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Laura Serrano to Enter IWBHF on July 11th
by Bernie McCoy - IWBHF Press Release
Photos by Pepe Rodriguez

PORTLAND, OR - (June 4, 2015)  Laura Serrano whose professional boxing career helped pave the way for women in her home country, will become the first Mexican female fighter to enter the International Women's Boxing Hall of Fame. Serrano will join other "modern era" women boxers Laila Ali, Jeannine Garside, Deirdre Gogarty, Ann Wolfe and Terri Moss along with Sparkle Lee, the first female referee licensed professionally in both New York and New Jersey and Phyllis Kugler (posthumous) a pioneer fighter in the 1950s. The second class of the IWBHF will be inducted on July 11 (3:30-6:30 PM) at the Crystal Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the National Women's Golden Gloves tournament.

Serrano noted, on the phone late last week from her home in Las Vegas, the personal irony in her sport's present day female boxing activity compared to when she turned professional in 1994. "At that time, there was no female boxing allowed in Mexico. I had seven so called amateur bouts, although, in reality, only three were 'real fights,' the others were more or less exhibitions. I quickly realized that if I had any hope of a professional career, it would be in the US, where the sport was, at the time, prospering. Of course, today that situation is practically reversed; Mexico is one of the world's leading 'hotbeds' of the sport, surpassing the United States. Then, there was almost no coverage of female boxing in the Mexican media, but, somehow, my name surfaced with the 'right people' and I was offered a professional bout in the United States."

Serrano's "(offer) of a professional bout" came from "on high": Don King Promotions was "the right people" of all boxing in 1994, including female boxing, a sport that, at the time, was at or near the zenith of it's activity and popularity in the United States. Serrano's opponent for her first professional fight turned out to be the primary reason for female boxing's popularity. "Of course I had heard of Christy Martin. Any one remotely connected with the sport had. She was at the top of Women's boxing (21-1-1 14 KO) and my initial reaction was 'this could be dangerous.' That quickly changed to 'I have a lot to gain and not a lot to lose.' I was just so excited to get an opportunity to fight professionally, particularly at a venue like the MGM Grand and on a fight card loaded with world champions including my hero Julio Cesar Chavez."

On the basis of her surprising performance (a six round draw) against Martin, who, at the time was considered near invincible, Serrano was offered the opportunity, in her second professional bout, to fight for the WIBF lightweight title against another established fighter, Deirdre Gogarty. Once again, Serrano impressed Las Vegas ringsiders, at the Aladdin Hotel, punishing the more experienced fighter (7-2-2) with a devastating body attack that resulted in a seventh round stoppage. Few, if any, fighters, male or female, can make claim to such a two fight professional debut: a draw with the undisputed top ranked fighter in the sport and a TKO win for a world title over a far more experienced boxer.

Chevelle Hallback vs. Laura Serrano  - Photo: WBAN

But when asked which fight is the personal highlight of her 25 bout, 151 round, fourteen year career, Serrano mentions neither of her first two bouts, "Oh, Chevelle Hallback, no question. At the time (2001), Chevelle was developing a reputation as one of the most fearsome fighters in the sport and, really, there was a lot of truth to that. But my feeling was, she's only got two arms and two legs, just like me, and, at that point in my career, I loved the challenge. But, she was incredibly strong and she hit very hard. We fought six rounds in Las Vegas (Texas Station Casino) and it was six rounds of back and forth, non stop punching bell to bell. She hit me harder, I hit her more often. I got a cut on the top of my head and between rounds I told my trainer that if he stopped the bout, I would never talk to him again. He didn't and I won a majority decision, two judges had me the winner, the third called it a draw. It was that close and I'm glad I won. But if she had gotten the decision or if it had been called a draw, I would have still been glad to have the experience of those six rounds against that fighter."

In sports, often in boxing, a term bandied about is "old school." The phrase is used to denote an athlete who performs, at their chosen sport, the "right" way. As with most sports accolades, "old school" is often overused, in reality, applying to only a small fraction of those to whom it is attributed. In the case of Laura Serrano, it cannot be repeated enough. She did boxing right. There was no long gestation period of overmatched opponents when Serrano turned professional. She started her career, fighting, many thought outfighting, the best boxer in the sport. And that attitude persisted throughout her professional career. Laura Serrano was constantly in search of challenging match-ups, she was always looking up, instead of down the rankings for her next opponent: Kelsey Jeffries, Isra Girgrah, Melissa Del Valle, Jeannine Garside ending, in November, 2007, against a then unbeaten Ina Menzer in Germany for the WIBF featherweight title, a fight Serrano still feels she won. After four years of retirement, the love of the sport still kindled within Serrano. She made a brief comeback in 2011, not against walkover opposition but in with established fighters Ela Nunez and Irma Garcia.

Asked her reaction to her IWBHF induction Serrano explained, "It's very, very awesome. It's special, a high honor in our sport and I'm happy and proud to be recognized." Two of Laura Serrano's reactive words especially resonate: "awesome" and "special." Those words, likewise, fit comfortably into any description of her career in the ring and what she has meant to the sport of Women's boxing. She led the way for Women's boxing in a country that now sets a high standard for the sport with her career in the ring and, later, utilizing her training in the law outside the ropes. Appropriately, on July 11, Women's boxing will honor what Laura Serrano has meant to the sport with her induction into the International Women's Boxing Hall of Fame.

IWBHF Hall of Fame Event

Schedule of Event

2:15 - 4:00 p.m.: Meet and Greet (with a Cash Bar) including the photograph and autograph session with inductees / celebrities present. We will have available for purchase IWBHF Official posters, IWBHF Official programs, 2015 IWBHF T-shirts, Everlast Gloves for autograph purposes.

4:00 - 6:30 p.m.: IWBHF Induction Ceremony. There will be a plated dinner for guests. The event will be world-wide live webcasted, with host Jake Gutierrez of Las Vegas, Nevada, who has appeared on appearing on HBO, Showtime, ESPN, BBC, TSN, Telemundo, Univision, and various Pay Per View and Satellite Networks.

7:00 p.m.: The Finals of the Women's National Golden Gloves 2015 - Guests will see many of our top rated USA amateur female boxers fighting in the finals at this time.

For special Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel rates, go here:  

Hyatt Regency Parking:
$10 overnight self, $15.00 overnight valet. Day self parking is $3.00 for the first hour and $1.00 for each additional hour.

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