Kelsey Jeffries: The lady warrior who comes to fight!
INTERVIEW By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (March 12, 2006)
Two-time world champion Kelsey Jeffries 33-9 (2) is ready and raring for a throw down, anytime, any place, against any opponent. The ‘Road Warrior’ will be there with fists blaring to go toe to toe against any foe that crosses her path, earning her top spot the honest way, bloody, bruised and brawling her way to the top of the food chain.
After boasting a 9-2 record as an amateur the female fighter stepped in the pro ranks in the summer of ’99 winning her debut in the opening round and going on to pound out seven straight wins before dropping her first L to the undefeated Laura Serrano in 2000. Jeffries picked up and marched on traveling around the world banging it out against some of the elite in the lady’s sport, and after being denied titles for three heart felt attempts the lady warrior earned back to back belts in 2002 strapping on the California’s Women’s Featherweight title and the WIBA Intercontinental Super Featherweight title.
Late 2002 Jeffries smacked out a unanimous decision victory over the California native Layla McCarter to gain the IFBA Featherweight strap and added more hardware to her trophy case in 2004 beating out Jeri Sitzes for the IBA Super Bantamweight title.
After thirteen straight victories over formidable opposition traveling high and low to do so Kelsey tacked on former world champ and high class boxing trainer Buddy McGirt and made the jump to Mexico to take on the hometown tough as nails Mexican female fighter Jackie Nava. Facing a lose, lose situation Jeffries fought her heart out but failed to gain the judges decision dropping the bout unanimously but earning the respect of the ringside fans, former greats Roberto Duran and Nave herself.
For almost seven years in the bang for your buck sport the female fighting fire fighter has taken pride in the fact the she is willing and able to battle the best in the business, and Jeffries continues to entertain the masses with her in your face fist flying action packed bouts. Stay tuned for more as Kelsey will surely march on.
Jeffries took the time out to speak to the Doghouse and gave her thoughts on her career as well as the women’s sport, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: Kelsey, first off I would like to thank you for taking the timeout to speak to the Doghouse, what have you been up to as of late?
Kelsey Jeffries: I am always training and improving my skills and always getting ready for whomever wants to challenge me for my titles. I am always just preparing myself to be the best possible fighter.
BH: How it is working with the former two-time world champion Buddy McGirt?
KJ: Ah I can’t even express it, just the humbleness that me as a female to be in that gym is like walking into heaven, it is amazing to be in his presence and to get the attention and the respect that I get in the gym is amazing and it has made a world of difference in my style and career.
BH: You know a lot of people don’t take women’s boxing to seriously, some call it a circus act and just brutally bash the women’s sport, while others who speak out on the lady’s fight world talk negative of the sport because of the lack of quality matches, there seem to be a mess of mismatches in that side of the pugilist profession. What is your take on the sport, and in your honest opinion what do you feel the sport needs to be more legitimized and what steps need to be taken to do so?
KJ: Well I think the problem is like what’s in men’s boxing, you build up a fighter right, you get this guy a lot of fights and make his record look nice and pretty and then you start showing him to the public when he is ready to present himself. Women, we don’t have enough people in the sport to be built up, my second fight I fought a girl who I think had eighteen fights. I went to work as a pro how I should had been as an amateur, some pros get built up, I didn’t get built up, I fought the best my whole career I might have had one or two people that weren’t a bad ass. I think we lack a lot of people in the sport and that is why they get the mismatches, you want to build you fighter up and make them look good well it makes women boxing look bad. In the fight I just took in Mexico, I knew what I was facing going to Mexico, it wasn’t a joke I have had plenty of fights over seas and I know what it is to go over there. You are basically going for a loss and get-to-get paid, unless you knock them out. That fight I had in Mexico was the kind of fight that people need to see, that is a huge win for women’s boxing and hopefully people saw it, that is the kind of fight that needs to be on ESPN and hopefully in the future something will happen like that.
BH: For the ones who never have seen you fight or know a lot of you, how would you describe your fight style and your greatest strengths and qualities?
KJ: I’m a technician, I was a technician before I met Buddy and I think since I met Buddy I have become more of one because that was the kind of fighter he was, he was a smart fighter. I can punch but I am such a technician I don’t want to waste no punches, I am very technical and want to make every punch count and I try not to get hit as much as I can. You can call me a boxer puncher I guess, that is what everybody says and like to call them selves. I like to be smart in there and pick my shots.
BH: You just came off a hard fought disappointing loss against Jackie Nava in Mexico, and I know fight plans are easier said than done, but looking back on the bout what would you have done differently, or how would you approach a rematch?
KJ: It is funny because my manager watched the fight and he said I fought the best fight of my life, I went to camp with Buddy and he got me ready for this fight and I did exactly what he said to do. One time I did get cute and dropped my hand low and I was off balance and I got knocked down, but besides that I did what I was supposed to do, and it was a win for women’s boxing, that is the reason why I took the fight and there are a lot of people that seen that fight that probably changed their minds about women’s boxing.
BH: What are some match-ups that you feel would help the women’s sport of boxing?
KJ: Well fights like I had in Mexico that kind of fight. Good fighters, and I am not going to throw out names because I don’t think that is what fighting is about. Two people that can fight and have heart and skill and present themselves as a champion, fighters that present themselves well, take care of themselves, respect themselves and fight like champions.
BH: Why would you choose to box, I mean most ladies are worried about their looks and hair getting messed up while you stand there in a ring and get smashed up, bruised and bloodied for the sake of winning?
KJ: Even more so for women because we don’t get the fruits of our labor, unfortunately I don’t know why I have a heart of a warrior, just a champion and ready to throw down, I am willing to put my skill up against anybody, I don’t care how big they are, it is in my soul and in my heart, I am a warrior. I am just a fighter.
BH: You have had a total of forty-two bouts and have participated in some bloody wars in your nearly seven years as a professional fighter, looking back on all of your bouts which three are you most proud of?
KJ: Definitely the last one, Buddy made me this fighter that I was in Mexico and it was a fight, I got respect from Roberto Duran as well as other greats, they liked my style and that was because of me being with Buddy. That is definitely a highlight, but all the fights were wars and I am proud of all of them win or lose, all them fights have a piece of me in there.
BH: What advice would you give to a young female fighter who was just taking up the sport?
KJ: (Laughs) If you like hell please pursue boxing, it is such a tough game, whether they call it sport, business or game or whatever it is tough. If that is what she desires with all her heart and she loves to think of the worst possible scenario and likes to be in it then pursue boxing.
BH: For the ones who may read this interview, what statement do you want to make or what do you hope a reader gets out of this article?
KJ: That Kelsey Jeffries is a warrior ands she comes to fight, that is what I want.
BH: In closing of this interview is there anything you would like to say or add?
KJ: I just want to change peoples’ thoughts on women’s boxing, I want to show them who Kelsey Jeffries is.
IFBA FEATHERWEIGHT (126 lbs) WORLD CHAMPION
IBA SUPER BANTAMWEIGHT (122LBS) WORLD CHAMPION
CALIFORNIA STATE FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION
WIBA INTERCONTINENTAL SUPER FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION
WIBF AMERICA'S FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION
WBAN FIGHTER OF THE YEAR 2003 AND 2004
IFBA FIGHTER OF THE YEAR 2003
I would like to thank Kelsey’s manager Bruce Anderson for setting up this interview, and a special thanks goes out to Kelsey Jeffries for her time and thoughts as well as her participation in www.fighters-of-faith.com You can find more about the ‘Road Warrior’ by visiting: www.kel-c.com.
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