Pico Rivera- Kaliesha “Wild Wild” West retained her WBO bantamweight title on Saturday night at Pico Rivera Sports Arena after a ten two minute dynamic rounds with challenger Ava Knight ended up in a split decision draw. One judge scored it 96-94 for West, the other had it 96-94 for Knight. The third and deciding score was 95-95 for a split draw which allowed Kaliesha to hold on to her title. It was a main event of the evening of a fight card that combined mixed martial arts, kick boxing, Muy Thai and boxing. A spirited crowd of about fifteen hundred cheered ladies of sweet science on despite the fact that the fight didn’t start till 11:00PM. “I thought the fight went my way, by majority or a draw,” said West (13-1-3,4KO’S) after the fight. The challenger, Ava Knight (6-1-3) felt that she did enough to win as well. Since this fight was a rematch from 2008 which Knight won, it seems like these ladies have unfinished business.
It was a close tactical first round. Knight might have won the battle of the jabs and the first stanza. The champion won the second round landing several sharp left hooks and stunning Knight with a right hand at the conclusion of the frame. The challenger landed a huge overhand right early in the third to electrify the crowd only to eat a hard left hook a minute later. Knight seemed more aggressive landing another big right in conclusion. The challenger fromOakland,Californiacontinued to press the action in a close fourth round following a simple jab right hand formula that seemed to work. Champion had a huge fifth round first landing a big right hand that stunned the challenger and finishing the stanza with several left hooks that almost had Knight on the floor? “I thought I stunned her, maybe hurt her twice in the fight,” said twenty three year old West.
A real fight broke out in the sixth with Knight going to the body and West firing back effective counters that were doing more damage to the challenger. Another huge right hand by the champion got the crowd excited in otherwise slow seventh round. Kaliesha seemed to have control of the action. Seemingly in danger of loosing control of the fight Knight pressed the action in the eighth only to be met by hard counters from the champion. Ladies went toe to toe to conclude the exciting stanza. Kaliesha pressed the action in the ninth and unloaded a strong combination with the challenger against the ropes. Knight landed a huge right hand only to spark a huge exchange to close the ninth. The challenger was more aggressive and more effective in the final stanza in a very spirited back and forth exchange that concluded the fight .I scored the fight a draw. It was a dynamic back and forth action with both women displaying great boxing skills, speed, power and tenacity worthy of champions. They just have to do it again soon.