Ann Wolfe (born January 17, 1971) is an outstanding female boxer who holds the distinction of being the only person in all of boxing's history to hold world titles at four different categories simultaneously. Wolfe is also recognised by many within the sport as the hardest puncher in women's boxing.
We are reprinting fragments of her two interviews.
Ann Wolfe vs. Marsha Valley in June 2002
© Copyrighted photo taken by Tony Duffy.
Photo from the website WBAN
Lee Resnick (LR): Ann, I'm aware that you had a difficult upbringing. Can you tell us about your childhood and some of the travails you had to overcome?
Ann Wolfe (AW): I'm not going to say I had to overcome anything. It's just what life dealt me. Not everyone has a perfect childhood. Some people have to go through things while others don't. Some people have been through things worse then I've been through.
LR: Does your experience help you with your focus in boxing?
AW: Yes, but I also had a lot of good people that helped me out. When I'm in the ring though, I could probably get charged for terroristic threats if I told people how I really feel and what I'm trying to do. I have no conscience about what I'll do to you when I'm in the ring. I'm trying to survive and I'll destroy anything I come in contact with before it destroys me. I'm always focused. I'm focused now. I'm a natural killer. I will kill with no regrets.
LR: What got you started in boxing?
AW: Already being aggressive, I figured I might as well get paid for it. Shit, I'm not getting paid how I thought I would be getting paid. Maybe, I need to be more aggressive, shit. I know Women's boxing is new. There has to be a foundation laid first before pay is more like Men's boxing.
LR: What is the toughest challenge of being a female boxer?
AW: I find challenges in being a Black woman that is naturally strong and aggressive. Boxing is easy compared to what I've had to endure. I've had to endure things that people could never imagine. Some of my siblings weren't as strong as I was so I had to hold them up and they would hold me up. We all went through a lot of this together. When I look back at what I've been through, people would say that it is not true. In order to eat, I had to steal, whatever just to damn eat. When I first moved to Austin, TX, I didn't have a social security card, birth certificate, I didn't have nothing - with 2 kids. The most miserable feeling in the world is around November when it starts to get cold and it's 6 or 7 at night and it's getting darker quicker then it usually does and you have no earthly idea where you are going to lay your head.
LR: How long were you homeless for and can you describe that experience?
AW: I was about 24 years old and was homeless for over a year. I slept on the goddamn concrete. If you can find a floor with carpet, shit, that's paradise, compared to sleeping in the grass. In the grass you get wet from the dew. When my parents died I got into bad trouble, some deep shit, so I came to Austin...
LR: What are your thoughts on Mia St. John and Laila Ali?
AW: St. John is just a fighter. She puts on a pair of gloves and fights. As far as Playboy and things like that, I think it's good simply because there are different people that make up the world. That's what makes the world, the world. Ali brings her father's name so she brings more people that are interested. Whatever brings attention to our sport. If fighters use sexuality, whatever. If someone is putting their eyes on you, you're doing something right.
LR: Three years after your only loss (Valerie Mahfood), you were able to avenge that defeat. How did you feel going into the rematch and were you confident of a different outcome?
AW: I feel I'm always going to win because of how I tortured my body while training. This is what I go in the ring with. When I step in the ring, they know in their heart of hearts that I'm trying to kill their ass. You need to try to kill me and whoever is standing at the end, is the winner. I'm trying to break something in your ass. I can't even describe with words what I'm trying to do when I go in that ring. I'm going to try and break you for every minute of the fight. Some people don't have that mentality, but I do. I'm trying to rip your head, trying to dig deep into your soul. If I have to whip your ass for 10 rounds, that's what I'll do. After the fight I'll say 'good fight.' I get so elated after I fight, I could pass out. It's like blowing up a balloon to the point it's going to bust. I find a lot of women don't fight with emotion, the ones that do, I'm like, 'aww, shit,' I know I'm in for a fight. I never underestimate an opponent. In fact, I've never said before any fight that I will beat that person.
LR: Describe the annihilation of Vonda Ward.
AW: AW: The day before the fight, Vonda Ward pissed me off. When we got to stand toe to toe for the camera, it took all of my patience and everything it could not to hit her. 5 or 10 years ago, I would have killed her. At first she was trying to stare me down and make comments. I was like, 'bitch, I'll kill you.' Her manager was trying to stare me down, I was like, 'fuck you.' Then someone said they wanted to announce that after the fight Vonda Ward would be signing autographs. How in the hell can you say something like that when she hasn't even fought me yet. When I found out that she had already made plans to do certain shit, like she was just going to come in and whoop me, I really wanted to beat her ass. I never acted that way towards her. It took all I could when we stood together for the TV, knowing that tomorrow night this woman was going to punch me, I wanted to hit her right then.
Ann vs. Valerie Mahfood in August 2005
© Copyrighted photo by Patricia Butaud and Janis Guidry J&P Photographers.
Photo from the website WBAN
Benny Henderson Jr. (BH): You defeated Valerie Mahfood who actually handed you your first and only loss to your record, this is the second victory over Valerie knowing that this was the trilogy did it make this victory that much sweeter maybe even enough to rank this victory above others?
Ann Wolfe (AW): No, because I knew in my heart that I could beat Valerie... I didn’t have a lot of experience in that bout, but you know, this was one of the easiest fights I had, it wasn’t hard at all. The first fight I had with Valerie where I lost was actually me best victory because I learned a lot in that fight.
BH: Okay, now we will get to your next fight, which will be on October 15th in Biloxi, MS, when you step in with Roy Skipper, a male boxer, the only question that comes to my mind at this point is pretty simply, why, why a man?
AW: Here is what I think, I am not going to go by my manager or what anybody else thinks because it is what I think, because at first I didn’t want to fight a male fighter but you know the first time I fought Valerie I made one dollar, I got one dollar. I fought at least four or five fights for one dollar; I gave my opponent more than half of my purse in order for them to fight because the promoters didn’t want to come up with any more money. The first title I won I was supposed to get three thousand dollars I had to give her two of mine, I ended up with a thousand she ended up with five. Now, the girls know that whenever they step in that ring, win lose or draw or whatever it is they know I am going to do something to them. Not all but most want more money, they want twenty-five thousand, fifty thousand and one hundred thousand, and they want me to do what I have been doing. Do you know that I am a junior middleweight, I am a natural junior middleweight and I am fighting girls at one hundred and seventy, one hundred and eighty, girls like Vonda Ward. I have to give up all the money in order for the girls to fight me and all the weight, we are talking about twenty pounds of weight, no matter how big I get or what I look like I am a junior middleweight. I have given up the weight and the money. It is so difficult to get opponents it is pitiful, what am I supposed to do, retire?
BH: I know you want to prosper in the fight world, I know that you want women’s boxing to prosper and advance into something more than a novelty to most, but how does fighting a man help the sport of boxing, particularly women’s boxing?
AW: How does it help out? Where were they when I was getting a dollar a fight, why weren’t they asking that question, let’s pay Ann more than a damn dollar. I am training all the time and missing out on so much with my kid’s school, all I do is train. None of the girls in this sport or the boxing commission is worried about my best interest. I think, I am just as good as the two girls are, I am not saying that I am better I am just saying I am as good as. This isn’t about women’s boxing, this is about Ann Wolfe. What am I supposed to do, just retire? This is not about me fighting a man, this has something to do with me still having fight left in me, boxing saved my life. I don’t see black, white, green, blue men or women, I see a fight. I see this through my eyes not your eyes, and I am not going to tell you what to see, we as Americans can agree to disagree. I can understand the people saying this is ridiculous because that is what they believe, I would not even try to talk them into believing what I believe.
BH: That leads into a questions I was going to ask, you take your career very seriously and I know you have a family to feed and you will do whatever it takes to support them, I respect you and I respect what you do in and out of the ring, but what about the harsh critics, the ones who say this is more of a side show, Ann versus Man is a circus act, what do or what could you possibly say to the naysayers that would change their thoughts on this bout and actually accept it or does it matter?
AW: I am not going to try to change their minds, this is at my level and I am not going to deal with no circus act, to some people it just might be, but to me it isn’t anything but another fight. I can’t change the way they feel because that is the way they feel. I know in my heart this is not a circus act and I know when people see me fight they say I am for real, because I am for real. If this is a circus act to other people I don’t care, a lot of people think wrestling is a circus act, I know wrestling ain’t real but you can’t tell my grandmother that it ain’t real. I think this is drawing as much controversy as it is because they know I can fight, and I come to fight.
BH: Okay, back in June I interviewed a male fighter out of Shreveport, LA by the name of James Johnson who on three or four occasions stated to me and this is on record that he signed the contract to fight you, he said you called him out so he accepted the fight. Your promoter even had this match penciled in on their website schedule for August 20th. Now Roy Skipper is your opponent and he even stated that you called him, why didn’t the Johnson bout materialize, and did you call out these men, and if yes why these fighters in particular?
AW: Can I tell you something, if the managers called him out or the promoters called him out whoever called him out; they did, not me, that ain’t in my character. These guys are going to try to blow this up any kind of way they want. I am not making this a circus act, but whoever else is involved if they are making this a circus act then that is where I get pulled in. I told Bo Skipper to shut his mouth up because he is talking about stuff that is not even important. If it ever gets pulled into a circus act, then I will retire. Ann Wolfe knows how to hustle, is it illegal to hustle, no, but I know how to survive, so I don’t care what anybody says. You know what a circus act is, allowing of women and children to sleep on the street. I am trying to feed my children and that is no circus act. I have only called out one girl in my life and that was Laila, I deserve my just due to fight Laila.
Dana Venard (Ann's manager): Even a half a million dollars will not get Laila in the ring, and we never signed a contract with James Johnson, never.
Anne Wolfe knocks out Vonda Ward
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