Lucia Rijker and Female Fight News for week of Aug. 14, 2017
By David A. Avila
Perhaps the greatest female fighter of any era, Lucia Rijker, was inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame over the weekend.
Unlike another from her country, actor Jean Claude Van Damme, the “Muscles from Brussels,” who appeared in numerous mixed martial arts films, the female prizefighter Rijker was a dominant figure in the boxing ring and appeared in films too.
Those who saw her perform in the boxing ring always left astonished.
“I consider Lucia Rijker the best female boxer of all time,” said Jesus Jimenez publisher of Uppercut Magazine.
Jimenez is not alone.
“When I was an amateur not even understanding how my career was going to progress, I was watching tapes on Lucia Rijker,” said former world champion Ana Julaton who trained with Freddie Roach as did Rijker. “She’s also a kickboxing world champion.”
In the late 1990s or early 2000s, it was common to see Rijker working out at the Wild Card Boxing gym in Hollywood, Calif. In hush tones people would point out the Dutch boxer and make comments on her incredible fighting ability.
One of the greatest disappointments for many who followed female boxing was the much-awaited clash with her rival Christy “Coalminer’s Daughter” Martin. It was supposed to occur in 2005 following the success of the movie “Million Dollar Baby.” It was a film that Rijker played a part as an opponent of the lead character.
In real life, Martin and Rijker were major rivals. Once during a press conference in Los Angeles, a scuffle erupted between the two female prizefighters inside a now extinct boxing gym. Despite the bad blood, they never did meet in the boxing ring.
After the success of Million Dollar Baby which won the Oscar for the best film of the year, Top Rank decided to stage the fight at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. But within weeks of the date one of the fighters was injured. The fight card was canceled and never re-scheduled.
Rijker was never afraid to test her skills against anyone, whether it was fighting a man or woman. Before retiring she tried very hard to meet undefeated Laila Ali in the boxing ring despite an immense size and weight advantage. Rijker at her heaviest fought at welterweight while Ali fought mostly at super middleweight and occasionally at light heavyweight. It didn’t matter to Rijker, but Ali politely declined.
Confidence in her abilities was one of her major assets.
During the end of her career she was training with Emanuel Steward. He always told me what an incredible fighter Rijker was and he always tried his best to make journalists and boxing people know about her. Few had that pure athletic ability of speed, power, agility and then you add the skill element and Rijker was off the charts.
From 1996 to 2004 the fighter known as “The Dutch Destroyer” blazed a trail for female prizefighters that has become legendary. She retired undefeated.
Here we are 13 years after her last pro fight and those who saw her unleash those lightning combinations still remember as if she fought yesterday.
On the southern tip of Mexico, two female contenders fought in separate bouts one in defense of a title and the other in pursuit of a championship.
WBC heavyweight titlist Alejandra Jimenez won by knockout against Canadian challenger Vanessa Joanisse in the third round to retain the world title on Saturday in tropical Cancun. It was Jimenez’s third defense in a year.
But also, super middleweight contender Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo returned to the boxing ring and defeated Vanessa Rodriguez who was a late replacement. In her last appearance Cornejo defeated Sydney LeBlanc by knockout. That win set her on a pace to meet then WBC super middleweight champion Nikki Adler.
What happened next is typical for boxing.
Germany’s Adler canceled her fight with Cornejo to fight Claressa Shields instead. Despite Cornejo’s ranking as the top contender and the fact she was already set to meet Adler, the Mexican-American prizefighter was bumped. Subsequently, Adler was stopped by Shields.
Logic would have Cornejo as Shields next opponent. Let’s hope the WBC follows the rightful path.
Shields should defend the WBC title against Cornejo next. I’m sure Shields would want it. The fighter from Flint, Mich. fears no one. WBC middleweight titlist Hammer can wait her turn.
Female Fight News for week of Aug. 14, 2017
Betiana Vinas (12-7-3) beat Gloria Yancaqueo (4-9-3) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Friday Aug. 11. The featherweight fight took place in Neuquen. It was a rematch of a fight that took place five months ago and also won by Vinas.
Jennifer Rasjido (6-0-1) knocked out Vanessa Calderon (6-14-1) in the third round on Friday Aug. 11. The super bantamweight fight took place in Catamarca.
Tamara Demarco (3-0) won by decision against Yisele Sosa (0-6) on Friday Aug. 11. The flyweight contest took place in 25 de Mayo, Buenos Aires.
On Saturday Aug. 19, super flyweights Debora Dionicius (24-0) and Diana Fernandez (16-0) meet in a 10 round contest for the IBF world title in Malvinas, Buenos Aires. Dionicius, 29, fights out of Villaguay, Entre Rios, and is making the eighth defense of the title since winning it in November 2012. Fernandez, 22, fights out of Juarez, Mexico and is fighting for the first time outside of Mexico.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Selma Baltic (3-1) defeated Katarina Vistica (1-8) on Thursday Aug. 10. The super featherweight contest took place in Sarajevo. Baltic is 24 and fights out of Sarajevo.
On Saturday Aug. 19, super featherweights Sandy Tsagouris (16-2) and Simone Duarte (15-11) meet for the WIBA world title in Brampton, Ontario. This will be Tsagouris, 36, first defense of the title she won last March. Duarte, 34, fights out of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
On Saturday Aug. 19, heavyweights Annie Mazerolle (3-3) and Giovanna Gonzalez (3-1) meet in a six round contest in Shediac, New Brunswick.
Ya Hong Yu (5-0) won by unanimous decision after six rounds versus Gretel De Paz (4-1) on Monday Aug. 7. The bantamweight clash between undefeated fighters took place in Beijing. Hong Yu, 23, fights out of Chiefeng, China. De Paz, 24, fights out of the Philippines.
Ema Kozin (9-0) defeated Divna Vujanovic (0-2) by decision after eight rounds on Saturday Aug.12. The middleweight fight was held in Mala Buna.
Elenoa Matanasiga (1-0) was the winner by decision after four three-minute rounds versus Katrina Singh (0-1) on Saturday Aug. 12. The match between debuting fighters took place in Sigatoka.
Toshina Shiomi (1-0) won by majority decision over Sachiko Kondo (0-1) Sunday Aug. 6. The super flyweight bout took place in Kariya, Aichi.
On Sunday Aug. 20, minimum weights Arisa Iwanaga (0-2-1) and Nami Sawai (0-1) meet in a four round bout in Kobe, Hyogo.
Alejandra Jimenez (9-0) defeated Canada’s Vanessa Joanisse (3-1) by technical knockout in the third round to retain the WBC world title on Saturday Aug. 12. The heavyweight match took place in Cancun, Quintana Roo. Also, super middleweight contender Maricela Cornejo (8-2) won by decision after six rounds versus Vanessa Rodriguez (0-2-1) who was not the original opponent. Cornejo should be in line to face WBC titlist Claressa Shields.
Martha Lara (11-7) won by unanimous decision over Ingrid Hernandez (0-1) on Saturday Aug. 12. The super middleweight contest took place in Ocosingo, Chiapas.
On Saturday Aug. 19, super flyweights Linda Lecca (12-2-2) and Karina Fernandez (10-2-1) meet for the WBA world title in Trujillo, Peru. Lecca, 29, is the interim titleholder. Fernandez, 22, fights out of Juarez, Mexico and has never fought outside of her country.
Leighandre Jegels (9-0) knocked out Fatuma Yazidu (15-4) in the second round of a three-minute round clash on Sunday Aug. 6. The flyweight clash too place in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape.
Feriche Mashauri (3-2-1) won by decision after four rounds against Ester Boaz (0-1) on Saturday Aug. 12. The lightweight fight was held in Manzese.
Rehema Abdallah (2-0-1) defeated Sesilia Mohamed (0-1) by knockout in the second round of three-minute rounds on Tuesday Aug. 8. The lightweight fight was held in Bagamoyo.
Franchon Crews (2-1) won by unanimous decision after four rounds versus Sydney LeBlanc (4-3-1) on Saturday Aug. 12. The light heavyweight clash took place in Washington D.C. Also, Tiara Brown (3-0) won by technical knockout in the second round against Tammy Franks (2-29-1) who has not won a fight in 11 years. Frank is 45 and has 27 consecutive losses.
On Saturday Aug. 19, bantamweights Leesa Daniel (0-1) and Briana Gonzalez (2-0-1) meet in a four round bout in Austin, Texas.
On Saturday Aug. 19, middleweights Raquel Miller (3-0) and Kita Watkins (7-15)
Chris Namus (23-4) won by unanimous decision after 10 rounds versus Yamila Reynoso (8-2-3) to win the IBF super welterweight world title on Saturday Aug. 12. The title fight took place in Montevideo. Also, Yesica Bopp (32-1) retains the WBA light flyweight title by unanimous decision over Olga Julio (25-17-2). For more read Diego Morilla’s story on this web site.
(Photo by Angelo Reyes)