THE FIGHT GAME +: BOXERS / MELISSA ST. VIL + RONICA JEFFREY
Melissa "Little Miss Tyson" St. Vil + Ronica "Queen" Jeffrey
Walking into Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn at 9:30am on a March morning, the gym is in full swing. Scanning the scene reveals 50% of the trainers, fighters and members in the gym are female. The level and caliber of those women training for their upcoming fights and working out speaks volumes. Its like a factory of champions.
In the middle of the gym is Ronica "Queen" Jeffrey 14-1, 1 KO, shadow boxing as she starts her workout for the day. Since turning pro in 2008, Ronica has collected the IWBF World Super Featherweight Title, WIBA World Super Featherweight Title, WBC Silver Super Featherweight Title and NABF Super Featherweight Title. All coming after an impressive amateur career of 33-4, winning three New York Daily News Golden Glove Championships in 2005/2006/2007, the 2006 Empire State Games Champion and Metro Champion, and the 2006 National PAL Champion. She participated in the 2006 USA Boxing National Championships winning the bronze medal at the 2006 Pan American Games on the US National boxing team.
A few bags away, Melissa St. Vil is working the heavy bag as her trainer Leon Taylor studies her execution. She is also known as "LIttle Miss Tyson" and anyone who has seen her spar or fight quickly understands the connection.
Looking over to the right inside the ring is Alicia "Slick" Ashley, the current WBC World Super Bantamweight Champion with 34 bouts to her professional record, overseeing the sparring of two female fighters.
Toward the back of the gym Heather "The Heat" Hardy, the WBC International Female Super Bantamweight champion, is working out under the watchful eye of her trainer Devon Cormack.
Also present is Keisher "Fire" McCleod-Wells, IBA World Flyweight Title and USA New York State Female Flyweight Title holder working in the office next to Gleason's President Bruce Silverglade, an ardent supporter of women’s boxing.
Collectively the achievements, the titles, the years of hard work put in by all these dedicated fighters is impressive to say the least.
Melissa and Ronica will be looking to take home their respective WBC titles on April 16th. The Royal Rampage fight night will also feature the main event between Maricelo Cornejo vs. Kali Reis and four additional female fights for a total of three WBC World Titles on the line.
As Melissa prepares for her upcoming fight she says "I'm not going to leave it in the judges hands, I'm going out there hard, like my life depended on it". She says she has no problem accepting fights in another opponents’ hometown, "as long as I’m ready, I am unstoppable". Melissa (6-2-3) will face off against Baby "Pitbull" Nansen (2-1) for the vacant WBC Female World Super-Featherweight Silver World Title set to go ten rounds.
Melissa's stablemate Ronica from Brooklyn, New York understands "every fight is a test, every opponent is different, you're testing yourself every time you go into the ring and finding out who you are". She will fight for the vacant WBC Silver Featherweight title against Gentiane Lupi (4-1-1) from Wellington, New Zealand in a 10 round bout.
Both understand what fighting in someone else's backyard is all about and what they have to bring to the table in order to claim their next titles, they’ve been doing it all their lives.