At the age of 10, Kaliesha had a calling into a boxing ring. Growing up, watching her father train a group of fighters, Kaliesha wanted to put on her own gloves. Both parents being very supportive; I asked her how her mother felt about her fighting and she said “My mother, (who is Mexican) has always given me “tough love” she’s more like “Kick her butt” (jokingly) positive attitude. Winning the WBO Bantamweight title was a defining and emotional moment for Kaliesha and her father; “My father managed and trained fighters in the past but would sometimes leave him for money etc., and to have him mold a fighter into a world champion and not knowing anything about boxing was a sense of accomplishment.”
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Aside from her life in the ring, Kaliesha is your sweet girl next door, but don’t let her exotic looks fool you. She has a great left hook, which in my opinion is her “signature” punch. I had the pleasure to talk to Kaliesha before she left to Mexico. I never followed women’s boxing until Kaliesha was put in the ring, so it was a big honor for me to interview her since I’ve been a fan of hers.
Q. What type of training do you do?
Kaliesha: Training for female fighters requires plenty of cardio and strength and conditioning since our bodies are different than male fighters. My main stress before the fight is the weigh in. I always say “I’ll be good about the weigh in; I’m not stress about the fight”.
Q. How do you balance your personal and work life?
Kaliesha: It’s difficult just to balance the simple things but I’m more of a home body type. I get so tired from the fight I just want to stay home and relax.
Q. You must have some girly regiments before a fight, what are they?
Kaliesha: Yes, I always have to have my eyebrows threaded and a manicure and pedicure is a must, it makes me feel good (Kaliesha laughs.)
Q. So, let’s get a little personal. How is your love life?
Kaliesha: It’s complicated! Haha.
Q. Are men intimidated?
Kaliesha: If I’m interested in a guy I never mention anything about me being a world champion in the beginning. Most guys when they find out I’m a boxer get intimidated- not because they think I can beat them up but they know women are mentally strong as well.
Q. What’s next for you in terms of your career?
Kaliesha: I want to fight anyone female boxer who has a name. I plan to move up to 122 (Super Bantamweight) next year and fight anyone at 122.
Q. What type of impact do you want to make in the women’s boxing world?
Kaliesha: Even though we’re women we’re still fighters- we train, we fight hard, sparr, everything is equal, respect us. I don’t want any scandalous image. I would like to be respected and treated just like the men boxers. That’s all I ask for. I want to be judged on how good we are. I’m here to let the world know women can do just the same as
the male fighters.
Female athletes have had a long history marked by division and discrimination but also one filled with major accomplishments and important advances for gender equality and empowerment.
23 year old Kaliesha West is a prime example of breaking down the gender role barriers. West, known as “Wild Wild” West is the current WBO Bantamweight Champ and will be defending her title this Saturday, August 20, 2011 against Jessica Villafranca (12-2-0,6 KOs) in a 10 round bout at the Black Pyramid Casino in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico.
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