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Karo Ro
Copyrighted photo taken by Wyoman Mitchell


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 Windsor.

Kara always enjoyed sports, and she excelled in basketball, tennis, volleyball (in which she captained the University of Windsor Women's Team). She began boxing after her second year at the University of Windsor, when her hockey player boyfriend signed a contract to play in the NHL. 

She told 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 began competing 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, 2001 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, defeating 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 heard someone from the crowd yell, ‘that girl hits like a man!’ I was so happy when they 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 128 lbs and winning a four-round unanimous decision over southpaw Terri Blair (128 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 and also 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, Michigan, 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 scene when Kara (134 lbs) gained her first TV exposure in a mismatch with  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 TKO. 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, dropping Schneider's record to 1-1 (1 KO).

On March 12, 2004 at Edgewater Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, Kara (132 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (59-55,59-55,58-56) decision over Blanca Luna (5'2", 130 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 (134 lbs) won a clear (60-54) six-round unanimous decision over Angie Poe (135  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 the WBAN Member Site).

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).

On 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 that. [Video]

Kara 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 2012 Olympics.

On October 6, 2011 at Motor City Casino in Detroit, Michigan, Kara (131 lbs) again returned to the ring and  won a four-round unanimous (40-36x3) decision over Elizabeth Sherman (131. 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 at kara_ro@hotmail.com.

Other Kara Ro links

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Page last updated: Sunday December 16, 2012


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