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© Copyrighted photo taken by Jerry Coli

 
   

5'1" Melissa (Missy) "The Fury" Fiorentino from Cranston, Rhode Island was born on January 19, 1977.  She has successfully made the transition from amateur kick-boxer to professional boxer. Her rapid firing, power-punching style has led to her being described as "the Rocky Marciano of women’s boxing".

Missy is a graduate of Roger Williams College.  As a Rhode Island Deputy Marshall, her responsibilities include transporting prisoners from to the courthouse in Providence.  "Some of the prisoners have seen me fight on television," she says, "Once in a while one will say to another ... better not mess with her or she'll knock you out."

In the 139-lb division of the 2000 USA Boxing Everlast National Championships at the Chaparral Center in Midland, Texas, she defeated Stephanie Jaramillo of New Mexico by a 30-19 score in the semifinal on April 13, and Jean Martin of Brooklyn, NY by a 17-14 score in the final on April 15.

On May 5-6, 2000 in the 63.5-kg semifinal of the Feenix Box Cup in Turku, Finland, Missy lost to Canada's Tanya Robertson by RSC-3.

On June 6, 2000 at the Riviera Club in Cranston, Rhode Island, she  won the vacant USKBA Amateur Female Full Contact Lightweight title with a five-round unanimous decision over Yvonne Bridges. Fiorentino pushed the action with power punching and kicks while Bridges showed good technique throughout the fight. (Bridges had lost a hard fought decision to Fiorentino in 1999, earning both the title shot.)

In the 132-lb Open Division at the 2000 US National/international Golden Gloves in Augusta, Georgia, Missy defeated Trisha Hill of Kennesaw, Georgia by a 5-0 score in the semi-finals on August 11 but then lost by a 4-1 score to Jennifer Smith of London, Ontario, Canada in the final the next day. 

On November 15, 2000 in a Russia-USA Dual Meet at the Good Time Emporium in Somerville, Massachusetts, Missy defeated Irina Sinetskaya of Russia by 10-7 in a 139-lb contest.

On November 17, 2000 in a Russia-USA Dual meet at Rockingham Park, in Salem, New Hampshire, Missy defeated Olga Vlasova of Russia by 2-1 in a 139-lb contest.

Melissa in her pro debutOn November 16, 2001 in Cranston, Rhode Island, Missy (in black and gold at left) won her pro boxing debut with a first-round TKO of Vanessa Pine of Puerto Rico. who fell to 1-1 (1 KO).

On April 4, 2002 at Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard (a.k.a. Mashantucket), Connecticut, a capacity crowd was on hand as Missy (128 lbs) won by a KO of Ragan Pudwill (129 lbs) of Mandan, North Dakota at 1:26 in the second round. Pudwill was knocked down three times as she was overwhelmed by bombs thrown by the busy Fiorentino. Pudwill was reportedly 2-7-0 (0 KO) overall, but 1-3 in fights verified by me.

On May 24, 2002 at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston, Rhode Island, she advanced to 3-0-0 (3 KO) with a second-round KO of Vikki Clardy of Cincinnati, Ohio who fell to 3-4-0. Fiorentino put Clardy away with a big left hook after several rousing toe-to-toe exchanges.

On July 26, 2002 at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, Cranston, Rhode Island, Missy knocked out Melissa Quashi of Trinidad in the first round to advance her pro record to 4-0-0 (4 KO). A report of this fight said that Quashi never laid a glove on Fiorentino. 

On October 4, 2002 at Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, Missy (127 lbs) of Cranston, Rhode Island advanced to 5-0-0 (4 KO) with a unanimous (40-36) four-round decision over Trisha Hill (125 lbs) of Kennesaw, Georgia who fell to 2-1-0 (1 KO) as a pro boxer. Fiorentino was too aggressive for Hill, constantly moving forward to take away Hill's height and reach advantage. Fiorentino was able to work Hill's head and body with Hill against the ropes and her constant pressure appeared to be more than Hill knew how to handle. Hill did land one hard right to Fiorentino's head in the third but "Missy" was able to shake the punch off and stick with her fight plan.

In December 2002 she was sidelined after pulling ligaments in her foot during training.

She returned to competition on May 2, 2003 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut. She moved up to 142 lbs and won a four-round unanimous (40-36,40-36,40-36) decision over Brenda Bell Drexel (147 lbs) of San Marcos, Texas. Fiorentino was now 6-0 (4 KO) while Bell Drexel fell to 5-19-2 (0 KO). I'm told that this bout was originally contracted for 135 lbs and that Fiorentino weighed in at 134 but then agreed to move up to keep the bout on the card after Bell Drexel initially came in at 150 lbs.

On August 1, 2003 at Hampton Beach Casino, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, Missy (127 lbs) advanced to 7-0-0 (5 KO) with a fifth-round TKO over Liz Drew (128½ lbs) of Troy, Missouri, who was eventually overwhelmed by Fiorentino's aggressive body attack. Drew fell to 5-3-0 (1 KO).

On October 31, 2003 at Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island, Missy (125 lbs) advanced to a perfect 8-0-0 (6 KO) record with a KO at 1:15 in the second round over unranked Talia Smith (129 lbs) of Cleveland, Ohio who fell to 3-1 (3 KO).  Despite her unbeaten record, Smith appeared to be just as overmatched as all of Forentino's earlier opponents. Missy was relentless from the opening bell landing over and under with many of her swings. After absorbing a left hook to the head followed by another crunching body shot, Smith fell for a 10 count administered by referee Charlie Dwyer. Attendance was 2,194.


Leona Brown vs. Missy Fiorentino
© Copyrighted photo taken by Peter Mark Heintzelman

 

On May 14, 2004 at Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island, Missy won a six-round unanimous (60-53,60-53,59-54) decision over Leona Brown of Pawling, New York. Missy controlled the entire fight but Brown (43 years old) didn't give up and according to WBAN correspondent Peter Mark Heintzelman, taunted Fiorentino while the decision was being announced, saying "She couldn't knock the old lady down! ... She tried, but she couldn't knock me down!" [See the fight report]

On September 18, 2004 in Kyoto, Japan, Melissa (124 lbs) lost a ten-round unanimous decision for the IFBA Featherweight title to Emiko Raika (126 lbs) of Japan. According to Ryan Wissow of the WIBA, 'it was an inside trench war from start to finish. Missy was ahead after seven rounds, but both her eyes swelled shut and she lost the last three rounds badly, almost getting stopped in the ninth round and in some trouble again in the tenth. Missy complained after the fight about getting head-butted, but both landed bombs galore all night. This was a great fight, the fight of the night and probably the women's fight of the year." Raika improved her record to 11-1-1 (5 KO) with this win.

On June 17, 2005 at Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, Missy (126 lbs) won a four-round unanimous (40-36,40-36,40-36) decision over an aggressive Lisa Lewis (130 lbs) of Fresno, California. Fiorentino and Lewis were busy from the outset, but Lewis could not match Fiorentino's power.  The 39-year-old Lewis dropped to 7-11-0 (3 KOs)

On July 9, 2005 at Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, Missy (125¼ lbs) pounded out a one-sided six-round unanimous (60-54 x3) decision over late signee Belinda Laracuente (124 lbs) of Miami, Florida.  Laracuente, known for her slick boxing skills, seemed overwhelmed by Fiorentino's non-stop attack and spent almost the entire fight in a cover-up defense, often against the ropes. Fiorentino threw a steady barrage of leather at her from all angles but could not put her away.  The bout was carried live on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. Laracuente slipped to 21-10-2 (9 KOs).


Missy vs Esther Schouten for IWBF belt
© Copyrighted photo by Emily Harney/New England Ringside

On November 23, 2005 at the Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island, Missy (124 lbs) won an animated 10-round unanimous (97-94,99-91,96-93) decision over Esther Schouten (5'5", 124 lbs) of Hoorn, Holland for the vacant IWBF Featherweight title. According to correspondent Ken Castro, "Despite being bloodied by a head butt in the 9th round, Fiorentino managed to secure a win.  Fiorentino proved to be the aggressor throughout the fight, but it was Schouten who got the first opening in the fight - knocking down the Rhode Island native midway through the third round. Schouten was hoping the opportunity would further her chances the rest of the way. “I know I have power so I know I can knock people down,” said Schouten. “Of course I knew that that round was mine and I wanted to keep it that way. But she kept coming in and I wasn’t able to move a lot.”  Fiorentino utilized her jab effectively through the first three rounds to get on the scoreboard. In the fifth, the pair closed out the final 15 ticks of the round with a flurry of blows. “I thought it was more of a slip,” said Fiorentino of the third- round trip to the canvas, “but I knew that they were going to score it as a knockdown so from then on I knew I had to take every round, because now I’m behind two points.”  Fiorentino went to the body in the middle rounds and seemed to chip away at Schouten’s reserves in the process.  Fiorentino took control of rounds six through eight before encountering the head butt that gave her an added sense of urgency.   “It’s not the first time I’ve fought with a cut. I saw the blood pouring out and I thought they were going to stop it and I just wanted to finish the fight,” she said. “I knew I was wearing her down with the body shots because her punches were getting weaker and she was trying to move around more,” said the newly-minted champion. “She’s a great fighter - a tough fight.”   Fiorentino improved to 13-1-0 (6 KOs) with the win.

Schouten, who fell to 18-3-1 (9 KO’s) knew from the outset that her opponent would be a tough draw.  “I didn’t have a game plan. I knew that she was aggressive and would work hard. She worked harder than I did. That’s the reason I lost,” said Schouten. “When I could move more, it seemed to be my fight.” 

“This means everything,“ said an elated Fiorentino. “This is what I’ve been working for since I started boxing.. I’ve been a pro for four years and it feels great to finally have it happen. Having the crowd behind me made me want to fight even harder.” 


Fiorentino lands to the jaw of Jaime Campitt in May 2006
© Copyrighted photo taken by Jerry Coli

On May 18, 2006 at the Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island, Missy (131 lbs) took on her local rival Jaime Clampitt (134¾ lbs) of Narragansett, Rhode Island who was the reigning IWBF Lightweight champion, in a highly-anticipated showdown. The bout lived up to advance expectations as 10 rounds of non-stop excitement, culminating in a unanimous (97-94,96-94,96-94) decision for the hard-charging Fiorentino. According to WBAN ringside correspondent Ken Castro, "Fiorentino, as is her style, stayed in close proximity to Clampitt throughout the opening rounds. Clampitt, who was coming off a long layoff due to a broke hand, moved well in the early going.  Clampitt stuck early, forcing a straight right past Fiorentino’s defenses in the second. In the third round, Fiorentino working in close again, landed a hard overhand right that stung Clampitt.   Clampitt and Fiorentino were visibly reluctant to ease up in the level of intensity during the middle rounds, as evidenced by the first clutch of the night, midway through the sixth round. In the seventh, Fiorentino fired a trio of lefts at her opponent, the later moving Clampitt back a step."  Other reports said that Clampitt staged a rally at the end of the fight but it was too late to to undo Fiorentino's edge on the scorecards. Missy took home the IWBF Lightweight belt as she moved her record to 14-1-0 (6 KOs) while dropping Clampitt to 17-4-1 (6 KOs). (For more fight photos by Jerry Coli, see Photo Gallery #361 on the WBAN Member Site).

Trainer Peter Manfredo Sr. said his boxer’s winning edge was honed in a California training camp last month. “She sparred with six different women. Some at 150, some at 160, some with boxing style, some with great jabs-so we were ready for anything that she threw at us tonight. She excelled at everything tonight, executed the plan perfectly,” he said. 

“I kind of forced her to fight my fight. I knew she’s a good boxer and she likes to move around. I knew I had to cut her off, keep her on the inside,“ said Fiorentino. "A few times I saw her hands drop and I thought that she was open for the straight right and Peter kept telling me to follow up with the hook.”  

On December 1, 2006 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island, Missy (128 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (58-57,58-56,59-55) decision in a rematch with Belinda Laracuente (128¾ lbs) of Miami, Florida. According to WBAN correspondent Dan Horgan, "In round one, Laracuente used her long reach to frustrate Fiorentino, as she effectively jabbed her opponent and landed several combinations.  Fiorentino was oddly inactive, as she struggled to hunt down her lively foe. In rounds two and three however, ‘The Fury’ pinned Laracuente against the ropes and her busy work -- especially her clubbing right hands -- wore down the Puerto Rico native.  But a third round accidental head butt caused a large gash over Fiorentino’s right eye, and the fight was nearly stopped. Laracuente must have gained confidence from Fiorentino’s bleeding, as in round four, she landed several powerful left hooks and again frustrated the hometown favorite with her stick and move job.  Perhaps sensing the fight to be going in Laracuente’s favor, Fiorentino’s work rate went up significantly in rounds five and six, as she threw numerous wild combinations that went unmatched by her opponent.  The aggressiveness would seal the deal for Fiorentino, who was happy with the win, but disappointed about her large cut."  Missy improved her record to 15-1-0 (6 KOs) while Laracuente fell to 22-16-3 (9 KOs).

“It was a good, tough fight,” said Fiorentino, "and this time, she boxed a bit more.  I was supposed to fight for a 130 pound title in February, but this cut is bad.  That fight may have be postponed for a few months.”

On July 7, 2007 at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy, New York, Melissa (126¾ lbs) won an eight round unanimous (79-73 on all cards) decision over Cindy Serrano (129 lbs) of Queens, New York to become the NABF’s first Super Featherweight world champion. According to an insider, the fight was an exciting bout with both displaying excellent boxing skills. Fiorentino lost the first round on the three judges' scorecards, but came back by winning the final seven. "I felt the crowd was cheering for her so I thought I was the underdog," Fiorentino said. "That spurred me on. I kept the pressure on her and she wore down a little bit near the end." Serrano suffered a substantial gash under her eye that required over 20 stitches. The 25-year-old Serrano fell to 15-1-1 (7 KOs) with her first pro loss.

On January 26, 2008 at the SportsPlex in Mansfield,   Massachusetts, Melissa won a technical decision over Ela "Bam Bam" Nunez of Jamestown, New York when their scheduled ten-rounder was stopped in the sixth because Fiorentino had been badly cut by an accidental head-butt. Fiorentino was ruled the winner by the 60-54,59-55,57-57 majority score then on the judges' cards. According to a report by Peter Mark Heintzelman of FightNews.com, the action "came to a screeching halt in the sixth round, when the ring doctor witnessed an accidental collision of heads between the two competitors.  The head-butt inflicted a bloody cut upon the head of Fiorentino. The gallant gals had traded a significant volume of power punches through the five plus rounds, particularly technically superior jabs that would have put most pugilists down in one.  Fiorentino’s typical game style of coming right at her opposition and not being denied was significantly checked by the impressive “Bam Bam’s” lighting speed jabs to the face. Missy, always the aggressor, seemed resigned to absorb the shots from Nunez and just kept on coming forward in just a fantastic display."  Melissa won the vacant IWBF junior lightweight title and moved her record to 17-1 (6 KO's) while dropping the scrappy Nunez to 5-3 (1 KO) but with, as Heintzelman put it, "her reputation elevated to a higher ranking in the eyes of those who witnessed this phenomenal fight which cries for a rematch!"

On June 7, 2008 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville,  Connecticut, Melissa “Huracan” Hernandez (131 lbs)  of Bronx, New York, defeated Melissa (132 lbs) by a third round TKO in a scheduled eight rounder. The fight was non-stop with  Hernandez leading when Fiorentino received a cut and the fight was stopped. Melissa's record fell to 17-2 (6 KO's) while Hernandez improved to  8-1-2 (3 KOs).

On December 5, 2008, Missy Fiorentino underwent successful surgery to repair torn cartilage in the meniscus of her right knee, an injury suffered while training for a scheduled November bout with Myriam Chomaz. According to Shirley Ouellette, Fiorentino's mother and manager, "The doctor said everything went well. Missy is home resting and will begin therapy on Tuesday. She is anxious for a fast recovery and hopes to resume training sometime early in the new year."

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