5'8" junior lightweight Kara "KO" Ro (really Kara
Olivia Rheault, but pronounced
the same way) was born on November 9, 1975 in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
She grew up
in Northern Ontario but has lived most of her adult life in Windsor,
Ontario, just across the river from Detroit, Michigan. Kara
moved there to study Psychology and then Business at the University of
Kara always enjoyed sports,
and she excelled in
basketball, tennis, volleyball (in which she captained the University of Windsor
Team). She began boxing after her second year at the University of
when her hockey player boyfriend signed a contract to play in the
Andre Courtemanche of Fightnews.com "I told him that lots of
hockey players learn boxing to be more aggressive. Originally, I went
along to be supportive, but quickly became addicted to the toughness
the sport demands. To be honest, after
my first day in the gym, I couldn’t get out of bed for two days, I
couldn’t laugh or cry because my back hurt so badly.”
But Kara soon found that she had a natural affinity for boxing and
as an amateur.
Kara's first gym was the
Border City Boxing Club, where retired world champion Margaret Sidoroff also
trained and now coaches. She also fought out of the Adanac Boxing Club.
At the Dayton Women's
Invitational at Westwood Recreation Center in Dayton, Ohio on June 29,
Kara defeated Stella Nijhof of New York by decision in a 125-lb bout.
Later that year
she won her division in the 2001 Ringside tournament in Kansas City,
then Canadian champion Donna Mancuso in her first bout. "After
that, I fought a tough Mexican girl and while I was in the ring, I
from the crowd yell, ‘that girl hits like a man!’ I was so happy when
strapped the belt around me.” Kara went on to defeat another
Canadian champion, Wendy Broad, before turning pro in September 2002.
As a pro boxer, Kara trains at
the Kronk Gym in Detroit with trainer
Javen "Sugar" Hill under the guidance of manager Emanuel Steward.
She made her pro debut on
September 27, 2002 at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan,
weighing in at 128½ lbs and winning a four-round unanimous decision
over southpaw Terri Blair
(128½ lbs) of Louisville, Kentucky who fell to 2-2-0 (1 KO).
On February 7, 2003
again at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan,
she won by a fourth-round TKO over Julia Day of Georgetown, Kentucky.
Day, who was
fighting for the second time in four days, was knocked down three times
had a point deducted for holding; she fell to
3-3-0 (1 KO) with this loss to Kara.
Julia Day was no match for
Kara in Ro's second fight!
On June 27, 2003 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit,
Kara (130 lbs) won a clear four-round unanimous (40-35,40-35,40-46)
decision over pro debut fighter Kim Colbert (128 lbs), who she also
sent to the canvas during the fight (see the picture at left).
On August 30, 2003 at Sam's
Town Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, Kara TKO'd Melissa Rodriguez in the
first round. Rodriguez was making her pro debut.
On September 2, 2003 at
Mountaineer Race Track in Chester, West Virginia,
ESPN2's Tuesday Night Fights doubled as a crime
Kara (134 lbs) gained her first TV exposure in a mismatch
winless Leona Tanner (135 lbs) of Weirton, West Virginia. Ro totally
dominated the first round
and nailed Tanner with straight right 0:15 into the second, producing a
Tanner, a former Toughwoman contestant, fell to 0-4. Her last pro fight
before facing Kara had been in June 2002, when she was
KO'd in just 40 seconds by Amy Burton.
On December 5, 2003 at the
Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines, Iowa,
Kara TKO'd Sarah Schneider of Cameron, Missouri in the third round,
Schneider's record to 1-1 (1 KO).
On March 12, 2004 at Edgewater
Casino in Laughlin, Nevada,
Kara (132½ lbs) won a six-round unanimous (59-55,59-55,58-56) decision
Blanca Luna (5'2", 130½ lbs) of Las Vegas, who fell to 4-3-1 (0 KO).
On April 2, 2004 at Joe Louis
Arena in Detroit, Michigan,
Kara TKO'd Talia Smith of Ohio at 1:29 in the fourth round. According
to WBAN's insider, Smith had been knocked down three times with the
last knockdown resulting in the stoppage. The loss dropped Smith's
record to 3-4-0.
On August 28, 2004 at Cobo
Hall in Detroit, Michigan, Kara (134½ lbs) won a clear (60-54)
six-round unanimous decision over Angie Poe (135½ lbs) of
Denver, Colorado. Poe fell to 3-3-0 (2 KO).
Kara dominated Renee Richardt Douglas
© Copyrighted photo by Dan Graschuck
On November 19, 2004 at the
Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit, Michigan, Kara (132 lbs) won by
a fourth-round TKO over Renee Richardt Douglas (132 lbs) of Fenton,
Missouri. I'm told that Douglas tried to make a fight of it for a
while, but Kara Ro was too strong and quick for her. Douglas fell to
11-4-1 (4 KOs) while Ro improved to 11-0 (7 KOs). (For more photo
coverage of the fight by Dan Graschuck, see Photo
Gallery #230 on the WBAN Member Site).
On February 18, 2005 at the Michigan State
Fairgrounds in Detroit, Kara (132 lbs) won the WIBA
Intercontinental Lightweight title with an eight-round unanimous (79-72,79-74,78-73) decision over veteran Tracy Byrd
(129 lbs) of Detroit. Ro had more power in her punches and sent Byrd to
the canvas with a long right in the sixth, while Byrd could not get
inside Ro's defense enough. Byrd fell to 13-8 (4 KOs).
(For more photos of the fight by Wyoman Mitchell, see Photo Gallery #245 on
On June 10, 2005 at the State
Fair Grounds in Detroit, Michigan, Kara won the vacant WIBA Lightweight
title with a convincing (99-91,98-92,| 98-92) 10-round unanimous
decision over Miami-based
Belinda Laracuente of Puerto Rico. The
taller Ro stalked Laracuente throughout, landing body shots and left
hooks fairly consistently. Laracuente tried to use movement and
counterpunching to outfox her younger opponent, but wasn’t busy enough
to win many rounds. The
experienced and always elusive Laracuente fell to 21-9-2 (9 KOs).
According to the WIBA, on May
12 2006 Kara advised the WIBA that she would retire and relinquish her
WIBA titles. She was the #5 ranked lightweight in WBAN's rankings on
May 1, 2006.
Kara Ro vs Kim Colbert, September 2006
On September 15, 2006 at Little River Casino in
Manistee, Michigan, Kara ended her retirement by winning a six-round
unanimous (60-54) decision over Kim Colbert of Southfield, Michigan.
who dropped to 2-11-0 (2 KO's).
February 22, 2008 at the Ford Community Center in Dearborn, Michigan,
Kara (130 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-53,60-54,59-55) decision
over LaKeysha WIlliams (5'4", 130 lbs) of Philadelphia, who fell to
9-11-3 (1 KO).
On March 29, 2008 at the Soaring
Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Kara (131 lbs) won a
four-round unanimous (39-37,40-36,39-37) decision in a rematch with
LaKeysha Williams who fell to 9-12-3 (1 KO). Ro used her superior
reach and ring movement to control most of the action throughout the
fight against the scrappy but less skilled WIlliams.
Williams's goal was to move in aggressively and rough Ro up at
close quarters but she was only occasionally able to do
had to drop out of boxing competition because of a back injury but she
became a coach and technical advisor for seven-time Canadian and
three-time world amateur champion Mary Spencer as she trained for the
6, 2011 at Motor City Casino in Detroit, Michigan, Kara (131¾ lbs) again returned to the ring and won a four-round unanimous (40-36x3) decision over
Elizabeth Sherman (131¾. lbs) of Philadelphia. Sherman fell to 3-2 (1 KO) while Ro improved to 17-0 (7 KO's). "I liked it, I had fun," Ro told Mike Brudenell of the Detroit Free Press, "I'm already looking ahead to my next fight."
Kara can be contacted by email
Other Kara Ro links
For fight reports, up-to-date boxer records and huge digital photos, go
the WBAN Member Site
Sunday December 16, 2012