Fists will fly, promise both parties involved, when Amanda Lovato and Katherine Lindenmuth square off in the boxing ring on Saturday.
Not a single punch, though, will be thrown in anger.
The two New Mexico flyweights have so much in common, it was almost preordained that they’d become friends.
They’re close to the same age. Lovato is 31; Lindenmuth celebrated her 33rd birthday on July 30.
They each grew up in a small New Mexico town – Lindenmuth in Bosque Farms, Lovato in Las Vegas. They’re both single moms – Lindenmuth the widowed mother of three boys, Lovato the divorced mom of 4-year-old Anthony.
Both have career goals outside the ring. Lindenmuth, who works full time, is studying online for her master’s. Lovato, a server and bartender, is pursuing nursing school.
They’re even the same height, at least within an inch. Lovato is listed at 5 feet, Lindenmuth at 4-11.
There’s this, as well. Given the scarcity of 112-pound female boxers hereabouts, it was almost inevitable that they’d wind up sparring with each other in preparation for previous bouts.
“It’s kind of a team effort,” Lindenmuth said during an interview at Rosales Kickboxing & Karate on Lomas NE. “We help each other out, trying to get each other ready for all of our fights.”
This camaraderie has not been interrupted, Lovato said, by the mere fact that they’re fighting each other on Saturday. Last Friday, eight days before their fight, they appeared together at a meet-and-greet in an effort to promote Saturday’s card at Expo New Mexico.
“Even throughout this camp, every week we’ve talked or messaged each other,” Lovato said during an interview at FIT-NHB on Candelaria NW. “We hung out at our meet-and-greet, no problem. She’s just really a cool person.”
So, then, fast friends they have become. (Lindenmuth is the faster friend of the two, having come in first in their age group when the two ran a 10K together this spring; Lovato finished fifth.)
Thus, when they look across at each other from their respective corners on Saturday, neither will see an enemy. Yet, this will be no sparring session. Each fighter is coming off her first pro victory. Each fighter badly wants a second one.
“I want my hand raised, she wants her hand raised,” said Lindenmuth, who made her pro debut on April 22 with a victory by unanimous decision over Santa Fe’s Kara Liebowitz. “We’re gonna give, like 200 percent.”
Lovato actually has a three-fight win streak – two in MMA, one in boxing – on the line. After previously having gone 0-8-1 in those two disciplines, she’s eager to build on that streak.
“I’ve got a lot of momentum coming behind me right now,” she said, “so I’m trying to keep that momentum going, and I don’t want anybody to take it from me.”
That they’ve sparred together, both boxers said, is of little help in formulating a fight plan.
“You always fight different than you spar,” Lindenmuth said. “… I know we’re the same height, and we’ve got a lot of power and a lot of energy. Other than that, I’m not too sure exactly what to expect, other than it’s gonna be a challenge and I’m up to any challenge.”
Lovato said much the same, but added, “I know we both like to push the pace, so I see it being a very competitive match and I see us going back and forth a lot.”
And, after one or the other’s hand is raised on Saturday, will the friendship endure?
Lovato (1-1-1) was Facebook friends with Randee Lynn Morales, the fighter she defeated by unanimous decision in Denver on June 4 for that first pro boxing victory. The two had been on good terms before the fight. But, Lovato said, “After I won that decision, she didn’t like me very much.”
Lovato, though, said she has no doubt that, whoever wins on Saturday, she and Lindenmuth will remain friends.
“Me and Kat will have this match,” she said, “and within a few weeks one of us will get (another fight) booked up pretty quick. And we’ll be like, ‘Hey, do you want to work together for this one?’
“And it’ll be a go.”