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Holm Faces 2-Sport Challenge

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lenny Fresquez, Holly Holm’s promoter, hasn’t been nervous about the outcome of a bout since Holm was preparing to face women’s boxing legend Christy Martin in 2005.

He needn’t have been; Holm won virtually every round in the fight that validated her as a major player in women’s boxing.

Now, Fresquez says, once again, he’s starting to get juuuuust a bit nervous.

On Sept. 9, Holm is scheduled for her second mixed-martial-arts fight at Route 66 Casino against Ohioan Jan Finney.

Finney’s record is unspectacular (8-9), and Holm was impressive in her MMA debut last March — dominating Wisconsin’s Christina Domke with powerful leg kicks en route to a victory by second-round TKO. But Fresquez worries about the huge disparity in experience.

“I’ve had people tell me I’m crazy to put Holly in with this girl this soon (in Holm’s MMA career),” he said. “… In this fight, Holly’s probably the underdog.”

Then, on Dec. 2, Holm will return to Route 66 and face arguably the most dangerous opponent she has faced in her boxing career: power-punching Frenchwoman Anne Sophie Mathis (24-1, 21 knockouts).

An excellent defensive boxer, Holm (30-1-3, nine KOs) has displayed a strong chin when she has been hit. Mary Jo Sanders, Angel Martinez, Chevelle Hallback and Albuquerquean Victoria Cisneros all landed solid shots, but Holm appeared unfazed.

Solid shots from Mathis, Fresquez says, generally put her opponents on the canvas. And Holm has been knocked out, though it was in a kickboxing match more than eight years ago.

“It’s the classic fight between a boxer and a puncher,” Fresquez says. “Holly’s really gonna have to perform well.”

BRAEKHUS FIGHT IS OFF: In between the MMA fight against Finney and the boxing match against Mathis, Holm was to have fought unbeaten boxer Cecilia Braekhus (18-0, four KOs) in Oslo, Norway. But Fresquez says he has canceled that bout.

No contract had been signed, Fresquez says, though Braekhus’ promotional company — Sauerland Events of Germany — issued a news release on July 7, announcing the bout would take place in late September or early October. Holm and Fresquez both were quoted in the release.

When Fresquez finally received a contract from Sauerland on Thursday, he says, the terms were unsatisfactory.

“None of the conditions under which I said we would take the fight were addressed in the contract,” he says. “… Neutral judges, medical, air travel, none of the things that, as a promoter, you take care of before you take a fighter to a foreign country.”

A Braekhus-Holm fight, Fresquez says, won’t happen this year. That’s probably just as well, he adds, since he was never completely comfortable with sandwiching that bout between Holm-Finney and Holm-Mathis.

“I think Holly’s probably going to need a break after this fight (with Finney),” he says.

ADD MMA: Popular Albuquerquean Mikey Lovato is scheduled to fight on the Sept. 9 undercard. Lovato (10-2) is now the head wrestling coach at Volcano Vista High School.

Jodie Esquibel (1-0), Holm’s teammate at Jackson-Winkeljohn Mixed Martial Arts, also is on the card.

ADD BOXING: In Las Vegas, Nev., Albuquerque welterweight Hector Muñoz lost by lopsided, unanimous decision Friday night to Kazakhstan’s Ravshan Hudaynazarov (15-0, 12 KOs).

Muñoz is 19-6-1 with 12 KOs, having lost five of his last six bouts.

Albuquerque light heavyweight Max Heyman was to have fought on the same card, but pulled out because of an injury to his oft-broken left hand.
— This article appeared on page D2 of the Albuquerque Journal