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Anne-Sophie Mathis
© Copyrighted photo courtesy of SteveSnowden.com

 
   

5'11" junior welterweight Anne-Sophie Mathis was born on June 13, 1977. She lives in Dombasle-Sur-Meurthe, Lorraine, France where she trains at the Club de Dombasle under coach René Cordier. Although her father had been a boxer, Anne-Sophie did not know that until after she won her first professional world title.   She was raised by her mother after her father died and says her mother told her about her father's boxing only after she had won her own title. Anne-Sophie says that she was not initially attracted to the sport but she had accompanied her ex-boyfriend, who was a kickboxer, to his gym workouts. She was invited to attend the classes rather than waiting on the bench, and this sparked her interest in competing.

After Anne-Sophie found that she was attracted to combat sports, she won amateur titles in both kickboxing and the French sport of savate.  By the time she decided that she preferred to use only her fists, she had fought for small purses, and that prevented her from having a career as an amateur boxer. 

She made her pro boxing debut at age 18 in Eger, Hungary on October 21, 1995, winning by a first-round TKO over Erika Szegedi of Szerencs, Hungary who fell to 1-4.


Marischa Sjauw rocks Anne Sophie Mathis, November 1995
Photo courtesy Marcel Niessen

On November 18, 1995 at Landgraaf in The Netherlands, Anne-Sophie was TKO'd in the fifth round by the experienced Dutch boxer Marischa Sjauw in a bout for the WIBF European Super Welterweight title. Marischa Sjauw dropped her three times on the way to the fifth-round TKO and improved her record to 6-0-1 with this win.

On December 11, 1999 in a savate competition in Paris, France: Anne-Sophie defeated former world boxing champion Sandra Geiger on points.

On November 21, 2003 at Loures Pavilion in Lisbon, Portugal, over 3000 people saw WAKO pro world 64-kg champion Dina Pedro of Portugal win a five-round majority decision over Anne-Sophie.

On December 6, 2003 in Dombasle, France Anne-Sophie returned to pro boxing in earnest, and won by a second-round TKO over Katalin Csehi of Békéscsaba, Hungary, who  fell to 3-4-0 (0 KO).

On February 27, 2004 in Hyeres, France, Anne-Sophie (139¾ lbs) won a six-round decision over Larisa Berezenko (140 lbs) of the Ukraine, who fell to 0-2 with this loss.

On April 17, 2004 in Gravelines, France Anne-Sophie (140¾ lbs) TKO'd pro debuter Daniela David (136¼ lbs) of France in the final round of a scheduled six-rounder.

On May 26, 2004 in Matoury, France, Anne-Sophie (139 lbs) repeated the sixth-round TKO win in a rematch with Daniela David (139 lbs).

On June 11, 2004 in Nancy, France, Anne-Sophie (139 lbs) won by a first-round TKO over pro debuter Alexandra Vajdova (5'9", 139 lbs) of Nitra, Slovakia in a scheduled six-rounder.

On November 27, 2004 in Hussigny, France, Anne-Sophie (139½ lbs) won by a sixth-round TKO over Borislava Goranova (5'6", 139 lbs) of Sofia, Bulgaria, who fell to 3-9-0 (0 KO's) with the loss.

On March 19, 2005 in Metz, France, Anne-Sophie TKO'd Larisa Berezenko in the fifth round of a scheduled six-rounder. Berezenko fell to 0-5 as a pro boxer with this second loss to Mathis.


Anne-Sophie attacks Nathalie Toro, October 2005
Photo: Dombasle-Boxe.com

On October 29, 2005 in Dombasle, France, Anne-Sophie (139¼ lbs) won by a ninth round TKO over previously undefeated Nathalie Toro (137¼ lbs) of Luik, Belgium in a scheduled ten-rounder for Toro's EBU European Junior Welterweight title. A WBAN insider said that the fight was "an incredible all-action bout between the two boxers, with the crowd standing throughout. The bout was considered one of the best fights on the card. Nathalie had been hit hard in the second and third rounds, but stayed standing.  She recovered, knowing she was behind on points. Toro came back with her own artillery in the later rounds, hitting her hard in 6, 7, 8 round. But at the end of the ninth round, Toro got hit with a hard combination of a left/right, and she fell to the canvas. The ref counted her to nine, and then stopped the fight."  Toro suffered her first defeat as a pro boxer and fell to 14-1.

On October 14, 2006 at Salle des Sports Roger Boileau in Dombasle, France, Anne-Sophie TKO'd Borislava Goranova of Sofia, Bulgaria in the fifth round of a scheduled six-rounder to move her record to 10-1-1 (9 KOs). “Anne-Sophie dominated her Bulgarian opponent,” reports L'Est Républicain, without giving her the slightest chance.”  Rather than exploiting her reach, as she had initially planned, Mathis reportedly made devastating use of the uppercut. Goranova fell to 3-15-0 (0 KOs).

On December 2, 2006 at the Palais Omnisport in Bercy, Paris, France, she TKO'd Myriam Lamare of Marseille, France in the seventh round to win the WBA and WIBF Junior Welterweight titles. As described by WBAN correspondent Ewan Whyte, the fight was "a real thriller, with Mathis – the more accurate puncher – generally in control and seeming on several occasions to have Lamare hurt, only for Lamare to counter-attack with a feral intensity, driving the gangling blonde backwards to restore the balance ... until the last time.  Mathis had hurt her earlier in the seventh and Lamare had recovered, throwing her massive, looping left hook, (and missing), but you could see she was unsteady now on her feet; and as she shoved Mathis backwards to escape from the ropes, she was caught by a short right; then another a few seconds later; then a third – beaten to the punch as she threw the left for umpteenth time without connecting – and suddenly there was nothing! Mathis drove a left, a right, and a left through her guard; then a looping right round the outside that caught her on the side of the jaw, followed by a left a split-second later, and the rout was total: Lamare's dense, muscle-bound body began to go backwards, slowly at first, but then with gathering momentum, the way a car does when you have to bump-start it on a cold morning, as the blonde drove her backwards into the corner with a cruel, exultant, snarl. And just as the first commentator was correcting "Elle est fatiguée!" ("She's tired!") to "Elle est KO debout!". ("She's out on her feet!") "… MYRIAM EST KO DEBOUT!!", the other cut in with "Il l'a arrêté!" (He's stopped it!). And indeed he had. And Mathis was the new world champion."  Lamare fell to 14-1-0 (7 KOs).

On June 29, 2007 at Palais des Sports in Marseille, Bouches du Rhone, France, 5,500 fans saw Mathis (139½ lbs) win a ten-round majority (98-93,98-92,95-95) decision over Myriam Lamare (140 lbs) of Marseille in a rematch for the WBA Junior Welterweight title. The much shorter Lamare pressed the action early and scored well with jabs on the way in and with damaging hooks once inside. However, by the fourth round Lamare began to tire from what appeared to be an effort to knock Mathis ut early, and Mathis then began to take control of the bout with clinical precision. Lamare began to back out of punishing exchanges, but the hard-hitting Mathis was able to walk her down and dominate the action with her power and size advantage. Lamare fell to to 14-2 (7 KO's), both losses coming to Mathis.

On December 8, 2007 at La Palestre in Le Cannet, France, Anne-Sophie (141 lbs) TKO'd Jane Couch (143¼ lbs) of Bristol, U.K. in the second round of a scheduled six-rounder.  According to a report by WBAN correspondent Ewan Whyte, "(Couch) took a clobbering, admittedly, in the first round, but the second was only 30 seconds old when the referee decided he'd seen enough and sprang to her rescue, sparing Couch an even more ignominious fate". Couch protested the stoppage but Mathis opined that "It's true the decision was a bit hard on her, but I was about to finish her off anyway... She'd have gone down seconds later." Mathis also said that she was disappointed the Englishwoman hadn't given her more of a workout. "I need to fight," she said, "but when you get a chance to finish a match, you finish it. …. What I can't understand is how she lasted ten rounds with Clampitt."  The 39-year-old Couch fell to 28-11-0 (9 KOs). 

On March 8, 2008 at the Palais des Sports de Saint Symphorien in Metz, France, Anne-Sophie added the UBC and WBC Junior Welterweight belts to her WBA title with a third-round TKO of 40-year-old Ana Pascal of Panama. According to Christian Chataignier of WBA Women´s Online, "After an initial round where nothing happened, Pascal was quickly overwhelmed. In the second round, an uppercut to the face sent the Panamanian down. A few moments later she suffered another knockdown with a blow to the body. When the third round began, it was clear that the end was near, and after a new series blows from Mathis, the referee stopped the fight."  Mathis improved her record to 18-1-1 (16 KO's) while Pascal fell to 11-1-0 (5 KO's). Pascal has boxed professionally since 1998 but this was her first bout outside Panama and Colombia.

On November 22, 2008 at Les Vielles Forges in Les Mazures, Ardennes, France, Ann-Sophie won a 10-round unanimous (98-92,96-94,97-93) decision over Belinda Laracuente of New York for the WBC Junior Welterweight title. Mathis improved her record to 19-1-1 (16 KO's) while Laracuente fell to 23-23-3 (9 KO's).

On November 26, 2010 at the Gymnase du Close de l'Arche in Noisy-le-Grand, France, Ann-Sophie Mathis TKO'd Mihaela Dragan of Cluj-Napoca, Romania in the first round of a scheduled six-rounder.  Dragan fell to 3-4-0 (2 KO's) with the loss.  

On December 4, 2010 at the Salle Roger Boileau in Dombasle, France, Anne-Sophie Mathis TKO'd Russian-born Angel McKenzie in the fourth round of a scheduled six-rounder. The 37-year-old McKenzie, who now fights out of London, England, fell to 4-22-0 (0 KO's) with her fifth loss in six outings in 2010.

On February 11, 2011 at the Palais des Sports in Saint-Quentin, France, Anne-Sophie Mathis TKO'd Diane Schwachhofer of Quaregnon, Belgium in the second round of a scheduled eight-rounder. Schwachhofer fell to 5-4-1 (1 KO).

Yankovich vs MathisOn April 29, 2011 at Espace Roger Boisrame in Pontault Combault, Seine-et-Marne, France, Anne-Sophie Mathis (145¼ lbs) TKO'd Serbian-born Duda Yankovich (140¾ lbs) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the third round of a scheduled ten-rounder for the vacant WBO European welterweight title. Kamel Messani wrote for BoxingScene.com: "From the beginning of the fight, Anne Sophie tried to land a long left hand. Yankovich blocked most of those attempts and countered with hard right cross.  The second round started on a high pace, with nice exchanges from both sides, but it was Mathis who was always more accurate. The fight was lively and fairly balanced but the French boxer has that little something extra that makes champions: a punch! In this second occasion, she touched Duda with a beautiful left hook to the liver that nearly put the Serbian away but she was saved by the bell.  The third round started strong as Yankovich seemed to have recovered and start moving forward again, but this was short lived as Mathis, again with a left hook to the liver, was able to do serious damage. Following up with a right hand, Yankovich went down and the ref jumped in to stop the fight."  Yankovich fell to 11-3-0 (5 KO's).

On June 23, 2011 at Salle Jean Roure in Les Pennes-Mirabeau, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, Anne-Sophie Mathis TKO'd Olivia Boudouma of Givisiez, Switzerland in the fifth round of a scheduled ten-rounder for the vacant WIBA Welterweight and WBF Welterweight titles. Boudouma fell to 8-1-0 (1 KO) with the loss.

On October 1, 2011 at Salle Mermoz in Yutz, France, Ann-Sophie Mathis (146 lbs) won a clear ten-round unanimous (100-90 x 3) decision over Cindy Serrano (146 lbs) of New York defending the WIBA and WBF Welterweight titles. Mathis also picked up the vacant WIBF Welterweight belt with this win which moved her record to 25-1-0 (21 KO's). The game but over-matched Serrano fell to 15-4-1 (7 KO's) with the loss.

On December 2, 2011 at the Route 66 Casino west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Anne-Sophie Mathis (145½ lbs) faced local favorite Holly Holm (145¾ lbs) in a much anticipated showdown for the IBA and WBAN Welterweight belts. Both boxers were undefeated since 2004 and were at the top of WBAN's world rankings at their usual weights. Holm had fought at junior welterweight since 2009 but had previously won world titles as high as junior middleweight. She had never before faced Mathis's mix of reach, power and pressure. Unlike most of Holm's earlier opponents, Mathis also spent two and a half weeks in New Mexico to acclimate to the dry climate and mile-high altitude before the scheduled ten rounder. Holm had previously used quick ring movement and fitness to make her opponents chase her and tire before she closed with them later.

Holm vs mathis
Holm trading with Mathis before the KO 
© Copyrighted photo taken by Sue TL Fox

This plan worked for the early rounds but Holm got into trouble when she began to slug it out with Mathis as early as the third. Mathis, who never flinched from Holm's punches, then began to punish Holm with quick, powerful shots. Holm told her corner she was hurt in the fifth then was knocked down cleanly in the sixth (although the referee ruled a slip). Holm looked beaten between  the sixth and seventh but chose to fight on, only to be demolished against the ropes in the second half of the seventh.
The referee intervened when Holm's arm became entangled in the ropes (keeping her from falling to the canvas after a powerful shot from Mathis) then let the fight go on although Holm looked defenseless and out on her feet.

Mathis vs Holm
Mathis about to put Holm away in the seventh
© Copyrighted photo taken by Sue TL Fox

Two savage rights to the head then came close to knocking Holm completely out of the ring through the lower ropes to end it by KO at 1:38 in the seventh. The card was titled "World Dominance" and Anne-Sophie Mathis left no doubt about who had dominated as Holm fell to 30-2-3 (9 KO's) while Mathis improved to 26-1 (22 KO's).  

Mathis and TL Fox with belts
Anne-Sophie Mathis after receiving her WBAN
title
belt from Sue TL Fox (at right)
Photo by SteveSnowden.com

Anne-Sophie Mathis was named WBAN Fighter of the Year for 2011, as well as co-winner (with Cecilia Braekhus) of WBAN's Top European Fighter of the Year.  Her KO of Holly Holm was named one of the Top Three KO's of 2011 and the Holm-Mathis fight one of the year's Top Five Fights.

Holm vs Mathis June 2012
Holm vs Mathis rematch, June 2012
© copyrighted photo by Sue TL Fox

On June 15, 2012 at the Route 66 Casino near Albuquerque, New Mexico, Holly Holm (146 lbs) of Albuquerque won a unanimous (96-94,97-93,99-91) ten-round decision over Anne-Sophie Mathis (145 lbs) for the IBA, WBF and WBAN Welterweight titles. Unlike in their first match, Holm stuck to her preferred strategy of boxing warily from the outside using her own lateral movement to deny Mathis good punching range.  This time she added a tactic of ducking low and tying Mathis up in clinches to slow the fight down as much as possible. Holm's movement and tie-up tactics kept the number of hard shots landed by either boxer low in the early rounds. She then survived a more aggressive (but rarely sustained) attack by Mathis who came on stronger in the later rounds. Unlike in their first fight, Mathis was unable to find the right distance early to connect with the hard shots that had knocked Holm out of her fight plan and produced the previous KO.  Holm also kept her cool (or wrapped Mathis up in a bear hug) when she was hit hard and threw just enough in quick flurries to secure a narrow win on the scorecards (the 99-91 score for Holm was generous). Mathis stated after the fight that she would like a third bout to take place in France. Mathis fell to  26-2 (22 KO's) with her first loss in nearly 17 years while Holm advanced to 31-2-3 (9 KO's).

Braekhus vs Mathis Sep 2012On September 22, 2012 at Arena Nord in Frederikshavn, Denmark, Cecilia Braekhus (146¼ lbs) of Norway won a 10-round unanimous (97-93x3) decision over Anne-Sophie Mathis (146 lbs) defending the WBA, WBC and WBO Welterweight titles.  Braekhus seemed to have learned more by watching Mathis-Holm II three months earlier than Mathis had learned by being in it, as Braekhus used her athleticism to execute a crisp stick-and-move plus clinch-if-in-danger strategy to frustrate Mathis's power punching.  Mathis came forward steadily throughout the fight but Braekhus used her lateral movement and speed to prevent Mathis from landing more than occasional single shots solidly. Braekhus often replied to a hard shot from Mathis with a hard combination of her own, and she went forward aggressively with her own combinations if Mathis slowed at all.  Mathis did not adapt her strategy throughout the fight, apparently trying to walk Braekhus down and overpower her. Mathis could not contain Braekhus for long, however, and Braekhus wrapped her up in clinches whenever she was in any hint of trouble.  Braekhus advanced to 21-0 (5 KO's) with the victory.   [Video]

On June 1 2013 at Salle Roger Boileau in Dombasle-sur-Meurthe, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France,  Anne-Sophie Mathis won by a fifth round TKO over Yahaira Hernandez of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for the WBF Junior Middleweight title. The WBF post-fight press release told WBAN: "Yahaira Hernandez started the fight fast, and seemed to surprise Mathis with her aggressiveness. The 25 year old from Santo Domingo was probably winning the first round, until Mathis countered her with a well-timed uppercut to score a knockdown. From then on the fight was an all-out war with both fighters throwing bombs and the crowd going wild. Mathis, however, was the more accurate of the two and thus won the rounds, but Hernandez fought her heart out in what was a competitive and brutal bout. In round three an accidental clash of heads opened a nasty cut above the right eye of Hernandez, but she was allowed to continue by referee Toni Tiberi and the ringside doctor. In round five, as they both continued to slug away, Mathis landed a massive shot to the liver of Hernandez who turned away in pain. She couldn’t recover, and Tiberi counted her out at 1:59 of the round." Hernandez fell to 14-5 (8 KO's).  Mathis improved to 27-3 (23 KO's) with the win.

Mathis moved up a weight class for her return to the ring after her loss to Braekhus, but says “I have fought all the best opponents at Welterweight, so we decided to make a change and move up in weight. But my goal is still to get a rematch with Braekhus. If I win this title, I am back and can negotiate a rematch with Braekhus. Sweet revenge!

Asked about another rematch with Myriam Lamare, Mathis says "Everyone fantasizes about this fight. Except me.  I do not think in terms of a media stunt.  I have reached saturation.  The fight to bring in the television, I have already given Lamare.  She would have everything to gain if successful. Personally, I really want to box other girls but without a title or "premium", it is difficult."

Her early idol was French world kickboxing and boxing champion Valerie Henin Wiet, of whom she says "I've always been fascinated by her approach to the fight, her boxing and her desire to win. She is a great lady of boxing and if she was still of our time, she would certainly be at the top instead of Myriam Lamare. I talk a lot with her and her advice is always invaluable. It's a little more compared to my coach René (Cordier)."  

Ann-Sophie Mathis prefers to train with men, saying "I do not really know why, but men are much more technical, their body language is more beautiful. The girls are certainly more vicious and aggressive, but they lack a little consistency ..."

In April 2010 she published an autobiography "Je me bats dans la vie comme sur le ring" ("I fight in life as in the ring"), co-written with Valérie Rodrigue.  

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