Kaliesha West’s earliest boxing memory took place in the early 1990s when as a little girl she watched from ringside her father Juan West fight in the Olympic Auditorium.
Fans must have gotten an earful from the tiny figure jumping and shouting for her dad to win the fight.
Things have changed. Now it’s dad who does the cheering and the daughter who does the pummeling inside the boxing ring.
“That’s my daughter,” said Juan West proudly a couple of years ago. “But I don’t want her beaten up.”
That fear has never come to fruition because Kaliesha West has ripped through the female boxing world as fast as one of her blinding jabs. The Moreno Valley girl won the WBO bantamweight world title in 2010 and is looking to add another.
West (15-1-3, 4 KOs) steps into the ring to face San Antonio’s Christina Ruiz (6-4-2) for the vacant IFBA and WIBA junior featherweight world title on Saturday, Oct. 6. The title match will be staged by Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions at the Finish Line Sports Grill in Pomona.
Ruiz has a deceptive record. Though she has four losses they all came against formidable foes. She’s Texas tough and has upset a few undefeated fighters in her short career including a knockout of Emily Klinefelter.
“The other girl is coming with natural power and Kaliesha has natural power too,” said Juan West, who’s trained his daughter her entire career including the amateur portion. “It’s going to be an explosive fight.”
Explosive can best describe Kaliesha West who despite having only four knockouts in 19 pro fights does possess jaw rattling power. It was by knockout that she garnered the WBO title at the Staples Center against Angel Gladney. But it’s her boxing skills that allow her to reign supreme in the boxing ring.
“My strengths are my speed, I know that. I can do better in the power department,” confesses Kaliesha West, 24. “I just think about what I have to do to win.”
The heady prizefighter signed a contract with a Mexican promoter knowing full well that winning by decision in another country is always a risk. So far, her intelligence and skills in the ring have prevented any hint of derailment. It’s another important weapon that few prizefighters are able to implement.
“For every fight I change my philosophy. Just like when I went to Europe I try not to think about the judges and the way they score,” said West, recounting her 10-round draw in Denmark against that country’s heroine Anita Christensen. “Do I have to prepare myself for the crowd? Yes. You never know what to expect.”
Crowd control, ring control and self control are three things the Southern California prizefighter has exhibited throughout her six-year pro career. Aside from hours of training she also works and attends a university.
“Everybody needs a plan B you know. You never know if you’re going to get injured tomorrow and cant box,” says West.
West isn’t looking for plan B to go into effect on Saturday but is not overlooking Ruiz.
“You don’t know what to expect in these matches. You never know what’s going to happen,” says West philosophically. “Those types of fights between boxers and punchers are always good like the Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez fight. You never know.”
Ironically, the female world champion looks to add another world title in a different weight class. Her promoter Mosley, is one of only two so far to accomplish that feat. He won the lightweight, welterweight and junior middleweight world titles. Another is Timothy Bradley who won the junior welterweight and welterweight world titles.
“Before I finish boxing my goal is become the best female fighter ever,” says West.
Saturday brings her closer to that goal.
Finish Line Sports Grill is located at 2201 N. White Avenue in Pomona. For tickets and information call (909) 622-9092.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?