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Middleweight Leatitia "Baby Girl" Robinson trains at Gladiators Boxing Club at Stateway Park in Chicago, Illinois, with coach Frankie J. “Cat Daddy” Smith.

"Baby Girl" began boxing at age 14 to survive in Cabrini Green ... one of the roughest public housing projects in Chicago. A month after she began training, she won her competitive debut against a seasoned 26 year old boxer.

She began to train with Tony Sils and Alfonso Hashbro at Sewer Park in September 1995, and fought and won her first Golden Gloves competition that year. She repeated the performance in 1996, 1997 and 1998, also winning the 1996 Citywide Tournament in Chicago.

On May 31, 1998 in the 156-lb final of the USA Boxing/Everlast National Senior Championships at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California, she lost to Evelyn Rodriquez of New York by a 10-2 score. This would be her only defeat as an amateur boxer.

She competed for the last time with Sils and Hashbro in the 1998 PAL tournament.

"Baby Girl" changed trainers in 1999, moving to Chicago's  Windy City Gym.

On April 15, 2000 in the 165-lb final of the USA Boxing/Everlast National Championships at the Chaparral Center in Midland, Texas, Leatitia stopped Emily Longoria of Phoenix, Arizona at 0:51 in the opening round; the referee stopped the contest with Robinson already ahead 14-0.

On May 7, 2000 in the 75-kg final of the prestigious Feenix Box Cup international tournament in Turku, Finland, Leatitia defeated Canadian champion Jennyfer Grenon by a 5-4 margin.

On August 12, 2000 in the 165-lb Open Division Final of the 2000 US National/international Golden Gloves in Augusta, Georgia, Leatitia won by a 5-0 decision over Angela Josipovic of Toronto, Canada.

On November 18 and 19, 2000 in the 165-lb bracket at the Eastern Gear-Up Senior Tournament for Female Boxers at Newsome Community Center in Evansville, Indiana, Leatitia defeated Faye Hollis of North Carolina by a 4-1 margin and Bonnie Mann of North Carolina by a 5-0 score. 

Leatitia's amateur boxing career ended with a 37-1 record. 

Leatitia made her pro debut on March 23, 2001 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Weighing in at 158 lbs, she won by a first-round TKO over Aicheria Bell (160 lbs) of Wisconsin in a scheduled 4-rounder. Bell's pro record fell to 1-4.

On May 8, 2001 at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois, Leatitia moved her pro record to 2-0 (2 KO's) with a first-round TKO over Theresa Oprysk of Indiana in a 148-lb bout.

On May 17, 2001 she TKO'd Marqueta Robertson in the first round.

On June 14, 2001 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, she moved to 4-0 (3 KO's) with a four-round unanimous (40-36,40-37,39-37) decision over the durable Karen Bill of Lawton, Oklahoma, who fell to 3-7. Inside Women's Boxing correspondent Robert Hoffman reports from ringside that "Robinson was the total package, making Bill miss the mark all night while countering well with a strong right hook and exhibiting good ring generalship." Robinson was the USA Boxing national 165-lb champion in 2000 and compiled a 37-1 record as an amateur. Bill was quoted as saying that Robinson was "very well schooled at moving around.”

Robinson (red) vs. Tracy (black)On October 17, 2001 at Ramada Inn in Rosemont, Illinois, she advanced to 5-0 (4 KOs) with a third-round TKO of Jeanine Tracy. This was a wild bout with Tracy tossing haymakers and attempting to wrestle Robinson to the canvas. At one point both boxers and the referee all fell to the canvas together. Robinson's boxing skills were too much for Tracy, who did not come out for the third round. Tracy fell to 3-5 with the loss.

On November 21, 2001 at Ramada O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois. Leatitia moved her pro record to 6-0 (5 KOs) with a first round TKO over Genevia Buckhalter of Columbus, Mississippi, who fell to 2-9-1 (2 KOs). Robinson dropped Buckhalter with a left hook at 1:48 of the first round and the fight was stopped. FightNews correspondent Robert Hoffman wrote that 'Robinson's footwork, versatility, and knockout power rival many of her male counterparts'.

On June 28, 2002 at Roseland Ballroom in Taunton, Massachusetts, Leatitia advanced to 7-0-0 (6 KO) with a second-round TKO over an outclassed Norma Galloway of New York who couldn't answer the bell for the third and fell to 1-1-1 (0 KO).

On September 13, 2002 at National Guard Armory in Braintree, Massachusetts. Leatitia pounded unranked Evelyn Holly of Pennsauken, New Jersey into voluntary withdrawal between the first and second rounds. Holly fell to 1-3-1 (0 KO) with the loss.

On December 14, 2002 at National Guard Armory in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In a battle of former US amateur champions, Leatitia weighed in at 158 lbs and stopped Dakota Stone (159½ lbs) of Aberdeen, Washington at 0:39 in the sixth round for the vacant IWBF Middleweight title. Both boxed cautiously in the opening rounds, Robinson establishing her jab while Stone threw occasional exploratory hooks to her body. In the fourth, Stone pinned Robinson in a corner and fired off several shots before Robinson spun herself out of harm's way and returned the favor. They traded solid shots in the fifth with Stone landing a right to Robinson's head, but Robinson worked Stone's body well and connected consistently with her jab. As the round ended, Robinson landed a good right to Stone's face. Dakota Stone began the sixth with a right to Robinson's face, but just seconds later Robinson tagged her with a hard left hook to the jaw that sent Stone to the canvas for the first time in her career. Stone lay motionless for a couple of seconds before slowly rising to her feet. Stone gamely attempted a counterattack, but Robinson backed her into the ropes and unleashed a barrage of rights and lefts to Stone's head and jaw. The referee stepped in to stop the bout with Stone clearly still shaky after the knockdown. “She had her hands down by her chin,” said Robinson. “She dropped her hands and I saw my opening.” "Baby Girl" progressed to 9-0-0 (8 KO) with the win while Stone, who was the 1999 USA Boxing national 156-lb titlist, fell to 5-3-3 (0 KO). Asked about her strategy entering the bout, Robinson smiled and said "I just wanted to have fun."


Robinson stalks Eplion in the WIBA title fight
© Copyrighted photo by WBAN Senior Editor Brian Ackley

On February 28, 2004 at Veterans Memorial Field House in Huntington, West Virginia, in a battle between two undefeated and top-ranked fighters, Leatitia (159 lbs) won the WIBA Middleweight title with a ten-round unanimous (98-92,97-94,99-91) decision over Nikki Eplion (160 lbs) of South Point, Ohio. Former Toughwoman champion Eplion was the favorite of the crowd, estimated at 1,000, and had predicted a third-round KO at the weigh-in.

But the ring skills that Robinson had honed in her 37-1 amateur career were too much for Eplion as Robinson constantly beat her to the punch. Robinson also appeared to be in better condition for a long fight. A ringside correspondent says that Robinson "hammered Nikki from the left side and it was like when she was tired with that she hammered Nikki from the right. Nikki didn't have the endurance that Robinson had. From the stands it looked like Robinson was just having fun, she didn't look like she was working at all. Nikki on the other hand was shuffling around and couldn't react quickly enough. Robinson didn't sit there and wait for Nikki. Maybe that's why it looked like Nikki was only fighting with one hand, she never had a chance to throw the second punch. About the only thing Nikki had left was to keep hugging Robinson, that was annoying because we didn't get to see much continued punching for that reason."

Eplion fell to a sanctioned record of 11-1-2 (7 KO); she had other, unsanctioned, bouts since turning pro.

Leatitia Robinson"I’ve been waiting a whole year for this",  Leatitia told WBAN's Senior Editor Brian Ackley. "We tried to fight Nikki Eplion last year and when our people talked to her people they said she wasn’t ready, she needed a few more fights, so I was going to wait until whenever she was ready because I knew I could beat her. And I knew that she could not beat me no matter how much she said she could. She gave me exactly what I expected from her ... nothing", Robinson said. "She basically didn’t have any love for me when she told me she was going to knock me out and this was going to be the worst beating of my life. I wanted to show her you are not a boxer, you’re a toughman, and when you become a boxer, that’s when you can get in the ring and discuss something with me."

"We were able to box and beat her to the punch every time, make her miss, make her get frustrated by going from side to side, switching all the time. We wanted to do that and that’s what I did."  (See Brian Ackley's full fight report and more photos)

On January 30, 2004 at the National Guard Armory in Worcester, Massachussetts, Leatitia (163 lbs) successfully defended her IWBF Middleweight title, when she won a 10-round unanimous decision over Yvonne Reis (159 lbs) now 3-2-1, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Final scoring was 98-92, 100-90, and 100-90.


Leatitia takes a left from Valerie Mahfood
© copyrighted photo  by J & P Photography

On September 24th, 2004 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Leatitia (168¼ lbs) won the IBA Continental title with a ten-round unanimous decision over Valerie Mahfood (168¾ lbs) of Groves, Texas. Leatitia outboxed Mahfood while punishing her with fast jabs and right hands. Mahfood was often left punching air as Robinson moved masterfully to bamboozle her. As Mahfood tried to increase her pressure, Robinson showed more skill at giving her difficult angles and countering as Mahfood pursued her around the ring. Mahfood fell to 17-8 (8 KO) with the loss.

On February 11th, 2005 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, Leatitia  (160 lbs) knocked out Mónica Núñez (159 lbs) of the Dominican Republic with her second punch to earn a shockingly easy 36-second win. Robinson landed a solid straight right hand to the midsection of Núñez, feinted to open the way through the guard of her opponent and then dropped her with a picture perfect left hook to the jaw.  The fight had been scheduled as a ten-rounder for Leatitia's WIBA Middleweight title. Robinson improved to 13-0 (9 KOs) while Núñez fell to 9-3 (4 KOs).  The card was promoted by Laila Ali's husband Johnny McClain and carried live on ESPN2 and Robinson's spectacular win added to the buzz abut her stepping up to fight Ali.

On December 10, 2005 at Club O Arena in Harvey, Illinois, Leatitia won a six-round unanimous shutout (60-54) decision over Cassandra Geiggar of Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Robinson improved to 14-0 (9 KO's) with the win. Geiggar fell to 6-7-0 (6 KO's).


Leatitia Robinson vs. Yvonne Reis
© Copyrighted photo courtesy JabJab Productions

On December 2, 2006 at the Moi International Sport Center in Nairobi, Kenya, Leatitia won a ten-round majority decision over Yvonne Reis of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the WIBA Middleweight World Title. WBC Middleweight champion Reis fell to 6-10-1 (0 KOs). 

On April 4, 2009 at the Convention Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi,  Ijeoma Egbunine (170 lbs) of Marietta, Georgia won an eight-round unanimous decision over Leaitita (166 lbs). Egbunine said that "Robinson is a good boxer but she couldn't get through my jab. I had my game plan, when she boxed inside I would bull her, when she tried to bull me, I would box.  This loss dropped Robinson, who was coming off a two-year layoff, to 15-1 (9 KO's) while Egbunine advanced to 1602 (10 KO's).

"Baby Girl" is looking forward to being recognized as an undisputed female champion and then to pursuing her professional and personal goals by moving into a law enforcement career while running her own boxing gym. She looks forward to giving back to the sport of boxing by supporting children and women who are interested in the sport.

She says that the influences in her life to which she credits her successes are God and her mother. Her mother was always there for her and instilled a strong love of God in "Baby Girl", who hopes to pass on this love to her own family and to others through boxing and all of her future endeavors.

After Leatitia won her second world title, I asked if she had any advice for girls who are just getting into the sport of boxing. She replied ...

"Stay in school because you may be a world champ but without education you won't be able to fend for yourself. There is more to being a world champ than just being the best boxer. Believe in God and thank Him everyday. Each day you wake up is a gift, He can watch out for you when there is nobody besides boxing, talk to Him, that is how I made it through some tough years. He will get you through. Then take care of the people around you, your friends, parents and family. The love you give will be returned back to you and will make your achievements even more special because you have someone to share them with. Lastly, focus on boxing or whatever your passion is. In whatever sport or activity you excel, stick with it, love what you do and one day you will be recognized as the best and what you dream for will come true. Don't let anyone tell you that being female means you can't be a boxer or anything else you decide to do!"

"I love boxing", she added, "not because I hope to make a bunch of money but because it is what I do, I love the sport. Love boxing, learn the game, and work hard. You will see the results and be rewarded in many ways. You can't become a true world champion without putting in the years of blood, sweat and tears. Take your time, work through the amateurs and really develop yourself as a fighter, your time will come."

Leatitia can be reached by email at babygirlboxing@yahoo.com.

Thanks to Julie Landsdown for providing the large photo of Leatitia with the title belts after her win over Nikki Eplion ... Dee

More Leatitia Robinson Links

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Page last updated: Sunday December 16, 2012

 
     
     
     
     
 

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