Friday, March 27, 2009
Tammie Johnson meets her number 1 fan following her fight with Rita Figueroa
Johnson strips one 0 from Figueroa's perfect record
Judges declare draw after 6-round slugfest
CHICAGO - Tammie "Tasmanian Devil" Johnson knew it was an uphill battle when she went to Rita Figueroa's home town. Figueroa (10-0-1) not only was undefeated and untied but had fought each of her bouts in her hometown. A knockout might be Johnson's only chance at victory.
But Johnson (3-2-1) isn't one to shy away from a challenge. Her pattern of overwhelming her opponents with a barrage of punches was evident early and continued throughout the 6-round fight, having Figueroa against the ropes throughout.
When the final bell rang, one judge scored the bout 58-56 for Johnson; a second judge had the fight 59-55 Figueroa while the third scored it 57-57, resulting in the first draw in both fighters' careers.
(click any photo to enlarge)
by Michael Blair
Tammie Johnson took a big trip back east to face Rita Figueroa Friday, March 27. Johnson had been in the gym working hard to make a concentrated effort to give the easterners a taste of western women's boxing. The fight lasted the scheduled six rounds - not too much of a surprise there considering that in a close fight Johnson has the ability to stay around - though going the distance does add a bit of suspense because the decision rests in the hands of the judges.
Johnson's team had said they felt that Tammie might need to knock Figueroa out to win in her home town, and darned if they were not right. However, there is a message in the scores, and one that should not be lost on the fans in Chicago that watched the fight. One judge scored the bout 58-56 Johnson. Four rounds to two. In a six round women's fight, that is impressive. The second judge scored the bout even at 57. So in one of the rounds judge one saw going to Johnson, this guy leaned to Figueroa. Not a problem, we deal with close rounds in boxing quite often. The third judge scored the fight 59-55 for Figueroa. So let the controversy begin. Did Tammie win four rounds? Three? Only one?
Team Johnson remains upbeat after every fight. After Tammie's first loss to Molly McConnell, they were disappointed, but they came back to fight McConnell again. After this draw with an unbeaten fighter in her hometown, Johnson remains resilient. And why not? Those that follow Tammie can remember watching her the first two times she stepped in the ring against Jana Simms. Tammie fought and won eight rounds in those fights - even before she developed some of the skill she now possesses. Therefore, let us figure Tammie will return to the gym, keep working to become a better boxer, and hope to field a few calls from people who think that a record of 3-2-1 makes her an easy mark. Tammie's husband says they are celebrating - and they should be.
From East Side Boxing:
Rita ‘La Guera’ Figueroa in war vs. Tammie Johnson
Story & Photos by Juan C. Ayllon
Courtesy of East Side Boxing
CHICAGO – It’s been almost a year and a half since Chicago’s Rita “La Guera” Figueroa, 39, last fought due to a neck injury. In her last fight, she had a rugged war against powerful Danielle Christiansen at Cicero Stadium in November 2007, prevailing by a close majority decision.
This evening wasn’t much different, once again lighting up the crowd and stealing the show.
Lynnwood, Washington’s Tammie Johnson, 37, swarmed Figueroa into the ropes with a flurry of punches as the first round kicked off. Figueroa had some success with some lefts and rights, but was out-landed by Johnson’s superior work rate in this round of nonstop punching.
To the delight of the cheering crowd, punches continued to fly as, up on her toes in the second, Figueroa boxed and moved. Gaining room to throw punches, she experienced more success in getting off her shots. However, she was caught with a potent right as she pulled back and nailed on the ropes with another.
Figueroa had more success landing her lefts and rights in the third against the shorter, never-say-die Johnson, who created problems by not giving her punching room and getting leverage underneath and driving her backwards, much like a football lineman would do in driving his counterpart back; by doing so, Figueroa was often forced to punch going backwards. This and the fact that it was hard for her to get set or she was punching off her heals took away her punching power.
However, as Johnson slowed up a touch in the fourth, Figueroa began landing with more consistency and pop in the fourth, jarring Johnson with rights and lefts to the head. She asserted her ring generalship and skills. Johnson appeared to sense the fight was slipping away from her, and when the bell rang at the end of the round, Johnson breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Figueroa continued to batter Johnson with well-placed rights to the head in the fifth round. However, Johnson refused to fold, banging to Figueroa’s sides and spearing to the head with lefts and rights.
The sixth round was punctuated with heavy back and forth punching. They seemed to sense that the fight was up for grabs and gave it their all. Taking turns rallying, the two traded momentum. As was often the case, Johnson backed Figueroa into a corner where they traded furious blows at the conclusion of the round.
Afterwards, the two embraced. Smiling, they traded words of mutual admiration.
Judges scored the bout 58-56 for Johnson, 59-55 for Figueroa and 57-57, resulting in a draw, resulting in some booing. After witnessing such a titanic struggle, the crowd wanted a definitive conclusion. However, it proved nonetheless accurate, as Figueroa concurred. With this decision, Tammie Johnson (137 lbs. at weigh-in) saw her ledger go to 3-2-1, while the record of Rita Figueroa (138 lbs.) went to 10-0-1 with three knockouts.
Afterwards, Figueroa said, “Tough fight! Tough girl! It could have gone either way. You know what? That’s the kind of fight I needed.
The intro song:
The posters: tell you what: It was fight of the night!”
Click flier for printable PDF version.
TAZ to fight 10-0 Rita Figueroa in Chi-Town
(Chicago) Tammie “Tasmanian Devil” Johnson (3-2-0) has signed on to fight her first fight out of the State of Washington.
She will be taking on 10-0-0 Rita Figueroa at UIC Pavilion in Chicago on March 27 as part of Windy City Fight Night (see poster below). The fight is at 140 pounds and will consist of six 2-minute rounds.
This is Figueroa's first fight since November 2007 as she has been recovering from shoulder surgery.
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