Isra Girgrah, the world boxing champion of Yemeni origin makes her decision:’Raging Beauty’ retires [Archives:2004/725/Last Page]

April 1 2004

The internationally known and admired female boxer of Yemeni origin, Isra Girgrah, also known in the USA as Raging Beauty, has retired after long years of success and dedication to her beloved sport of boxing.
After nine years, 33 professional fights and a collection of five championship belts, Isra entered the ring for the last time to finish off her challenger, Philadelphia left-hander Shakurah Witherspoon, in a six-round bout. This was the 28th victorious match for the prominent boxer. She won a unanimous decision over Witherspoon – the sister-in-law of former heavyweight Tim Witherspoon – and nearly knocked her out in the final round, with a flurry of punches.
“I wanted to have fun,” said Isra (28-3-2), who won a unanimous decision over Witherspoon (10-35) in 2000 and knocked her out in the first round in 2002. “Yes, I wanted to knock her out as well, but her style was so awkward.”
Sporting a fire-engine red robe, Isra came to the ring with much fanfare, her entourage carrying all five championship belts she owns (three junior lightweight, two lightweight). After a slow first round, Isra landed seemingly at will to the body and head in rounds 2 through 6.
Isra, who finalized her decision to retire during the past two weeks, ends her career with 12 knockouts and will now concentrate on promoting young female fighters. She and husband Marty Wynn run Raging Promotions.
Before her final bout, Isra, 32, said she will have mixed feelings about walking away.
“It is bittersweet, definitely,” said Isra, who was born in Yemen, moved to Canada with her family at age 3, and began boxing there in 1994 as a form of exercise. “I'm going to miss it a lot. Being in that ring is just a rush of adrenaline. I just love it”.
“But I have to move on with promoting and letting the younger ones go into it now.”
Originally from Al-Baidha in Yemen, due to the political situation the Girgrah family left Aden in the early 1970s to settle in Canada. With due support and attention and a suitable environment, they prospered. Their daughter, Isra, excelled in a sport new to the fair sex:boxing. Raging Beauty, as she is christened by the media, was hailed by sports commentators as a new world champion.
Isra's retirement comes after so many years of dedication to the sport, which she loved since childhood. However, sources close to Isra reveal her disappointment with the Yemeni government's neglect and carelessness in contacting or appreciating her achievements, which were hailed worldwide.
Isra concluded her career as one of the all time greatest female boxers of all time, side by side with Christy Martin.
Yemen Times had previously published three stories about Isra's achievements and interviewed her family, which supported her throughout her career.
Isra spoke fondly of being able to promote her own shows. “Learning from the best,. I've been around Don King, Lou Duva, so many people that have done this for so long.” she said.
Isra won her first belt, the International Boxing Federation lightweight title, by defeating Angela Buchanan by TKO in April 1998.
Arguably the most high-profile fight of Isra's career was also one of her three losses. In July 1997, Isra, fighting on two weeks' notice, took on Christy Martin, then the biggest name in female boxing, at Madison Square Garden. Isra and Martin fought the full eight rounds, and by the sixth round Martin was bleeding from the mouth. Though the television announcers at the fight scored it even, Isra lost on all three judges' cards, eliciting loud boos from the crowd.
In last night's co-feature, Silver Spring 185-pounder Darnell Wilson (16-1, 14 knockouts) scored a third-round technical knockout of Forrest Neal (14-4) of Detroit.
She will make the transition to full-time promoting along with her husband, Marty Wynn, CEO of Raging Promotions.