Melinda Cooper, Layla McCarter, Kaliesha West are some of the best and brightest in the game today. (Al Applerose)
Seldom are women boxers televised so here’s a list of the very best female prizefighters in the world. If they’re ever near your vicinity or on television be sure to take a look. Here they are:
1.) Layla McCarter (35-13-5, 8 KOs) – The “Amazing” McCarter proved in one swoop by moving up two weight divisions to beat South Africa’s Noni Tenge that she is truly the best female prizefighter pound for pound. And McCarter did it against the hometown girl by knockout. No other woman can make a similar claim. Who else on this list has traveled to another country repeatedly and emerged victorious? Undoubtedly McCarter is the best of the best in female prizefighting. Her skills are far beyond most everyone on this list, plus she can fight anywhere from junior lightweight to junior middleweight and win.
2.) Ana Maria Torres (28-3-3, 16 KOs) – Mexico City’s Torres has been out of action due to pregnancy but expected to return to the Mexican wars in her country. She owns wins over Jackie Nava, Mariana Juarez and Ava Knight who are all on this list. Torres is a main reason female boxing in Mexico has risen to outstanding heights. Her two wars with Nava are classic. Torres can fight junior bantamweight to featherweight. The female prizefighting world awaits her return.
3.) Cecilia Braekhus (21-0, 5 KOs) – Norway’s Braekhus recently defeated France’s power punching Anne Sophie Mathis by decision in a neutral site in Denmark. She needs to fight Holly Holm next in a neutral site to secure complete dominance. Both have multiple world titles but most of their wins have come via hometown decisions. Braekhus’s win over Mathis broke that mold and looks ready to prove she will fight outside of home.
4.) Melissa Hernandez (18-3-3, 6 KOs) – Puerto Rico’s Hernandez is almost always the smaller fighter but knows how to fight bigger, taller and heavier fighters. She has the skill set to battle with featherweights to junior middleweights. It seems the only way Hernandez can lose is by hometown judgments in other countries. She’s like a hired gun, she will go anywhere to fight. Hernandez is fearless.
5.) Ann Sophie Mathis (26-3, 22 KOs) – After dominance for a decade the French bomber lost back-to-back fights for the first time in her career. Her moment in the sun remains the blistering knockout of Holly Holm in New Mexico. No one can stand in front of her and withstand her bombs. She’s one of the few knockout punchers in the women’s boxing world. How much remains in her tank? She’s now 35.
6.) Ava Knight (10-1-3, 5 KOs) – San Francisco’s Knight cleared out the flyweight division in 2012 and looks to erase the one flyweight titleholder remaining Melissa McMorrow. Knight’s much too strong for any flyweight and probably needs to move up to find competition. She’s made it clear she would like a rematch with Ana Maria Torres who beat her several years ago at junior bantamweight. Knight is strong enough to fight all the way up to 122-pounds if necessary. Need proof? She beat fellow pound for pound fighter Mariana Juarez in Mexico City.
7.) Mariana Juarez (35-6-3, 16 KOs) – After being named Female Boxer of the Year in 2011, it was clear that fighting at 112 pounds was not a good thing. Last summer she barely survived 10 rounds against Shindo Go because of the weight loss problems. After admitting the weight loss was too stressful, she then backed off and fought once more against Knight at 112 pounds. No surprise that she lost. Even if they fought at 115 it would have been tough beating Knight. However, Juarez remains one of the most skilled female fighters in the world. She can fight as high as 122 pounds if necessary.
8.) Melinda Cooper (22-2, 11 KOs) – Few female prizefighters are willing to face the super talented Cooper. They’re not fooled by her pretty face. In the past four years she fought junior featherweights to girls now fighting at lightweight. Cooper’s intelligence inside the ring and ability to turn on the speed with power keep her on the most feared list. Now she’s dropping to her true weight of junior bantamweight to bantamweight. A bantamweight world title shot is next on her list, very soon. The Las Vegas prizefighter remains one of the most exciting female boxers today.
9.) Jackie Nava (28-4-3, 12 KOs) – Tijuana’s Nava was on the verge of fighting Ana Julaton or Ana Maria Torres but pulled out when discovering she was pregnant. The popular Mexican prizefighter has been televised numerous times in Mexico and remains one of that country’s star attractions.
10.) Kaliesha West (16-1-3, 4 KOs) – After defending the bantamweight world title three times Southern California’s West moved to the junior featherweight division last October and beat Christina Ruiz by unanimous decision to capture the world title in the 122-pound weight class too. Several girls on this list could be potential opponents in 2013. West has the speed and defense to continue her dominance and could eventually move up another weight division if she desires.
11.) Holly Holm (31-2-3, 9 KOs) – New Mexico’s Holm avenged a knockout loss to Anne Marie Mathis but left most of the female boxing fans wondering if she can beat any of the top female fighters outside of her home state. Can she regain any semblance of dominance again? Holm, a welterweight, is scheduled to fight Australia’s Diana Prazak the current junior lightweight world titleholder on December 7, in New Mexico of course.
12.) Kina Malpartida (14-3, 4 KOs) – Peru’s first world champion seems to get better and better every fight. Malpartida has not lost a fight in four years and has defended the WBA junior lightweight title five times since 2009. Next up is former featherweight champion Stacey Reile on Dec. 8 in Dominican Republic. Can Malpartida continue her dominance over the junior lightweight division? Honorable Mention:
Hanna Gabriel, Monica Acosta, Alicia Ashley, Yesica Bopp, Ana Julaton, Lisa Brown, Jessica Rakoczy, Etsuko Tada, Susie Ramadan, Erica Farias, Janeth Perez.