By Mike Anderson
After a successful amateur career, Melinda “The Whip” Watpool is moving steadily up the professional boxing ranks.
But, after two convincing wins, she will face her toughest challenge yet.
Her next opponent is a Mexican boxer with considerable experience in the ring, with 14 professional fights (13 wins and one loss) under her belt.
However, Watpool believes she may have an edge —the Mexican boxer hasn’t fought in over a year and lost her last fight.
Not that she needs an edge; Watpool’s second fight at the Pickering Casino Resort, this past January, lasted all of 47 seconds.
“They call it a TKO. But for the record, it’s just considered a knockout,” Watpool said.
Still, Watpool’s upcoming fight on April 29, also at the Pickering Casino Resort, will be six round affair, which requires more stamina than her previous fights, which were four rounds each.
“There’s a bit more training involved. And I’ve been sparing more rounds to prepare for it. But the way I fight, I do better with a few more rounds,” she said.
“My style is more of a build-up. I wear them down with body shots.”
Watpool says the intensity is a lot higher in a pro fight, partly due to rounds only lasting two minutes, as amateur rounds are three minutes.
“Going from three to two-minute rounds, your pace is a little bit faster. The equipment is also different, especially the gloves, which can do more damage,” she said.
However, Watpool remains quietly confident about her chances.
“My experience fighting internationally and competing with some of the best in the world has given me an advantage. I also have Dewith Frazer, an excellent coach, whose been to the Olympics as an athlete and a coach.”
While Frazer has played a key role in her success, she’s also been able to build a strong team around her that helps her to prepare for each fight.
Her regular sparing partner is Bonnie Hunter, who also fights professionally, and the second coach in her corner is Bonnie’s husband, Horace Hunter.
“You have to be talented and hard-working and put in your time. But you need to have people around you that you can trust —that know what they’re doing and have your best interests at heart,” she said.
Watpool, who grew up on the family’s pig farm in Pefferlaw, also credits her upbringing with developing the mental toughness needed to succeed in the sport.
“A lot of the work I do is during planting and harvesting feed for the pigs. You have to get the job done; it doesn’t matter about the weather or equipment breaking down. You need to have the mental toughness to push through. You just got to do it; there is no other option,” she said.
When she’s not helping out on the farm, Watpool works at Pefferlaw Hardware on Pefferlaw Rd. She credits owners Brandon and Laura for their support and for providing her with a flexible work schedule that allows her time to prepare for her fights.
Working in a hardware store also brings her into contact with many residents, who have become some of her biggest supporters.
“Often people ask me at the store, ‘How’s the boxing?’ ‘When’s your next fight?’ Having that kind of conversation with customers is nice. And a lot of them are now coming to the fights,” she said.
That support, along with families and friends, gives Watpool a big boost in the ring.
“When I fought amateur, you’re often fighting in a different country, so you don’t get the same attendance. I appreciated that people come out and watch me fight. And that they’re enjoying the fights too. I love boxing and introducing people to the sport. And, when I can hear them in the crowd cheer, it gives me energy in the ring.”
Watpool plans to fight four to five times this year, with the goal of working up to a ten-round fight, which would make her eligible for a U.S. title fight.
Watpool’s bout, the only female one, is number three of six fights on the United Boxing Promotion’s card, and she still has VIP tickets available; they range from $120 to $200 each.
If you like to purchase a ticket, email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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