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To Guyanese boxing fans, she is known as the "Stealth Bomber." On May 29, 2004, 5'9" light heavyweight Gwendolyn O'Neil, 35-year-old mother of five from Georgetown, became the first Guyanese woman ever to win a world boxing title.

'Gwen' grew up in the Barima River area of the North West District, the twentieth child in a family of 21 kids. She says she owes her toughness in the ring to long hours spent doing hard work on her parents’ farm at an early age.  Her father, who was from St. Lucia, died when she was five. She had also had to fight her way through school, so as not to be taken advantage of by boys. "One day I say, (the) boys ain’t beating me no more. I'm gonna beat them.” She said that many times when a fight broke out, by the time the teacher arrived to break it up, it was all over!

Gwen's interest in combat sports began with martial arts but she was introduced to boxing by her husband. Her decision to turn pro, she said, was inspired by a fight she saw on TV. “One day I lie down upon my bed and see two woman fighting. And I turn and tell my husband ... they can’t beat me!"

On July 31, 1999 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, she knocked out Kim "Bonecrusher" Quashie of Trinidad in the first round of a heavyweight bout. Quashie fell to 3-1 with the loss.

On December 4, 1999 in Georgetown, Guyana she won a four-round decision over Margaret Walcott of Guyana.

December 26, 2000 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Georgetown, Guyana, Gwen (170 lbs) won by TKO over southpaw Geraldine Cox (160 lbs) of Guyana at 0:54 in the third round of a scheduled four-rounder as part of the "Boxing Day KO" organized by the Guyana Boxing Board of Control (GBBC), which has been actively encouraging women's boxing in Guyana. A report by Frederick Halley in the Guyana Chronicle noted that the boxers "warmed the hearts of fans with a fine display", adding "after an even affair in the first round, O'Neil used her weight advantage to good effect in the second while Cox did more sizing up than punching. O'Neil was all over Cox in the third round and after reeling from the onslaught, Cox turned her back, forcing referee Eion Jardine to stop the fight."

On August 5, 2001 in Georgetown, Guyana, she fought to a four-round draw in a rematch with Margaret Walcott.

On December 26, 2001 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Georgetown, Guyana, Melissa Charles of Trinidad won by disqualification over Gwen, who was ejected for biting her opponent!

On May 4, 2002 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Georgetown, Guyana, Gwen TKO'd Kim Quashie of Trinidad in the second round.

December 26, 2002 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Georgetown, Guyana, Veronica Simmons of New York City won a six-round majority (58-56,59-56,57-57) decision over Gwen in a hard-fought light-heavyweight semi-main event. Simmons handled O'Neil's aggressive, brawling style with jabs and accurate combinations while O'Neil (who had been disqualified in her last appearance in this annual Boxing Day event) was warned several times for pushing and holding at close quarters. Simmons was now 3-0-0 (2 KO); this was the first time that she had gone the distance in a long while ... her KO record as a pro and amateur had scared most of the potential American opponents away from her.

On May 24, 2003 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Georgetown, Guyana, Gwen won the vacant Guyanese Light Heavyweight title with a fourth-round TKO of Margaret Walcott of Guyana.

On November 29, 2003 at Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium in Wildey, Barbados, Gwen TKO'd Krystal Lessie of Trinidad in the third round. O'Neil was now 6-3-0 (6 KO) while Lessie fell to 0-6.

In January 2004 Gwen traveled to Abuja, Nigeria for a six-round bout with Laila Ali on January 10, but Ali canceled at the last moment, saying that the airline seats for her and her entourage had only been reserved by the event organizers, and not paid for. "I think that she was just scared", said O'Neil, "She tried to duck me. I know that I would have knocked her out. I'm still prepared to fight her once she has the guts to mix it with me. I'm not in this business to joke around. This is serious business, forty thousand people turned up at the stadium to witness the bout. I had to apologize for the absence of Ali when I took to the ring." The card was arranged for a charity combating AIDS and human trafficking.

O'Neil attacks RiversOn May 29, 2004 at National Park in Georgetown, Guyana, a crowd of about 5000 fans saw Gwen (169 lbs) win a ten-round unanimous (100-90,98-92,98-95) decision over Kathy Rivers (170 lbs) for the WIBA Light Heavyweight title that had been vacated by Jacqui Frazier-Lyde. There were no knockdowns in a hard fought battle. Rivers fell to 13-4-1 (5 KO) with the loss; her management told WBAN that "Kathy knows when she goes to someone's home town you have to take it away from her. Kathy lost the fight in Guyana, but ... the fight wasn't a walk over ... it was closer then what they read. Kathy took the fight to her. It was a very fast pace fight with a lot of punches thrown by both girls." O'Neil was awarded a house lot, a grant towards building a house, and a duty free concession for a car by the Government of Guyana in appreciation of her win.

On June 28, 2004 in Guyana, Gwen won a six-round unanimous decision over Krystal Lessie of Trinidad.

On September 24th, 2004 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Laila Ali (174 lbs) won the IWBF Light Heavyweight title with a third-round knockout of Gwen (175 lbs). Ali began this fight letting O'Neil come to her while she blocked most of her punches with her gloves, a strategy reminiscent of her father's "rope-a-dope" tactic against George Foreman.  As O'Neil appeared to tire after just a minute of this, Ali began to respond with quick jabs and hard hooks to her body. She responded to a lazy jab by O'Neil midway through the second round by knocking her down with a counter right to the chin. O'Neil recovered quickly but the same scenario played out later in the round, putting O'Neil down for an eight count that left her still wobbly. Ali turned up the heat in the third as O'Neil looked increasingly desperate.  Ali dropped O'Neil in a neutral corner with another right to the jaw as the third round was ending. This time O'Neil sat stunned as she was counted out by referee Jim Korb. “She was tough,” said Ali, “I had to hit her with straight rights to knock her down.”  Ali improved to 19-0 (16 KOs) with the win while O'Neil fell to 9-4-1 (6 KOs).

On December 26, 2004 in Georgetown, Guyana, Gwendolyn won a ten-round unanimous decision over Krystal Lessie of Trinidad in a light heavyweight bout. Lessie fell to 0-10-0 with the loss.

On July 9, 2005  in Georgetown, Guyana, Gwendolyn scored an eight round unanimous decision over Pamela London of Georgetown, who fell to 4-3-1 (0 KOs).

On April 22, 2006 in Georgetown, Guyana Gwendolyn won by a fourth-round TKO over Margaret Walcott of Guyana, who fell to 1-6-1 (0 KOs).

On February 3, 2007 at the Emperor's Palace Casino in Johannesburg, South Africa Laila Ali (168 lbs) stopped Gwendolyn  (165 lbs) just 0:56 seconds into the first round of a scheduled ten-rounder for the WBC and WIBA Super Middleweight titles.  Ali was quoted in an AP article that she “apologized” to boxing fans including former South African President Nelson Mandela, for the brevity of the fight. Ali improved her record to 24-0 (21 KO's) and intimated that she would not be boxing again for a while. 

On June 6, 2008 in St Maartin, Netherlands Antilles, Gwendolyn O'Neil won a 10-round split decision over Carlette Ewell of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA for the vacant WIBA Light Heavyweight title. Ewell fell to 12-7 (9 KO's) with this loss.

On November 1, 2008 in St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, Carlette Ewell  (174 lbs) won a 10-round unanimous decision over Gwendolyn O'Neil (173 lbs) in a rematch for the WIBA Light Heavyweight title.  The judges' scores were 97-95, 98-96, 99-95. O'Neil slipped to 13-6-1 (7 KO's) while Ewell improved to 13-7 (9 KO's).

On January 29, 2010 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in Georgetown, Guyana, Gwendolyn O'Neil won a six-round unanimous (59-55 x 3) decision over Sharon Ward of Linden, Guyana. Ward fell to 4-4 (0 KO's) with the loss.

On June 5, 2010 at the Princess Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana, Gwendolyn O'Neil (189 lbs) won a ten-round unanimous (96-94,98-92,98-92) decision over Veronica Blackman (181 lbs) of Guyana for the vacant WIBA Heavyweight title and the GBU Heavyweight title.  Blackman fell to 3-5 (0 KO's).

On September 11, 2010 at Fort Myers Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida, Gwendolyn O'Neil (200 lbs) won an eight round unanimous decision over Laura Ramsey (186 lbs) of Winter Haven, Florida for the WIBA Heavyweight title.  Ramsey fell to 9-5 (4 KO's).

On November 6, 2010 at the Princess Hotel and Casino in Providence, Guyana, Gwendolyn O'Neil easily won a unanimous decision over Pamela London of Georgetown, Guyana, who fell to 6-5-5 (1 KO).

Gwen O'NeilGwendolyn O'Neil is trained by her husband Lennox Daniels and managed by Samuel Layne of Barbados.

Asked why she boxes, Gwen replies “Because I like the game. I like fighting, I like being rough.”

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Page last updated: Friday August 09, 2013


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