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Kaliesha West
© Copyrighted photo taken by Jesus Sanchez

5'4" bantamweight Kaliesha (Kay) "Wild Wild" West was born on February 11, 1988 in South Haven, Michigan, USA. Her heritage is multi-cultural:  her father Juan West is of Black, Puerto Rican and Seminole Indian descent while her mother Melissa is of Korean and Mexican heritage.  She lives in Moreno Valley, California, a small suburb between Riverside and Palm Springs.  She attended Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley where she was an honors student and ran cross-country. Her boxing trainer and manager is her father, who was a US Navy amateur boxing champion and a pro welterweight from 1994 to 1995. (He left the competitive sport to support his family better.)

Kaliesha first got excited about boxing while attending her father's fights but he was reluctant to involve her in the sport. According to WBAN correspondent David Avila, Juan West tried to appease the 10-year-old Kaliesha by showing her the proper boxing stance and how to punch then giving her monotonous training exercises to discourage her.  When she persisted, her took her to a gym to fight, and she lost.  “I thought that would make her quit,” Juan West told David Avila, but instead it made her more determined!  

Kaliesha went on to become one of the best amateurs in California, winning numerous tournaments and honors including the 2002 and 2003 Junior Olympic championships and the 2003 and 2004 Silver Gloves and the 2002 125-lb National Golden Gloves championship for ages 13-14. Her overall amateur record was 98-10 when she turned pro in 2006.

Kliesha West vs Suszannah WarnerShe made her pro debut on February 23, 2006 at San Manuel Indian Casino in San Bernardino, California, weighting in at 118 lbs and winning a four-round unanimous (40-35 x 3) decision over Suszannah Warner. (117¾ lbs). Warner was knocked down in the second round and fell to 2-3 (1 KO).  

As West had only just turned 18, she had to be sneaked in to the fight arena because there was a minimum age of 21 to enter the casino.

On March 25, 2006 at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, Kaliesha won a four-round unanimous decision over Tonia Cravens of Albuquerque, New Mexico who fell to 2-2-1 (1 KO).

On May 19, 2006 at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello, California, Kaliesha (116¾ lbs) won a four-round unanimous (40-37,39-37,39-37) decision over Elizabeth Cervantes (5'1", 114 lbs) of Lakeside, California who fell to 1-5 (0 KO's).

Kaliesha West vs Maria Contreras
Kaliesha West vs Maria Contreras
© Copyrighted photo by Jesus Sanchez

On July 8, 2006 at the Conference Center in Monterey, California, Kaliesha won a six-round unanimous (60-55,59-55,60-54) decision over Maria Contreras of Houston, Texas, who fell to 1-5 (0 KO's) and has not fought since.

On November 18, 2006  at the Conference Center in Monterey, California, Kaliesha won a six-round unanimous (59-55 x 3) decision over former amateur standout Stella Nijhof of New York who fell to 1-1-1 (0 KO's) and has not fought as a pro since.

WBAN named Kaliesha its "Rookie of the Year" for 2006.

Kaliesha West vs Elizabeth CervantesOn March 30, 2007 at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, Kaliesha (116 lbs) won another four-round unanimous (40-36 x 3) decision over Elizabeth Cervantes (114 lbs) who fell to 1-7 (0 KO's).

On August 17, 2007 at Harrah;s Rincon Casino in Valley Center, California, Kaliesha (116½ lbs) won a six-round split (58-56,59-55,56-58) decision over British-born Carly Batey (116½ lbs) of San Diego, California who fell to 3-2-2 (0 KO's).

On March 29, 2008 at Gimnasio Oscar “Tigre” García in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, Kaliesha TKO'd Flor Verdugo of Mexico at 1:43 in the second round of a scheduled six-rounder. 

On June 27, 2008 at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Cabazon, California, Kaliesha (123½ lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-54,60-54,59-55) decision over Elizabeth (Villarreal) Moreno (5'7", 123¼ lbs) of San Antonio, Texas who fell to 5-7-3 (KO's).

On July 23, 2008 at Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Cabazon, California, Kaliesha (123½ lbs) KO'd Elizabeth Cervantes (124 lbs) of Lakeside, California at 0:55 in the first round of a scheduled six-rounder. Cervantes fell to 2-9 (1 KO). [Video]

On November 18, 2008 at Table Mountain Casino in Friant, California, unbeaten Ava Knight (117½ lbs) of Chico, California won the IFBA North American Bantamweight title with a hard fought eight-round unanimous (77-75x3) decision over Kaliesha (117¾ lbs). According to Mario Ortega Jr of 15Rounds.com, "In a thrilling eight-round bout, West got off to great start as her speed seemed to bother Knight early. As the rounds progressed, Knight gained the momentum by landing the cleaner and harder shots. In the fifth, a knot began to develop on the left side of Knight’s forehead as the result of a clash of heads. Action was fast and furious, as neither woman wanted a punch to go unanswered. Late in the fight, Knight’s clear edge in power seemed to tilt matters in her favor. Undeterred, West kept coming forward until the close of a great fight fought at an extremely high level. After an action-packed eighth round, both fighters received a standing ovation."  Knight improved to 5-0-2 (2 KO's) with the win.

Asked later how she felt after losing her first pro bout, Kaliesha was unambiguous, saying "You know what, when I started boxing I lost my first amateur fight, and I don’t mean it was a close decision either. I had two eight counts and was knocked around the ring, after I lost the fight when the ref was holding both of our arms, I kept asking the girl for a rematch, I was yelling, “When we going to rematch, I want a rematch!” I have the type of mentality which it pisses me off when I fail, and it always makes me come back harder trying to do something different and push myself even more to come back and win. A lot of people don’t have heart after losing, and when you lose a fight that is really a test. So when I fought against Ava, and took my first professional loss, all I was thinking was when we were going to rematch, I wanted a rematch by the end of the year. But they wanted bigger things because they realized how tough of a match it was. I would love a rematch against Knight, but she lost her last fight, and injured her back, so I don’t even know if she is going to continue to box. Now I am focusing on a title, I try to go even higher; if she doesn’t fight again I will fight the girl she lost to."

Kaleisha West vs Rolanda AndrewsOn August 1, 2009 at Aqua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California, Kaliesha (125 lbs) won a six-round unanimous decision over Rolanda Andrews (124 lbs) of Atlanta, Georgia who fell to 8-8-1 (4 KO's) and has not fought again. Kaliesha had moved up to featherweight because of difficulty obtaining opponenKaleisha West vs Ada Velezts at bantamweight.

On January 21, 2010 at San Manuel Indian Casino in Highland, California, Kaliesha (120¾ lbs) battled to a six-round majority draw with former IBF and WIBA world bantamweight champion Ada Velez (121½ lbs) of Hollywood, Florida.  
According to a fight report by David Avila, "West opened fast with several left hook follow ups that caught Velez flush. A few body shots added some steam to her attack as the Californian captured the first round pretty decisively. The second round saw West fight from the outside and score with some quick right hands from outside and some loud booming punches to the body. Inside the fighting was even with Velez finally landing a resounding right hook at the bell. Velez changed direction in the third round and began to attack the body. Several double right hooks to the body and head landed flush. During the middle both fighters worked each others body with West also landing several double hooks to the body and head. Several clean punches by West finished off the round. West opened the fourth round by catching Velez walking into a left hook flush on the jaw. (Velez) took the blow and walked inside as both traded blows to the body with equal verve. It was a close round but that left hook by West was the best punch of the round. Velez had her best round yet as West seemed to slow down in the fifth round. Working the body and head Velez pressed the action as West used her jab from the outside to keep Velez at bay. The Florida based fighter scored most of the punches as she pressed the action and kept the fight inside. A number of times both fighters clashed heads with West backing up with a grimace each time they collided. In the final round Velez opened fast as West tried to keep her spacing. With some good combinations to the body and head Velez kept the fight at her pace and distance. West rallied in the middle with a solid left hook and some combos but with mere seconds remaining Velez landed just enough to win her the final round. Judge Jerry Cantu scored it 59-55 for West but judges Marty Denkin and Jose Cobian had it 57-57 for a majority draw." Velez moved her record to 16-3-3 (6 KO's) with this, her first fight after a 26-month layoff.

On March 26, 2010 at Arena Midt in Kjellerup, Denmark, Kaliesha (117¾ lbs) fought to a 10-round majority  (95-95,95-95,94-96) draw with former WBC, WBA, WIBA, WIBF and GBU world bantamweight champion Anita Christensen (116½ lbs) of Randers, Denmark for the vacant World Professional Boxing Federation bantamweight belt.  West moved her pro record to 11-1-2 (2 KOs) while Christensen's went to 24-1-1 (8 KOs).

On June 26, 2010 at the Jockey Club in Lima, Peru Kaliesha (119¼ lbs) TKO'd Vannessa Guimaraes (5′0½″, 118¾ lbs) of Curitiba, Brazil who fell to 8-3 (7 KO's).

Prior to that fight, Kaliesha prepared by sparring with Ana Julaton, telling interviewer Dennis DSource Guillermo about their sessions: "They're real intense. She's more of a fighter as to my style is a boxer. So we go hand-in-hand to tactically take one another apart. It's like we're both learning off one another constantly. Like each round is very intense. She is a smart fighter as well as I, so she's correcting my mistakes and I'm correcting her mistakes and it's going back and forth that we're learning from one another."

Kaliesha West vs Angel GladneyOn September 18, 2010 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Kaliesha (118 lbs) won the vacant WBO Bantamweight title with a TKO over Angel Gladney (5'1", 117 lbs) of South Carolina at 0:59 in the seventh round of a scheduled ten-rounder.  WBAN correspondent Lori Steinhorst wrote that "Although the first round started of a bit slow the women picked up the pace by the second round. Both fighters were a bit cautious at times yet they were both successful at landing punches that scored. Sometime during the third round Gladney suffered a cut just over the corner of her left eye. The cut required 4 sutures. It appeared [to me] that the cut was caused by an accidental clash of heads, however the referee determined the cut was sustained from a punch. It wasn’t until the fourth round that you began to see the kind of action that would determine this fight. With a roll of the ankle Gladney went down. Although it was ruled a slip, it was very clear that the ankle injury was a problem for Gladney. With the decreased movement West was able to hone in and target Gladney. Although both of them had landed well with their hooks, it was West’s speed, timing and movement that allowed her to catch Gladney with a sharp left hook that sent Gladney to the floor 59 seconds into the 7th round. Gladney was up within a few seconds but was waved off by the referee. West was crafty and sharp, no doubt about it. And Gladney had the kind of power that would have put most any other opponent down. West took those punches well, but I am sure in the coming days she will have a pretty good dose of soreness. All in all both of these women fought well and the crowd, although relatively small, seemed to really enjoy this fight."  Gladney fell to 6-3-2 (5 KO's). Boxing writer David Avila named West's knockout of Gladney the "Knockout of the Year" and West the "Fighter of the Year" for 2010.

On June 18, 2011 at the Sports Arena in Pico Rivera, California, Ava Knight (117 lbs) of Chico, California and Kaliesha West (118 lbs) fought to a 10-round split draw in a rematch for the WBO Bantamweight title. The scores were: 96-94 West, 96-94 Knight, and 95-95. Mary Ann Owen told WBAN, "West and Knight were like mirror images, their fight was an offensive battle. Both fighters used excellent combinations in a continuous struggle to the end."  Knight's record moved to 6-1-3 (3 KO's). [Flash slideshow of fight by Mary Ann Owen]

On August 20, 2011 at Casino Black Pyramid in Manzanillo, Colima, México, Kaliesha West (118 lbs) won a 10-round unanimous (97-95,99-91,96-94) decision over Jessica Villafranca (118 lbs) of Nicolas Romero, México defending the WBO Bantamweight title. West wrote on her Facebook page that "The fight was tough. Jessica has a big heart.”  Villafranca fell to 12-3 (6 KO's). 

Ksaliesha West vs Claudia Lopez
Claudia Lopez vs Kaliesha West in April 2012
Copyrighted photo courtesy Box Latino/Team West

On April 14, 2012 at Gimnasio Municipal Ernesto Ruffo Appel in Rosarito, Baja California, México, Kaliesha West won a hard fought ten round majority (98-92,98-92,95-95) decision over Claudia Lopez of Argentina defending the WBO Bantamweight title.  The action went back and forth throughout a battle in which West at first looked off balance and awkward against the sturdy southpaw.  Lopez was busier when the early action got to close quarters but West found her composure and distance better in the later rounds and also landed the straighter, harder punches of the two as Lopez began to tire.  Lopez kept coming forward and gave a good account of herself in a match that was far from one-sided.  “I appreciate Box Latino for giving me an internationally televised, title defense opportunity,” Kaliesha West said after the fight. “Lopez was a crafty veteran who was aggressive during the entire fight. Other boxers avoid her because she is a tough lefty, who has experience fighting good competition. She was what we expected and then some.”  West improved to 15-1-3 (4 KO's) with the win while Lopez fell to 18-6 (4 KO's).  [Video]


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Page last updated: Monday, 16 April 2012


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