– but the ‘Mystery Lady’ has her number
As the date for the most important fight of her career looms, Shondell ‘Mystery Lady’ Alfred would obviously be reviewing tapes and/or written data pertaining to the boxing acumen of her foe, Corinne van Ryck DeGroot.
If one is to surmise that youth is an automatic advantage then the ‘Mystery Lady’ would have had half of her concerns eliminated. However, ever since Big George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer to lift the heavyweight title from his head when he (Foreman) was well into his late forties, the pundits are more cautious in predicting fights of this nature.
For someone of her age (40 years young) DeGroot is certainly active and bouncy. She is the newest member of the hit NBC’s Show “American Gladiators” (and we have seen those toughies in action), yet she is sexy, powerful and agile. Her professional record of 11 wins with 7 knockouts has earned her a prestigious number 2 ranking in the world by the WIBA in the Bantamweight division (118lbs).
This reporter spoke with DeGroot a few weeks ago as she wended her way home after attending her pal’s, Vernon Forrest’s funeral service. She has an annoying giggle which she emits every few seconds but with her amicable disposition one can ignore those insidious giggles. My immediate thoughts were that she has a deceptive façade that can cause the uninitiated boxer to misjudge her. Her experience in public life is vast having graced the silver screen in films such as, “The Guardian” opposite Kevin Costner and Aston Kutcher. She also co-starred with Billy Zane in, “Bet your life” along with appearances in several TV series such as, The Middle Man, ABC’s “LOST”, NBC’s “HEROS”, CBS’s “Ghost Whispers” and CSI: NY, among others.
Prior to her entry into the entertainment arena Corinne was a police officer in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and has a degree in criminology and English from Carleton University. Watch out Shondell, she’s coming to arrest you!
During our ten minutes conversation I asked Corinne what she knew about Alfred. “Nothing,” she replied between giggles, “but by the end of the first round I’ll sure know plenty.” It is only boxers of immense confidence that can utter such bold words. Indeed, Corinne started her boxing career in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1998 under the tutelage of veteran trainer Ronnie Shields. Her first training camp was full of future world champions. “My very first training camp was an incredible experience; Lou Duva had all of his fighters in West Palm Beach, Florida. I was able to watch and learn from Fernando Vargas, Zab Judah, Hassim Rackman, Robbie Peden and Andrew Gollata,” she said.
She boasted that she has fought on three really incredible fight cards during her career. The first was at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on the under card of Mike Tyson vs. Francis Botha. She also had the opportunity to fight in Mississippi on the Mike Tyson vs.
Lennox Lewis under card. Roy Jones Jr. also allowed her to fight on his under card in Miami in the same arena where the Miami Heats plays. “This venue was my favorite because I fought the world champion Kelsey Jeffries and really beat her up in front of a huge crowd. She was talking a lot of smack prior to the fight, so to give her a beat down that was incredibly satisfying,” the tenacious fighter said.
On July 25, 1998, Corinne made her pro debut at the Sons of Italy Lodge in Lake Worth Florida. She won a four round unanimous decision over Lisa Cuevas of Orlando, Florida in the junior welterweight division. She now boasts a flattering record of 11 undefeated bouts, 7 by the knockout route. Among the big names on her boxing resume are several worlds champions including, Kelsey Jefferies, JoJo Wyman and Brenda Vickers. She currently fights in the bantamweight division (118lbs) and is ranked #2 in the world by the WIBA. Corinne plans to win against fellow Guyanese Shondell Alfred when they fight for the WIBA world title on September 26, in Georgetown, Guyana.
Alfred, a young hungry fighter of great ambition would want to put paid to Corinne’s chats. After all, the prize is the prestigious WIBA bantamweight belt, self-pride and, best of all, good old Guyanese pride. (Michael Benjamin with research input from Carwyn Holland)
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