Women’s professional boxing champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm and her boyfriend, MMA star Joey Villasenor met in an Albuquerque gym, where today they train and spar with each other as they both prepare for upcoming career-defining fights.
Seven-time world champion Holm, 21-1-2 (6), recognized as the No. 1 welterweight in the world, will headline the June 13th “Finally” pay-per-view event against the world’s No. 1 middleweight, Detroit icon Mary Jo Sanders, 25-0 (8), squaring-off in the 10-round main event for the vacant IFBA junior middleweight crown and universal pound-for-pound supremacy.
Villasenor, 25-6-0 (11) with 10 submissions takes on Phil Baroni this Saturday night (May 31) in the EliteXC show on national television from Newark, New Jersey.
Holm and Villasenor have the same trainer, Mike Winklejohn, believes Holly and Joey are made for each other.
“It’s tough on Holly,” Mike explained why relationships have often been difficult for her to develop and maintain. “She’s physical, athletic and everybody recognizes here in Albuquerque. It’s not going to work for a boyfriend who doesn’t have a lot of self confidence. Joey is a successful fighter in his own right, a star athlete, and that’s why it works for them.
"They fight (workout) all the time even though there’s a big weight difference (Holly is a natural 147-pound welterweight and Joey weights 185 pounds). Holly spars with everybody including Keith Jardine. The way our team (Jackson-Winkleton MMA Team) is set-up is everybody helping each other. That’s why we’ve excelled. The big guys spar with smaller guys for power versus speed, speed versus power.
“Holly could do MMA, but why? She could pick-up the game, but she’s a pretty girl and there’s no reason, especially for her to get hit with elbows. There’s less trauma to the head (MMA vs. boxing), but there are a lot of elbows thrown on the ground. The biggest differences between boxing and MMA is distance and different techniques.
"Boxing is at a longer range. If you throw a punch from a boxer’s range in MMA, you leave yourself open for takedowns. Boxers go right to left, leaving themselves open to get kicked in the head. MMA is forward and backward, up and down, which you don’t see in boxing.
"Joey’s very explosive. He had a great knockout in his last fight (Ryan Jenson by a punch). His techniques are better and he’s cleverer than Baroni. Holly out thinks her opponents and that’s why she’s so successful. It’s like a chess game for her. She has the smarts to out-think her opponents two or three moves ahead.”
In the 10-round co-feature for the vacant IFBA lightweight championship, WIBA & IBA junior lightweight champion Chevelle “Fists of Steel” Hallback (26-5-2, 11 KOs), fighting out of Tampa (FL), squares off against WIBA featherweight title-holder Jeannine “G9” Garside (7-0-1, 3 KOs), of Ontario (Canada), in a potential female version of a Gatti-Ward showdown.
IBA junior flyweight champion Wendy “Little Thunder” Rodriguez (18-4, 3 KOs), of Los Angeles, will be seeking revenge against Hollie “Hot Stuff” Dunaway in their 10-round clash for the vacant IBA strawweight and IFBA mini-flyweight championships. Rodriguez, lost an eight-round decision March 15, 2007 to Dunaway (21-6, 10 KOs), the reigning WIBF-GBU/WIBC minimumweight title-holder and NABF flyweight champion, fighting out of Las Vegas by way of (Van Buren) Arkansas.
WBC 2007 Fighter of the Year, WBC mininumweight champ Carina “La Reina” Moreno (11-1, 5 KOs), of Watsonville (CA), meets WIBA flyweight title-holder Eileen “The Hawaiian Mongoose” Olszewski (5-0-1), fighting out of New York City by way of Honolulu, in a 10-round fight for the IFBA junior flyweight crown. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Holm-Sanders is one of four world title fights for five different belts on the “Finally” PPV card, featuring the greatest collection of women boxers on one show, including five No. 1 independently rated fighters (view at www.wban.com). The Fresquez Productions, Inc.-promoted “Finally” is being produced and distributed by Integrated Sports for live viewing in the United States and Canada (10 PM/ET) on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN DEMAND, TVN, Shaw Communications, DirecTV, Bell Expressvue and StarChoice for a suggested retail price of only $24.95.
Tickets, priced at $50.00, $100.00, $150.00, $200.00, $350.00 and $500.00, are on sale at the Isleta Casino and Resort box office, www.tickets.com or at Fresquez Productions, Inc. (508.884.7484). For more information go to www.fresquezproductions.com or www.holmvssanders.com. Doors open at 5:30 PM/MT, first bout 7:00 PM/MT, first televised bout 8:00 PM/MT.