– It was out of the frying pan and into the fire for Kelsey
The Road Warrior
On Friday, less than 24 hours after easily beating
The Total Package
Williams in a six-round decision in Canyonville, Ore., Jeffries
was whisked away from San Jose International Airport and on the
road to a fire training class in Hollister, where she works as a
Gilroy – It was out of the frying pan and into the fire for Kelsey “The Road Warrior” Jeffries. Literally.
On Friday, less than 24 hours after easily beating Philadelphia’s Lakeysha “The Total Package” Williams in a six-round decision in Canyonville, Ore., Jeffries was whisked away from San Jose International Airport and on the road to a fire training class in Hollister, where she works as a part-time firefighter.
The judges at the Seven Feathers Hotel and Casino scored the fight 60-54, 60-54 and 58-57 in a unanimous decision for Jeffries (31-8-0, 2 KO’s), the International Female Boxers Association (IFBA) world featherweight champion. Williams, ranked as high as fourth in the world by boxrec.com, fell to 9-8-3.
Jeffries was coming off her longest period without a fight in her professional career before Thursday night’s fight, but the rust didn’t show. Though her belt wasn’t on the line, the champ came out fully charged, controlling Williams from the opening bell and growing stronger as the fight wore on. Jeffries had Williams pinned against the ropes by the sixth and final round and believed she could have knocked her opponent out had the bout gone another round or two.
“I felt really good the last round,” Jeffries said. “I could have stopped (Williams) if the fight was longer. But I like working and going the distance.”
The strategy was vintage Jeffries, according to her manager Bruce Anderson, with some additional skills earned in several weeks of training with Buddy McGirt in Vero Beach, Fla. prior to the fight.
“Kelsey broke (Williams) down to the body,” Anderson said. “By the last two rounds, the girl was just hanging on.
“She went out a little cold because the fight right before ended in 45 seconds. But she won first round handily, and by about the third round got into her rhythm, started to shake and bake. (Jeffries’) punches were compact, tight … it was like watching a ballet with violence.
“I think Kelsey surprised herself, unleashing everything she worked on in the (training) camp. She’s been with Buddy for three years and it shows.”
Williams was by no means a pushover, Anderson said.
“We picked this Lakeysha Williams because she’s very cunning, a good boxer, and we wanted a good test,” the manager said. “She brought her ‘A’ game last night and we were aware that’s what was going to happen.”
Besides her “A” game, Williams also brought an oversized protective cup to the fight – no doubt aware of Jeffries’ reputation as a punisher of opponents’ bodies.
“She wore a big cup that covered her entire abdomen,” Anderson said, bemused. “The girl would come at Kelsey then put her head down. She hit Kelsey low a couple of times, tried to hit on the break, a couple of head butts. But Kelsey was ready for it, made her pay every time.”
Jeffries laughed about encountering the large piece of armor covering Williams’ stomach.
“I had to make my shots hit a little higher, change my target area a little,” she said. “It wasn’t really a factor.”
Jeffries will have little time to rest and enjoy the victory. She faces Kimberly Colbert (2-7-0, 2 KO’s) of Southfield, Mich. in another six-round tuneup fight on June 25 at Legends Casino in Yakima, Wash. Then it’s back home for a bout against an opponent to be determined at HP Pavilion in San Jose on July 21.
Anderson said Jeffries could be back at Seven Feathers sometime in November for a title fight.
“The crowd went nuts (for Jeffries),” he said. “There was 1700 people in that little casino, the place was jammed. Sold out.
“The casino people want her back in November. We said, ‘We want a (122-lb.) title fight.’ They said yes, so we’ll see what happens.”