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Leeds Ladies Boxer Wins World Title In Professional Boxing


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Veerle Braspenningx v Michelle Sutcliffe

27 SEPTEMBER 1999 - ROYAL ARMOURIES, LEEDS Michelle Sutcliffe takes the WIBF Intercontinental flyweight Boxing Title by storm - with a seventh round stoppage over Veerle Braspenningx the Belgian champion and world ranked number #7. At ringside Barbara Buttrick watched the fight and commented on how much women's boxing had improved, with an excellent performance from Michelle and Veerle. There was quality in the fight and real determination to succeed, as both boxers had trained very hard for this long awaited title fight. The first three rounds were conducted by Michelle's authority, until Michelle hyper-extended her right arm while throwing a punch, damaging her right elbow. True guts and determination would not let the title slip away from Michelle's grasp. Although the fourth was difficult for Michelle, her husband/trainer Gary saw to it that Michelle used the right hand to forget the pain. Veerle's best round was the fifth, scoring with different punches, but Michelle finished off the round in her favour with right handers. The sixth brought out some accurate jabs from Veerle, but unfortunately, she couldn't cope with Michelle's combinations. The seventh came and with it the stoppage. Michelle carried on where she had left in the previous round with good pressure combinations. These combinations paid off for Michelle, as she finally forced Veerle back onto the ropes, producing a very determined all out attack that caused referee Ritchie Davies to intervene. After the fight Michelle commented by saying, "I know Veerle had trained just as long and hard as me and our experience was very similar, but well before the fight I had made up my mind that there was no way I was climbing out of the ropes without the belt". Michelle now aims to add the coveted World Title to her name.


FRANCESCA LUPO v MICHELLE SUTCLIFFE

MICHELLE SUTCLIFFE BECOMES THE WBF FLYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION! 27 FEBRUARY 2000 - TOWN HALL, LEEDS Michelle Sutcliffe stepped into the ring against Francesca Lupo of Italy and unanimously won the vacant WBF World Flyweighttitle with excellent boxing skills. Michelle weighed in at a slim 7st 13lbs as against her opponent who was 2lbs over initially. Michelle used her reach in the first to easily take the round against Francesca the smaller girl. In the second Francesca tried very hard to gain access to Michelle, but was easily picked off with acurate shots. Francesca again worked very hard to gain access to Michelle during the next and the fourth round, but Michelle used countering instructions from her corner tocomfortably win these rounds. What turned out to bethe toughest rounds for Michelle were the fifth and sixth, where Francesca used her small stocky frame to get inside and cause some trouble for Michelle. This was infact the best thing Francesca could have done, because Michelle turned up a gear in the seventh and landed some excellent punches, pushing Francesca backwards. Michelle followed the same pattern in the eighth and was determined to show Francesca who was boss and succeeded in landing an excellent left right which rocked Francesca's head back. Francesca still went forward in the ninth round, but was unsuccessful as Michelle used very clever boxing to pick her opponent off. The final round brought out a very courageous and aggressive end to the fight from Francesca, but Michelle simply ended where she began by using her boxing skills to win convincingly. (100-92; 98-93; 98-94 on the judges score cards) Michelle quoted after the fight by saying "Francesca was a very tough and experienced opponent and she made this a very hard fight for me, especially with the holding when in close. She brought out the best in me and for this I give her the full credit she deserves, as it takes two to make a good fight!"

Leeds Town Hall World Champion Boxer Beats Italian Champion To The Punch



REGINA HALMICH v MICHELLE SUTCLIFFE

BERLIN Saturday Evening, 7th October 2000 The large luxurious Estrel Convention Centre was the venue for the "Battle of the Blonds" ... Regina Halmich (24) from Hamburg, Germany, the Women's International Boxing Federation World Junior Flyweight Champion made her 24th defence of her title before thousands of spectators in the hall and on television.. Her Challenger ... Michelle Sutcliffe (33) from Leeds, England. A mother of two teenagers, she is the second woman to have been granted a professional boxer's licence by the British Boxing Board of Control, and is the World Boxing Federation Women's World Flyweight Champion. This female contest was eighth on the ten-event, men's World Championship card promoted by Universum Box Promotion of Hamburg.Fanfares greeted the entrance of the women. Halmich skipped into and around the ring and shadow boxed her opponent in an attempt at intimidation!The playing of the British and German National Anthems with the unfurling of the national flags preceded the fightFrom the bell it was ten rounds of hard and skilful boxing which, arguably was the most exciting contest on the night. Round 1 started slowly as both boxers circled and feinted. Halmich menaced. She moved forward to begin her classical style of attack. Straight left followed by the right hook. Momentarily getting Sutcliffe on the ropes. Sutcliffe responded in similar vein. This set the pattern for the next nine rounds. A fluid fight of movement between two very evenly matched boxers with similar styles. Heavy, and usually accurate punching - orthodox style. Straight lefts followed quickly by right hooks, right jabs, uppercuts., crosses and in later rounds the occasional wild swing. Round 2 Halmich attacked - holding the centre of the ring while Sutcliffe circled round her counterpunching to great effect. Both women keeping their gloves well up in defence. There was the first of a clash of heads. Round 3 Sutcliffe landed the first of a number of the cracking straight lefts to Halmich's chin which would follow in this and later rounds. The force jerked her head back violently. The sound of the impact could be heard at the back of the gallery. The crowd gasped ! A weaker fighter would have been in trouble, but Halmich is tough. . Her graceful figure belies her strength. She continued to attack, forcing Sutcliffe into a neutral corner - more by the weight of her body than the strength of her punches. Obviously stung, she unleashed a barrage of short lefts and rights to the body.Round 4 Sutcliffe caught Halmich's jaw with solid left and right handers. But Halmich kept on attacking with lefts and rights. She appeared to "shake off" the heavy punches. These first four rounds were even. Both fighters - toe to toe - trading straight lefts followed by right hooks and jabs. Halmich has the more feline of the two styles. She weaves and feints. Sutcliffe is a businesslike punching machine. She has a powerful left hand which starts off as a straight left but appears to twist into her opponents face. Round 5 Halmich forced Sutcliffe into the Red corner, Sutcliffe fought her way out - driving Halmich back across the ring to a clinch, which the referee separated. Nearing the round's end Sutcliffe threw a left which caused Halmich to bump the referee who looked to see that she was O.K. Halmich nodded assent and went on to unleash a savage right "haymaker" which landed above the hairline on the left of Sutcliffe's head. Instantaneously blood burst forth covering the left side of Sutcliffe's face and splattering onto Halmich's face and white singlet.. This could have been a disaster for Sutcliffe, but she coped with this injury well - fighting back immediately. There was another clash of heads clashed at the end of the round. Sutcliffe's seconds did a magnificent job in staunching the bloody wound, which did not reopen. Round 6 saw Halmich maintain the slightly greater pressure. Sutcliffe had lost some of her timing and missed with her straight lefts, but still managed to get in some workmanlike punches, but without the force of the earlier rounds. Halmich maintained her dogged attack, landing more , but less weightier short lefts and rights. A clinch , separated by the referee ended the round. Round 7 Sutcliffe advanced but Halmich quickly regained her attacking style unleashing another right haymaker. Halmich momentarily trapped Sutcliffe several times in the Red corner, but each time Sutcliffe fought her way out, resting on Halmich's left shoulder. A shoving match ensued. Halmich was briefly against the ropes. Sutcliffe caught her there with a cracking right to the jaw, which caused a roar from the spectators. Halmich danced away. Then a brief clinch. Halmich counterattacked with lefts and rights to Sutcliffe's face. The momentum see- sawed between the fighters with each exchanging solid short punches to the head and body. As the fighters were seated the audience clapped its appreciation. Round 8 Halmich moved to take the initiative but was caught immediately by two vicious left and right hooks to the face. There was a brief flurry of blows in the Blue corner with an exchange of short punching to the head and body. Halmich landed a good left hand to Sutcliffe's face. Each woman gave as good as she got. There was again a clash of heads as the round ended. Round 9 As Sutcliffe walked out from her corner the severe bruising to her left eye became apparent. Halmich leant on Sutcliffe forcing her into a neutral corner where they traded a variety of short left and rights in a short brawl. Blow for blow. Sutcliffe then imposed herself on Halmich. Near the end of the round Halmich was caught twice in the face with left and right hooks. Round 10 Both fighters were tiring. Halmich lead with two straight lefts which missed. The round was characterised by a succession of brief clinches involving a fast exchange of sharp left and right jabbing hooks. Again blow was matched by blow. Sutcliffe's good timing returned and she caught Halmich with a number of short fast hooks on the break. In the middle of this round a left hook from Sutcliffe swung Halmich round and caused her to stagger backwards, but she quickly regained her stance. Both women leaned on each other whilst trading sharp hooks and uppercuts. Sutcliffe appeared to be asserting her authority by attacking rather than counterpunching. In the closing seconds of the bout the referee spoke to Sutcliffe apparently about holding as both women ended clinging to each other. They had given everything !When the final bell sounded both fighters embraced and individually shook their arms in the air claiming to be the Winner. When the three international judges decisions were announced the German judge scored a draw, but ironically the Austrian and Belgian judges narrowly scored for Halmich. The German crowd booed the decision !This was Halmich's hardest defence of her title to date.At the after fight news conference both women had scarred and bruised faces which showed the power and ferocity of the punching Halmich a flattened nose, swelling above the left eye and internal capillary bleeding to her eyelids. Sutcliffe the bad head cut and a black left eye and swollen fingers in her right hand.. BOTH Women deserved praise for their guts and skill. A fight of the highest order!Sutcliffe ... deeply disappointed ... said " I believe I won the fight The crowd said it all. I will say no more than that!"Halmich speaking in English paid tribute to Sutcliffe " It was a very hard and a very close fight. I showed a lot of respect for Michelle Sutcliffe. She was a real good fighter and I think we really did show a good fight for the public from Berlin " It was close and she was in top condition."Halmich agreed, if the purse was large enough, to give her a rematch in England. Copyright John Wilson NUJ Freelance Many thanks to John for sending this report.

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DAISY LANG v MICHELLE SUTCLIFFE

REPORT BY JON FOX (Fight date: 29th Sept 2001) [Note: I was not ringside for this fight but I have watched repeated viewings of a video of it. My round scores are in brackets.] Daisy Lang (114 ½ lbs) of Bulgaria defended the WIBF World Junior Bantamweight Title against Michelle Sutcliffe (113 ½ lbs) of the U.K. The referee was Paco Garcia (Belgium), and the judges were Jacques Barchon (Belgium), Joachim Jacobsen (Germany) and Erich Stümpfl (Germany) Round 1 This was a very cautious opening round with both women feeling out the opponent and a number of tentative jabs falling short. Lang mounted a brief flourish with 20 seconds to go but at the bell honours were more or less even. (10-10) Round 2 Lang appeared to be the earlier into her stride in this round and landed a good right hook to the challenger's jaw at the end of the first minute. She was at this stage taking the fight to Michelle and landed some useful combinations to the head. This was clearly Daisy's round but Michelle did get home with the first two of a succession of overhand rights that she continued to deliver throughout the fight (9-10) Round 3 This round was another close one. It opened with a another arching right from Sutcliffe that smacked cleanly into Lang's left eye. Then Daisy had Sutcliffe in a corner and got home with a solid combination to the head. But Michelle fought her way out of it and had given as good as she got by the time the exchange came to an end. The champion was later caused to stumble backwards from a straight left and right to the chin but she again tagged Sutcliffe in a corner with a further combination of head shots. Michelle came back with another looping right to the eye followed by two crisp right jabs to the same area that snapped the champion's head back. Daisy then backed the challenger up twice more with good head combinations but Sutcliffe finished the stronger. (10-10) Round 4 In this round Michelle started to take charge of the ring. Her jab was now establishing itself and she also landed three good right hooks to the jaw in the course of the round as well as another overhead right to the eye. On the other hand, there were none of the sort of charges from Lang in this round that had backed Sutcliffe up in the previous rounds. (10-9) Round 5 Sutcliffe was by now clearly putting in the better work - throwing more, landing more, landing harder, varying the point of attack, punching from angles…. Round 6 Michelle was now commanding the ring with some authority and half a minute into the round hurt the champion with a good right hook to the side of the jaw. At the same time she was continuing to get home to Lang's head with the long, rangy rights over the top of the champion's left lead. She was tagging Daisy repreatedly to the head in this round and the champion was beginning to look rather one-dimensional, seeking to rely almost exclusively on a left jab that was no longer keeping the challenger away. (10-9) Round 7 Round 7 rewards close scrutiny. For the first minute or so they fought from outside with Michelle for the most part beating Daisy to the punch. Then at 1:8 into the round, their heads accidentally came together when Sutcliffe came in with her head down to deliver a left uppercut to the body. It looked as though her head made contact with Lang's face just below the left eye but it wasn't a violent clash, neither fighter made anything of it and nor did the referee. And it left Lang with no discernable injury.Then at 1:13 Sutcliffe glanced another overhead right off the top of Lang's head. Then at 1:16 she landed a sharper one, this time squarely on the left eye. At 1:30 there was a bout of infighting when they went cheek to cheek (although there was no boring in). But it was at this point that Sutcliffe made enough space for herself to smack home one of those whippy right hooks from close-in that Deirdre Gogarty used to employ to such good effect. This again landed in the area of Daisy's left eye. Now it's clear from the video of the fight that there was still no discernable damage to Lang's eye prior to that punch landing. Immediately after it lands, however, close inspection indicates the possibility that the champion is bleeding (although it's hard to be sure). Be that as it may, at 1:36 Sutcliffe then glances another overhand right off the top of Lang's head and follows it with a left lead that the champion blocks and a right hokk that appears to hit her in the chest. The two fighters circle and it is then that we clearly see blood coursing down the champion's face from a cut above her left eye. The referee then yells "Stop!" at the exact moment that another big right from Michelle lands flush on the damaged area. Daisy is led to her corner and 20 seconds later while she's receiving attention, the bell rings to end the round. (10-9)Conclusion The blood is staunched after about a minute but the cut is a dramatic 3-cm gash and it is decided that the champion cannot continue. There then follows a period of delay and confusion until it's announced that in the opinion of the WIBF officials the stoppage has been caused by a head butt and the result of the fight will therefore be decided by the state of the judges' cards at the time of the stoppage. If the injury had been caused a punch, Sutcliffe would have been declared the winner by TKO. So it goes to the judges and, since the judges' scorecards at that time show 67:66, 68-66 and 68:66, all in favour of Lang, the champion is held to have retained her title.And now a final word about scoring this contest…. Rounds 1 and 3 were tricky. I saw them as even (and still do) but giving them both to Daisy wouldn't have been outrageous. However, rounds 4 through 7 present no difficulty whatever. All four were clearly and demonstrably won by the challenger. On hearing the result, Michelle stormed straight out of the ring and back to the dressing room. But can you blame her??
Many thanks to Jon Fox for the report.

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