Holly Holm’s Move From Ring to Cage the Right One?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (May 6, 2013) – The true “Queen of Boxing,” 14-time world champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm, may be hanging-up her gloves Saturday night but she’s only switching from a ring to a cage as she pursues her very promising mixed-martial-arts career.
 
Holm (32-2-3, 9 KOs) will defend her International Boxing Association (IBA) and World Boxing Federation (WBF) junior lightweight titles against former NABC World lightweight title-holder “Merciless” Mary McGee (20-1, 11 KOs) in the 10-round main event headlining the “Mayhem” card, presented by Fresquez Productions, at Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque.
 
Rather than announce her retirement from boxing right after Saturday’s fight, Holm went public several weeks ago, in order to let her boxing fans realize that this would be their last opportunity to watch her box.  It certainly would have been easier and less stressful to wait, but the New Mexico sports icon has always appreciated her fans to the maximum.  Plus, she’s still going to be fighting, only in a different combat sport.
 
“I am dealing with some pressure being in my final time in boxing,” she explained, “and knowing that I’ll be in MMA.  So, I’m focusing on this last fight and feeling some pressure, but there’s always some pressure in a fight.  I want to end things on a good night.  I didn’t want to just cruise through my last fight in boxing.  This isn’t bad pressure.  I did want to let people know and there will be a lot of people there Saturday night who may not have been if I hadn’t made my announcement.”
 
 
Holm nearly retired two years ago but, at that time, she wasn’t quite ready to make the fulltime switch to MMA.  Her plan was to first fight and defeat European starts, Ann Sophie Mathis and Cecelia Breakhus.
 
“This has been a long time coming,” Holm noted.  “I talked with my coach (Mike Winkeljohn) about leaving boxing for MMA back in 2011.  I told friends how much I really enjoyed MMA.  In a perfect world, I would have but I still wanted to fight Ann Sophie and Cecelia.  Then, I could focus 100-percent on MMA.  I’ve always been excited about MMA.  Plans changed, though, when I lost to Ann Sophie. I knew I had to have a rematch (Holm won by decision).  I started enjoying MMA training even more but thought I’d be fighting Cecelia in April, and then would focus on MMA.  That fight didn’t go through and when she chose to fight Mia (St. John), I jumped at an MMA fight in February.  I really enjoyed it.  The fight with Cecelia didn’t happen and here we are.  I always told myself I’d stop boxing if my passion wasn’t there 100-percent.  I found myself getting less motivated in the gym to box, more motivated by MMA.” 
 
Holm met every challenge during her 11+ year boxing career, finally exhausting all of her options, in terms of fighting world-class opponents. She has an incredible 21-1-1 record in world title fights (212 of her career 275 rounds fought have been in world championships), and 14-1-1 against other world champions, defeating a virtual Who’s Who list of woman boxers from the 140 through 154-pound weight classes, including Mathis, Christy Martin, Mary Jo Sanders, St. John, Jane Couch, Duda Yankovich and Chevelle Hallback (twice).
 
Her promoter, Lenny Fresquez, negotiated with Braekhus’ promoter, Sauerland Boxing, for two years but the final straw for Holm was the announcement that Braekhus would instead be fighting 45-year-old St. John, which came one day after the World Boxing Council mandated a mandatory title fight between WBC champion Braekhus and No. 1 contender Holm.  
 
Like most elite athletes, seeking a new challenge was paramount in her decision to leave boxing for MMA, in which she is undefeated in three fights with three knockouts. Now, her ultimate challenge is to develop into a world-class MMA fighter, one worthy of challenging UFC champion and MMA superstar, Ronda Rousey.  “A new challenge was a big part of it,” Holly explained what thinking went into her decision.  “She (Rousey) has opened doors for women in MMA.  She’s the one to beat and she’s in my weight class, but I’m not ready to fight her tomorrow.  I have MMA strengths but I need to build on my weaknesses. She’s world champion now and but that next girl may take her out (before Holm fights Rousey).  I do think she’ll be champ for a long time….but you never know.
 
“I’m also going to turn 32 soon and, if I’m going to make it in MMA, I need to start now.  I don’t know where I’ll be in a year, two years, or five years.  I’m also married now and someday I want to start a family.  Maybe not now but that was another consideration (to now go into MMA fulltime).”
 
Her fight with McGee had been signed prior to Holm making her decision to leave boxing.  She will bring the same class and dignity into the ring against McGee that she has for her previous 37 professional fights.
 
“I had told my dad, ma, coach and friends what an honor it would be for me to be able to be in the ring with Mary McGee for my last fight,” Holm concluded.  “She’s not only a great champion, but a good person, a tremendous person, both in and out of the ring.  This fight was scheduled before my (retirement from boxing) decision and that was it.  I’m glad to be sharing the ring with her.  She’s accomplished a lot and stayed humble.  I’m very happy.”
 
Also fighting on “Mayhem” is a group of New Mexico’s most promising prospects.  Albuquerque lightweight Matthew Baca (2-1, 2 KO’s) takes on Armando Gonzales (2-2, 1 KO) in a six-round bout.  On the undercard in four rounds matches are welterweight Rocky “El Torito” Romero (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. 11-fight veteran Michael Coca Gallegos, light middleweight Cris Leyva (1-0) vs. Manuel Eastman (1-3), lightweights making their professional debuts, Gabe Gabaldon vs. Brandon Salazar, and cruiserweights making their pro debuts, Manny Rocha vs. Floyd Olguin, Jr.  All fights and fighters are subject to change.

Holly Holm vs. Diana Prazak for IBA/WBF Light Welterweight Titles Dec. 7

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (November 15, 2012) – WIBA super featherweight champion Diana Prazak (11-1, 7 KOs) is being trained by former great Lucia Rijker and neither are concerned about Prazak moving-up in weight to challenge 12-time, three division world champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (31-2-3, 9 KOs), headlining the Fresquez Productions-presented “Fire And Ice” show, in a 10-round main event for the International Boxing Association (IBA) and World Boxing Federation (WBF) light welterweight titles at Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque.

Prazak, a native of Australia, is now fighting out of Los Angeles. She recently replaced Myriam Lamare (20-3, 10 KOs) as Holm’s new opponent on Dec. 7. In her last fight, Prazak defended her WIBA super featherweight title that she won in 2011 with a victory by unanimous decision over Fatuma Aarika (24-5-1).

“I’m a determined fighter,” said Prazak, who has relocated to Los Angeles. “I have fought at 130-135-pounds; however, I walk around at 145. I will feel much stronger at 140 because I don’t have to starve myself. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work with some great champions, not to mention the rounds I get in with my trainer, Lucia Rijker. If I can get punched by the most dangerous women in the world, I most definitely do not have any concerns about being hit by girls in other weight classes. I’ve been training with RijkerStriker for almost eight months and I’ve learned a lot being in America and about what it takes to be a pro fighter.”

The 31-year-old, newly married Holm (31-2-3, 9 KOs) has defeated the world’s best   boxers, from the 140 through 154-pound weight classes, including Lamare, Ann Sophie Mathis, Christy Martin, Mary Jo Sanders, Mia St. John, Jane Couch, Duda Yankovich and Chevelle Hallback (twice).

“Holly is a great champion who always steps into the fight in top shape and with a great fight plan,” a respectful Prazak commented. “She is fast on her feet and can run like crazy; this and the high altitude in New Mexico burn out a lot of her opponents. I’ll be training in LA and New Mexico for this fight. After Holly came back from a brutal beating from Mathis, by fighting an intelligent and courageous fight, Holly has all my respect and she earned the right to be called, pound-for-pound, the best today.

“I think it’s great that she has such great hometown support. Three-thousand people (regularly attending her fights in Albuquerque) are great. My dream is for myself and for other women fighters to fight for crowds of 30,000. This is just the beginning. It is a great honor to fight a champion like Holly. I’m just looking forward to get the opportunity to fight the best fighters in the world. I have no doubt that we are going to put on a great show for all of the fans to see. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the victory, is my mantra.”

Supporting fights showcasing local boxers will feature light welterweight Matthew “Champ” Baca (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Derek Perez (pro debut) in a four-round bout, female light welterweight Victoria “La Reina de la Guerra” Cisneros (8-13-2, 3 KOs) vs. Kita Watkins (7-9, 1 KO) in a six-round match, bantamweight Raymond “Hollewood” Montez (5-2, 3 KOs) vs. Tony Valdez (6-6-3, 6 KOs) in a much-anticipated eight-round rematch, amateur standout Jason Sanchez makes his pro debut in a four-round fight vs. featherweight Gene Perez (1-0).