Kelsey Jeffries defeated Karen Martin by majority decision in an exciting six-round
match to win the California state featherweight championship at the Compaq Center
in San Jose, California.
According to ringside observers, Martin started out strong and staggered Jeffries with
a left that saw Jeffries dropping her hands late in the second round.
Jeffries recovered, digging deep into her experience to mount a convincing comeback,
working inside and wearing Martin down in the later rounds.
Jeffries’ trainers thought she began putting together what she’s capable of after the
near disaster in the second.
“She’s starting to get it,” said an exhilarated Rick Mello, Jeffries’ co-manager who
worked her corner with trainer Vinnie Hines.
Jeffries, widely respected for taking fights in her opponent’s backyard, always wants
to impress an audience but has to be reminded to impress the judges, according to Mello.
The victory close to her hometown of Gilroy ended a tough four-fight losing streak
that included title shots in Poland against Iwona Guzowska and a split-decision
loss in Atlantic City to Alicia Ashley of New York.
While ending one losing streak, the decision continued another one. Karen Martin,
undefeated as a professional in her first five impressive fights, has not won since
injuring both her hands while knocking out legendary Japanese kickboxer Naoko Kumagai.
While Martin’s husband, Andrew, thought Thursday was a great fight, he sees his wife as
still hesitant and tentative after being out of action for close to a year. In the back
of her mind, he suspects, she remembers the good things (knockdowns) winding up as bad
A superb natural athlete and crowdpleaser, the slender-framed, elegantly muscular
Martin is struggling with the loss of momentum in her career. Going from five straight
wins to three straight losses is not an easy thing even if you remind yourself that two
of them, Jeffries and JoJo Wyman, are to established top-10 contenders.
That’s a tough way to get back on track but it was hard for Martin to find an opponent
because of her 5-0 record at the time, her injury notwithstanding.
Mello, Jeffries’ co-manager, said he told Martin and her husband not to be too
discouraged. Losing streaks can happen even to good fighters.
He should know.
Jeffries, who weighed in at 124 pounds, is now 12-7. Martin, at 125 pounds, is now
Unofficial scores: 59-54, 59-54, 57-57.
In the main event, Lusito Espinosa knocked out Ever Beleno in the second round, while
in the co-main dazzling lightweight prospect Mike Anchondo extended his perfect record
to 17-0 (16 KOs) with a third round TKO of Manuel Bocanegra.
A crowd of over 4000 was on hand to see Oscar de la Hoya inaugurate a new bimonthly
series at the Compaq Center put on by his Golden Boy Promotions company. Fightnews is
reporting that the live gate of $97,000 is a Thursday night record in California.
Thanks to Craig for sending this report ... Dee
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Page last updated: Monday, May 17, 2004