It was Gwendolyn O’Neil’s first time back in the ring after a four year break and Guyana’s first female World Champion certainly did not disappoint the huge (mostly Guyanese) crowd in Philipsburg St Maarten when she stopped Sonya Lamonakis via split decision to win the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) heavyweight title last weekend.
The LB Scott Sports Auditorium played host to the 46 year-old’s historic triumph as the ‘Stealth Bomber’ handed the ‘Greek’ her second lost in the sport (ten wins, two loses and two draws).
Lamonakis, who also holds the IBO Heavyweight title tipped the scale at 258 pounds; 45 pounds more than the Guyanese but that didn’t stop O’Neil from dropping her world famous powerful right hand throughout the 10 round contest.
The ‘Stealth Bomber’ showed signs of the layoff in the early rounds as the Greek used her weight advantage to lean on O’Neil and slow up the quicker Guyanese fighter.
But from round six the tide started changing and O’Neil started to use her reach advantage to pepper Lamonakis face every time she tried to close the gap followed by left right combinations.
The tenth and final round was O’Neil’s best rounds as the fighter seemed to find new life and rained punches from all angles on Lamonakis who had no answer for the warrior spirit that uplifted the ‘Stealth Bomber’ to victory.
O’Neil who is now a five-time boxing world champion while at the same time a mother of five children and a grandmother, thanked the fans, her management team and God for the heart stirring win which put her back on top of the world heavyweight boxing scene.
A huge crowd favorite, O’Neil fought to chants of “Gwendolyn, beat and beat out” in reference to her pre-fight TV-Carib interview when the quick-witted O’Neil said “I have respect for Sonya but I come here to beat her and then beat out”
In a statement from Gwendolyn’s management team, Basil Boyce, CEO of Golden Bow & Arrow Promotions, LLC said; “we are grateful, humbled and honored to represent Big Red at this pivotal time in Guyana’s history as the country seeks to reconcile and unite to elevate Guyana. It’s a real reason to celebrate a true hero and bring home another boxing world championship belt to Guyana”
He added “the late Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis must be dancing also because Big Red dedicated this fight to his passing and also to the late great Patrick Forde, her former trainer, and another Guyanese boxer who fought for the world title in 1981.”
O’Neil’s boxing record now stands at 19-7-1 and is expected to fight in October and December 2015 again.
Her goal is to have ten world championship belts before she retires from professional boxing, a feat unheard of in women’s professional boxing.