Former flyweight world champion Elena “Baby Doll” Reid travels to France to grab another world title at a higher weight class. Traveling abroad is nothing new.
Reid admits that the end may be near though she is merely 28 years old but she wants another crack.
Reid (19-5-6, 5 KOs) battles France’s taller and battle tested Nadia Hokmi (15-6-1, 8 KOs) for the vacant WBF junior bantamweight world title on Saturday near Strasbourg, France. The title fight will not be shown in the U.S.
“I’m not going to fight much longer,” says Reid, who also fights professionally in mixed martial arts where she has fought five times in that genre. “It’s the ups and downs and the heartaches in my career. I’m ready to start the next part of my life.”
It all began 10 years ago when a then 18-year-old perky Reid arrived in Coachella to begin training for a career as a pro boxer. She arrived alone, found a job and reported to the gym on a daily basis to learn the sometimes unfathomable craft of boxing.
Reid, a former kickboxer, had natural strength, athletic ability and an innocent looking face that often fooled opponents who saw her as a princess type girl out of her element. But once the fight began most opponents ran into a Reid buzz saw.
Her first three pro engagements were fought at three different weight divisions higher than flyweight. Quickly she descended first to the 115 junior bantamweight division then to the 112 pound flyweight division where her 5-foot, 2-inch size was more suited.
Before settling into the flyweight level, Reid engaged in one of the most riveting female prizefights when she slugged it out with Mexico’s Mariana Juarez on national television in 2003. It looked to be the start of a great pro career for Reid and women’s boxing. But her promoter suddenly died and she was left in limbo searching for someone to guide her career.
“Things happen that you have no control over,” said Reid, who hoped winning a world title would transition into television and gain endorsements. It didn’t happen.
But fighting at the proper weight for her size proved beneficial even if it came against Germany’s revered Regina Halmich. Both fought to a disputed draw in Karlsruhe, Germany in their first encounter in 2004. Their second clash in 2005 ended in a win for Halmich but fighting in an international atmosphere proved essential to Reid.
In 2006, against Mary Ortega, the Filipina-American boxer captured her first world title by unanimous decision in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. She took home the WIBA flyweight belt but that was just a start. In 2007, in Temecula, she grabbed the IFBA flyweight world title with a one-sided win over South Korea’s Shin-Hee Choi that saw all three judges give every round to Reid.
She was an undisputed flyweight world champion.
Reid subsequently lost the flyweight championship and fell short against current flyweight titleholder Susi Kentikian a year ago. Now she’s getting another shot at the vacant title, but once again it’s on foreign shores. Nothing is tougher than winning a world title in another country.
“You have to knock them out. Honestly,” said Kaliesha West who recently fought to a draw in her world title bid last March in Denmark that ended in a draw. “You have to devastatingly defeat them and try to go for the KO pretty much.”
Hokmi will be fighting in her own home town and has scrapped with world champions Kentikian, Simona Galassi, Bettina Csabi and Anita Christensen. The taller fighter is an aggressive boxer who prefers trading, but you never know what to expect in a world title fight.
“It’s always an honor to fight for a world title. It would be awesome to win a third world title. I would be one happy girl without a doubt,” said Reid who is trained by Raphael Valenzuela. “To add to everything else it’s a career move winning a third world championship. They’ve all been against tough opponents. I feel very lucky to have what I had. I can be proud of myself.”
Moreno Valley’s West, who fought an exhibition with Reid years ago, said the Arizona prizefighter should use her strength and experience to beat the French boxer.
“Elena can’t let the girl back her up. If the girl is aggressive she can’t back up and show any signs of bowing down. She has to stand her ground and out bang her. I believe she is the stronger girl,” said West.
Reid expects an aggressive battle.
“We’re prepared for whatever she decides to do,” Reid says. “We expect to win.”
A decade has passed but dreams of winning another world title remain.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Yudel Johnson (6-0) vs. Juliano Ramos (16-3).
Fri. Telefutura, 8:30 p.m., Luis Cruz (13-0) vs.
Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m., Edner Cherry (27-6-2) vs. Ira Terry (24-3).
Sat. HBO, 7 p.m., Yuri Foreman (28-0) vs. Miguel Cotto (34-2).