Kaliesha “Wild Wild” West has driven herself to become one of the top female bantamweights in the world after a three year climb to the summit.
Dressed in her normal street clothes it would be nearly impossible to equate the girlish giggles and text-messaging addict with anyone feared and avoided in prizefighting.
In the past year West has become puzzled that world champions aren’t knocking on her door or texting her with challenges.
One female fighter who did answer a text to fight is Kasha “Marine Machine” Chamblin.
Moreno Valley’s West (11-1) meets Louisiana’s Chamblin (11-4) at Agua Caliente Casino on Saturday, Dec. 12. The female clash will not be televised on the Showtime sponsored event.
It should be.
With six to eight world titles in the bantamweight division floating out and about, it should be easy to contend for one or two titles. But that’s not the case. Instead there is a sort of keep-away that’s going on with the titleholders who seem more occupied with holding on to the leather belts.
“I thought I’d be fighting for a world title by now,” said West, 21.
Chamblin, 32, has been one of those fighters not occupied with protecting what she wants. The female “jarhead” has faced former world champion Ada Velez, prospect Johanna Mendez and current bantamweight WIBF world titleholder Ina Menzer of Germany. She knows what it takes to fight a world champion. That’s something that West has yet to experience.
Juan West, trainer and father of Kaliesha West, has prepared his daughter since she first put on the boxing gear at age 10. He also trains about six other fighters and all of them are male boxers. His daughter is smack in the middle and works hard to keep pace.
“I see Kaliesha becoming more relaxed and staying more as a professional. She’s coming around real nice,” said West who has trained fighters like Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola in the past. “She is getting to the point where she will be knocking out people.”
Those who witness the affable West in the ring usually compare her to a female version of Sugar Shane Mosley with her slick power-boxing movements and super charged quickness.
Her last fight came in the same arena against veteran Rolanda Andrews, a heavier fighter accustomed to fighting at featherweight who packed big knockout power. Though caught with many right hooks West powered through to the end with her speed and combinations.
Her father said Kaliesha has an instinctive competitive drive that possibly comes from a history of strong ultra athletic women in their family.
“Lillian James was a great runner during the 40s who was a great athlete,” said Juan West of Kaliesha’s relative. “My sister was a strong athlete too. She’d KO other girls.”
Kaliesha West, who prefers to be called Kay, feels at home sparring against much heavier girls like junior lightweight contender Rhonda Luna and WBA junior lightweight titleholder Kina Malpartida.
“She loves my name, she always goes “Wild Wild West,” said West about Malpartida who sparred with each other numerous times. “She can throw a four punch combination, then move laterally. She’s not one dimensional, she can change up.”
Strength and power is what West expects from Chamblin.
“She’s (Chamblin) known for being a real tough girl. She was in the Marines for 8 years. They call her the Marine Machine,” said West who relishes fighting quality fighters like the Louisiana boxer. “So I’m prepared for a tough fight, the toughest in my career to date.”
Her father Juan feels she represents all of his teachings and philosophies rolled into one, including those X-factors that can’t be taught.
“She is courageous,” said Juan West about Kaliesha his oldest daughter. “She has a lot of passion and determination.”
On Saturday fight fans will get to see what female boxing is all about.
For tickets and information call Agua Caliente Casino (800) 585-3737.