Interview With Female Featherweight Contender Kasha Chamblin
03.11.07 - by James Slater: 30 year-old female featherweight Kasha "The Fighting Marine" Chamblin, of Louisiana is currently 10-1(5) in a pro career that began with a third round TKO win back in June of 2004. Shortly after a four year term in the United States marine core, Kasha fell in love with the sport of boxing. As beautiful out of the ring as she is in it, the five foot five Chamblin is one hundred percent dedicated to the sport she now adores..
Article posted on 03.11.2007
Combining her boxing career with bringing up her 7 year-old son, the happily married boxer from Lafayette is guided by the knowledgeable Beau Williford. Kasaha wants the fans to know that what they get when she fights is something that is just as good as what they see when she is outside of the boxing ring.
Wanting to show that female fighters work and train just as hard, and with as much heart and devotion as male boxers, Chamblin always puts in incredible effort as she prepares for a bout in the "Raging Cagun" gym in her native Louisiana. Currently in training for her next fight - an IBA title match with Ada Velez on November 24th - the friendly and easygoing Kasha kindly afforded this writer the following interview early in November.
Here is what "The Fighting Marine" had to say.
James Slater: Firstly, Kasha, can I ask you about your background. How did you get your Fighting Marine nickname? Obviously you served in the marines?
Kasha Chamblin: Yes, I served for four years active, and then four years inactive reserve, a regular enlistment. Today, l work with the US Marine Recruiters in my area and with the area Reservists with the TOYS for TOTS program, strictly on a voluntary basis. The Marines escort me into the ring at my fights and they are always there for me so I try to do the same for them.
J.S: And how did you first get into boxing?
K.C: I first went to the gym to help my brother lose weight. I got into it myself while running with him. After a short period, I absolutely fell in love with boxing, and began training for amateur matches. My first sparring session was in a parking lot of our gym at the time, a garage at our trainer Beau Willifordís home. We have since grown into a large gym and Beau still manages and trains me, and I love what we are able to do for the children we help through our non profit youth organization, The Ragin Cajun Amateur Boxing Club.
J.S: Aside from you brother, who were/are your influences in boxing?
K.C: Ireland's Deirdre Gogarty. She has done so much for female boxing, especially in her battle with Christy Martin on the Tyson vs Bruno undercard. She truly helped pave the way for women boxers. She's such a nice person too, very humble and down to earth and always willing to give of herself to help others. Back when I first started working with my brother, I never knew what a great fighter Deirdre Gogarty was. And there she was, training in the same gym. She trained me up until she was appointed to her current position. I was so lucky to have that experience and I continue to build on her teachings. She is truly the best technically sound woman boxer I have seen.
J.S: Female boxing is catching on over here in the U.K, and I know it's already big in America. Have you had much T.V exposure so far?
K.C: WE had a reality T.V. show that followed me round for a while. They had exclusive rights, so I haven't had much else of myself on any other channel. There are some great female fights being aired on television. ESPN 2 has aired some really great match-ups which, I feel, has been a great boost for our sport.
J.S: Boxing is a very tough sport. Is it even tougher for a woman?
K.C: It is just as tough for most boxers at this level. Male or female, a lot of us work full time and have families to share our time and energy with. I, for example, combine my training with work and bringing up my 7 year-old son. Our gym is very much an extension to my family. My husband and I tag team on everything and if I we canít be there with him, then Beau, my manger will step in to help out. I usually get some running in, in the morning, then, get my son ready for school, get myself to work, work all day and leave to pick up my son at about 5:30 pm. I take him home and get him started on his homework when my husband comes in, I go on to the gym. I try to work with the guys while they are available and then do the rest of my work out as hard as I can push myself. I'm very dedicated to boxing and I work extremely hard. When asked my record, the first thing that comes to mind is my only loss. It was the first time I got knocked down in a fight. My fight with Ina Menzer was very defining for me. I got knocked down and got back to my feet on the count of four but the fight was stopped. I was disappointed in y performance more than the loss itself but Ina is a great champion who is very skilful and if I had to lose for the first time I am thankful that it was to a talented athlete like her. I'd love a return, even if it were in a gym behind closed doors because I feel like I have improved since the loss.
J.S: Talking about training, who do you spar with?
K.C: I spar with the guys from our club. We have many great champions. They give me all the work I can handle and I can really feed from their experience. It, in my opinion, is not beneficial for me to spar with a potential opponent; therefore, we do not seek out female sparring partners. I have been sparing with a very slick boxer and former NABF Middleweight Champion by the name of Jason Papillion. He fights both left handed and right handed. He is also very cunning in the ring which helps me get better and better. He is also Roy Jonesí sparring partner and is due to leave for Royís training camp (for the Trinidad fight) soon so we are getting in as much in as we can. He seems content with my progress so Iíll keep it up.
Reggie Johnson has been stopping by at the gym lately in preparation for his fight with Glen Johnson and he's been working Mark Breland, the former world champion, so I have been able to soak up some of their teachings as well. Reggie is a smart lefty with knockout power and Mark is the total package so watching them together has been a real treat.
J.S: Aside from the Menzer fight, who has given you your toughest fight so far?
K.C: I had three fights with her, Chris Sepulvado. She was so tough and just kept coming. I had swollen hands from hitting her so many times! She was a great girl and loves to fight.
J.S: And your finest win so far?
K.C: After I the stoppage with the Menzer fight, I felt that I could do a lot better and we wanted to prove I could take a punch. We took on a big puncher in Kim Colbert and were able to dominate. So that win was a good one for me. I feel like they are all fine wins because we work so hard in the gym to get every single one of them. Donna Biggers was a great fight because she gave every bit of herself for every round. She really wanted it. I respect her tenacity. That was a good win for us as well.
J.S: Aside from female boxers, who else do you admire?
K.C: I love the Arturo Gatti-Mickey Ward trilogy and the Gogarty ĖMartin fight, they were just great fights with tons of heart. I really root for the underdog, not just in boxing, but in life. I also admire Sugar Ray Leonard, I feel like he gave back to the sport that gave him so much. I like the Klitchkos because they seem to have so many options for a profession but choose boxing. I love Juan Diaz because he goes for it every second of every round. I like Pauli Malinaggi because he fought such a courageous battle with Miguel Cotto and made no excuses for his defeat but came back to win against Edner Cherry in his very next challenge. There are so many, maybe too many to mention but I am a big fan of Oscar DeLa Hoya and I think that shows, at least I hope it does. (laughs)
J.S: Talking again about your training. I know you have to juggle all that hard work with your family life and bringing up your son and all, but what is your usual training routine?
K.C: I train in the morning before work and in the evening, usually from around 6p.m to 8.30 p.m. I do weights and spar and I try to do a good seven miles of roadwork each day. I don't have to worry too much about my weight because I pretty much fight at my walk around weight of 122 pounds.
J.S: You certainly are extremely busy. How do you find time to relax, and how do you do so if you have any spare time?
K.C: I like to spend time with my son, my family and the boxers from the club. My husband and I take our son camping for boy scouts. On the other weekends, I travel with y coach Beau Williford and the amateurs fro the Ragin Cajun Amateur Boxing Club to boxing matches throughout our region. I serve as a coach, referee, and judge for USA Boxing Association, the governing body for Olympic style boxing. I also work full-time as a legal assistant, so, no, I don't get too much time off. I don't get many vacations (laughs).
As for relaxing before a fight, I donít, I sometimes get physically ill just before a fight, sometimes just before sparring. It is all the anticipation, the nerves, and pushing my body to the limits that sometimes overcomes me. I get so nervous before a fight, that I canít help but get sick. It's a funny thing, the only time I didnít, I lost. So now I like it when I get the nerves.
J.S: Moving on to your upcoming fight with Ada Velez on November 24th. What type of fight do you expect there?
K.C: It's an IBA title fight, and basically, If I do what I'm told, I feel like weíll be okay. I've seen a tape of one of Ada's fights, but it wasn't one of her better performances, so I don't really look at that too much. I know she'll be a lot better than that. She's a left handed fighter, and I've done practically all my sparring with left handed boxers ĖJason Papillion, Champion, Kient Martin, National Champion, and Chad Trahan soon to be champion. So I feel I'll be able to be ready for anything she comes at me with. I'm so glad to be fighting her. Her name has been in my mind for four years.
J.S: Well, I wish you good luck for the fight. It's been a real pleasure speaking with you, Kasha. For my final question, what is the image you'd like male fans to have of you and other female fighters?
K.C: I want them to see that we're just as dedicated and work just as hard as male fighters, of course. Also, I want the fans to see that I can be just as technically sound in the ring as many of my male counterparts. WE all work hard to look good in and out of the ring. (Kasha, though she is modest and doesn't brag about it, is very attractive indeed).
J.S: ( I interject) You are too good looking to be a fighter ! No, that's a chauvinistic attitude, isn't it?
K.C: (laughs) No, it's okay, I am not offended.
J.S: Thanks once again for your time, Kasha. I really appreciate it.
K.C: Thank you for the interview and thank you for all you do for our sport.
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