GUYANA’S first female World Champion Gwendolyn ‘Stealth Bomber’ O’Neil added another title to her catalogue when she defeated Sonya Lamonakis to capture the vacant Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) heavyweight title on Saturday, July 4 with at the LB Scott Sports Auditorium in Philipsburg, St Maarten.
It was O’Neil’s first time back in the ring after an almost four-year break from the sport and the 46-year-old took the title via a split decision to hand Lamonakis her second loss in the sport (10 wins, two losses and two draws).
Lamonakis, who also holds the IBO heavyweight title weighed in at 258 pounds; 45 pounds more than the ‘Stealth Bomber’.
Despite a slow start which saw O’Neil trying to shake off the rust, she came on strong in the championship to win her fifth boxing world title.
The ‘‘Stealth Bomber’ showed signs of the layoff in the early rounds as Sonya 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 as the fighter seemed to find new life and rained punches from all angles on Sonya who had no answer for the warrior spirit that lifted the Guyanese to victory.
O’Neil who is now a five-time boxing world champion while at the same time a mother of five children, 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 favourite, 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 honoured to represent Big Red at this pivotal time in Guyana’s history as the country seeks to reconcile and unite to elevate Guyana.”
He added, “It’s a real reason to celebrate a true hero and bring home another boxing world championship belt to Guyana. The late Andrew ‘Six Heads’ Lewis must be dancing also because O’Neil dedicated this fight to his passing and also to the late great Patrick Ford, her former trainer, and another Guyanese boxer who fought for the world title in 1981.”
With the win, O’Neil’s boxing record stands at 19-7-1 and she is expected to fight again in October and December 2015.
According to O’Neil, her goal is to have ten world titles before she retires from professional boxing – a feat unheard of in women’s professional boxing.