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Yvonne Reis

5'10" southpaw Yvonne Reis was born on May 26, 1966 in Marlborough, Massachusetts.  She began studying martial arts when she was 8 years old, initially to learn self-defense. She played basketball in high school, weighing as much as 215 lbs.  She attended Emerson College and later got involved with full-contact kickboxing.

Yvonne now lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  In 2001 she competed in the USA Extreme Challenge in Full Contact, and preparation for this event linked her with former world champion boxer and kickboxer Bonnie Canino, who became her trainer.

In the 165-lb division at the 2001 US Women's Golden Gloves in Augusta, Georgia, Yvonne defeated Robin Labuda of Alpharetta, Georgia 5-0 in the semifinal of August 10 and Emilia Longoria of Phoenix, Arizona by 5-0 to win the final on August 11.

On September 19-22, 2001 at the USA Boxing National Championships at the Marine Corps Base at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, Yvonne lost in the final to Angel Bovee of New York by a 17-8 score. She had defeated Jennifer Driggers of Camp LeJeune in the semifinal.

In the 156-lb division of the 2002 US Nationals in Scranton, PA in August, Yvonne defeated  Roselin Morales of Bethlehem, PA by 8-4 in her semifinal on August 1 and Jennifer Thyssen of Eau Claire, Wisconsin by 9-5 to win the national championship on August 2.

In the 156-lb division at the 2002 US Women's Golden Gloves in Chicago, Illinois on August 21-24 Yvonne won a decision over Renee Poulsky of Illinois in the semifinal and defeated Jenna Johlin of Ohio in the final.

At the 2002 women's world championships in Antalya, Turkey on October 28, Yvonne took the silver medal in the 156 lb division, losing to Larisa Berezenko of the Ukraine after defeating Paola Casalinuovo of Argentina in the semifinal.

Yvonne completed her amateur boxing career with a 14-3 record.

Yvonne (left) vs. Bonnie Mann in her pro debut

She made her pro debut on December 21, 2002 at the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, weighing in at 152 lbs and defeating Bonnie Mann (146 lbs) of Raleigh, North Carolina by a four-round unanimous decision. Reis knocked Mann down at 0:30 in the opening round and went on to dominate the bout. Mann fell to 1-4-0 (0 KO) with the loss.

On April 4, 2003 at The Harriet Himmel Theater in West Palm Beach, Florida, Yvonne (160 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (58-55,58-55,58-55) decision over Cynthia Jones (152 lbs) of Miami, Florida. According to a report from Ryan Wissow, it was a great fight as Reis and Jones went right at it from the opening bell. In the second round, Jones caught Reis with some big shots on the ropes, and had Reis in big trouble so that the ref almost stopped the fight. However, Reis clinched Jones, and the ref gave her a standing eight count. The remaining four rounds were non-stop, with both fighters stunning the other and snapping each other's heads back with numerous big shots, bringing the crowd to its feet.  Wissow said of Cynthia Jones "She is the best 0-4 fighter I've ever seen. There are numerous world-class fighters that Jones would beat." Jones fell to 1-4 with the loss.

On July 13, 2003 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, Yvonne (163 lbs) lost by a four-round unanimous decision to Nikki Eplion (167½ lbs) of South point, Ohio, who improved to 9-0-2 with the win.  This bout was fought with three-minute rounds. (Read also  Behind the Scenes of this fight by Bonnie Canino).

On August 23, 2003 at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek, Florida, Yvonne (163½ lbs) won a four-round majority (38-38,40-36,39-37) decision over Jennifer Mancil (166 lbs) of Cleviston, Florida. In a very competitive fight Mancil showed some boxing ability, choosing to move around the ring instead of slugging it out in the middle. Reis also showed good skills, bobbing and weaving and picking her shots well. Both landed their share of bombs in the latter half of the bout as they chose to stand and exchange more freely, to the delight of the fans. Reis landed the cleaner shots and managed to make Mancil miss, taking the decision on two scorecards. Mancil fell to 1-2-0 (0 KO).

On September 27, 2003 at the Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers, Florida, Yvonne (159½ lbs) fought to an eight-round draw with Shirvelle Williams (161 lbs) of St. Petersburg, Florida (77-75 Williams, 80-72 Reis, 76-76).  WBAN's insider sent the following report: "The first three rounds were the same, Yvonne kept her distance and picked her shots, as Shirvelle try to stalk her way in.  In the fourth and fifth Yvonne took the fight in closer which was Shirvelle’s strong point.  Nothing happened except after a punch a lot of holding, rough-housing and hitting below the belt line by Shirvelle.  The sixth round Yvonne established her range back, picking her shots and throwing some multi combinations through the round.  The seventh was Yvonne’s strongest round and in  the eighth round both girls took the action from the beginning to the end."  Williams was now 5-4-1 (2 KO).

On January 30, 2004 at the National Guard Armory in Worcester, Massachusetts, undefeated middleweight Leatitia Robinson (163 lbs) successfully defended her IWBF Middleweight title with a 10-round unanimous (98-92,100-90,100-90) decision over Yvonne (159 lbs).  Robinson improved to 10-0 (8 KOs) with the win. Reis was still battling the flu when she met Robinson, but refused to let illness keep her from a bout that was something of a homecoming for her. ''She was able to get her combos off, and I wasn't, it's that simple," Reis said. ''Give her credit; she's the champion for a reason. This will make me work harder to get back to that level."

On April 23, 2004 at Club Med in Port St. Lucie, Florida In front of over 900 boxing fans, pro debuter Alexandra Maloy (5'10", 175 lbs) of Tampa, Florida won a four-round majority decision over Yvonne (173 lbs).  

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

On June 3, 2004 at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon, Shelley Burton (160 lbs) of Kalispell, Montana TKO'd Yvonne (160 lbs) 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. Former Toughwoman competitor Burton improved to 4-0 (1 KO) with the win.  For more photos by Mary Ann Owen, see WBAN Members Photo Gallery #175.

On October 22, 2004 at a black tie charity card at the Municipal Auditorium in Sarasota, Florida, Erin Toughill (167 lbs) won an ten-round unanimous decision over Yvonne (164½ lbs) for the WIBF 168-lb Intercontinental title. Toughill was now 6-1-0 (0 KO's) as a pro boxer.

On December 11, 2004 at Lausitz-Arena in Cottbus, Germany, German-based Natascha Ragosina (167 lbs) of Khazakhstan defeated Yvonne (167 lbs) by a TKO in the tenth round for the WIBF Intercontinental championship. Reis kept trying to come forward throughout the bout but she was knocked down in the ninth round. She then weathered the storm ... only to have the fight stopped with 42 seconds gone in the tenth. According to WBAN correspondent Ewan Whyte: "Reis was outgunned from the second round onwards when the Kazakh upped the pace, and after barely surviving a hail of punches in the third, the 38-year-old American had somehow made it through to the ninth with a demonstration of grit and determination of her own."  Ragosina improved to 4-0 (4 KO) with the win.

On March 24, 2005 at the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley, Idaho, Dakota Stone (158 lbs) of Seattle, Washington won a six-round unanimous (60-54,60-54,59-55) decision over Yvonne (158 lbs). There were no knock-downs in the fight. Stone improved to 7-3-3 (1 KO) with the win.

On May 27, 2005 at the Westin Diplomat Hotel, in Hollywood Beach, Florida, Yvonne (151 lbs) won a four-round majority decision over Kimberly Harris (154 lbs) of Tampa, Florida.  Team Reis told WBAN, “Yvonne Reis has dropped down two weight divisions.  She boxed last year at the 168 pound division and is now at the 154 pound division.  Yvonne is hoping to drop down one more weight division and box from 147 to 154 pounds.  Yvonne said the girls at 168 pounds were just too big for her.”  Harris fell to 2-5 (0 KO) with the loss.

On August 26, 2005 at the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa, Florida, Yvonne (150 lbs) won a six-round majority (58-56,58-56,57-57) decision over Kimberly Harris (154 lbs) in a rematch of their May 2005 bout. Harris fell to 2-6 (0 KO).

On October 19, 2005 at Andiamo’s in Warren, Michigan, WBC welterweight champion Mary Jo Sanders (148½ lbs) of Detroit, Michigan won a six-round unanimous (60-54,60-54,60-54) decision over Yvonne (148½ lbs) who fell to 5-8-1 (0 KOs).

On January 27, 2006 at the Palladium in Hollywood, California, Angel Martinez of Dallas, Texas won an eight-round unanimous (78-74,80-72,80-72) decision over Yvonne for the WIBA Intercontinental Welterweight title. Martinez improved to 4-1-1 (1 KO).  

On April 1, 2006 at Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, Yvonne won a ten-round split decision over local heroine Conjestina Achieng for the vacant WBC Middleweight title.  Achieng came out aggressively and kept Reis on the defensive in the opening rounds, but from the fifth round onwards Reis began to assert her authority and Achieng tired. The judges' scorecards read Alfred Buqwana 96-94 for Reis, Nemes Kavishe 96-94 for Reis and Atta Eddie Pappoe 100-94 for Achieng.  Reis told local press: "It is not unexpected. The win was deserved. The boxer (Conjestina) did not play her cards well because in most of the rounds, I was beating her to the punch. If she wants a replay, I’m ready. But there are anomalies in her techniques, especially her jabbing and hooking, which I discovered from the beginning." Yvonne improved to 6-9-1 (0 KO) with this win while Achieng fell to 8-2-3 (4 KOs) with her first loss in Kenya.

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

On December 2, 2006 at the Moi International Sport Center in Nairobi, Kenya, Leatitia Robinson of Chicago won a ten-round majority decision over Yvonne for the WIBA Middleweight World Title. Leaitia improved to 15-0-0 (9 KOs) with the win while dropping Yvonne to 6-10-1 (0 KOs). 

On March 24, 2007 at Skinner Park, San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago, Giselle Salandy of Trinidad won a ten-round unanimous (99-91,99-92,98-92) decision over Yvonne defending her WBA, WBC, NABC, WBE and IWBF junior middleweight titles. Salandy established her jab early in the fight and caught Reis with a crashing left in the seventh and a hard right hook to the head in the tenth.  She also won the action at close quarters, getting off good combinations.  Afterwards, Salandy commended Reis on her toughness, saying,"She's good...she can take a punch. I realize every time I gave her a good punch, she smiled, despite the power of it."  Salandy improved her record to 14-0 (6 KO's) with the win while Reis fell to 6-11-1 (0 KO's).

"She's very athletic and fast," said Reis after the fight. "She has natural ability, but she should not go up in weight. I know a lot of people are saying she should go up in weight to meet Laila Ali, but she should not. She will get hurt badly if she does. She had no power at all."

On June 23, 2007 at Berkeley Institute Gym in Pembroke, Bermuda, Teresa Perozzi (166¼ lbs) of Bermuda won a six-round unanimous decision over Yvonne (164 lbs).  The judges' scores were 59-57, 58-56, and 58-57. Reis later told the Women's Boxing Forum: "No disrespect to Perrozi. Look I know when I win and when it is really to close, the home town girl gets the advantage. I was not going to knock her out - I knew that going into the fight. So I went in planning to punish her, which I did. She hit me four times - I know because those I felt. So, I boxed her and to my amazement they still gave it to her. I went over to her after the fight and she and her coach said we want a rematch. They knew, but when the results were read she won."

On November 24, 2007 at the Paragon Casino & Resort in Marksville, Louisiana,  Yvonne (159½ lbs) won a four-round unanimous (39-37,39-37,39-37) decision over Valerie Mahfood (163 lbs) of Beaumont, Texas. Reis improved to 7-12-1 (0 KO's) with the win while Mahfood fell to 19-14-3 (9 KO's).

Asked about her advice for other women boxers, Yvonne told WBAN's Sue Fox:

DON'T DO IT FOR MONEY. Do it for the competition. There is no money in it, really, a credit card payment now and then.

IF YOU ARE NOT HAVING FUN - STOP. This is a tough sport. If you don't enjoy the training or the competition. Just stop. When something isn't fun for you anymore, you can't really be good at it, so stop. Participate like Bonnie Canino as a trainer, or Sue Fox, here, with this forum. There are other ways to be in the game without being in the game.

BE READY AT ALL TIMES. If you want to do this, take those last minute fights. Be ready and in shape to go at a moment's notice. The phone doesn't ring often so you have to go when it does or they will not call you again. We do not have the privilege that male boxers have, advanced notice. It happens, but not often and they usually fall through. Keep training and be ready for any and all comers. The fights will come, just be ready.

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2012


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