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Yvonne Tara Caples (5'4", 103 lbs) was born in Pune, India on June 14, 1972.  She has always been athletic and did triathlons before beginning to box in 1993 while a student at U.C. Berkeley.

She fought in the first USA Boxing Women's National Championships in 1997, dropping a 6-0 decision to eventual national champion Patricia Martinez of Miami, Florida in the preliminary round of the 106-lb division on July 16. She went on to take the gold medal in the 110-lb division at Nebraska's Cornhusker State Games in Omaha on July 20, 1998 and competed in the 106-lb division of the 1999 USA Boxing Women's Championships in April 1999. Yvonne trounced Sophia Yin of Davis, California by a 30-2 margin to win her quarterfinal bout on April 22, but lost a tough 5-4 decision to eventual national champion Linda Carrillo of California in the semifinal.

Yvonne capped her amateur career by taking the 106-lb title at the first US National Golden Gloves at the Augusta Boxing Club in Augusta, Georgia in August 1999. She defeated Brandy Madewell of Springdale, Arkansas by a 3-2 decision on August 13 and Tonya Nunn of Illinois by 5-0 one day later to take the title.

Yvonne's overall amateur boxing record was 13-4.

She made her pro debut on September 2, 1999 at the Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, winning by a third-round TKO over Natasha Wilburn of Atlanta, Georgia. The loss dropped Wilburn to 1-9.

On November 14, 1999 at the Convention Center in Sacramento, California, Yvonne (103 lbs) won a four round unanimous decision over Wendy Rodriguez (106 lbs) of Los Angeles in a private event for a state police officers association. Caples, who won by a 40-36 margin on all three scorecards, dropped Rodriguez to 2-1.

On February 11, 2000 at the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Louisiana, Yvonne (at right in the picture) lost a six-round unanimous (58-56 on all cards) decision to veteran kickboxer and pro boxer Kim Messer from Bellevue, Washington. Messer used her ring skills, experience, and at times an aggressive body attack, to outhustle and control Caples, who appeared to fade towards the end of what was her first six-round bout. Messer moved her pro boxing record to 8-2-1 with the win.

On August 4, 2000 at Ben Hur Shrine Temple in Austin, Texas, Lori Lord (112 lbs) of Austin moved her pro record to 6-1 with a controversial ten-round unanimous decision over Yvonne (108½ lbs) for the IBA Intercontinental title. Caples bloodied Lord's nose in the fourth but she wasn't aggressive enough to persuade the judges to favor her over the local fighter. All three scored the fight 96-94 for Lord.

On October 2, 2000 at Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Arizona, Yvonne lost by unanimous decision to impressive 18-year-old Elena Reid. Reid pressured Caples throughout the fight, throwing many accurate combinations and moving her own record to 3-1 with the win.

On October 13, 2000 at Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, California, Yvonne won a four-round unanimous decision over Nadine Salim of Palm Springs, who fell to 2-2-1. 

Yvonne fought a four-round rematch with Elena Reid in Phoenix on January 28, 2001, this time coming away with a majority draw. Elena Reid won the odd rounds but Yvonne came back in the even stanzas as they fought to tallies of 38-38, 38-38 and 39-37 (for Reid) on the scorecards. The bout was part of a card fought in an outdoor ring on a parking lot at Park 'N Swap ...

On April 7, 2001 in Rochester, Washington Yvonne weighed in at 107¾ lbs and won a four-round unanimous decision over 1999 Canadian National 51-kg amateur champion Robin Pinto (111 lbs) of British Columbia, who was making her pro debut. Caples was now 4-3-1.

On April 12, 2002 at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a much anticipated 110-lb contest, Yvonne, who had moved to Las Vegas to improve her ring prospects, won a six-round majority (58-56,58-56,57-57) decision over returning former IWBF world flyweight Para Draine of Mead, Washington. Both fighters looked a little ring rusty, according to my correspondent. Draine had lost her IWBF world title to Canada's Margaret Sidoroff in April 2000, but didn't fight again until March 30, 2002 when she also defeated Robin Pinto, who was Yvonne's previous opponent. Draine fell to 11-5-0 (2 KO) with the loss.

On July 3, 2002 at Hyatt Regency, Monterey, California, Yvonne (110 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (58-56,58-56,58-56) decision over Marilyn Salcido (112½ lbs) of Rialto, California who fell to 8-3-2 (1 KO) with the loss. Caples jabbed and moved from her southpaw stance in the opening round while Salcido tried to find the way inside. Caples caught Salcido with a hard left to the head in the second but Salcido came on stronger in this and in the third. The fourth round saw good action on the inside as Salcido became more aggressive but was still unable to land hard leather consistently on Caples, who replied with several telling combinations. The last two rounds saw good action from both fighters until the final bell as Salcido continued muscling her way inside.

On August 17, 2002 at Estrel Convention Center, in Berlin, Germany,  Regina Halmich (107½ lbs) of Karlsruhe, Germany defended her WIBF Junior Flyweight world title with a controversial 10-round majority decision over Yvonne (106¼ lbs). The scorecards were 97-95 (incorrectly announced at the fight as 97-93) and 96-94 for Halmich, with Humberto Furgoni scoring it a 95-95 draw. The result was greeted by boos and whistles because many at ringside thought that Caples had fought well enough to have handed the German world champion her second pro loss. Halmich advanced her record to 40-1-0 (14 KO) while Caples slipped to 6-4-1 (1 KO).

On November 22, 2002 at Guam University Field House in Agana, Guam,  Anissa Zamarron of Austin, Texas won a fifth-round TKO over Yvonne in a bout for the vacant WIBA Junior Flyweight title. Caples was cut over her left eye about 90 seconds into the fifth round, and the bout was stopped at 1:50 in the same round after Zamarron landed several more right hooks to Yvonne's injured eye. Zamarron said that she felt good about the outcome because she had been the aggressor in the fight, but Caples was upset by the stoppage, believing that the cut had been opened by a head butt. Zamarron advanced to 14-10-2 (5 KO) with the win.

On March 29, 2003 at Chamsil Gymnasium in Seoul, South Korea, flyweight In-young Lee of South Korea won a unanimous (3-0) eight-round decision over Yvonne. Caples used her reach advantage and left jab to control Lee in the first two rounds but the more aggressive Lee used her hooks well and bloodied Caples's nose in the third. Caples used good footwork to stymie Lee and keep the fight on even terms in the fourth and early in the fifth , but Lee stepped up her pace later in that round to land several hard shots. The sixth round had less action but Lee continued to charge forward with hooks and uppercuts in the seventh and eighth as Caples appeared to tire under Lee's steady barrage.

After the bout, Lee told reporters ``It was a difficult fight for me because she has better technique than me and I was fatigued in the later half."  Caples was also the first southpaw Lee had faced. She questioned the decision, as she had landed more punches than Lee, who improved to 6-0-0 (2 KO).

On July 26, 2003 at Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa, California, Yvonne (106 lbs) finally realized her ambition of winning a world title by winning a ten-round unanimous (100-90,100-90,98-92) decision over Mary Duron (108 lbs) of Anaheim, California for the IFBA Junior Flyweight belt. The card was rearranged at one week's notice and Duron said "Yvonne did not win the belt as easy as the score cards made it look. I gave her a strong ten rounds and with every round, I got stronger. I surprised even myself for my first 10 rounder. I was well prepared even though I took this fight on one week's notice -- I had 1-2 days to really try and get some sparring but I didn't work with any southpaws. I think Yvonne is a great fighter and we both went out and gave 100%. I feel that the fight was a lot closer than the what judges saw because there is no way she beat me all 10 rounds". Duron fell to 4-5-1 (0 KO).

With the IFBA title belt in her hand, Yvonne's goal in boxing is to fight everyone who she considers to be top competition. "I hope to be involved in a lot of exciting fights. I want to push myself to the limit of my abilities", she says.


vs. Yuko Sodeoka in Kyoto, Japan

On September 18, 2004 in Kyoto, Japan, Yvonne (105 lbs) fought to a controversial ten-round majority draw with Yuko Sodeoka (101 lbs) of Japan for the vacant WIBA Mini-Flyweight (a.k.a. Straw-weight) title. According to Ryan Wissow of the WIBA, "a draw was not a bad call! Yvonne could have easily lost the decision in Japan. She landed some good clean shots and got jipped out of a knockdown in the third round, but she faded in the middle rounds (Yvonne did come off a layoff).  In those rounds she didn't throw as many punches as Yuko, but she sucked it up and closed the show strong. Yuko missed with a lot of her shots but she was pressing the action from start to finish, and landing some good power shots. She was relentless and constantly the aggressor throughout the fight. Yuko ate a lot of shots coming in and she was swelled up real good by fight's end. Yuko definitely looked the worse for wear after the fight. but it was a real good fight."

Unfortunately the close decision was marred by a controversy over the judging.  According to Wissow, "when they first read the decision they said Sodeoka won, but upon further review the fight was a majority draw. The Japanese Womens' Boxing Commission have a ... rule that no womens' title fight can end in a draw. They ... showed me ... their JWBC rulebook saying that in case of a draw in a title fight, the fighters must either fight 1 extra round to determine a winner, or they award the belt to whomever has the most combined points while still putting the result in the book as a draw. Sodeoka had one scorecard of 99-91 and the other scores were 98-98 (a lot of 10-10 rounds scored, they do this in Japan for whatever reason)".  The confusion over interpreting the decision led to Sodeoka being awarded the belt in the ring, but this was not confirmed by the WIBA so the fight result is officially a draw.  Caples is therefore 7-6-2 (1 KO) while Sodeoka is 5-0-1 (1 KO). (Read Yvonne's comments on this card and her result here).

On November 5, 2004 the IFBA announced that they had vacated the Junior Flyweight title held by Yvonne for failure to defend.

Carina Moreno vs. Yvonne Caples
vs. Carina Moreno in November 2004
Copyrighted photo taken by Jesus Sanchez

On November 27, 2004 at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California, Carina Moreno (5'0", 107 lbs) of Watsonville, California won an eight-round shutout (80-72 on all scorecards) decision over Yvonne (108 lbs).  Moreno made it look easy against the experienced and taller Caples, who had stepped in to take the bout at short notice. Caples used a busy right jab and accurate left crosses in the first round and generally tried counterpunching tactics against the aggressive Moreno ... but Moreno dominated the later rounds with her own jab and outworked Caples with quick combinations to the body.  She bloodied Caples' nose in the fifth and appeared to get stronger and more confident as the fight went on with the crowd chanting "Carina-Carina". Caples had her moments in the fight, but they were too few and far between. "The girl loves to give bloody noses," said Moreno's trainer, Rick Noble, adding that "Yvonne took this fight on short notice but she's been training. You've got to figure she's going to come here and win three or four rounds against us, at least, but she didn't do that tonight."

"This was a huge win for me," Moreno told Monterey Herald reporter Dennis Taylor, "She's one of the best in the world, and to come out on top in a fight like this makes me so happy. We were not trained for a lefty, and she holds her hands low, and she's a little bit awkward, all of which made her difficult."

"She was a busy fighter," said Caples. "I'd have to say she's right up there with anybody I've fought." For more photos and video of this bout, see WBAN Photo Gallery #227 on the WBAN Records Member Site.

On May 27, 2005 at the Jean Pierre Sports Complex in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago local fighter Ria Ramnarine (104 lbs) won the WIBA Mini-Flyweight World title over Yvonne (104 lbs) by a very controversial 10-round split decision.  Ramnarine went down in the second round after missing with her right and Caples caught her with a clean left to the jaw, but Ria came back with a game effort later. Trinidad and Tobago judge George St Aude and Derek Herbert from Barbados both gave Ramnarine the fight 97-93, while Andre Thorne of Guyana had it 97-93 in favor of Caples  

Trinidad Express reporter Ian Prescott wrote that "In the first round, Caples had the edge, setting up the local contender with the long right jab. Ramnarine was always open to be hit by her opponent's left and was stopped in her tracks every time the American connected. Ramnarine tried bobbing and weaving, but she was always that second slower than Caples, who stuck the jab out and moved away before Ramnarine got set to throw her fists. A quick left from Caples sent Ramnarine to the canvas in the second round. Caples looked the better fighter, mixing up her punches, jabbing to the head and stomach and dishing out the occasional uppercut and hook. Ramnarine, on the other hand, wasn't getting anything off. Caples won the fourth round and looked good landing a left to Ramnarine's jaw. At that stage, every local supporter was worried, but Ramnarine had a better round, and might have actually won the fifth. The sixth saw Caples sticking out the jab and disappearing out of range. She also landed several lefts flush on Ramnarine's face, but the round was fairly close. A wicked uppercut tilted Ramnarine's head backwards as Caples rushed out at the start of the seventh round and proceeded to dominate. Ramnarine looked to undo the damage by being more aggressive in the eighth. She threw a few combinations, but Caples again landed the cleaner punches. Ramnarine landed a solid right to the American's jaw in the ninth, but Caples delivered good combinations. And by the tenth round, all but Ramnarine's most loyal fans were silent. The final round was the best of the fight as the T&T pugilist mixed it up. Caples, though, landed the cleaner, harder punches and clearly won the round...not according to two of the judges, who saw it as a clear loss for the American."

Prescott also reported that "Many in the local boxing fraternity felt Caples had won by a landslide. Tansley Thompson, a local boxing promoter, manager of Commonwealth Games silver medallist Kertson Manswell and former close associate of ex-WBA light heavyweight champion Leslie "Tiger" Stewart said that while he is no boxing judge, Ramnarine might not have won a single round. "If any of my boxers have to win like that, I'd rather lose," Thompson said. "From what I could see, it was a case of Ria needing a knockout to win the fight."

Analysis of the scorecard by the Trinidad Express showed that the judges who favored Ramnarine also did not credit Caples with a 10-8 round for the knockdown.  Match supervisor Molly Boxhill said Herbert was aware that Ramnarine had hit the deck, but did not see it as a knockdown, despite the fact that referee Tommy Thomas sent Caples to her corner and gave Ramnarine a standing eight count.

According to WIBA President Ryan Wissow "Yvonne absolutely dominated Ria for the first half of the fight, but Ria kept the pressure on and Yvonne tired a little, slowed down just enough for Ria to win some rounds down the stretch. This fight was not the worst robbery I've ever seen, it was a competitive and entertaining fight. Ria showed me a lot just by her heart and her conditioning which was excellent. She took a lot of clean shots early on and kept coming, kept throwing punches. She wasn't as accurate as Yvonne but she threw more punches, especially in the late rounds, and Ria was the one coming forward most of the fight which may have also swayed some rounds her way. Caribbean and South American judges score heavily for aggression."

Controversy had surrounded the staging of the fight from the outset after Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board president Melchior Taylor refused to allow it to go on without an all-local panel of judges. Taylor's decision was backed by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board of Control who felt there were competent judges in the country.  WIBA President Ryan Wissow wrote about the judging issue: "The Trinidad commission was only going to allow Trinidad judges to work this title fight.  We had to beg them to let us bring in two neutral judges. The judges were selected by Molly Boxhill, the WIBA Vice President. The Guyana judge had Yvonne winning the fight, but the Trinidad judge and Barbados judge had Ria winning. ... I  requested that a Trinidad judge named McKenzie Granger work this fight, but Taylor insisted on ... St Aude ... who scored it for Ria."

On May 31, 2005 Wissow stated that Ramnarine must face Caples in a rematch or be stripped of the WIBA title. He said he disagreed with the decision but did not want to make Ramnarine feel she is less than a champion. He made it clear that the judges' decision was final and Ramnarine had nothing to do with it. He said he is attempting to arrange the rematch in Las Vegas, and that Ramnarine may have one other fight before facing Caples again.

On June 28, 2005 in Pyongyang, North Korea, Yvonne lost a ten-round unanimous decision to Eun Soon Choi of North Korea for the vacant WBC Junior Flyweight world title.

On October 8, 2005 n an outdoor amphitheater at Harrah's in Laughlin, Nevada, Wendy Rodriguez (105 lbs) of Los Angeles, California won an eight-round unanimous (80-72,77-75,79-73) decision over Yvonne (105 lbs) in the Main Event.  There were no knockdowns. Rodriguez improved to 16-2-3 (2 KO's) with the win.

On December 8, 2006 at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx, New York, former US national amateur 106-lb champion Suszannah Warner (101 lbs) of New York won an eight round unanimous (78-74,79-73,78-74) decision over Yvonne (100 bs) for the vacant NABF Atomweight (102-lb) title. Caples fell to 7-11-2 (1 KO) with the loss.

Yvonne stays in top shape to be ready to fight at short notice. For some years now, she has had a standing challenge to the most-publicized boxer near her weight class, Nina Ahlin ... "any time, any place, any amount of rounds".

Yvonne emphasizes the value of having an amateur boxing career before turning pro. "I think it's crazy to go straight into the pros", she says. "I'm really grateful for all my amateur experience. Just going to the big tournaments was ... a wonderful experience to be around all these other female boxers, and meet all these different people. And I started my pro career at a different level than a lot of other people."

Yvonne CaplesYvonne was a high school English teacher who also coached boxing at U.C Berkeley, where she got her B.A. in English. She now teaches conflict resolution to children who have got into trouble and been suspended at school. The soft-spoken, diminutive Caples uses her boxing skills to gain their respect, taking both boys and girls to the gym to spar with her. "They think it's neat, and we didn't have any problems after (we did) that." Her hobbies include dancing, reading, writing poetry, and traveling.

Asked about her future ambitions, Yvonne said, "... to win a world championship, earn a master's degree in sports medicine, run my own boxing gym, and help to improve and promote the sport of women's boxing in any way I can."

She now lives in Las Vegas and is both trained and managed by James Pena. Her email address is Sawanttara@cs.com

More Yvonne Caples Links

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