– With a world title shot less than a month away, local state
champ Kelsey Jeffries is stepping in the ring one more time Friday
for a final tune-up against southpaw Jo Jo Wyman at the San
GILROY – With a world title shot less than a month away, local state champ Kelsey Jeffries is stepping in the ring one more time Friday for a final tune-up against southpaw Jo Jo Wyman at the San Francisco Concourse.
As the semi-main event, the fighter they call ‘Sweet Power’ is putting her California State title on the line in a six-round bout versus a familiar foe in Wyman – who Jeffries defeated earlier in her career by unanimous decision.
“She’s a southpaw so it was real awkward. There were a lot of head butts (in the first fight),” Jeffries said. “This is going to be a very strategic fight for me. I don’t want to ruin anything before the world title fight. I don’t want to take any headbutts.”
Jeffries (15-7-1, 1 KO) – who will try to take champion Lala McCarter’s IFBA world title when they meet November 7 in Bakersfield – believes she is a much improved fighter from the last time she met Wyman in only her fifth pro fight.
“I have so much more experience now, but so does she. I’m more of a boxer yet I’m more of a puncher as well. I’ve improved on both ends,” Jeffries said. “Her being a southpaw I want to take it to her but then again I have to be careful.
“She’s a mover and that’s one of the most frustrating fighters to fight.”
The Gilroyan slinger – who trains out of the Community Youth Center Gym on Sixth Street – holds a modest 2-3 career record against southpaws. In addition, Jeffries has lost her last three bouts against left-handed fighters, but “I really thought I won two of those three.”
Fortunately, one of her two wins is against Wyman – who recently fought to a draw against McCarter, the champion Jeffries wants to dethrone next month.
“She’s a little more of a runner now – which is more frustrating. She’s got a lot of experience. She’s fought some good fighters,” said Jeffries of Wyman. “I would have chosen any easier opponent but if I knock her out or beat her bad, it will be good for me (heading into the world title fight.)”
Trainer Rick Mello, head of Stick & Move Boxing Club in Gilroy, is not worried about Wyman or McCarter for that matter.
“I’m hoping it doesn’t go six. She doesn’t need six rounds,” Mello said. “It’s going to be great experience for her. She’s had problems with southpaws in the past, but she should be all right now.”
As for McCarter, Mello added: “McCarter is going to get knocked out. I’ve been studying films on McCarter and the only way Kelsey loses the fight is if she falls asleep.”
For Friday’s fight against Wyman, Mello wants Jeffries “to try some different things in the ring, a lot more fainting, a lot more in-and-out” and he also wants her “to try to get to her body in the first couple of rounds.”
“She’s really been working on her power. I think this fight will bring her right-side in more perspective,” Mello said. “Her left hook is devastating.”
While Jeffries has fought in nearby San Jose twice already as part of Oscar De La Hoya’s Fight Night At The Tank series, this will be her first professional fight further north in San Francisco. But Jeffries did fight as an amateur in San Francisco – winning three straight Golden Gloves.
“All those fights were first-round knockouts so I’ve had some real good fights there,” said Jeffries of the Bay Area city where more than 120 champions have boxed, including Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson, Sonny Liston, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, and Ray Robinson.
“It is a good fight town. I’m hoping a good contingency from the South Bay come out to see her,” Mello said. “We’ve got a good fan base.”
Jeffries’ six rounder will lead into the main event for the California State Heavyweight title between Javier ‘The Mexican Mike Tyson’ Mora and Charles ‘The Bully Blaster’ Wilson.
The local pugilist has become very active in the ring. Her last fight was August 8 in Bakersfield, where she won a unanimous decision over Cynthia Prouder. Before that, Jeffries followed up a May 23 decision over Karen Martin by winning the junior lightweight title June 21 in Texas from Michele Nielson.
“I’m do for (a vacation), but I like to stay busy. I’ve got bills to pay,” said Jeffries, a global administrator for Apple Computers.
Until then, Jeffries’ focus is on Wyman.
“I’ve got to be careful in this fight. I usually just go on my instincts, but I have to be careful,” Jeffries said. “The last fight she headbutted me three, four times. She’s got a hard head, but I’ve got one, too.”