Interview By Danny Serratelli
Sharon Gaines is heading to Germany to fight for the WIBF Inter-Continental Bantamweight Championship against Alesia Graf on Tuesday November 15th. Graf is 11-1 with 5 KO’s and her only loss came to the talented Alecia Ashley by split decision just two months after Ashley stopped Elena Reid in round 7. Prior to her fight with Ashley, Reid had never been stopped in her career. It was only Reid’s second career loss, and her 1st loss in her last 20 fights in a time span of almost 5 years.
Gaines is 9-4 with 3 KO’s, but she has been improving steadily and is currently on a hot streak. Since coming up to New Jersey to fight on a KEA boxing show in April of this year, Gaines is 4-0, with 3 KO’s. In that first trip to NJ, Gaines showed tremendous heart in lasting the distance with the dangerous Cindy Serrano, 12-0, 7 KO’s. Although Gaines dropped a unanimous decision to the undefeated Serrano, she gained the respect of all the New Jersey fans in attendance that night. Promoter Andre Kut was particularly impressed with the gutsy effort and heart she showed in rising from the canvas more then once as well as having some moments of her own in lasting the distance.
Since the Serrano fight Gaines has teamed up with Kut and popular trainer/cutman Lenny DeJesus and has not looked back. After leaving the Serrano fight barely over .500 at 5-4 with no KO’s, Gaines is now 9-4, with 3 big knockouts. Under Kut and DeJesus’s tutelage Gaines has fought twice near her hometown in Missouri and twice in New Jersey on KEA shows, going 4-0 with 3 KO’s over the last 6 months.
I caught up with Sharon before she flew to Germany to ask her about her first shot at a title:
DS: Hi Sharon, how are you and how was training for this fight?
SG: I’m great! I just finished a training camp with Coach Lenny de Jesus in New York. We had the opportunity to work at many gyms throughout the Bronx where I sparred with a lot of different fighters. My sparring partners ranged from 215lb men down to 130lb guys, all amateur or pro fighters. It was a great opportunity and just the tune up I needed for this upcoming fight in Germany.
DS: Are you ready to go to Germany and fight your first 10 rounder?
SG: Although it is a big step up in rounds–10 rounds, (I have only gone 6 before) I definitely feel ready and in condition. It is always hard to go to another country and fight the “hometown” girl, but Lenny and Andre (Kut, promoter) feel I am prepared and we are READY!
DS: What do you know, if anything, about your opponent, Alesia Graf?
SG: Alesia Graf is a tall girl and her reach is longer than mine, but I am planning to establish my jab anyway. That is something Coach Lenny and I have worked on, jabbing and setting up body shots.
DS: Graf will be a step up as far as competition goes, between the step up and going 10 rounds how do you feel going in?
SG: I am so ready for this step up in competition. It is a great opportunity for me and I plan to come home with the Bantamweight Division’s WIBF Intercontinental Title Belt. It is also exciting for me to fight in my weight class! I have always been able to make 118lbs, but rarely get any reasonable offers to fight at that weight, so I end up fighting 125-130-pounders. Finally, a chance to show my skills in the bantamweight division!
DS: Any final words to your fans and readers?
SG: I appreciate all the support and good luck wishes that have come my way. Please continue to keep me in your prayers and thoughts as I travel over seas. This is a big step up for me, but I am ready to go to Germany and give everything I have, and I plan to bring the belt back to the USA!
DS: Well, Sharon, I know you have a plane to catch. Good Luck!
SG: Thanks Dan