ShelbyGirl in the news!

I found this article in a local paper the other day. I thought I would share:

May 12, 2004

Shelby Walker listens to her trainer, sips from a water bottle, swishes several times, then leans over the ropes and spits the liquid into a white bucket in a long, steady stream.

Bouncing on her toes and tapping her gloves together, she's now ready to go to work.

A bell chimes, and she charges to the center of a boxing ring for one of her weekly sparring sessions with a stronger, quicker male opponent.

For much of the rest of the evening, Walker lands and receives punches in a grueling but familiar routine designed to prepare her for an upcoming shot at a world championship.

"It's the biggest fight of my career," said Walker, a Southport resident who is in the fledgling stage of a promising professional boxing career.

On May 23, she will fight Japan's Emiko Raiko in Tokyo for the Women's International Boxing Association featherweight title.

A longtime fighting enthusiast, Walker will be competing in her 10th match since turning professional in October 2002.

Although an underdog going in, Walker is no stranger to the rigors of a tough fight.

She also knows how to win.


A veteran no-holds-barred martial arts competitor and a frequent winner on the Absolute Fighting Championship series, Walker, 29, has been a competitive fighter for five years.

Proficient in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and various other martial arts disciplines, the Kingsville, Texas, native competes in a variety of events that combine kicking and punching.

In May 2003, she set an Absolute Fighting world record for the fastest knockout when she KO'd her opponent in five seconds during a Ring of Fury bout in Boston.

Although she enjoys fights that blend martial arts skills, she channeled her energy to boxing because of the expanded opportunities for paychecks.

"There were a lot more opponents, and I wanted to make fighting a career," Walker said. "The only way I could do that was to cross over and box.

"And now, here I am."

Relatively new to the sport, Walker is still refining her skills.

Under the tutelage of Ray Marconi, a longtime trainer of area pros and amateurs, Walker trains daily at the Broad Ripple Martial Arts Academy.

She works out for a minimum of four hours a day. She runs three to five miles every other day and spars at the Columbus PAL Club on days she doesn't run.

Her regular sparring partner is 17-year-old Peter Soler of Columbus, an age-group Golden Gloves champion whose 5-foot-3 physique mirrors that of Walker's 5-foot-1 Japanese opponent.

"The hardest part is finding female sparring partners," said Marconi, 65, who has trained Walker for about a year.



Besides sparring and running, Walker's training includes 30 minutes of continuous jump-rope; speed- and heavy-bag drills; and countless pushups and sit-ups. The goal is to build stamina, strength and agility without bulking up.

Walker, who is 5-foot-7½ and 125 pounds, not only enjoys the training, she relishes it.

"I'm sure to the normal person it would be tough," she said. "But I enjoy it so much. I can't imagine my life doing anything else. I wake up, and I'm thinking about boxing. I go to sleep thinking about boxing.

"I've dreamed about boxing, and I love the element that I get to stay in shape and it's my job. I just love it."

Marconi, who has been in the boxing business for more than 50 years, marvels at Walker's swift learning curve and pure toughness.

"Shelby can box," Marconi said. "She's very tough. She hits hard. She doesn't look like a puncher, but she can whack. Shelby learns quick, and she works at it.

"She's come a long way."

Having skipped the amateur ranks to go straight to the pros, Walker admits that her skills haven't caught up to her toughness.

But they're getting closer.

"I have a steel chin, luckily," Walker said. "That's how I got by for so long. I didn't really have skills. I was just really tough, and I have a steel chin.

"But with the help of my coach, Ray Marconi, I've become quite a boxer."

In her most recent fight, Walker went the distance on Nov. 25 in an eight-round championship bout against eighth-ranked WIBA contender Kristy Follmar.

Fighting for the North American Boxing Council Women's Junior Lightweight title, Walker lost a decision to Follmar in front of 11,000 fans in the Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis.

Although she didn't win, Walker's performance was impressive enough to earn the opportunity to fight for the WIBA featherweight title.

"I got real lucky," she said. "The Japanese chose me out of all the American girls to go over and fight their champion."

A U.S. Army veteran who served five years in the military, Walker developed an interest in fighting growing up in a rough-and-tumble small town in south Texas near the Mexican border.

Never one to start a fight, Walker was never one to run away from one either.

"It was kind of a rough town that I was from," she said. "I was fighting all the time in school. I've just always been kind of a tomboy, always kind of a rough kid. It became a sport for me.

"I always wanted to compete to see who was tougher. It kind of accelerated from there."

In addition to fighting, Walker supplements her income by teaching private boxing lessons at the Broad Ripple Martial Arts Academy.

"I love it," she said. "Boxing weeds out the weak really fast. When they get in there and start sparring, you either love it or hate it.

"Once people get in there and spar, then you can tell who's going to be a fighter and who's not."

Marconi, who can't attend the fight in Japan because of a prior commitment, predicts a championship for Walker, the first and only female he's ever trained.

"I look for her to win that fight in Japan," he said. "If all else fails, she can just go to war with (opponents)."

Although Marconi can't travel with her, Walker will be accompanied by a familiar face.

Her roommate, Amy Medcalf, is not only making the trip, she is going to work in her corner.

Medcalf, a licensed aesthetician who has never been in a boxing ring, looks forward to the experience.

"It's going to be very exciting," Medcalf said. "I'll mist her down and make sure she's cooled down."

Win, lose or draw, Walker will earn $3,000 for the one-round fight, the longest of her career. But she's going in with the expectation to win.

Her opponent, who will be the undisputed hometown favorite in the Tokyo Dome, is 9-1-1 with four knockouts.


Go Shelby!!!!!!!!! I've always been a fan, I've just never usually come to the internet to talk about it. She's one of the fighters who posts here, no?

Skilled as hell. Mucho respecto.


Walker is 6-3-1 with five knockouts.

"I'm going to their country, and I'm fighting their champion, but I just pray that I can finish the fight," Walker said. "I'm in shape, and I'm really, really motivated and I really want to win.

"I think this is going to be the toughest fight of her career. I'm ready for her."

"I am LOLing at the part where the writer says that it's a one-round fight, and that it's going to be the longest fight of her career."

I was about to say, bro... that woulda been wrong for you to just bust in and laugh like that. Good lookin out on the clarification, you catch mad shit here as it is.

That is funny though... she's had way longer fights.


Good Luck Shelby

I met Shelby in Vegas last year, and she seemed pretty cool.

Good luck!