Melissa St. Vil Travels To Finland For World Title Shot
By Felipe Leon
There is no bigger opportunity in boxing than a chance to challenge for a world title. Despite holding the WBC Silver super featherweight title, Haitian-born Melissa St. Vil (10-2-4, 1KO) of Brooklyn, New York, will get a shot at the gold this Friday night.
The charismatic St. Vil, 34, will travel all the way to Helsinki, Finland, when she goes after the undefeated 37-year-old Eva Wahlstom (21-0-1, 3KO) for the full-fledged version of the WBC 130 pound title.
“I prepared like I did for any other fight,” St. Vil stated confidently in an exclusive interview with the all-female boxing podcast 2-Minute Round hosted by David Avila and this writer. “We had a good, strong camp. I am just staying focused and I prepared like I did for any other camp. I am the one that always has to go to their hometown so I am always ready.”
St. Vil is no stranger to getting her passport stamped to get fights. In a 16 fight pro career, she has fought outside the United States five times with three of those in her native country of Haiti. She has also fought in New Zealand and China.
“Little Miss Tyson”, as she is known, together with her team will be making the trek across the Atlantic Ocean the Sunday prior the fight, a fact that suits St. Vil just fine.
“Every time I have to go away for a fight, I am always there for a week,” she answered when asked if she would rather have more time to get acclimated to her new surroundings. “No difference to me, I can adjust really quick.”
Melissa is conscious that she will be fighting in hostile territory with Wahlstrom being the hometown fighter. St. Vil says she has given some thought of what she needs to do to come home with the title.
“I definitely will not leave it in the judges hands,” she said. “I know how it can get being her hometown and she is a big star over there. We prepared properly so I am going to do my part in the fight and will not leave it in the judge’s hands because I know how that can go sometimes. Listen to my corner and fight hard.”
Wahlstrom has never had to travel since she has never fought outside of her home country of Finland, but that doesn’t worry St. Vil. She is so cool, calm and collected that she hasn’t even bothered to watch tape of her next opponent who just happens to be the world champion in her weight class.
“No, I don’t look at videos,” she explained. “I just rather go to the fight and then I’ll figure her out in the first round. I just don’t look at them. I don’t look at the videos. I will just adjust in the first round, like Mike Tyson said, ‘everybody has a plan until they get hit’, so we’ll see.”
“Somebody showed me, honestly, I looked about one of second of it,” St. Vil admitted. “I was like, alright, whatever. I am not really somebody that looks at videos.”
Hailing from Brooklyn, St. Vil trains out of the famed Gleason’s Gym and being in New York there is no shortage of world-class female sparring for St. Vil to choose from.
“Heather Hardy, Ronica Jeffries, Nydia Feliciano and Helen Joseph,” St. Vil revealed when asked who helped her prepare for her next challenge. “Those are some heavy hitters and all of them have different styles. Everything was different so I definitely had some good work.”
St. Vil went on to explain how every one of her sparring partners gave her different looks to be ready for anything Wahlstrom could do inside the ring. “Helen Joseph, she fights lefty comfortable, she fights righty, she did a lot of switching up with me. Ronica Jeffries, very slick very fast, technical. Heather Hardy, very strong, very aggressive and Nydia Feliciano was just non-stop, in your chest. They all brought something different to the table.”
“I think my sparring was tough, I think they have more skills than my opponent,” St. Vil explained confidently. “All these girls have great boxing skills. From the little that I saw in the video, my sparring has more skills.”
The fight between Wahlstrom and St. Vil was originally scheduled for March 9th but because of lack of sales in Helsinki it was postponed to April 6th. St. Vil stated it didn’t bother her at all and just gave her more time to prepare although she was ready for the original date.
“I was always ready and I know boxing so it happens,” she said with an audible smile. “It happens so it is not like it is the first time it happens to me where a date gets cancelled or whatever. This is part of boxing, it is what happens.”
One thing she is looking forward to is to hang that absolute World Boxing Council title on her waist, once that is accomplished, the change of date, the hard work and the long trip across the Atlantic Ocean will be well worth it according to the diminutive 5’4” 130 pounder. “I am very excited because I am fighting for that world title. I am very happy I got this opportunity. I am excited and I am ready to go.”