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Giselle Salandy
 
   

Giselle Salandy (a.k.a. Jizelle Joseph) of Fyzabad in Trinidad and Tobago was born in Siparia on January 25,1987.

She referred to herself as “a beast in the ring ... but that’s as far as it goes”.

Giselle began boxing at age 11 when pro boxer Kim Quashie saw her working out in Fitzroy Richards' gym in South Trinidad. According to Quashie “I knew Giselle had something special in her when I saw her working the punching bag while nursing a broken arm.”  

Salandy had broken her arm in a fall from her bicycle but having the arm in plaster did not deter her from imitating what she saw happening in the gym, or from a confrontation with a boy in the gym who she took on with her one good arm!  Quashie decided to direct the young girl's natural talent into boxing under the management and training of Fitzroy Richards, who had been her coach. According to Quashie, Richards “liked her spirit and the correct manner in which she had been hitting the bag,”

Giselle Salandy made her professional boxing debut ... at age 13 ... on February 25, 2000 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, knocking out fellow debuter Nimba Wahtuse in the third round.  At this time, Salandy had a birth certificate that showed she was over the legal minimum age of 17 for licensing professional boxers in Trinidad.

A rematch with Wahtuse on April 15, 2000 in Port of Spain produced the same result. (Wahtuse has not fought again.)

On May 3, 2000 in Port of Spain, Giselle boxed to a four-round decision over future WIBA Mini Flyweight World Champion Ria Ramnarine of Trinidad, who fell to 1-1.  

On October 14, 2000, Giselle defeated Ann Howard of Guyana by a second round KO. Howard fell to 0-3-0 with the loss.

On January 19, 2001 in Port of Spain, she won a four-round points decision over Erica Benjamin, who fell to 0-2. 

At this point the Trinidad Boxing Commission realized Salandy's true age ... and banned her from fighting in the country again until she turned 17.  This forced Salandy's boxing career to move offshore.

On February 4, 2001 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Giselle knocked out debut fighter Maria Rosario of Mexico in the first round.

On August 5, 2001 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Giselle defeated unbeaten 18-year-old southpaw Johanna Peña Alvarez of Santo Domingo by a six-round decision. Pena fell to 8-1-0 (7 KO's). 

On November 9, 2002 at Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles she won an eight-round decision over Paola Rojas of Cartagena, Colombia for the vacant WIBA Ibero-American Junior Welterweight Title.  (Some sources claim that Salandy's opponent in this fight was not in fact Rojas, but the veteran Colombian Darys Pardo). Salandy had been made an honorary citizen of Curacao for this bout.

After the Curacao fight, Salandy was adopted by Curtis Joseph who also became her trainer.  Salandy, now also known as Jizelle Joseph, would not see ring action again until she turned 17 and could be granted her professional boxing license in Trinidad. 

On January 29, 2004, four days after her 17th birthday and receiving her pro license, she defended the WIBA Ibero-American Light Welterweight Title at the Indoor Sports Arena in Saith Park, Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago.  Giselle (137 lbs) again defeated Paola Rojas (140 lbs) of Colombia by an eight-round unanimous (80-72,80-72,80-72) decision,

Rojas had struggled to make weight for the bout after initially weighing in at 142½ lbs ... and also hit her head in a fall in her guest house the day before the fight. Both were warned during the fight for excessive holding, pushing and hitting on the break, but Salandy out-boxed and out-hit Rojas throughout, displaying a fast jab and excellent footwork. In the sixth round, Salandy delivered three successive jabs to Rojas's face as the Colombian seemed mesmerized by the teenager's moves. Rojas was cut under her right eye while Salandy was unmarked at the end of the bout. 

On September 23, 2005 at the Jean Pierre Complex in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Giselle defeated debut fighter Manela Daniels of Guyana by an eight-round unanimous decision.

On June 15, 2006 at the Petrotrin Complex in Fyzabad, Trinidad and Tobago, Giselle Salandy knocked out Manela Daniels in the third round of a scheduled six rounder, dropping Daniels to 0-2.

On September 15, 2006 in front of a vociferous crowd at Skinner Park in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago, Salandy won the WBA and WBC women's Junior Middleweight titles when she defeated American Elizabeth Mooney by a seventh-round TKO.  Mooney came out aggressively in the first round to take control of the fight with well executed combinations — uppercuts and jabs to Salandy’s head and body --- but Salandy withstood the initial onslaught and drifted to the centre of the ring where she settled down and replied with telling combinations of her own. Thereafter Salandy controlled the fight with stinging punches and uppercuts often threw Mooney off balance. That pattern continued in later rounds as Salandy maintained her control with body shots and straight rights and staggered Mooney in the sixth and seventh. Salandy was ahead on all three judges' cards when Mooney failed to answer the bell for the eighth of the ten scheduled rounds. The result brought the crowd to its feet to celebrate the crowning of a two-fold world champion in their own backyard. She was the youngest boxer to win a world boxing title and the first boxer in the history of West Indies to win the WBA and WBC titles in one night.

Salandy improved her record to 12-0 while Mooney fell to 2-5. (Mooney had been a late substitute for Lisa Holewyne of Texas).

After the fight a tearful Salandy thanked Prime Minister Patrick Manning, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Roger Boynes, Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs Joan Yuille-Williams, and Director of Sport Paul Newallo, for giving her the opportunity to succeed. success.

On December 9, 2006 Salandy (149¼ lbs) made still more boxing history at the Jean Pierre Complex in Port of Spain, Trinidad.  Giselle won five  Junior Middleweight world title belts - WBA, WBC, NABC, WBE, and IWBF - defeating 32-year-old Miriam Brakache (151 lbs) of Atlanta, Georgia, USA by a 10-round unanimous (98-92,98-92,96-94) decision.

According to reporter Walter Alibey, "Salandy eked out a first round advantage with a series of successful jabs to the face of the persistent Brakache before the American made things difficult for her in the rounds that followed. (Brakache) never allowed herself to be dominated by the hometown girl and connected with a series of bruising punches to the head and body of Salandy in the fourth and fifth rounds. Her persistent attempts to pound Salandy to the face and body, prompted fans to call on the 20-year-old to employ a different tactic in the remaining rounds, if she had to win the fight. And as though Salandy ... listened to the advice of the fans, began to tag the aggressive American while skillfully eluding her punches. Both boxers expectedly went for the knockout punch in the final round with a series of flurries, but it never came and the decision went to the judges to determine if the belts would have gone to America or staying in the twin-island republic." The Moroccan-born Brakache had won fans with her relentless punching style and at the end of the fight, both fighters congratulated each other while Salandy promised Brakache a rematch.

Promoter Boxu Potts said in a press release, “From the onset, both fighters went at each other through the bout like two pit bulls. Salandy used a lot of lateral movements while displaying good hand speed, but Brakache soon adapted to her style, by cutting off the ring and drawing Salandy back into a slugfest, which suited Brakache’s style of fighting."   Potts added “It is fights like this where it generates public interest, and also gives credence to the world of women boxing.”  Salandy's multi-title win also earned her WBAN's nomination as "Top History-Making Fighter for 2006".

On March 24, 2007 at Skinner Park, San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago, Giselle won a ten-round unanimous (99-91,99-92,98-92) decision over Yvonne Reis of Fort Lauderdale, Florida defending her WBA, WBC, NABC, WBE and IWBF junior middleweight titles. Salandy established her jab early in the fight and caught Reis with a crashing left in the seventh and a hard right hook to the head in the tenth.  She also won the action at close quarters, getting off good combinations.  Afterwards, Salandy commended Reis on her toughness, saying,"She's good...she can take a punch. I realize every time I gave her a good punch, she smiled, despite the power of it."  Reis fell to 6-11-1 (0 KO's).

On December 26, 2008 at the Jean Pierre Sports Complex in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad And Tobago, Giselle Salandy won a 10-round unanimous (100-89,99-93,99-92) decision over Yahaira Hernandez of the Dominican Republic defending the WIBA, WBC and WBA titles. As reported by Alejandro Tostado, "The 21 year old light middleweight phenom Salandy thrilled her hometown audience with the form that has captured as many as seven world titles and that combination of speed and movement proved too much for the challenger to overcome. Hernandez, just 21 years of age herself, came into the clash having gone 2-2 over her last four appearances but two of the losses came in world title fights to undefeated champions Natascha Ragosina at super middle and Karolina Lukasik at light middleweight, both in Germany. The Dominican Republic native had been ranked in the top ten by the major sanctioning bodies and caused a stir at the pre-fight press conference when she nearly came to blows with Salandy. Despite weathering several postponements for this bout, Salandy looked in no way troubled by the scheduling difficulties as she put on a clinic against her tough challenger and walked away with victory."

According to a report in Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, "Hernandez pressed Salandy for long periods in the contest but the gifted Trinidadian, crafty and technically superior, nullified the challenger’s aggression and often welcomed a fierce toe-to-toe exchange of blows. Salandy had a particularly strong showing in round eight when Hernandez was visibly hurt, wobbled badly across the ring onto the ropes, but held on well and was resilient to the finish."

“I knew she would use the first two, three rounds to come hard at me, so I just absorbed that pressure and then controlled the fight with my own style, moving and counter punching,” Salandy said.

Salandy improved to 17-0 (6 KO's) with the win while Hernandez dropped to 10-3 (5 KO's)

Tragically, Giselle Salandy died following a vehicular accident on the Beetham Highway on the outskirts of Port of Spain on the morning of January 4th 2009.  According to local reports, she succumbed to her injuries at the Port of Spain General Hospital around 8.29 a.m. Reports state that Salandy was driving west into Port of Spain a little before 7 a.m. when she crashed into a concrete pillar. Miss Salandy and another occupant of the Toyota Yaris, national female footballer Tamar Watson, were injured and both were rushed to hospital. Salandy’s manager Boxu Potts reported that doctors at the medical facility tried everything possible to save her life but their attempts were futile.

 

Salandy realized that boxing is serious business. “It is a hurting sport and you have to keep yourself in the best condition if you intend to do justice for yourself and represent your nation. I expect to rule the middleweight division for the next three years”, she said, adding “I try not to allow fame to swell my head too much as I look forward to being a regular person when I’m out of the ring.”

Salandy hoped to use her boxing fame to do her part in the fight against youth crime in Trinidad. She said that “drugs are the main source of the crime in TT today” and believed the solution can be found in sports or other extra-curricular activities that can help to develop disciplined and positively driven individuals. She credited sport with being a turning point in her life after she lost her mother at age 11 ... and Kim Quashie for pushing her into the boxing ring and preventing her from becoming another statistic in Trinidad's story of struggling youth. She also hoped eventually to open and run a home for the abandoned and destitute children who were her one passion outside  boxing.

“There are so many children in Trinidad and Tobago that live without the basic amenities and I want to give back to society for all the success that I have received in my professional career”, she said.

Some bright lights burn only briefly, but their brilliance is long remembered.  Giselle was one of them.

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Page last updated: Saturday, 15 December 2012

 
     
     
     
     
 

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