Sampson Boxing announced the signing of women’s amateur standout Gabriela “Sweet Poison” Fundora to a long-term promotional contract.
18-year-old Fundora, the younger sister of world-ranked super welterweight contender Sebastian “Towering Inferno” Fundora, is a remarkably tall 5’ 9” super flyweight southpaw, trained by her father, Freddy, at his increasingly popular gym in Coachella, California.
From a boxing family where three of her brothers, her father and her mother were once fighters, Fundora started boxing at the age of six and had an extraordinary career in amateur boxing that saw her become the most heavily decorated member of the family while winning countless regional and national championships, including the 2017 USA National Junior Championship, where she was named “Boxer of the Tournament” as well as the Junior Olympics twice, and the 2017 USA Eastern and Western Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
However, because her youth made her ineligible at the time of qualifying for the next Olympics, the formerly #1-ranked Ms. Fundora will instead be turning professional in May under the Sampson Boxing promotional banner, against an opponent that is TBA. “I feel ready. This is a new chapter in my life, and I want to get started as soon as possible,” she said. “I’m very happy to be signed to the same promoter as my brother. I’ve always had him to look up to. I was always watching him train and spar and I learned from him. Any mistake he makes, I try not to do it in my fights and try to learn to do things ten times better.”
To prepare for her debut, Fundora has been alternating her time between her father’s well-regarded gym and working with other professional women in camp, most recently with former World Welterweight Champion Cecilia Braekhus in Big Bear, California.
“I’m a boxer for the most part,” said Gabriela of her fighting style, “but every fight is different and sometimes you can’t just box. I don’t mind mixing it up either. Everyone in my family is like that.”
Father Freddy says his daughter’s debut won’t be a typical one for a new prospect, as she is far more advanced from the average puncher turning pro. “She’ll be a world champion soon,” said Fundora, who also works with several world champions in addition to his fast-rising son. “She’s been around the gym since she was about four and she’s a sponge. She absorbs everything she sees and hears. She’s a threat to the champions the minute she steps in the professional ring.”
For the family patriarch, the decision to go with Sampson Boxing was an automatic one, based on the relationship they’ve already cultivated with the well-known promoter and talent scout.
“Sampson is part of the family. Signing my daughter with him means we are just keeping it in the family. She’s going to do very well for herself.”
Brother Sebastian, rated WBA #2, and WBC #8 currently at 154 lbs., agrees that his sister has made the right move.
“She still has to put in the work but it’s a little bit easier knowing that she has the promoter she deserves,” he said. “I’m very excited to watch her and I climb to the top of boxing at the same time.”
“This is an easy family to work with and I am honored to have Father Freddy’s trust to also work with his daughter Gabriela,” said Sampson Lewkowicz. “Women’s boxing can use women with her level of skills if it wants to keep growing. ‘Sweet Poison’ Fundora will be another world champion soon, along with her brother Sebastian.”
Dmitriy Salita of Salita Promotions and Marshall Kauffman of Kings Promotions announced the signing of a co-promotional deal with newly crowned Women’s WBC Silver Heavyweight Champion Danielle Perkins.
Undefeated as a professional, the six-foot tall, 198-lb Perkins (3-0, 1 KO) was also the USA National Champion and 2019 Amateur Boxing Heavyweight World Champion, the first American man or woman to win a world championship since Claressa Shields in 2016. An outstanding multi-sport athlete, Perkins was also an exceptional collegiate basketball player at St. John’s University where she helped her team make two trips to the NCAA Tournament, before playing hoops professionally in Europe for a time.
From Houston via Brooklyn, New York, Perkins found boxing after she was critically injured in an automobile accident that left her temporarily paralyzed. Perkins underwent a rigorous rehabilitation program, and upon her recovery, dedicated herself to boxing where her tremendous physical gifts became immediately apparent.
“I’m excited to officially announce signing with Kings Promotions and Salita Promotions,” said Perkins. My dream is to unify the championships in the female heavyweight division and now the right team is in place for me to realize it.”
Reading, Pennsylvania-based Kauffman, known for his outstanding work with countless contenders and champions as both a trainer and promoter, says he shares Perkins’ dreams of championship glory.
“I am very excited to co-promote Danielle Perkins with Salita Promotions,” said Kauffman. “Salita is very familiar with women’s boxing and has done a very good job with Claressa Shields. I believe that with all of our experience combined, Danielle will soon be the first American Female Heavyweight Champion.”
Perkins, who continues to hone her skills with trainer James Cooper, showed marked improvement and had a much easier time in her recent pay-per-view rematch against Georgia’s Monika “Lay Em Down” Harrison (2-2, 1 KO), scoring a dominant eight-round unanimous decision and her first professional title, the WBC Silver Heavyweight Championship in the process.
“Danielle is improving with each fight and is on her way to being a heavyweight champion of the world,” said Dmitriy Salita. “Her skills, personality and ring presence are going to make her an emerging star in women’s boxing.”
International Boxing Hall of Famer Lou DiBella has announced, in light of Women’s History Month, a ground-breaking new women’s boxing series, “Broadway Boxing Presents: Ladies Fight” streamed live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS.
With DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing celebrating its 18th year, its first all-women event will take place on Friday, April 23, 2021, at 9:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM PT, headlined by the return of former world champion and combat sports star Heather “The Heat” Hardy.
“This series on UFC FIGHT PASS represents opportunity and hope for women in boxing. I’m thrilled that our first show will be headlined by Heather Hardy, who in 2013 became the first woman to be signed to a long-term deal by DiBella Entertainment,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment.
“‘Broadway Boxing Presents Ladies Fight’ will provide a platform for veteran contenders like Melissa St. Vil and Carina Moreno to stay active and for rising stars like Mikiah Kreps, Alex Love and Stevie Jane Coleman to gain exposure and recognition. On the heels of the first-ever women’s boxing pay-per-view, I’m thrilled to be able to announce this quarterly series, the first regular platform for all-women’s boxing cards.”
Fighting out of her lifetime home of Brooklyn, NY, Hardy (22-1, 4 KOs), the former WBO featherweight world champion will clash with Montreal, Canada’s Jessica “The Cobra” Camara (7-2) in an eight-round lightweight contest.
“When I got the call from Lou, I knew I had to get back in the gym,” said an excited Hardy, who also sports a 2-2 record in mixed martial arts. “I could never leave this game on a loss. I’m a bit bigger, but also older and wiser. 2021 is the Year of the Comeback!”
“Heather Hardy is a tremendous warrior, mother and ambassador of the sport. It’s going to be an exciting event and being the main event on this all-women’s card is an honor,” said Camara. “On April 23, ‘The Cobra’ is going to strike.”
Competing at Madison Square Garden on October 27, 2018, Hardy fulfilled a lifelong dream, winning the WBO featherweight world title in front of thousands of her loyal supporters with a dominant victory in a rematch against Shelly Vincent.
Returning to “The Mecca” on September 13, 2019, Hardy battled Amanda Serrano in the “2019 Women’s Fight of the Year” that was broadcast internationally, losing a decision to the pound-for-pound world champion in front of a massive crowd.
Camara made her successful U.S. debut on November 1, 2018. In her last bout, she battled to a very close 10-round decision loss against two-time world title challenger Melissa St. Vil, on February 8, 2020. Before turning pro in 2017, Camara was a two-time Canadian National champion as an amateur.
Co-featured on “Ladies Fight”, the aforementioned Melissa St. Vil (13-4-4, 1 KO), known as “Little Miss Tyson”, will compete in an eight-round lightweight bout. A native of Haiti, fighting out of Brooklyn, NY, St. Vil has been a road warrior for her entire career, always willing to travel to her opponent's backyard, while fighting abroad in Belgium, New Zealand, China, Haiti and Finland. The former WBC Silver female super featherweight titlist will look to stay in the win column following two straight victories after a world title challenge against champion Delfine Persoon in March 2019. Outside the ring, St. Vil has been a longtime champion for autism awareness who helps her friend’s autistic daughter daily through physical and educational exercises.
In an eight-round battle of undefeated bantamweight prospects and highly touted amateur standouts, Mikiah Kreps (1-0, 1 KO), of Niagara Falls, NY will make her DiBella Entertainment debut against Alex Love (3-0, 2 KOs), of Brighton, CO. The 24-year-old Kreps, co-managed by WBO lightweight world champion Jamel Herring and Jerry Casarez, was a bronze medalist at the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude, Russia. She also was a gold medalist at the 2018 Elite National Championships, 2017 Eastern Elite Qualifier and 2014 National Golden Gloves. Kreps made her highly anticipated professional debut with a second-round stoppage on October 30, 2020.
A participant in the 2012 Olympic Trials, the 31-year-old Love was a two-time gold medalist at both the USA Boxing National Championships and the Colorado Golden Gloves tournament. She is currently a member of the Westminster, Colorado Police Department and was a sergeant in the U.S. Army, serving in the military for five years. Love is considered to be one of the most decorated soldier athletes to compete for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. A professional boxer since September 2018, Love is coming off of a second-round stoppage of Kanisca Ruiz.
In a special attraction eight-round minimumweight clash, former three-division world champion Carina “La Reina” Moreno (25-7, 6 KO’s), of Watsonville, CA, battles two-time New York Golden Gloves champion Natalie “The Barracuda” Gonzalez (6-1, 1 KO), of New Rochelle, NY.
Rounding out the card and making her professional debut, Stevie Jane Coleman of Columbia, CT, will fight in a four-round welterweight bout. Taking to boxing after knocking out a school bully in eighth grade, Coleman was taught how to box, along with her four brothers, by her father in a makeshift gym set up on the family farm. The 21-year-old is now trained by local Connecticut legend Paul Cichon. In her short amateur career, compiling a record of 7-3, Coleman has shown exceptional power, speed and an aggressive style.