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5'4" southpaw featherweight Jo Ellyn (JoJo) Wyman from Woodland Hills, California was born on September 28, 1966.  She first entered combat sports in 1993, when she signed up for a class in the martial art Tang Soo Do. It didn't take her long to realize that she had found her niche ...

"My first class was complimentary to see if I would like it. I was hooked! Loved the physical challenge. Setting my goals high for a Black Belt, I trained six days a week sometimes three classes a day. My instructor had us sparring from day one. I just loved it! It is almost hard to explain. People ask me all the time, "why?" It is one of those things they would not understand unless they did it and felt it. I also ride motorcycles (Harley Davidsons) and we always say "If I had to explain you wouldn't understand".

Despite needing foot surgery in 1994, JoJo kept her spirits high and attained her Black Belt in 1997. During that time she had a few amateur kick boxing matches, and posted a 2-0-1 record. Once she had reached her Black Belt she focused strictly on boxing, starting as an amateur.

JoJo competed in the 125-lb division of the USA Boxing 1998 Women's National Championships. The preliminary round was held at the Salgado Recreation Center in Santa Ana, California on May 28, 1998, but and pitted JoJo against eventual champion 125-lb champion Alicia Ashley of Westbury, New York. This fight was a low point in Jo's career so far, as she blew out her knee and was forced to retire at 1:14 of the second round.

JoJo's knee required surgery. As she tells us, "I was literally devastated. That put me down for 6 months." But JoJo is a true fighter and she rebounded from this disaster to turn professional in 1999.

She made her pro debut on February 6, 1999 in Cathedral City, California against Jayla Ortiz of Santa Fe, New Mexico. JoJo won a five-rounder by a clear unanimous decision.

On April 3, 1999 she fought a three-round exhibition bout against Texan Lisa Holewyne at the Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, Oregon.

 On May 8, 1999 she fought Denver's Tracy Moulton in the Cal Neva Rumble by the River in Reno, Nevada for four rounds on the way to a 40-36 unanimous decision After a fairly slow first round, JoJo began pummeling Tracy in the second, swelling up her right eye and bloodying her nose. Things got steadily worse for Moulton in the third and fourth as Wyman pounded her face into a bloody mess. Tracy Moulton never went down but it was a clear 40-36 decision for JoJo on every card. "Back to the drawing board" said Moulton's trainer Steve Mestas, as he realized his fighter had little idea how to cope with Jo's southpaw style.

On May 15, 1999 in Coachella, California JoJo won a six-round unanimous decision over Mexico's Copitzi Mendivil.

In June 1999 she fought a four-round exhibition bout with Yvonne Trevino in Manhattan Beach.

On September 27, 1999 at the Forum in Inglewood, California, JoJo won a four-round unanimous decision over Tucson's Leilani Salazar, who fell to 2-2. Salazar had posted both of her wins by KO so was no pushover.

JoJo reached high in her next fight, doing battle with former IWBF flyweight champion Para Draine of Spokane, Washington on November 4, 1999 in Worley, Idaho. Jo suffered her first pro loss in a rugged battle with the experienced ex-champ in what is pretty much Para Draine's home venue. Draine opened a cut over Wyman's left eye in the fifth round and cut her again over both eyes in the sixth round ... from head butts, JoJo tells me emphatically!

The bout ended with JoJo on the short end of a split decision, and she is gunning for a rematch! "In hopefully neutral territory", she says, "because I do not need a hometown advantage!!" JoJo tells us that Para's handlers may agree to a rematch but they want her to come down to 115 lbs. "Debating", she says, "I haven't gone under 118 and even then that was a first. I like a little more protection than that on my bones, if you know what I mean."

JoJo dropped a four-round unanimous decision to fellow Californian Kelsey Jeffries on February 10, 2000 in Bakersfield, California, after an uneventful bout in which neither fighter landed many solid punches. Jeffries moved to 5-0 with the win but JoJo told a local reporter "I thought it was going to be a draw. It was definitely not a unanimous decision."

On May 5, 2000 at Steven's Steak House in Commerce, California, JoJo weighed in at 125 lbs and won a four-round unanimous decision over Jessica Treat (124 lbs) of Los Angeles, who is now 2-1. Wyman landed the cleaner shots in this fight and often beat the aggressive Treat to the punch. JoJo told me that she was "kinda bummed because I was looking for my first career KO", but she was glad to get the win against a fighter who was trying to tie her up and push a lot. "She could not get her combos off, I think I was just too strong for her", said Wyman.

On July 21, 2000 at Harrah's in Reno, Nevada, JoJo weighed in at 130 lbs and won a unanimous decision over Kelly Whaley (134 lbs) of Cedar City, Utah, who fell to 2-5. Wyman knocked Whaley down in the second and third rounds but Whaley weathered the storm and hung tough to force the decision. JoJo told me that Whaley showed "a big heart", also that she (JoJo) would not be fighting in this heavier weight class again!

On August 26, 2000 at Harrah's in Reno, Nevada, JoJo won a unanimous decision over reigning IFBA Featherweight champion Sandra Yard of Coachella, California in a non-title bout. JoJo told me "it was a six round battle that I took to a UD! I knocked her down twice, once in the second and again in the fourth. In the last round I felt I rocked her again and as she hung on to me I stepped back as she fell to the canvas again, However the ref did not count it as a knockdown so I could not finish the task in the last 10 seconds ... I would love to give her a rematch for her title ANYTIME!". JoJo added that "I want to add how nice Sandra was and how sportsmanlike she was. I have seen some real charmers, but she is a true champion. Sandra has a big heart and it shined Friday night. I must say how refreshing it was to meet and fight a true champion."

JoJo said she had not changed anything in her preparation for this fight, adding "as a matter of fact the biggest difference for me was the consistency in me fighting. I would also like to thank my sparring partner, who helped me out greatly ... Bridgett "BabyDoll" Riley. Bridgett's speed was no comparison to Sandra and it made it easier for me to relax."


Against Sharon "Wildthing" Anyos for the IBA title
(Photo supplied by JoJo Wyman)

On October 14, 2000 at Epicenter in Rancho Cucamonga, California, Sharon Anyos of Australia, ten training in Palm Desert, California moved her pro boxing record to 5-1 with a hard-fought ten-round unanimous (96-94) decision over JoJo for a newly created IBA Super Featherweight (126-lb) belt. According to an eyewitness report sent in to my web site's Forum: "It was non-stop action from round 1 through round 10 and neither fighter backed up an inch. At the end of the fight, I thought JoJo Jo had an edge, but it was so close I could not be certain. It was truly a great fight." Another correspondent wrote: "This was a close one to call and many felt ... that Ms. Wyman deserved the decision. There were boos from the audience when the decision was announced, but please don't read too much into that. Despite a fair number of Australians cheering for Ms. Anyos, the crowd was largely pro-Wyman ... the booing was neither vociferous or nasty, more just a natural expression of disappointment over the hometown favorite losing a close one. No one I saw, either in the audience or in the ring, was outraged over the decision ... it really was a great fight and everyone recognized it."

JoJo (at right) battles Layla McCarter in ColoradoOn May 19, 2001 at Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio, Colorado, IFBA Featherweight champion Layla McCarter from Las Vegas (5'4", 123 lbs) struggled with JoJo's southpaw style as they battled to a hard-fought draw. One judge gave Wyman the decision 98-92, another saw it for McCarter 97-93 and the third saw it as a 95-95 draw. Wyman found a home for her left to McCarter's head throughout the bout and had the crowd on her side after being cut over her right eye from a clash of heads in the fourth. Wyman finished strongly in the ninth and tenth and told local reporters after the fight "Next time I’m going to have to knock her ... out and keep her down ... next time I'm going for blood." McCarter, coming off a hand injury and without trainer Luis Tapia in her corner, moved to 8-5-2 (2 KO's), Wyman to 7-3-1 (no KO's).

On January 31, 2002 at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California JoJo (126 lbs) won a six-round split (57-56 Wyman, 57-56 Martin, 58-55 Wyman) decision over previously unbeaten Karen Martin (125 lbs) of Los Angeles. Wyman (at right in the photo by Sue TL Fox) was knocked down in the fourth round but her boxing skills kept her in the fight against the more aggressive but less disciplined Martin. Martin suffered her first pro loss and fell to 5-1 (4 KO's). For more details, see the fight report by Women's Boxing Page correspondent CraigO.

On March 22, 2002 at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Arizona, Mexico's Laura Serrano (124 lbs) battled to a hard-fought six-round majority (59-55,59-55,57-57) decision over JoJo (124 lbs) in a bout seen on ESPN2. The veteran Serrano remained unbeaten at 14-0-2 (4 KO).

On June 8, 2002 at Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee,  Corinne Van Ryck de Groot (129 lbs) of Atlanta, Georgia won a six-round unanimous (60-54, 59-55, 58-56) decision over JoJo (128 lbs). Van Ryck de Groot used good footwork and a quick jabs to the head and body to control a well-fought bout between the two southpaws. Wyman tried to force the action throughout much of the fight but was unable to land solidly on the nimble Van Ryck de Groot, who countered well with right hooks in the later rounds. Van Ryck de Groot advanced to 10-0-0 (4 KO) with the win. This bout was on the undercard of the Lewis vs. Tyson world heavyweight title fight.

On October 18, 2002 at San Francisco Concourse, San Francisco, California, Kelsey Jeffries of Gilroy, California advanced to 16-7-0 (1 KO) with a convincing six-round unanimous (60-54,58-54,59-55) decision over JoJo who fell to 9-6-1 (0 KO) with the loss. This six-rounder was the card's semi-main event, for the California women's featherweight title. Jeffries tried to work Wyman onto the ropes in the early going but Wyman's boxing skills kept her out of trouble until the fourth round, when Jeffries began to land with some serious leather to Wyman's head and body. Both looked tired in the late going but Jeffries had the edge with some genuine power in her punches, which Wyman couldn't match.


JoJo battles Laura Serrano in February 2003
Copyrighted photo taken by Brian Low
 

On February 7, 2003 at HP Pavillion in San Jose, California, Laura Serrano of Mexico (boxing out of Las Vegas) defeated JoJo by a fifth-round TKO. The fight was stopped between rounds by the ring doctor because of damage to Wyman's badly bruised right eye. Wyman asserted that the injury had been caused by a head butt, but the result was a TKO win for Serrano. Serrano had been the aggressor for most of the bout, moving forward in her southpaw stance while Wyman countered with her right. Serrano outworked Wyman at close quarters and appeared to be getting the better of the action in the fifth round before the stoppage. Serrano advanced to 15-0-2 (5 KO) while JoJo fell to 9-7-1 (0 KO).


Kelsey Jeffries mixing it up with JoJo in April 2003
Copyrighted photo taken by Mike Blair
 

On April 21, 2003 at Yakima Nation Legends Casino, Toppenish, Washington, USA, Kelsey Jeffries of Gilroy, California won an eight-round unanimous but close (76-75,76-75,77-75) decision over JoJo. Jeffries was now 20-7-0 (1 KO) after winning nine straight bouts. Wyman put Jeffries on the canvas in the first minute of the fight, and according to WBAN correspondent Lori Steinhorst "the grin on Wymans face made you very well aware that she was pleased with the changes that she had made."  JoJo kept Jeffries off her rhythm for the first five rounds, but Jeffries adapted as the fight went on despite suffering a cut beside her left eye (from an accidental head butt) that would eventually require ten stitches.

Lori Steinhorst asked Jeffries whether it was a different JoJo Wyman who showed up for this fight? "Oh, Yeah" she said, "she is definitely stronger and faster."

Wyman knocks Jeffries downOn June 13, 2003 at Civic Auditorium in San Jose, California, JoJo gained a measure of revenge by winning an eight-round majority decision Kelsey Jeffries in another rematch. Jeffries lacked her usual aggressive spark early in this fight, and seemed content to stick and move against Wyman, who had knocked her down in the first round of their previous fight (see left). This tactic allowed Wyman to push the pace of the early rounds, but Jeffries began to play catchup by letting go some power shots in the fourth. Wyman responded well and began to catch Jeffries with solid lefts to the head in the fifth and sixth. Jeffries did some of her best work in the seventh and eighth, landing a solid right in the seventh and putting on a strong finish in the eighth, but by then it was too little and too late for the two judges who'd scored the early rounds solidly for Wyman. Wyman, who was a late replacement for Liz Drew on this card, ended a four- fight winless streak and improved to 10-8-1 (0 KO) while ending Jeffries' nine-fight winning streak and dropping her record to 20-8-0 (1 KO).

On July 15, 2003 at Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, California, JoJo (129 lbs) continued to avenge earlier decisions by winning a six-round unanimous (58-54,58-54,57-55) decision over Laura Serrano (129 lbs) of Mexico City in a junior lightweight bout. Wyman came out aggressively and controlled the early rounds, knocking Serrano down in the second. Serrano picked up her pace and made a fight of it in the third, fourth and fifth, but Wyman put her on the canvas again in the final round to claim her second "revenge" win in a row. Serrano suffered her second straight loss and fell to 15-2-2 (5 KO).

On December 13, 2003 at Convention Center in Washington, DC, Isra Girgrah (5'4", 128 lbs) of Hyattsville, Maryland won a ten-round unanimous (97-93,99-91,98-92) decision over JoJo (127 lbs) for the vacant IFBA Junior Lightweight world title. Girgrah established her jab in the early rounds but Wyman began to find her range in the fifth and connected with several good combinations to Girgrah's head. Girgrah responded by stepping up her pace and dominated the last five rounds, connecting with her jab and with hard straight rights. with a left-right combination. Girgrah, who won her fifth title belt with this decision, improved to 27-3-2 (11 KO) while Wyman slipped to 11-9-1 (0 KO).

Jo Jo is a graduate of "The Professional Career Development Institute", specializing in Fitness and Nutrition. She is also certified by A.F.A.A. (Aerobic & Fitness Association of America), and C.A.P.T. (California Academy of Personal Training) and holds a Black Belt in Tang Soo Do. She loves to watch people grow physically and mentally within. She focuses on "Total Body-Balance" , specializing in sport specific strength training, power lifting, general wellness, and cardiovascular conditioning.


"I just love to box", says JoJo,
at right sporting the black eye she got from Laura Serrano
Copyrighted photo at right taken by Brian Low

"I just love to box", JoJo says. "Unfortunately the politics get you frustrated but I push forward because I love it."

I asked JoJo how she prepares for a fight mentally and physically, and got a surprising reply ...

"Mentally I read, read and read some more", she said. "It keeps my mind off of the unforeseen. It keeps me from playing mind games with my self. I just go in and do what I have been trained to do and listen to my corner. Physically, I am in the boxing gym five days a week. Sparring whoever and whenever. I run six days with a mixture of sprints, stadium stairs and hills. I lift weights three days a week and I always take Sundays off for some quiet time."

I also asked JoJo if she thought that women's boxing is getting the right sort of attention from the sports and other media. Her answer was a firm "no".

"We are athletes just like the Gabrielle Reeces, Cynthia Coopers etc.", says JoJo. "We are just doing what we love to do just like they are. I feel people should respect that and support us. There are so many girls out there that want to fight that are not. And then to boot you see all these cards with no female bouts on them. What's up with that? Only once in a great while do you see an all female card. But at least they are becoming more and more and I look forward to fighting on them."

JoJo wants to thank all the fans that support her and women's boxing. "Keep it coming. We need all the support we can get", she says.

JoJo after a fightHer advice for young girls who are thinking about taking up boxing as a sport? "Do it for the right reasons. It is a serious sport. You gotta have HEART and TRAIN HARD!!"

JoJo can be reached by email at jojo@jojosbodyshop.com.

To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with more huge digital photos of JoJo Wyman's and other fights, you can go to the WBAN Records Member Site

Other JoJo Wyman links

Page last updated: Saturday, 17 August 2013

 
     
     
     
     
 

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