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Indestructible Female Heavyweight Sonya Lamonakis fights on Broadway

Sonya Lamonakis
Photo from website GirlBoxing

Lamonakis, McGirt Talk About Draw on Broadway Boxing
Interview by Ryan Maquinana with Sonya Lamonakis for BoxingScene

Sonya Lamonakis: "Im still young as a heavyweight. I think heavyweights bloom later in their careers"


On June 14, 2012, at the storied Roseland Ballroom, the favorite female heavyweight Sonya Lamonakis (6-0-1) has returned to Dibella Entertainments Broadway Boxing in a six-round rematch against Tiffany Woodard (4-6-2). Lamonakis has won both fights, even though their last bout resulted in a split decision win. So, the Broadway fight has composed the Lamonakis vs. Woodard trilogy.

Sonya Lamonakis is the most impressive female heavyweight, her fights are always exciting and fascinating; nobody could be indifferent watching her actions in the ring.

Sonya Lamonakis is not just a unique female boxer; she is also unique personality, and unique pedagogue. Sonya is an inspiration to many people not only as a boxer, but as a teacher and in her work against bullying.

Sonya Lamonakis, a Greek by birth, can be considered as a real descendant of Ancient Greek combative women.


The heavyweight pool in womens boxing is a shallow one, but the majority of the top fighters reside in the United States. One of them, unbeaten native New Yorker Sonya The Scholar Lamonakis (6-0-2, 1 KO), is coming off a draw against Tiffany Woodard (4-6-3, 3 KOs) to cap the pairs trilogy on the latest installment of Lou DiBellas Broadway Boxing last Thursday.

Boxingscene.com caught up with Lamonakis and her new trainer Buddy McGirt to talk about the fight as well as where they would like to go from here.

BoxingScene.com: Sonya, you were coming off a split draw with arguably the top-rated American heavyweight out there in Carlette Ewell last time out. This time, you were facing a fighter in Tiffany Woodard who you had previously beaten twice. What happened last Thursday? There were reports of issues you had in training.

Sonya Lamonakis: About three weeks before my fight, I ended up firing my trainers, so I was sparring alone, doing cardio alone, just doing the best I can. I teach school during the week, so my big sparring day was always Saturday, when I could do eight to 10 rounds with a guy. During my camp one would not pay attention to me and the other one would come late. It kept happening again and again, including the Saturday before my fight, so I fired them.

Thats when I called Buddy McGirt and told him my situation. He had worked a couple weeks with me in the gym before, so I asked him if he would come up to my gym, which is Gleasons. He said, Sure, no problem. Next thing I know hes flying up from Florida and worked my corner.

BoxingScene.com: As far as the fight is concerned, what were your impressions of the six rounds?

Sonya Lamonakis: Well, things were different. I was heavier than I was when I fought her last time. I worked the day of my fight on Thursday, which was a big mistake. I thought Id be fine, but I was exhausted. Im glad I walked away with a draw. I still feel I wonI gave her the first round and the sixth roundI thought I won the other four rounds. I was a little upset about that, but with no loss, no injuries, Im O.K. with that.

Buddy McGirt: She pressed the action. She scored the most effective punches. What more could she do? She dominated the fight. Not taking anything away from the other girl. She gave her a hell of a fight. But when I watch a fight, Im not just looking at my fighter, I watch both of them. I thought she won at least 4-2 (rounds).

BoxingScene.com: Buddy, I know it was on short notice, but what do you like from what you saw in Sonya, and what needs improvement?

Buddy McGirt: With the short notice and her working the day of her fight, I think it was an accumulation of that which caused this. I love her, shes a hell of a fighter, and if they had a rematch, shed stop the girl. If I had two or three weeks with her, shed stop the girl.

I didnt tell her everything I wanted her to do, because I was coming in so late, and Im a realist. We just ended up going over a quarter of what I wanted to do. Regardless of that, I still think she won the fight.

Shes got a hell of a jab. I need a good two or three weeks to put her through some drills to work on that. It doesnt matter how short you are or how tall you are, the jab is the most important punch in boxing. It sets up everything.

Ray Arcel once told me in November 1989, that he had three world champions, and all they had was a left jab. Ray Arcel said that these guys couldnt punch, they didnt have a good right hand, but they had a left jab. Larry Holmes had a great jab.

BoxingScene.com: Sonya, tell me about the dynamic of your relationship with Buddy, as brief as it is?

Sonya Lamonakis: I met Buddy before on the Victor Ortiz-Andre Berto card when I fought on there. He didnt work my corner, but he told me what I was doing right and wrong. We became friends after that and talked frequently. When Matthew Macklin was here training, Buddy came up again and I was able to work with him for three or four weeks.

It wasnt a difficult transition because hes relaxed. He doesnt get hyped. I dont like to be screamed at in the corner, and he doesnt do that. He coached me and told me what I needed to do. The only problem I had, again, was being exhausted.

BoxingScene.com: Where do you go from here? Do you have an idea of who youd like to fight next? Would you like a fourth fight with Woodard to make amends for this one?

Sonya Lamonakis: Unless its 10 rounds for a title, no. The official gave her nine warnings for hitting me in the back of the head and he never took a point away. She didnt hit me once after the bell; she hit me twice after the bell, and that second time, she pushed me down to the ground.

So I was a little disappointed with the officiating especially since if they had taken a point away, it wouldve been a draw. It was a very dirty fight, and Buddy kept telling me not to get upset because she was trying to survive. My face looked fine after the fight, but if the back of my head were my face, I would have looked like she lumped me up.

So yeah, I want to fight 10 rounds, I want to fight Carlette Ewell again if I can, or Gwendolyn ONeil. I could fight Tanzee Daniel again, but I want her to get a win first. Mexico has a heavyweight whos 3-0, Berenice Cubillas, who Id like to fight if I can get a hold of her.

Buddy McGirt: I told her move on. Dont dwell on it. The great Satchel Paige said, Dont look back. Something might be gaining on you. If you look back on your past, itll catch up with you. She needs to keep it moving. Dont look back, baby.

BoxingScene.com: I guess thats a nice segue to my next question, Sonya. Youre unbeaten and virtually top 10 in the world, but finding quality opposition can be challenging, especially at heavyweight, as can be the case with a lot of female weight classes. At the same time, womens boxing will definitely get some exposure in London 2012 because it will the first Games to showcase the sport. Whats your take on the impact?

Sonya Lamonakis: Im happy theyre bringing it to the Olympics. Marlen Esparza earned her spot, and were getting representation in each weight class, so thats good. Marlen is a great fighter. I think shes going to be a world champion. Shes got the whole package. Can it help the sport? Definitely.

BoxingScene.com: How does that compare to the landscape now, in your opinion?

Sonya Lamonakis: Really, Im happy to being put on cards. Im thankful to Lou DiBella for giving me the opportunity to fight on Broadway Boxing because its not exactly happening for womens boxing in America. Ive got great fans though. With my Greek heritage, the Greek fans come out and support, too.

Im still happy with my situation. Im still young as a heavyweight. I think heavyweights bloom later in their careers. Buddy said I have to use the jab more. Learning more is all I can ask for. I think the next fight is going to be early fall.

I have one more fight signed with DiBella. I pay my own medicals because I have insurance, and DiBella hasnt paid a dime on me for the almost two and a half years Ive been signed with him. The reason is that I always sell enough tickets to cover my purse and cover my opponents expenses.

BoxingScene.com: Youve had quite a few fights on this series now. Do you think the fans who might not have been as receptive of womens boxing are now warming up to you?

Sonya Lamonakis: Every time I fight I see my fan base gets bigger, because I dont stand and wait for punches. I get after it. Whats the point of boxing? To pose? No. Its science. You want to make them miss, but you have to make them pay.

Ryan Maquinana
June 14, 2012

Ryan Maquinana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings anel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at rmaquinana@gmail.com, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

Reprint from the website BoxingScene


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