, who was knocked down once during the fight, had not fought since losing to Wolfe in 2002.

On June 18, 2005 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee, Ann (169 lbs) TKO'd Marsha Valley (174 lbs) of Los Angeles at 1:17 in the sixth round of a scheduled ten-rounder for Ann's IBA Light Heavyweight title.  Wolfe began landing hard left hooks early, but Valley absorbed them and landed a few shots of her own.  Wolfe began to dominate in the fifth, and dropped Valley with a left hook to the ribs in the sixth.   Valley arose and attempted to trade with Wolfe, but another left hook sent her back to her knees. Valley beat the count but was unable to continue. Marsha Valley fell to 10-11-4 (4 KOs) with the loss. 

On July 19, 2005 on an ESPN2 "Tuesday Night Fights" card in Lula, Mississippi, Ann (165 lbs) won by TKO in the seventh round when Monica Nez (164 lbs) of the Dominican Republic did not answer the bell for the final round of a scheduled eight-rounder. This was a slow action bout. The 21-year old Nez fell to 9-4-0 (4 KOs).


Ann vs. Valerie Mahfood in August 2005
Copyrighted photo by
Patricia Butaud and Janis Guidry
 
J&P Photographers

On August 20, 2005 at the Isle of Capri Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi,  Ann (167 lbs) soundly defeated Valerie Mahfood (165 lbs) of Beaumont, Texas with a 10-round unanimous (99-91,99-91,100-90) decision in the main event. Ann was defending her IBA Light Heavyweight title.  WBANs insider said that "in the first round, Mahfood pushed forward, pressing the action, but Wolfe controlled the action with a sharp jab and strong body shots from both sides.  In round two, Wolfe continued to land strong hooks to the head and body of Mahfood, who responded with quick flurries that won Valerie the round on two judges scores.  In rounds 3 through 7, Mahfood still moved forward looking to trade with Wolfe, but Wolfe counter-punched, with stronger ammo, and carried the rounds on all cards.  In round 8, Mahfood landed her best punch of the fight when she threw a hard right that had Wolfe backing off in the first time of the fight. Mahfood pushed forward with quick punches, but was met with a series of combinations from Wolfe, who knocked out the mouthpiece of Mahfood. This round ended with the two exchanging punches fiercely. Wolfe won the round on all cards. In round 9, Mahfoods forward march ended, and it was Wolfe who was moving forward, landing hard and hurtful punches with both hands.  In round 10, Wolfe threw body and head shots, and Mahfood took some heavy shots."   Ann improved her record to 22-1-0 (15 KOs) while Mahfood fell to 19-10-1 (9 KO).


Ann Wolfe makes short work of Cassandra Geiggar
Copyrighted photo by Patricia Butaud and Janis Guidry
 
J&P Photographers

On April 29, 2006 at Coushatta Resorts in Kinder, Louisiana, Ann Wolfe TKO'd Cassandra Geiggar of Fayateelville, Arkansas in the second round of a scheduled four-rounder. For video clips and more photos see MPEG/Photo Gallery #357 on the WBAN Records Member Site). Wolfe improved to 23-1-0 (16 KOs) while Geiggar fell to 6-8-0 (6 KOs).

On August 4, 2006 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee Ann (165 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-54,60-54,59-55) decision over Lisa Ested Smith (165 lbs) of Richmond Virginia in a bout carried on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights.   According to WBAN correspondent Bernie McCoy, "The bout ... was dominated by Wolfe (how one judge managed to see a round that he thought Ested had won is beyond my comprehension and I suspect most of the boxing fans tuned in). Ested came out for the opening bell firmly ensconced in a survival mode, prompting a Tessitore comment that Ested had told him, in a pre fight interview session, that going six rounds was one of her goals. Ested's ring experience (14 fights) was a major factor as she spent almost the entire bout backpedaling and when it appeared that Wolfe had achieved punching distance, Ested immediately sought out a clinch.  Ann Wolfe, on the other hand, in my mind, has notably improved several parts of her "game" in the ring ... Ann exhibited a "working" jab, replacing what, in the past, closely resembled a pawing motion, whose only function seemed to be to set up a big right hand. Wolfe has also learned the value of going to the body, in lieu of continually "headhunting" as she has done in past bouts. Also, on Friday night, Wolfe continually showcased a potentially potent uppercut. Ested, however, did not appear to be in any trouble throughout the bout although Wolfe did score, at times, with the uppercut. As in past fights, Wolfe continues to miss an inordinate number of punches and this seems directly attributable to her penchant to "load up" for big right hands. To me, through the filter of a TV screen, however, the most marked improvement in Wolfe's "skills set" is her ability to pace herself throughout a bout. Previously, Ann Wolfe had a tendency to wear out after three or four rounds and in longer bouts usually had to "take a couple of rounds off" in order to gain a "second wind." On Friday night, Wolfe seemed as fresh at the end of the bout as in the first round. In fact, in round five, Wolfe was able to pick up the pace considerably as it appeared she was trying for a KO. She didn't get it, but the fact that she had the ability to step up the tempo after four rounds is proof that she not only realizes the value of pacing but that she has learned the technique well. "  Wolfe improved to 24-1-0 (16 KOs) with the win, while Ested, a former IWBF welterweight champion who retired from boxing in 2000 but returned to the ring in late 2005, fell to 10-5-0 (6 KOs).

Ann has overcome homelessness, unemployment and being hit by a car while walking on Interstate 35 to become one of the top professional boxers in the United States. She is also a mentor to young amateur boxers at the gym she opened in May 2003 (see photo above and her own web site).

In 2004 the youngsters on the Ann Wolfe Boxing Team were a tough test for their opponents at the Golden Gloves in San Antonio, Texas ... Ann took ten of her fighters to the event ... five won silver medals and one a gold in the sub-novice division, while two won silver and one won a gold in the Open Division. The team also won Best Sportsmanship of the tournament, while Ann's trainer, Donald "Pops" Billingsly, took home the Best Novice Coach award.  Ann said, "These kids fight with heart and character like I do. They will keep fighting no matter what. Many of them have been homeless or been in trouble. They are looking for something, and this gym is where they can find peace. They help me by wanting to do something with their life, and I help them by giving them the opportunity they would have never had without the gym."

More Ann Wolfe Links

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