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© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen


5'6" junior middleweight Shelley Burton from Kalispell, Montana was born on October 12, 1976.  Shelley says that she dreamed of being a professional athlete since the age of five. She competed in many different sports but didn’t start boxing until she reached her twenties. In high school, she was All-Conference and All-State in Basketball. She also competed in softball, volleyball, and track.

Shelley started boxing in a Tough Man competition in Butte Montana in February of 2002 because she needed extra cash. “I couldn’t believe how hard the sport was,” Burton said. This became Shelley’s new challenge. She wanted to improve her skills so she started fighting in Club Boxing in Missoula, Montana.

Shelley won Club Boxing’s State Tournament and achieved an amateur record of 7-0 (2 TKO). In May 2002, Shelley returned to her home town of Kalispell to re-fight the first woman she had ever fought in the Tough Man competition, defeating the world champion Leah Stucker. This was not the first time Shelley had defeated Leah but at that time Shelley was the only woman who had beaten her.

Shelley moved to Las Vegas and started training at Golden Gloves. After three months she was back in Montana. Burton continued in Club Boxing and Tough Man. She won the State Championship for Club Boxing again in April 2003, obtaining an amateur record of 17-0 (7 TKO).

She made her pro boxing debut at junior middleweight on July 11, 2003 at Dixie Junior College in St. George, Utah, winning a four-round majority decision over Sicilian-born Rita Turrisi of Italy. Turrisi, a former European ISKA and WAKO world kickboxing champion now fighting out of Las Vegas, fell to 1-3-0 (1 KO) as a pro boxer.

Shelley Burton vs. Angie Poe
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On October 3, 2003 at Edgewater Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, USA, Shelley weighed in at 146½ lbs and won a four-round split decision over Angie Poe (142 lbs). Mary Ann Owen of Boxing In Las Vegas, who was ringside, told WBAN that the fight was a "real battle."  Burton was now 2-0 (0 KO), Poe fell to 0-2. (For more of Mary Ann Owen's photos of this fight, see Photo Gallery #105 on the WBAN Records Member Site .)

On February 27, 2004 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, Shelley won a four-round unanimous decision over then #19 ranked junior middleweight Kelly Whaley of Cedar City, Utah. Burton is now 3-0-0 (0 KO) while Whaley fell to 4-13-0 (1 KO).

Shelley Burton vs. Yvonne Reis
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen


On June 3, 2004 at Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City, Oregon, USA, Shelley (160 lbs) TKO'd Yvonne Reis (160 lbs) of Fort Lauderdale, Florida at 1:59 in the second round of a scheduled six-rounder.  Burton caught Reis with some good shots early in the fight. Reis took two eight counts and was knocked down to the canvas with the first. Reis fell to 3-4-1 with this loss.

Shelley Burton vs. Monica Nuñez
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On June 26, 2004 at Silverton Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Monica Nuñez (5'8", 160 lbs) of the Dominican Republic won a six-round majority (59-55,58-56,57-57) decision over Shelley (155½ lbs).  Terry Insall of boxingkingdom.com reported that in the first round, Nuñez pressed the action and they traded punches. In round two, Nuñez took a few shots to the head, but got behind her jab to back Burton up. In round three, Nuñez used a stiff jab and hard right hand to back up Burton. In the fourth, Burton came alive and landed some good counterpunches, but then Burton slowed a little while Nuñez finished strong. Nuñez improved her record to 9-1-0 with the win. (For more of Mary Ann Owen's photos and video of this fight, see MPEG/Photo Gallery #183 on the WBAN Records Member Site)

Shelley Burton vs. Elizabeth Kerin (right)
© Copyrighted photograph taken by Mary Ann Owen

On January 29, 2005 at Silverton Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Shelley (158 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-54,59-55,59-55) decision over Elizabeth Kerin (162 lbs) of Chicago. Bill Whaley wrote that "Burton still has a lot of work to do on her 'tough woman' type brawling style but I enjoyed watching her get and deserve the UD against the much taller Kerin." (For more of Mary Ann Owen's photos of this fight, see MPEG/Photo Gallery #236 on the WBAN Records Member Site )

Shelley Burton vs. Lisa Holewyne
© Copyrighted photograph taken by Mike Blair

On February 26, 2005 at the Silver Reef Casino in Ferndale, Washington, USA, a full house saw Shelley (158 lbs) win a clear six-round unanimous (59-55,59-55,59-55) decision over Lisa Holewyne (158 lbs) of Crawford, Texas. Burton negated Holewyne's slight reach advantage with strong power punching which was the difference in the contest.  Holewyne didn’t get a chance to show her skills because of the pressure Burton put on the former WIBF welterweight world champion, whose extra weight seemed to slow her down.  Burton did a nice job of keeping a jab in the usually-quick Holewyne's face through most of the fight and Holewyne was rarely able to connect with more than one or two punches at a time. Burton did not do a lot of damage but she controlled the flow of the fight with her jab, stayed out of trouble and moved well enough to avoid getting caught with one of Holewyne's big bombs. There were no knockdowns. Burton improved to 6-1 (1 KO) while Holewyne fell to 20-15-1 (6 KOs) in front of a full house. (For more of Mike Blair's photos of this fight, see MPEG/Photo Gallery #243 on the WBAN Records Member Site )

Shelley Burton vs. Akondaye Fountain
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On March 26, 2005 at Harrah’s in Laughlin, Nevada, USA, unbeaten Akondaye Fountain (153½ lbs) of Houston, Texas scored a seventh-round TKO over Shelley (154 lbs) in a scheduled eight-rounder. Burton pressed the fight but kept getting caught with left and right counters. It was a fight decided by Fountain's ability to slip and counter as Burton pressed the fight she kept getting caught with left and right counters. Fountain staggered Burton with big right hands in the second and again in the third but Burton gathered herself and fought on even terms through fast and furious fourth and fifth rounds. Fountain then had a huge sixth round, teeing off on Burton with big shots to the head, snapping her head back in a disturbing fashion. Referee Robert Byrd warned Burton between rounds that he would stop the fight if she took any more clean punches. In the seventh, Burton rushed Fountain with a fusillade of punches that caught Akondaye off-guard and backed her up at first.  But then Akondaye began to trade bombs with her and Burton tired. After Akondaye landed two clean shots in a row to Burton's head, Byrd stopped the fight at 1:29 in the round, to some boos from the crowd. Fountain remained undefeated at 5-0 (3 KOs) with the win. (For more of Mary Ann Owen's photos of this fight card, see MPEG/Photo Gallery #249 on the WBAN Records Member Site )

Shelley vs Laura Ramsey
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On November 18, 2005 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Shelley (157½ lbs) won the vacant WIBA Intercontinental Super Middleweight title with a ten-round majority (97-93,95-95,97-93) decision over Laura Ramsey (163½ lbs)  of Winter Haven, Florida. Burton had been scheduled to fight Leatitia Robinson of Chicago for a world title on this card but Robinson dropped out due to an injury to her nose and Ramsey took the substitute fight at 72 hours' notice. The bout was action-filled as Ramsey threw more power punches but Burton boxed and handed a tiring Ramsey her first loss as a pro, dropping her record to 5-1. (For more of Mary Ann Owen's photos of this fight card, see MPEG/Photo Gallery #306 on the WBAN Records Member Site).

On February 28, 2006 at Majestic Valley Arena in Kalispell, Montana, Shelley TKO'd DJ Morrison of Billings, Montana at 1:27 in the first round.  Morrison, who was reported to be 20-4 in "club fights", was making her sanctioned pro debut. Morrison came out swinging but Burton kept her cool and slipped most of Morrison's winging shots while connecting with some strong shots, one of which knocked Morrison into the ropes and nearly out of the ring, producing a standing eight count on Morrison. Morrison landed a few grazing shots before Burton took control with several quick jabs then let loose with a barrage of rights to Morrison's head. The final shot lifted Morrison off her feet and put her down, and the referee called the fight. Shelley improved to 8-2 (2 KO's) with the win.

On June 10,2006 at Majestic Valley Arena in Kalispell, Montana, Shelley (157½ lbs) battled to a ten-round majority (95-95,95-95,98-92) draw with Dakota Stone (5'10", 159 lbs) of Seattle, Washington. According to Greg Schindler of Daily Inter Lake, "Burton came out swinging from the opening bell, but the tide turned in Round Six when Stone unleashed a plethora of right jabs, keeping Burton at a distance while she mixed in a firm left cross. Burton never backed down, even after Stone bloodied her nose in Round Seven. The crowd erupted into a deafening chant of “Shelley-Shelley” during Round Ten, but Burton didn’t dominate the final round enough to earn a victory."

“We had a plan to box and then to go to war,” Stone said. “The plan was to wear her down and then to start fighting.”

“I’m glad I fought in my hometown,” Burton said. “I threw some good hits — I’ll be ready next time, more-so than I was this time, so that’s all I have to say.”  Stone's record stood at 7-4-4 (1 KOs).

Shelley Burton vs. Laila Ali in Madison Square Garden
© Copyrighted photo taken by Lori Steinhorst

On November 11, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Laila Ali (166½ lbs) of Los Angeles, California TKO'd Shelley (164 lbs) at 1:58 in the fourth round defending her WIBF and WBC Super Middleweight belts. According to the Reuters report, "Laila Ali fought conservatively at first, but soon it was clear she could land her big right at will, stunning her challenger several times. As the fourth round was drawing to an end, the 28-year-old Ali landed a left-right combination flush to the nose of Burton, who stooped over as blood poured out and referee Arthur Mercante Jr. called the fight off with two seconds left in the round."  Ali improved her record to 23-0 (20 KO's) wile Burton dropped to 8-3-1 (2 KO's).

Shelley was always ready to take a fight no matter the notice. She announced her retirement in an open letter sent to WBAN in January 2008, saying: "I honestly felt like I completed my goals after I got the opportunity against Laila Ali at the Madison Square Garden. It was a great experience for a little name like myself, coming from Montana to get this chance. It was awesome."

Shelley Burton is an athlete through and through. Her positive attitude showed in the ring and her drive to succeed. 

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Page last updated: Monday, 10 December 2012


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