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Ava with IFBA belt

 
   

Flyweight Ava Knight-Salicka was born on August 15, 1988, in the little town of Chico, California.  Half Polish and half African American, she takes no shame from what she does. As a child, Ava never played sports but she did ballet through her years of 4-6. In school she was always quiet and never outspoken ... one of those girls that you could walk by and never notice. She has a very loving family that supports her in what she does.

Ava started boxing at Chico Boxing for Fitness in June of 2001, at the age of 13. Not knowing yet that she had the talent to compete, she attended the gym and boxed in her first amateur fight in 2002. She had a hard time getting fights through the years and had to fluctuate between weight classes and also fight the same people two or three times to stay busy. Though many fights were at least three or more months apart, she finished with a record of 28-4. She fought and beat the 2006 110-lb Golden Gloves Champion twice and the 2006 National P.A.L 114-lb Champion twice. She attended the U.S Nationals in Colorado Springs in March 2006, but lost to Cheryl Houlihan by a controversial 13-10 decision on March 10 after defeating Amy Augendhal by RSC-1 the previous day.

Ava was given her ring name “Lady of Boxing” by her coach Joe Rodriguez. She didn’t like the name at first but it came to grow on her. She is trained by Joe Rodriguez, his son Luis Rodriguez, and her father Elliot Knight. Ava didn’t know that her father was a former amateur boxer when he was a kid until she was four years into boxing. She also trains alongside professional boxer Mario Hernandez and amateur boxer Morris Rodriguez, both aspiring to be champions in the future. She loves boxing and wants to conquer it. She is very humble but takes pride in making everyone around her happy.

Ava made her pro debut on August 30, 2007, at age 19 at Colusa Casino Resort in Colusa, California, . She weighed in at 114 lbs and fought a to a four-round unanimous (40-37,39-37,39-37) decision over Leonie Hall (118 lbs) of Oceanside California, who fell to 0-2-1 with the loss.

On September 20, 2007 at Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas, California,  Ava (115½ lbs) fought Katarina De La Cruz (5'3", 116 lbs) of California just hours after she got the call for the fight, winning by a KO at 1:19 in the first round and sending De La Cruz's record to 0-2-1.

Ava's third fight was against Jodie Esquibel (106½ lbs) of Albuquerque at the Isleta Casino near Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 11, 2008.  Ava tried to come down to 108 lbs, but could only make 109½ lbs; Jodie’s team still accepted the fight. Ava fought to a majority draw with Jodi, but many saw that it as a  robbery. The first round was Knight’s with clean blows and dodging most of Esquibel’s punches, while the second round was Esquibel’s. The last two rounds appeared to be Knight’s with strong punches that opened up Esquibel’s nose and put a welt on her forehead. Judges Rocky Burke and Margaret Garcia scored the fight 38-38, while Judge Joel Perez had it 39-37 for Knight.  Knight felt that she was robbed by a "home town decision".

Her fourth fight was on February 9, 2008 at Aquarius Hotel, Laughlin, Nevada against the more professionally experienced Sharon Gaines (112 lbs) of Las Vegas, Nevada . Knight won with a unanimous (58-56x3) six-round decision. Gaines fought a tough fight but Knight fought a better fight dropping Gaines's record to 11-10-0 (3 KO's).

On June 12, 2008 at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, Knight (124 lbs) fought WIBA champion and aspiring MMA contender Elena Reid (126 lbs) of Las Vegas to a draw over six rounds. Knight took the fight a week in advance. The fight was close but Knight felt she won landing harder cleaner shots stunning Reid at times, while Elena was hitting Knight mostly with slaps and punches with little behind them. Knight felt she won again but was not disappointed that she drew with a world class fighter whose record advanced to 19-4-6 (5 KO's) with the draw. According to Christopher Connor of Pound4Pound.com, "While the bout seemed a mismatch on paper, it was an exciting fight as the three time S.F. Gold Gloves champ Knight often was the attacker over the reigning IFBA Flyweight champion Reid. "Baby Doll" did her best work in rounds three and six as she used her jab and her experience to frustrate the Chino native, keeping the more aggressive Knight at bay."

"I knew coming into this fight that Ava was the real deal. I have had
trouble getting opponents so we took Ava on and she came to fight",
said Reid afterwards. "This was the largest crowd I ever fought in front of and I was nervous at first of this bout." Knight stated. "But I did well and there are still some things I need to do to improve on for my next fight."


On July 31, 2008, Knight went to Schuetzen Park, North Bergen, New Jersey, to fight a local favorite, Noriko Kariya (5'1", 119 lbs) of Toronto, Canada. Knight (117 lbs) took the fight a week in advance but also had to come up two weight classes to 119 lbs. Knight came that night to make a point. She knocked out Kariya at 00:20 in the fifth round. According to Mike Indri on BoxinginLasVegas.com "Trailing on the scorecards after four rounds of the scheduled six rounder, Kariya was boxing well but absorbing several clean power shots from the taller, well-skilled fighter. Early in round five Knight crushed Kariya with a huge right hand, sending the stunned Canadian-born bantamweight crumbling backwards onto the seat of her pants. Momentarily debilitated and obviously hurt, the gutsy Kariya valiantly tried to get to her feet but could not, getting counted out by referee Sparkle Lee at the 20 second mark of the fateful fifth round." (see ringside video above). Kariya's record fell to 9-3-1 (2 KO's) with the loss.

On November 18, 2008 at Table Mountain Casino in Friant, California, Ava (117½ lbs) won the IFBA North American Bantamweight title with a hard fought eight-round unanimous (77-75x3) decision over undefeated California rival Kaliesha West (117¾ lbs) of Moreno Valley. According to Mario Ortega Jr of 15Rounds.com, "In a thrilling eight-round bout, West got off to great start as her speed seemed to bother Knight early. As the rounds progressed, Knight gained the momentum by landing the cleaner and harder shots. In the fifth, a knot began to develop on the left side of Knight’s forehead as the result of a clash of heads. Action was fast and furious, as neither woman wanted a punch to go unanswered. Late in the fight, Knight’s clear edge in power seemed to tilt matters in her favor. Undeterred, West kept coming forward until the close of a great fight fought at an extremely high level. After an action-packed eighth round, both fighters received a standing ovation."  West's record fell to 10-1-0 (2 KO's) with the loss.

“This is big for me,” said Knight after the bout. “I want to cry, but I can’t get it out.”  Knight's trainer Joe Rodriguez also acknowledged West after the bout: “West was good, and I take my hat off to her for giving Ava the opportunity, but Ava Knight is “The Lady of Boxing,” and she showed that tonight.”

On August 29, 2009 at Ciudad Deportiva in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, Ana Maria Torres (115 lbs) of Mexico won a 10-round unanimous (97-94,96-94,99-91) decision over Ava (115 lbs) for the WBC Junior Bantamweight title. A local report opined that Torres was 'much superior' and 'used her reach advantage to good effect' but Knight moved well and made for a difficult target. She also gave Torres a bloody nose which 'only made her more determined'.  Torres moved her record to 19-3-2 (11 KO's).  Video highlights of fight without audio

“That loss was the most important fight I’ve had to date,” Knight said later. “I learned more about the mental game. The physical part is important but it doesn’t matter if your mind isn’t in it 100-percent.”


Ava Knight vs Gloria SalasOn January 14, 2011 at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, USA  Ava Knight (110 lbs) won by an emphatic KO at 1:55 in the first round over Gloria Salas (108¾. lbs) of Palm Springs, California, who fell to 3-6-1 (1 KO) with the loss.  The convincing win advanced Ava Knight's professional record to 6-1-2 (3 KO's).


On June 18, 2011 at the Sports Arena in Pico Rivera, California, Ava Knight (117 lbs) and Kaliesha West (118 lbs) of Moreno Valley, California fought to a 10-round split draw in a rematch for the WBO Bantamweight title. The scores were: 96-94 West, 96-94 Knight, and 95-95. Mary Ann Owen told WBAN, "West and Knight were like mirror images, their fight was an offensive battle. Both fighters used excellent combinations in a continuous struggle to the end." Knight's record moved to 6-1-3 (3 KO's), West's to 13-1-3 (4 KO's). 
[Flash slideshow of fight by Mary Ann Owen]

On October 29, 2011 at El Palenque de la Feria in Colima, Mexico, Ava Knight (111¾ lbs) knocked out Arely Mucino (111¾ lbs) of Monterrey, Mexico in the second round of a scheduled ten-rounder for the IBF Flyweight title.  Mucino began the fight aggressively with straight lefts and hooks to the liver but Knight used her height advantage to land a straight left followed by a right hook to the chin that knocked Mucino to the canvas in a corner.  That knockdown was ruled a slip but Knight quickly followed through with a digging left to the body followed by a left to Mucino's head that put the Mexican champion flat on her back. The fight was stopped by the referee at 0:34 in the second stanza with Mucino still lying on her her back on the canvas.  “I thought I actually lost the first round,” Knight told Ryan Maquiñana, "but our plan was always to come in and go for the knockout, so we were able to do what we had to do.”  Mucino fell to 14-1-1 (8 KO's).

Ava was named WBAN's Fighter of the Month for November 2011 and Hottest Rising Star for 2011.  Her KO of Arely Mucino was also cited as one of WBAN's Three Biggest KO's of 2011.

On March 31, 2012 at Gimnasio Auditorio in Los Cabos, Mexico, Ava Knight (111¼ lbs) TKO'd Vacharaporn Prachumchai (aka Hongfah Tor Buamas, 111¼ lbs) of Thailand in the tenth round of a defense of the IBF Flyweight title. Knight, who had said she intended to knock out the mandatory challenger, punished her with hooks to the liver throughout the fight. Knight finally overwhelmed her opponent with a flurry of lefts and rights to the face and stomach which left the Thai boxer hurt and exhausted against the ropes, provoking a stoppage by referee Pat Russell.  Prachumchai fell to 15-5 (2 KO's) in her first foray outside Thailand, while Knight improved to 8-1-3 (5 KO's) with her second win inside the distance in Mexico.

On June 30 2012 at Auditorio Centenario in Torreon, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico, Ava Knight defeated Susana "Toluquita" Vazquez of Mexico by a ten-round unanimous (99-91,98-92,98-92) decision for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Flyweight title.  Knight used her height and reach to control the bout and landed well with rights to the head.  Vazquez was cornered in the second round and Knight appeared to be trying for a knockout but Vazquez, cheered on by a partisan crowd, kept throwing and fought her way out of trouble.  Vazquez landed hard in the fourth but also began to bleed from her nose.  Knight stepped up her intensity in the fifth and sixth but Vazquez defended better with her jab in the seventh and was able to stay competitive to the end of the fight. Some Mexican fans were unhappy with the lop-sided decision in the visitor's favor but Knight told WBAN: “Susana was a very tough fighter. I thought she was aggressive and she moved around well. She tried to pull me into a brawl during the fight, but my jabs and outside punches proved to be successful. She did a good job in taking a lot of good, solid shots. Our fight was full of action.”   Post-fight hotos of Ava Knight's hands posted to her Face book page showed severe bruising and she stated that she fought in severe pain after the third round that changed "the whole demeanor of the fight" as  she progressed to 9-1-3 (5 KO's) while Vazquez fell to 8-7-1 (2 KO's).  Vazquez's losses have come against top opponents and Ava Knight was named WBAN's Fighter of the Month for June 2012 for the win. 

On October 13, 2012 at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City, Ava Knight (111 lbs) won the WBC Diamond Flyweight title with a ten-round unanimous (97-93,96-94,97-93) decision over Mariana Juarez (112 lbs) of Mexico. Ava was the early aggressor, using her jab well to keep Juarez on defense and landing the more accurate punches. Juarez, who had predicted that Knight could not perform well in the later rounds at the famously high altitude of Mexico City, instead found herself playing catchup when the open scoring showed that she had fallen behind 58-56 after six rounds. Knight did slow down a little in the later going but her conditioning allowed her to maintain her accuracy and aggressiveness as the hard fought fight became more of a toe-to-toe battle.  When the chips were down, Juarez could not win the rounds she needed to erase her deficit on the scorecards. Neither boxer was in serious difficulty at any time.  Knight improved to 10-1-3 (5 KO's) while Juarez slipped to 35-6-3 (16 KO's). 

On January 26 2013 at Gimnasio Manuel Bernardo Aguirre in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico, Ava Knight (108 lbs) won the vacant WBC Silver Flyweight title with a ten-round unanimous (100-90,100-90,99-91) decision over Susana Vasquez (108 lbs) of Toluca, México.  Vasquez fell to 8-8-1 (3 KO's) with the loss.

On May 11 2014 at Agustín Ramos Millan Gym in Toluca, México, Ava Knight (112 lbs) defended the WBC Silver Flyweight title with a ten-round unanimous decision over Linda "La Muneca" Soto (112 lbs) of Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico.  Knight controlled the action throughout the fight with superior punching power and a good mix of punches.  Soto was resilient but she could not find a way to take Knight out of her fight plan and was off-balanced several times by Knight's attack, including taking an eight count in the fifth round after being knocked to the canvas by a short, hard right.  Soto fell to 5-3 (3 KO's) with the loss.

On October 26 2013 at Agustín Ramos Millan Gym in Toluca, Mexico, Ibeth Zamora Silva won a ten-round unanimous (97-94,97-93,98-92) decision over Ava Knight defending the WBC Junior Flyweight title. Knight fell to 12-2-3 (5 KO's) with the loss while Zamora Silva improved her record to 19-5 (8 KO's) with the win. . (Photos)


Other Ava Knight links

Page last updated:  Thursday, April 10 2014

 
     
     
     
     
 

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