NCWB1 – An interview with Kaliesha West (Part 1)
Kaliesha West shouldn’t require much of an introduction, but she definitely deserves one. She was born in Michigan, United States and has been exciting Boxing fans for many years, and she is still only 26! She had a very successful amateur career and racked up an incredible record of 98-10-0, becoming Junior Olympic Champion on two occasions! In 2006 she made her Professional debut, and now carries a great record of 16-1-3, along with a string of World Titles. Kaliesha can be classed as one of the leading ambassadors for women’s boxing. Luckily for us fight fans she faces Olivia Gerula as the main event at NCWB1 on the 15th of August!
Hi Kaliesha, we couldn’t be happier to grab some time off of you in the run up to NCWB1! Thank you so much for speaking with us!
Before we get too deep into this interview, we’d like to start with a prying question if we may! Your last fight, in which you won the IFBA Super Bantamweight Title, was back in June 2012… can you tell us why you have been out for two years?
“Well initially, I stepped away from the ring because I was sort of going on a strike, I refused to take small purses, I refused to be under paid, and I knew my worth and was not pricing myself short. I believe that all women should do the same. I’d sacrificed so much and it was all about longevity and what was next after boxing, because I had to have a priority before boxing, so I’d gone back to school and in the meantime there was nothing that presented itself that was actually worth it for our team financially… because I refused to pay for my fights, I refused to break even and I refused to end up short for any fight. It has nothing to do with the love of boxing, it’s just common sense and good judgment. I don’t feel any woman should price herself short. It’s unfortunate that that was one of the main reasons why there was inactivity, and also becoming a world champion is more expensive at the top, you end up having to pay so much in sanction fees that the local promoters don’t want to actually promote any fight, half of your purse goes towards those sanction fees and it just costs a lot more money when you become champion. So that was another reason why I was inactive and it was hard to find fights and stuff, I’d stepped away, becoming a champion just becomes more expensive. I also filmed the reality show too so I was still busy, even though I was away from Boxing I was still training and staying in shape.”
Kaliesha West. Photo Credit: Justin Novak Photography
We commend you for that response! With the large gap in between fights, what was it about NCWB1 that attracted to step back in the ring?
“Well, years ago David had reached out to our team and had asked us if we’d be interested in fighting in his first all-women’s card that he was working on, and we gave him our word, so when we heard back from him a year later, it was one of those shock… like… wow, look he’s really following through with this, and one thing that I’m very strong about is I don’t like empty promises, if I say I’m going to do something then I will do it, my word is as good as gold. Even though it was a year later, we had given him our word and also it’s going to be a historic moment, I believe in what the promoter is trying to do and I support him… so of course I would be enthusiastic about this upcoming card.”
Kaliesha West. Photo Credit: Michelle Beeson Photography
As a women’s rights advocate for women’s boxing, you were a great choice for the event… and as a seasoned veteran what are your thoughts on the importance on this historic event?
“It’s something that I believe in, and with work this is the grounds of what can be a golden empire for society and women’s boxing, it just takes one person who is strong and whiling, who believes in it… it happened in Mexico, there’s a promoter out there in Tijuana who sanctions all women fights and he’s told me it’s such a success, so having this happen in Canada there’s another barrier being broken down as a stereo type for women to be boxing, and I believe that it will be a success and I’m very blessed and thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of such a historic moment, and I’m all about making history.”
You were originally down to fight Dayana Cordero from Colombia, who as we know had to unfortunately pull out due to visa issues. You now face Olivia Gerula, who is fighting in her home country and has kindly stepped in. What do you know about Olivia?… And has your training camp adapted at all for the different opponent?
“So you know when we were told a month before the fight, that Dayana wasn’t going to be fighting… it was a twist in the training camp, sparring, and in our battle plan. We do know that Olivia is a bigger girl, we moved up in weight to fight her and she is going to have that Canadian crowd, her family and friends I’m sure will be there…. But that’s all outside things that I don’t really focus on. I have a job… my job is to win, to go in there and give the crowd some of the greatest things they’ve ever seen in the sport of boxing and to display my craft and my science that I’ve studied for many years. I respect Olivia, and I respect Dayana and I respect every fighter that I face… but I know it’s going to be one hell of a fight, me and my dad and my team have been prepared for this, we were prepared for a beast with Dayana, so we’re prepared for Olivia as well.”
Spoken like a true champion! Are we able to get a prediction from you as to how the fight go?
“Of course you can get a prediction, but I prefer to say very little of how the fight will play out… only because boxing is one of those sports where one punch can change an entire battle plan… so all I know is you’ll see the greatest me that you’ve ever seen from here on out, and that’s all any crowd should ever deserve to see, the greatest that a fighter can possibly bring!”
We were excited already, now we can’t wait!
Kaliesha West. Photo Credit: Robert Vasquez
To continue reading, click here for An interview with Kaliesha West (Part 2)
We talk to Kaliesha about growing up, being bullied, her inspirations & father, and we even probe her about a comment she made about Ronda Rousey on facebook.