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Jill Emery

5'8" welterweight Jill Emery was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 20, 1970. Although she competed in Shotokan karate while in high school, she appeared to be heading towards a career in theater; she graduated from Bucknell University in 1992 with a Bachelor’s in Theater. After she moved to New York City to pursue an acting career, combat sports began to reappear on her agenda.

Jill's boxing career began in 1998 after she helped a friend train in kickboxing and she fell in love with the sport after preparing for an acting role that required boxing skills.

"Boxing really took the place of acting. It's the same type of high - you're on stage, and you have to be 100 percent focused," Emery told the Bucknell University Alumni web site. "The only difference is that if you're not focused in the ring, you get punched in the face."

The amateur boxing scene began to draw her in deeper and she fought in the 147-lb final of the New York Golden Gloves in Madison Square Garden on April 3, 1998, losing to Kathleen McFeely from the Nassau PAL Gym. The experience convinced her that she wanted to pursue boxing, and it was her first loss, in front of a crowd of 5,000 people that made her determined to become a champion.

She entered the New York Golden Gloves competition again in 1999, but on April 9, 1999, Desiree Mistretta (Academy of Boxing) defeated Jill in the 156-lb final..

At the 1999 US National championships, Dakota Stone defeated Jill by 9-6 in the 156-lb semifinal.

In 1999, she noticed a new coach in Gleason’s Gym training his fighter in a unique style of boxing. His name is Michael Kozlowski.  “When I approached him, he said he would only train me if I wanted to become a world champion.”

On June 25-26, 1999 in the USA vs. Canada Dual Meet at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Jill defeated Becky Henderson of Canada by 22-4 in a 156-lb contest.

On August 14, 1999 in the 156-lb final of the US National Golden Gloves at the Augusta Boxing Club in Augusta, Georgia, Jill defeated Kathleen Brauer of Michigan by RSC-3.

On April 15, 2000 in the 156-lb final of the 2000 USA Boxing Everlast Nationals at the Chaparral Center in Midland, Texas, Jill stopped Ann Marie Saccurato at 1:52 in the second round (RSC-2) when Emery was up 22-3 on points. Jill had previously won her semifinal when Cheryl Jacobs of Muncie, Indiana retired at 0:31 in the third round.

On April 27, 2000 Jill again defeated Ann Marie Saccurato, in the 156-lb division of the New York Golden Gloves, for her first title from the competition that had motivated her boxing career.

On May 7, 2000 in the finals of the Feenix Box Cup in Turku, Finland, Jill defeated Anita Ducza of Hungary after stopping Natalia Korpovits of Russia in the first round of the semifinal.

At the 2000 USA Boxing National Championships in Midland, Texas, Jill won the 156-lb division, defeating Angelique (Angel) Bovee of New York on points, 18-10.

On April 6, 2001, again in Madison Square Garden, NYC she defeated defending 147-lb champion Micki Pryor (Suffolk PAL) in the New York Golden Gloves final by a 5-0 margin.

On June 30, 2001 at Westwood Recreation Center in Dayton, Ohio. Jill defeated Tristan Whiston of Toronto, ON, Canada.

On June 23, 2001 at Nye's Gym in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Jill defeated Angel McNamara of Baltimore, MD by  RSC-2.

At the National Golden Gloves on August 11, 2001 in Augusta, Georgia Jill lost to defending champion Natalie Brown of Lithonia, Georgia by 4-1 in the 147-lb final. She had previously defeated Heather Evans 4-1 in the semifinal.

In the final of the 147-lb division of the 2001 USA Boxing National Championships at the USMC Base in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Jill and Natalie Brown ended the bout tied at 13-13 on the points scorecard but Emery bested Brown by 17-15 on the punch countback.

On October 13, 2001 in the 147-lb final of the Women's Pan-American Boxing Championships in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jill defeated Kanicia Eley of Norfolk, Virginia 5-5 (36-25).  She had previously defeated Roxane Lanacette of Quebec, Canada by 9-4 in the semifinal.

On November 28, 2001 in the 147-lb preliminary round of the inaugural 2001 AIBA World Championships in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jill lost to Mehtap Bakis of Turkey by an 18-17 decision.

On April 12, 2002, Jill won the 156-lb division of the NY Golden Gloves by walkover over Geneve Brossard, also of Gleason’s Gym.  She had previously defeated LaShawn Roberts in the semifinal in March.

In October 5, 2002 in the 139-lb Open Division Finals at the US Police Athletic League Championship in Augusta, Georgia, Jill defeated April Alavez of Baltimore, MD by 19-5 and received the “Outstanding Boxer” trophy.

On April 4, 2003, Jill defeated Melissa Hernandez of NYC PAL in the 138-lb division final of the New York Golden Gloves.

On July 12, 2003 in the 138-lb final of the USA Boxing National Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Jill defeated Nasheba Thomas of Toledo, OH, by a 17-2 margin.  She had bested Charmaine Carrington of Fort Walton Beach, FL, by a RSC-2 in the semifinal and Esther Zamora of Fayetteville, NC by 16-2 and Beth Raymer of Brooklyn, NY 14-4 in preliminary bouts.

In 2003, Jill represented Team USA in the first Female Boxing Russian-American Dual in Moscow. She also won many other national level tournaments including the Ringside Tournament in 2002 and 2003.

In April 2004, Jill won the gold medal in the 63-kg division of the Female World Cup in Tonsberg, Norway, defeating Yesil Yetiz of Turkey in the semifinal and stopping Vinni Skovgaard of Denmark in the second round of the division final.  She also received the “Outstanding Boxer of North America” award. 

In May 2004 at the prestigious Ahmet Comert Tournament in Istanbul, Turkey, Jill won the 63-kg ladies' division, again defeating Yesil Yetiz of Turkey, this time by a 20-9 score.

Emery won the USA Boxing Female Athlete of the Month award several times, and in 2004 she was named as USA Boxing’s Female Athlete of the Year.

She is still the only American to have won a gold medal in the Ahmet Comert Tournament.

Jill's impressive 62-8 amateur national and international career missed only one medal - a World Championship - when she finally turned pro in 2005 at age 34.

On February 2, 2005 at Club Med Sandpiper in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jill (140 lbs) won her pro debut with a four round unanimous decision over Cassandra Lindsey (140 lbs) of  Columbus, Mississippi who fell to 0-2.  

On March 12, 2005 at the Radisson Hotel in Huntington, West Virginia, Jill (146 lbs) stopped pro debuter Katrina Peterson (154 lbs) at 1:32 in the second round. The deciding blow was a body shot. "I stayed busy and got on her," said Emery. "This was a great time to go pro."

On May 20, 2005 at the National Guard Armory in Dorchester, Massachusetts,  Jill (140 lbs) TKO'd pro debuter Vicky Denmark  (135 lbs) of Cincinnati. Ohio in the first round of a scheduled four-rounder.

On October 7, 2005 at the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jill (144 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-52,60-53,60-53) decision over Maria Nava (140 lbs)  of Little Rock, Arkansas, who fell to 1-4 (0 KO) with the loss.

On March 18, 2006 at The Centre in Evansville, Indiana, Jill (143 lbs) TKO'd Susan Winner (144 lbs) of Lawrence, Kansas at 0:42 in the third round of a scheduled four. Winner fell to 0-3 with the loss.

On June 30, 2006 at the Blue Mega Club in El Paso, Texas, Jill (143 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-54,59-55,59-55) decision over Victoria Cisneros (147 lbs) of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who fell to 3-5-2 (0 KO's) with the loss.

Jill battles Daria Hill in August 2006
Copyrighted photo taken by Alan Messick

On August 31, 2006 at Harvey's in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Jill (143 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (59-55,59-55,58-56) decision over Daria Hill (6'1" 145 lbs) of Camden, New Jersey.  Jill was tested in this fight against the talented and heavy-punching Hill, who fell to 3-4 (3 KO's) with the loss.

On January 13, 2007 at Brandberge Arena in Halle an der Saale, Germany, Emery jumped up two weight classes to fight ten rounds at 152 lbs for the vacant WIBA World Middleweight title against the undefeated Karolina Lukasik (154 lbs). Jill lost by a controversial split (99-92 Lukasik, 96-94 Emery, 97-93 Lukasik) decision.  The Polish-born Lukasik, who also had an extensive amateur boxing career before turning pro,  improved her pro record to 6-0-0 (0 KO's) with the win.

Jill Emery vs Angel McKenzie in Dublin
Copyrighted photo courtesy Team Emery

On June 21, 2007, at The Point in Dublin, Ireland, Jill (140 lbs) made history by fighting in the first professional women’s boxing match held in the Republic of Ireland, defeating Russian-born Angel McKenzie (139 lbs) of England by an eight round referee's decision (80-72). Emery dominated the fight from the start, scoring readily on the much less experienced McKenzie before McKenzie opened a cut on Emery’s forehead in the sixth (Jill tells me this was the result of an accidental head butt). Emery hung on for the win despite the injury but the crowd’s muted response to the action suggested that Dubliners may not be quite ready for more women's pro boxing action (or that the bar outside the arena was a more compelling attraction to some fans than the undercard). McKenzie fell to 2-3 (0 KO's) with the loss.

On December 6, 2007 at the Tachi Palace Casino in California; Jill (139 lbs) fought for the NABF Junior Welterweight title against former world champion Terri Blair (5'6", 137 lbs) of Louisville, Kentucky. Jill lost the action-packed eight-rounder by a 78-74,74-78,75-77 split decision. This fight won the NABF Female Fight of the Year designation in 2007.  Blair improved to 10-13-2 (6 KO's) with the win.

Jill vs. Angel Martinez in June 2008
Copyrighted Photo by Marty Rosengarten/RingsidePhotos.com

On June 12, 2008, Fox Sports ‘The Best Damn Sports Show” aired the IFBA Welterweight World Title Fight at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, between Jill (146 lbs) and the then #1 ranked Angelica "Angel" Martinez (146 lbs) of Dallas, Texas.  Emery won a convincing 99-91,97-93,96-94 ten-round decision over the scrappy Martinez to win the vacant title. the evening, Emery utilized her reach and southpaw stance to control the scrappy Martinez action from the start of the fight. Martinez, one of only four boxers to defeat Christy Martin, fell to 6-5-1 (1 KO) with the loss.

On March 19 2010 at the Twin River Events Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island, USA, former world champion Jaime Clampitt (139 lbs) of Rhode Island won a six-round majority (59-55,59-55,57-57) decision over Jill Emery (141 lbs).  Scott Ploof reports that "Emery came out firing in the first round using her reach advantage.  Clampitt kept digging from down low to try and work on the inside of Emery.  Clampitt got at Emery in round two as she worked around the long jab and reach of Emery, who kept her glove extended throughout the fight in a way to keep a safe distance from Clampitt.  Clampitt continued to move around the ring well which allowed her to land punches and fight on the inside.  Emery again kept a safe distance from Clampitt in round three.  When Clampitt is able to get in on the inside, she is tied up by Emery.   Clampitt lands a right to the body, while Emery missed a right hook.  Emery seemed to cause Clampitt some trouble but really did not do much to capitalize on this advantage.  Clampitt was more active during the six round bout, however Emery used her reach well as she never fought in close with Clampitt and kept her arm extended throughout while trying to find a way to attack.  In the end it was Clampitt that got the narrow decision in a close fight."  Clampitt improved to 22-4-1 (7 KOs) as Emery slipped to 9-3-0 (3 KOs).

Mikaela Lauren vs Jill EmeryOn September 24, 2010 at Sundsta Idrottshus in Karlstad, Sweden, Mikaela Lauren (146 lbs) of Sweden won a six-round unanimous (58-56,59-56,59-56) decision over Jill (146 lbs) for the vacant WPBF Welterweight title. Sweden lifted a ban on pro boxing in 2007 but as the lengths of pro fights there are still limited the WPBF sanctioned a six-rounder for its vacant title. This abbreviated title fight was a high profile home stand event for the athletic but relatively inexperienced Lauren, a former member of the Swedish national swim team who had previously fought unranked opponents from central Europe.  Emery's coach Mike Kozlowski believes Emery was robbed in a home-town cause, and reports that Emery wants a ten-round rematch with Lauren in New York.  Lauren improved her record to 7-0 (2 KO's) with the decision.

Irizarry KO'd by Emery
Irizarry on the canvas after KO by Emery
Photo: boxingcoachmike.com

On November 20, 2010 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, USA, Jill Emery KO'd Adelita Irizarry of Hartford, Connecticut with a solid left at 1:26 in the first round.  Emery improved to 10-4 (4 KO's) while Irizarry fell to 8-5 (2 KO's).  [Video]

Jill Emery vs Cecilia Braekhus
Jill Emery vs Cecilia Braekhus in April 2011
Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On April 2, 2011 at Herning Kongrescenter in Herning, Denmark, undefeated Cecilia Braekhus (147 lbs) of Bergen, Norway won a 10-round unanimous (98-92,98-92,99-91) decision over Jill Emery (145 lbs) defending her WBA, WBO, and WBC Welterweight titles. Photographer Mary Ann Owen told WBAN. "Braekhus was very aggressive all ten rounds landing more punches.  Emery had problems with Braekhus's pressure through out the rounds.  Emery landed a few punches but not enough pull out a win. Both fighters showed good sportsmanship and hugged and talked after the fight."  Braekhus progressed to 17-0 (4 KO's) with the win while Emery fell to 10-5 (4 KO's).

To pay the bills during her amateur career, Jill called on her former passion and her engineering background and took jobs in the technical areas of theater, doing lighting for fashion, TV, and theater events. She's also channeled her penchant for fitness into a side career working as a personal trainer at Crunch Gym on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Jill Emery can be reached by email at Jillemery1@gmail.com or by telephone at 917-749-4834.

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Page last updated:Sunday, December 16, 2012


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