New Mexico Boxing

HolmSandersHolly's Holmcoming
Holm returns to N.M. faces Lamare on Friday

Story & photos by Chris Cozzone

After two fights with Mary Jo Sanders, one out of town, one not, New Mexico’s top boxing draw Holly Holm returns home Friday night to headline another show at Isleta Resort & Casino.

Holm, 22-1-3 (6 KOs), will put one of her several straps on the line—the WIBA welterweight title—in a ten-rounder against former jr. welterweight champ Myriam Lamare, 16-2 (9 KOs), of Marseille, France. The card, promoted by Fresquez Productions, also features four local bouts.

“It’s good to fight at home again,” says Holm, who last fought in Auburn Hills, Mich., on Oct. 17.

After beating the previously-undefeated Sanders on home turf in June, Holm had to settle for a draw in Sanders’ backyard.

“There were a few things I could have done better in that fight,” admits Holm. “But I still feel I sealed the deal in that fight.

HolmSanders“I definitely lost the last round, and two others, but thought I had done enough to win. After the fight she was so happy with the draw, that, for me, was my satisfaction. That said more to me than the scores.”

One judges had Holm ahead 97-93 while two others scored it dead even, 95-95.

At the moment, Holm is not interested in a rematch.

“I don’t know if I want another fight with Sanders,” says Holm. “I don’t want to keep fighting the same people over and over. That doesn’t motivate me.

“I’m not against it, but right now, I want to move on.”

Moving on, for Holm, means looking at fighters overseas—and in her division, that means facing two women from France.

HolmSandersOne is Myriam Lamare, whom Holm will take on Friday night—the other is Anne Sophie Mathis, who not only holds a handful of 140-pound titles, but the only two wins over Lamare.

The former WBA light welter champ lost her title, and perfect record, to Mathis in 2006, by seventh round TKO. In a rematch six months later, Lamare lost to Mathis again in a much closer fight, this time by majority decision.

Since then, Lamare has moved up to welterweight, racking up three wins before challenging Holm.

“I don’t know much about her, but I have seen one tape,” says Holm. “I know she throws hard and has a good uppercut.”

Lamare’s kayo ratio is 50%, while Holm’s ratio is less than half of that.

“Her style is similar to Terri Blair, with a bit of Chevelle Hallback and a little bit of Sanders,” says Holm. “But styles make fights—it’s hard to know how she’s going to fight me.”

HolmSandersLamare and Holm share two common opponents: Belinda Laracuente and Jane Couch.

Lamre KO’d Couch in three, back in 2005 while Holm pitched a shutout decision over the English fighter, one year later. Both fighters have unanimous decisions over Laracuente, Lamare having fought her twice.

“It’s hard to know what to expect,” says Holm. “You can only train for how you think she’ll fight, but be ready to make adjustments right then and there. I’m lucky to have a good team who can make those adjustments.”

Despite the narrow list of world class opposition, Holm says she has been able to maintain her motivation for reasons that include her hometown and her training headquarters.

The only pro boxer at the now-famous Jackson-Winkeljohn gym, Holm says she is able to feed off the energy and excitement generated by a growing stable of MMA fighters that include UFC champions Rashad Evans and Georges St. Pierre; and contenders Keith Jardine, Leonard Garcia, Donald Cerrone and, of course, Joey Villasenor. Holm’s significant other.

“We all feed off the contagious energy,” says Holm. “When you have fighters like Joey and Keith and Rashad around you, it’s hard not to.”

Working out at an MMA gym, says Holm, has not curbed her desire to box, nor has it tempted her into jumping into the cage—though she admits she’s taken grappling classes during down time.

“As soon as I have a fight, though, I’m back into boxing,” says Holm. “My career is still boxing.

“People have been asking me, more and more now, how long I’m going to do this. But I’m not ready to quit anytime soon.

“How long will I do this? Until I don’t have the desire anymore—that’s when I’ll know. For now, I’m still motivated.”