By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer
Shiayr Harris, 13, was in a stacked bracket of other 125 pounders from around the world. But the young boxer was the only one from Toledo during the eight day event held July 22- 29 at the Glass City Center in downtown Toledo.
Her first match, she won when the referee stopped the fight in the first round. She would then proceed to fight for the championship just a couple of days later. Typically, boxers will take, at least, a month off before fighting another match, due to extreme damage the body endures. But for the young pugilist, a couple of days was all she was allotted before facing the other top competitor in her weight class.
Shiayr would cruise to a victory, winning a unanimous decision. “I felt good,” she told The Toledo Journal outside of her boxing gym, 2146 N. 12 Street, on September 9.
The event was the inaugural USA Boxing Women’s Championship and it marked the first World Boxing, the newly formed international boxing federation, associated event.
Unlike the typical 13 year old, Shiayr wasn’t shy, didn’t fidget, nor whisper during the interview. Her words fluidly and clearly flowed out and she displayed a type of confidence, not arrogance, that an adult would display after mastering his or her particular skill over years.
“I’ve always wanted to box since I was five or six, but never tried to find a gym,” she said. “When we moved into this neighborhood, I heard there was a gym in the area so I joined it.”
With only a year and a half of boxing experience under her belt, she definitely turned heads at the international event in July. She entered the event 3-0 and left 5-0 and with a championship.
An uncanny skill that Shiayr has is the ability to fight either southpaw, the fighting stance of a left handed fighter or orthodox, the fighting stance of a right handed fighter. She also said she can box or brawl. “You box a boxer and box a fighter; sometimes, I’ll fight a fighter,” then Shiayr let out a chuckle.
A true student of the sport, professional fighters Shakur “Sugar” Stevenson and Gervonta “Tank” Davis inspired her. “I’ll incorporate some of their tactics into my style. Sometimes, I’ll improve upon it.” Her coach, Marlon Johnson will even give her homework. “He’ll send me a video and tell me to watch it; study it.”
Lakerchea Fambro, mom, said she’s proud of her daughter and that she can see her becoming a world champion.
Ms. Fambro, a former soccer standout, has completely bought into the world of boxing, thanks to her daughter. But instead of sparring with her daughter, like so many parents would attempt to do, she lines up her daughter’s fights, along with the other members of the gym.
Ms. Fambro’s advice to other parents, who have a daughter wanting to box, “Just let them be great.”