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Valentina Shevchenko

5'5" lightweight Valentina "The Bullet" Shevchenko was born in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on March 7, 1988 and became interested in fighting sports at an early age. She began with taekwondo at age 5, under the influence of her mother who had practiced the sport and of her older sister Antonina. At age 12 she branched out into Muay Thai kickboxing then free style Vale Tudo.  As she told David Menayo in a 2010 interview: "I cannot imagine life outside the ring because this world is everything to me ... I like a lot of martial arts and I think it's a philosophy of life".

Her kickboxing career began  in Kyrgyzstan when at age 12 she knocked out a 22-year-old opponent, earning her the moniker "Bullet" from her trainer Pavel Fedotov because of her speed in the ring. 

Valentina and her sister Antonina lived with their family in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, but spent a lot of time doing kickboxing training in Thailand.  Amateur then professional Muay Thai competition took her to Thailand, Korea, China, France, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands.  A night-time run-in with a mugger who tried to rob her of her cellphone helped to persuade her to live outside Russia. 

A visit to Peru after she won the World Cup of Muay Thai in 2007 turned into a life-changing event for Valentina.  The sisters had originally gone to South America with trainer Fedotov to teach kickboxing classes, but Valentina fell in love with Peru and decided to live there and become a citizen.  "Peru is a beautiful country that has it all ... beach, mountains and jungle", says Valentina, adding "I love its people, landscapes, and cuisine".

Valentina had over 500 amateur fights in different combat styles.  She was the World Muay Thai Federation champion in 2006 and won the gold medal at the IFMA championships in 2003, 2006, 2009 anmd 2011. She is also a two-time (2003 and 2006) World Pankration champion.  She defeated Alfia Ishirgakova of Russia in the semifinal and El Majydy Aicha of Morocco in the final at the IFMA World Muay Thai Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in September, 2011. 

She now competes in the Muay Thai Premier League which features the best Muay Thai fighters in the world: on September 2, 2011 at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California, she defeated Angelique Pitot by a split decision.

As of November 2011 her only pro loss came at the Red River Rivalry in Carmouche, Oklahoma on September 30 2010 when she retired at the end of second round of a shootboxing contest with Liz "Girl-Rilla" Carmouche of San Diego, California.

Valentina made her professional boxing debut on May 8, 2010 when she took on Halana Dos Santos of San Felipe, Brazil at Coliseo Marotta, Callao, Peru, winning an unusually messy fight by a ten-round unanimous (96-94,100-90,100-90) decision. Shevchenko, fighting out of her long adopted kickboxing stance, carried some of her Muay Thai methods into the action at close quarters and Dos Santos frequently appealed ... without success ... to referee Pablo Robles to enforce the rules of boxing competition and penalize Shevchenko.   Although the 5'9" Dos Santos had boxing experience that included world title fights with Laura Tavecchio and Kina Malpartida, she lacked the strength or quickness to hold the hard charging Shevchenko at bay. The fight frequently became a grappling and shoving match against the ropes as Shevchenko's Muay Thai instincts apparently took over while the referee struggled to maintain some semblance of boxing order.  Dos Santos fell to 12-3 with the loss.  

On December 17, 2011 at the Pueblo Libra Reserclub in Lima, Peru, Valentina won by a TKO over Nurys (aka Nerys) Rincon of Arjona, Colombia. Rincon retired at the start of the fourth round after she had gone to the canvas several times in the third.  As in her match with Halana Dos Santos, Shevchenko fought from a Muay Thai stance and at times used Muay Thai grappling and shoving tactics which Rincon protested to no avail.  Rincon fell to 9-4-2 with the loss, while the question of how the rules of boxing will apply to Shevchenko's matches in Peru was exacerbated by the way in which she reached the 2-0 mark. 

It was announced that Shevchenko would face American Mary McGee of Gary, Indiana in Lima, Peru for the vacant WIBA Lightweight title on January 14, 2012.  

The quick elevation of Shevchenko to WIBA world title contender status on her home turf was controversial.  WIBA belt-holder Melissa Hernandez and fellow New Yorker made a show of ditching her WIBA belts in a dumpster, declaring that "It's a slap in the face to the sport that I love. It's a slap in the face to the women who bust their butts everyday in the gym. The only way Valentina Shevchenko should be involved in a title fight is if she bought a ticket."  

Beside her successful career competing and teaching in Muay Thai, Vale Tudo and other martial arts competition, Valentina also teaches Russian folk dancing, belly dancing and gypsy dances [video].  Her favorite is the Iezginka dance from southern Russia which was used to prepare warriors for combat. 

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Page last updated: Sunday, December 17, 2011


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