Eliza Olson (Bio)
5’5″, 145-lb Eliza Jane Olson fights out of Gladiator’s Training Academy in Redwood City, California. Olson was born on February 8, 1976 into a family with a long background in boxing. Her grandfather was Carl “Bobo” Olson, middleweight world champion and boxing hall-of-famer who fought all the greats at his weight and retired with a record of 99-16-2 (49 KO). Eliza’s father, Carl Olson Jr., is in her corner every time she fights.
“I’ve been watching boxing ever since I was a little girl because of my grandfather,” says Olson, “it was a part of my upbringing. Fighting is in my blood.”
At Capuchino High School in San Bruno, California, Olson played volleyball, soccer and basketball but saw something special in boxing: “It’s not a team sport. Boxing is speed; it’s movement; it’s technique and strength. It gives you a certain confidence that nothing else provides.”
Her interest in boxing grew while she worked as a plumber after graduating from high school. She decided to relocate to Los Angeles to train with renowned trainer Freddie Roach, who had previously coached Lucia Rijker, arguably the most feared female fighter in the world.
Eliza OlsonEliza made her pro boxing debut on March 3, 2000 at Feather Falls Casino in Oroville, California, winning a split decision over Debbie Foster of Bakersfield, California, who fell to 1-1. Olson came out fast and furious within seconds of the opening bell, connecting with hard blows to the head, then went on to earn the nod from the judges.
On April 15, 2000 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, Eliza (143 lbs) won her second bout over Michelle Vidales (141 lbs) of San Diego, California by a TKO at 1:47 in the third round of a scheduled four-rounder. The loss dropped Vidales to 2-2.
On May 19, 2000 at Pechanga Center in Temecula, California, Eliza moved to 3-0 with a four-round decision over Kelley Whaley of Cedar City, who fell to 1-3.
After this three-fight success, Eliza took a leave from competition, only to realize that she missed the thrill of being in the ring.
“I was scared of success because I had been thrown into the sport so quickly. I moved to Tennessee to get away, but thoughts of being an athlete kept haunting me. I realized that I had to go back.”
She returned to the ring on January 19, 2001 at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California, to face veteran junior welterweight Gloria Ramirez of El Paso, Texas. Ramirez won a four-round unanimous (40-36, 39-37, 39-37) decision, switching stances from orthodox to southpaw throughout the fight to confuse Olson. Ramirez moved her pro record to 5-10 (2 KO’s) in a bout that was carried live by ESPN2′s Friday Night Fights. (Ramirez’s record is deceptive, as she has taken on many of the best at her weight over the years).
After further work with coach Elloy Ramirez, Olson got her ring career back on track on September 7, 2001. At the Radisson Hotel in Sacramento, California, she weighed in at 142¼ lbs and TKO’d Robyn Covino (142½ lbs) of Los Angeles at 0:58 in the first round. Covino, once a winning kickboxer, fell to 1-11 in her first pro boxing bout in over two years. According to a report from Boxingtalk.net reporter Ron Heard, “Eliza came out very hard and caught Covino with a nice left hook right in the middle of an exchange that sent Covino to the canvas at about 30 seconds into the first round. Covino got up and they went right back at it. Olson appeared to be confident and controlled the fight, overpowering Covino by throwing many combinations. Covino was game, she tried to trade back but she just was getting caught with clean hooks and she went down the second time at 58 seconds into the first round and it was over.”
On December 19, 2001 at Feather Falls Casino in Oroville, California, Eliza (146 lbs) advanced to 5-1 (2 KOs) with a four-round unanimous decision over Rena Soriano (147 lbs) of Las Vegas, Nevada who fell to 1-1-0 (1 KO). Olson “unleashed a brutal beating to Soriano” according to reporter Steve Roper at InsideWomensBoxing.com.
On July 19, 2002 at Feather Falls Casino in Oroville, California, Eliza won a four-round unanimous decision over Valanna McGee of Sacramento, who was making her pro debut. Olson was the aggressor for much of the fight but McGee showed good skills for a debut fighter.
On March 19, 2003 at Villa Barone Manor in the Bronx, New York: Eliza (145½ lbs) and unbeaten Ann Marie Saccurato (146½ lbs) of White Plains, New York fought to a four-round draw. Saccurato’s record moved to 3-0-1 (2 KO).
Jaime Clampitt vs. Eliza OlsonOn October 31, 2003 at Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island, Eliza stepped in at short notice to fight Jaime Clampitt (138 lbs) for the vacant IWBF junior welterweight title. Clampitt, a former Canadian national amateur champion now fighting out of Narragansett, Rhode Island, won by a ten-round unanimous (99-92,96-95,99-94) decision, and improved her pro record to 13-2-0 (4 KO). Clampitt used her left jab well while Olson showed good movement. Clampitt stunned Olson in the fourth with a head-snapping right hook but most rounds were close, especially when the quicker Olson landed right hands through Clampitt’s defense. In the end, Clampitt’s heavier and busier punching style may have given her the edge with the judges but some fans booed the decision despite the fight being on Clampitt’s new-found home turf. Olson took the fight as a late substitute for Michelle Linden of Florida, who broke a toe a few days before the bout.
Lisa Holewyne trading with Eliza
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mike Blair
Just eight days later, on November 8, 2003 at Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, Oregon, Eliza (137 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (59-55,58-56,60-55) decision over Lisa Holewyne (140½ lbs) of Austin, Texas. Holewyne, a former WIBF world Welterweight champion, fell to 18-11-1 (5 KO) with the loss. (For more of Mike Blair’s photos of this fight see WBAN Photo Gallery #122 on the WBAN Records Member Site)
Eliza Olson vs. Sunshine Fettkether
Sunshine Fettkether (right) vs. Eliza in February 2004
© Copyrighted Photograph by Patricia Butaud and Janis Guidry
On February 7, 2004 at Grand Casino Coushatta Pavilion in Kinder, Louisiana, Sunshine Fettkether (5’8″, 148 lbs) of Mesa, Arizona and Eliza (147 lbs) fought to a majority (95-95,95-95,96-94 for Olson) draw over ten rounds for the vacant IBF Junior Middleweight championship. Most ringside observers said that the smaller Olson deserved to win the fight after working her way inside Fettkether’s defense consistently to pummel her with hooks, uppercuts and straight rights. Fettkether scored repeatedly with solid lefts and rights to Olson’s body and head, but Olson replied with telling right uppercuts whenever they came together. Olson’s best round was the ninth, when she fought her way off the ropes with punishing combinations. The decision was roundly booed by the crowd and Olson was visibly upset, telling a ringside correspondent “I don’t understand what they were watching. I won the end of every round and played my game inside. Anybody knows that is how you’re supposed to fight a bigger girl. I’m really disappointed. My thing is I go in there and I’m a crowd pleaser.” Fettkether’s record moved to 8-4-3 (4 KO). (For more photos and video of this fight by Patricia Butaud and Janis Guidry, see WBAN Photo/MPEG Gallery #141 on the WBAN Records Member Site)
“That was a tough fight,” Olson said. “When I first came into the ring, I was booed. I had been sick and still wasn’t feeling my best, but I fought my heart out and was able to turn the crowd around. Crowds don’t lie; they cheer for the person with the most heart. That’s how I always fight. I go into the ring with my heart on my sleeve.”
Eliza vs. Aga Rylik in England
© copyrighted photo by JollyDee
On April 10, 2004 in Manchester, England, Aga Rylik of Poland won a 10-round unanimous decision over Eliza for the WIBF and WIBO Junior Welterweight titles. WBAN correspondent JollyDee wrote: “The women boxers fought for both the vacant WIBO Junior Welterweight world title and Rylik’s WIBF Junior Welterweight title. The bout was qualitative and balanced as well. Rylik’s jabs were dominating the match but the Olson was better in in close fighting and her uppercuts were very dangerous. At the beginning of the
match, Rylik was dominant, however in the middle of the fight Olson, succeeded in taking charge. In the end Rylik was able to take on the match again because of her stamina. When the fight ended, both boxers believed to be the winner. On the cards Rylik was victorious (98-94, 98-94, and 97-94) however in my opinion 97-94 was the most objective.” (For more of JollyDee’s photos of this fight see WBAN Photo Gallery #161 on the WBAN Records Member Site). Rylik advanced to 15-1-0 (11 KOs) while Olson fell to 7-3-2 (2 KOs).
On July 23, 2004 at the Warner Hotel in Fresno. California, Eliza (140 lbs) won a six-round unanimous decision over Rita Turrisi (144 lbs) of Italy. Olson knocked Turrisi down in the second round of the bout.
Myriam Lamare (R) vs. Eliza Olson for the WBA world title
On November 8, 2004 at the Sports Arena in Paris, France,
Myriam Lamare (139¼ lbs) of Marseille, France won a 10-round unanimous (100-90, 100-90, 100-90) decision over Eliza (140 lbs), for the inaugural WBA Junior Welterweight title. Lamare improved to 9-0 (4 KOs) as Eliza fell to 8-4-2 (2 KOs).
On December 10, 2004 at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, Jaime Clampitt (140 lbs) of Narragansett, Rhode Island, fought Eliza (140 lbs) to a ten-round 96-94,94-96,95-95 draw for the vacant IWBF Light Welterweight title. After two lackluster opening rounds, the two fighters worked in close, where Olson had success with a host of straight right hands. Clampitt countered by going to the body. Clampitt broke her right hand as the pace quickened early in the third round. The middle rounds saw the best action as Clampitt scored coming out of a clinch in the fourth while Olson was effective with her uppercuts in the fifth and sixth. Both fighters finished the bout with an exciting flurry. Clampitt appeared relieved by the verdict, while Olson was near tears when it was announced.
“It makes my heart hurt,” said Olson after the draw in a fight that many felt she had won, “I wanted the belt for Christmas. I came out here and fought my ass off, I hit her with some shots, upper cuts, and numerous right hands. I’ll give her that-she has a good chin. She hits like a mosquito. I was able to get that right hand down the pipe all night long. She came in wide and was holding me, I backed her up numerous times. I definitely out-boxed her. This has become the way things have happened to me lately. This is the second time. I wanted to take this home but it’s still frustrating. I think I’m the champion and that’s the way it goes.”
Olson had taken the fight at short notice after Clampitt’s originally scheduled opponent, Jane Couch, fought on another card the previous week and then fell victim to a case of impetigo. Couch’s withdrawal moved the IWBF to strip her of the title she had won by defeating Clampitt in June 2004.
vs. Mary Jo Samders in July 2005
© Copyrighted photo by Brian Ackley
On July 30, 2005 at Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan Mary Jo Sanders (142 lbs) of Detroit remained undefeated when she won a ten-round unanimous (98-92, 97-93, 96-94) decision over Eliza (145 lbs) for the Interim WBC Welterweight title. WBAN’s Senior Editor Brian Ackley wrote: “Although Mary Jo Sanders didn’t earn a million bucks for her win Saturday night, her Detroit fans sure thought she fought like it. As expected, Sanders was the more efficient tactician, although she did absorb a few of Olson’s looping hooks which earned the California-based challenger the admiration of many in the Cobo Arena crowd of 3,000. Neither fighter was in any serious trouble in the fight. Olson was caught off balance and wobbled slightly in the third by a Sander’s hook, and Olson did some of her best work in the seventh, before tiring a bit in the final two rounds. Sanders’ best round might have been the 10th, making sure there were no hometown upsets on this night.” Mary Jo Sanders improved to 17-0 (5 KO’s) while Olson fell to 8-5-3 (2 KOs).
“It feels like I fought my best but I’m in her hometown, if I can bring it to my hometown, the decision might change,” said Olson. “I know I hit her, I stunned her, I cut her. But I didn’t probably throw enough punches. But I feel my performance was pretty good given the amount of time I had to train for this fight. I was told a month before, but it’s OK. She knows who I am. I know she’ll never fight me again because she’ll be scared. If she does want to fight me again, tell her to bring it. Maybe we’ll fight in Vegas or something. I’d be willing to do it again.”
Eliza winning the IBA and WBC Lightweight belts
© Copyrighted photo by Jessica Trevino
On September 17, 2005 at the Palace Indian Gaming Center in Lemoore, California, Eliza (135 lbs) defeated Jessica Rakoczy of Las Vegas by a 10-round unanimous (97-92,97-92,98-91) decision for the IBA and WBC lightweight titles. Olson relentlessly stalked Rakoczy and knocked her to the canvas in the ninth round in what observers tell WBAN was an excellent fight. “I hit her with some body shots and I felt her go limp,” said Olson, “She’s one tough girl, but I beat her tonight.
“I’ve been everywhere to fight for a world championship, I worked hard for this. I’ve been in the trenches. I finally came to the point where if I didn’t become a world champion, it’s OK. But I love to fight and this is a great sport for me.” For more of Jessica Trevino’s photos of this fight see MPEG/Photo Gallery #289 on the WBAN Records Member Site). Rakoczy fell to 20-2 (7 KO’s).
On July 20, 2006 at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, California, Eliza won a six-round unanimous (60-54,58-56,59-54) decision over Mariam Brakache (148 lbs) of Atlanta, Georgia. According to Brian Blake of TalkingBoxing.com, “Olson came out strong throwing lots of combinations and landing big rights to the head of Brakache. While both fighters began to tire in the third round Olson was still the fighter landing more often with the harder punches. The conclusion of most rounds found both fighters throwing shots well after the bell with Referee Marty Sammons having to step in to break them up. While Brakache proved to be a tough and durable opponent she was simply outmatched. While Olson seemed to dominate the fight she was unable to drop her opponent.” Olson improved to 10-5-3 (2 KOs) while Brakache fell to 4-4-0 (1 KOs). For photo and video coverage of this fight see MPEG/Photo Gallery #375 on the WBAN Records Member Site.
Eliza OlsonOlson is now taking classes at Cañada College in Redwood City. Her goal, besides winning a world title as a boxer, is now to earn her degree and become a physical education teacher and coach. Olson now fights to overcome dyslexia that brought her a fear of the classroom when she was younger, and attacks academics like she does an opponent, according to Cañada College assistant professor Jennifer Helton, who says “Eliza is the kind of person who, when confronted by a fear, simply grabs it and beats it down.”
Olson says she looks up to women like University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt. “She’s hard-core and gets her players motivated. She trains them as champions, and as a result has championship teams. That’s how I conduct myself. Outside the ring, I’m a pretty lighthearted person, but when I fight, I take things seriously. I am focused on becoming the best. This is my year. I can feel it.”
“I want to pave the way for women athletes and show them that anything’s possible,” Olson said. “There are so many well-supported professional sports for men, but women’s sports don’t get the same kind of support. Women’s boxing is starting to gain momentum, and I love being at the center of it all. I want women to know they can do anything, even become a boxer.”
“This is what I was destined for. I’m an adrenaline junkie. I love the sound of the crowd; I love the fans, the competition, the preparation, even the training. This is my life.”