Please note that the URL for the WBAN site was originally incorrectly
specified in this issue as www.wban.com instead of www.wban.net.
The WBAN site can also be accessed at www.womenboxing.com.
TTTTT H H EEEEE
T H H E
T HHHHH EEEEE
T H H E
T H H EEEEE
PPPP OOOO RRRR TTTTT L A N N DDDD I A N N TM
P P O O R R T L A A NN N D D I A A NN N
PPPP O O RRRR T L AAAAA N N N D D I AAAAA N N N
P O O R R T L A A N NN D D I A A N NN
P OOOO R R T LLLLL A A N N DDDD I A A N N
The Portlandian, the Internet's premier source of Tonya News
June 13, 2003 Edition - BLACK FRIDAY EDITION
(C) 2003 Portland Ice Skating Society
Today, June 13th, will see Tonya participate in her fourth
professional boxing match, this time at the Chinook Winds casino
in Lincoln City, Oregon, a fight that will mark Tonya's boxing
debut in her home state. Her opponent for this match is Emily
Gosa, a first timer from Sulligenta, Alabama. It will be noted
that the bout will occur on Friday the 13th, or "Black Friday",
the traditional day of bad luck. We suspect it will turn out to
be a bad day indeed for Gosa once Tonya gets stuck into her.
TONYA MOVES FROM VICTORY TO VICTORY
It's been an eventful three months since our last edition as
Tonya continues in her new career. It's a period that has seen
two victories and a change of trainer. March 15th saw Tonya win
her first bout in professional boxing, in a match that was only
her second fight. Her peformance against Shannon Birmingham in
the four round match Gulfport, Miss, won her a unanimous
decision from the judges. Tonya's Godmother, Linda Lewis, gave
this account of Tonya's reaction:
Dear Tonya fans:
I just got off the phone with Tonya. She's back home from her
first win in pro boxing in Gulfport Mississippi. She won with a
4 point unanimous decision from the judges. Needless to say,
she is very happy. Tonya wants you to know that she is feeling
great, and is training hard for the next event. Once again she
sends her love and thanks for all the support from you, her
Reports of the fight in the mainstream media have been relatively
hard to find. The main newswires such as Reuters & the AP seem
not to have picked it up at all (I guess they're only interested
in stuff that makes Tonya look bad). However, we did come across
a brief item in one of Tonya's hometown papers, the Portland
Tribune, which featured this description of the fight from
Tonya's trainer, Jeff Hargis:
"Tonya did real well," says her trainer, Jeff Hargis. "She
landed a whole lot of right hands. She staggered (Birmingham)
several times but couldn't finish her off. That's just a lack
of ring experience."
Hargis says a standing-room-only crowd of about 3,000 was on
hand for the card, which featured heavyweight Tim Witherspoon
in the main event.
"The amazing thing was, we dressed after our fight and came
out to watch the Witherspoon fight, and I'll bet more than
2,000 people had left the building," Hargis says. "I guess
they came to watch Tonya fight."
As far as general coverage of Tonya's new career goes, The
Tennessean has another interesting article about Tonya's training
regime, and an interview with Hargis:
Finally, "Blades on Ice" had a relatively lengthy piece on
Tonya's first fight (and probably the first time a boxing match
has ever been covered by a figure skating magazine). As you'd
expect from a mainstream skating site there's the usual snide
anti-Tonya air about the article, plus the usual errors (Tonya
had her plastic surgery way back when she did "Breakaway", not
recently as the article suggests), but still some interesting
stuff, particularly the fact that Tonya still skates.
Unfortunately this has now disappeared from their web site and
appears to be not included in the print edition.
Of his impressions of working with Tonya so far, Hargis is quoted
"The Tonya I know is very cooperative, very receptive to
constructive criticism. She is her own worst critic; that's the
biggest problem we have. She gets frustrated at herself and loses
focus a little bit. She has great upper-body development and
transfers energy real well. I have been surprised with her body
structure. Typically, the longer, leaner fighters have the better
jab; she has a tremendous jab. She has great aptitude in picking
up technique and footwork. I think she can be a champion in 12 to
Tonya is reported as saying of skating and boxing: "There
are a lot of similarities between the two. You have to work on
smoothness of movement, endurance and you have to pay attention
and be able to react. It's a raw sport. It's all about power."
Thanks to "Leo", who posts on the tonyaharding.org forum, for
finding alot of this stuff.
IT'S ALL OK IN OKLAHOMA - TONYA BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED
Tonya's next bout was to be at the Creek Nation Gaming Center in
Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 28th. In the leadup to the fight,
Tonya's press agent sent us this release about her career so far:
Tonya Harding entered the boxing arena as a celebrity easily
defeating lesser celebrity, Paula Jones, in a TKO. The next
time she entered the ring it was for real, up close and
personal. In her first wild bout on Saturday, February 22, fans
howling vociferously, Tonya lost a split decision by a one-
point margin to Samantha Browning, another novice also in her
pro debut. No excuses, no sympathy with crimson face soaked
with sweat, Tonya smiled as she posed for the cameras and vowed
she would train even harder, endure the pain and seek to become
a Champion once again. It was important that she not crawl back
into her room with her tail between her legs; she had to keep
reminding herself that she merely lost, but she did not fail.
Tonya Harding has plenty of heart; she does not recognize the
word defeat; she also understands the posturing and the
psychological warfare indigenous to boxing. She remained
undeterred. Immediately afterwards she began training in
earnest for the next fight which would take place on March 15th
in Gulfport Miss. With deafening sounds from her new calling,
she trained intensely, a determined and willing pupil with a
highly competent and dedicated staff. Running to improve her
endurance, shadow boxing, sparring, and visualizing in deep
states of relaxed meditation, she envisioned her next opponent:
Shannon Birmingham, only this time the results were totally in
her favor: in a four round match, Tonya seriously overwhelmed
her adversary in a unanimous decision.
But there was no time to waste; no reason to gloat; back into
the gym to train and learn and progress was her trainer Jeff
Hargis' advice to her, for in only ten days on March 28th,
Tonya would be in the ring warring against Alejandra Lopez.
Tonya is a scrapper or "Spunky" as Mike Tyson described her.
She knows what she has to do and resolute to do it. The next
nine months are completely booked with tougher matches,
unrelenting training sessions and many hours of intensive
meditation. This bad girl will undoubtedly prove to all those
"legitimate" boxing pundits and nay-sayers that Tonya Harding
is a determined contender who deserves a right to start
somewhere and strive to become a world champion.
Proving that her Gulfport win was not a fluke, Tonya then
proceeded to follow up her earlier victory with another win, this
time against 18 year old Alejandra Lopez of Fort Smith, Arkansas,
another inexperienced newbie who had been boxing for about one or
two months. Lopez was reported as being supposedly very
enthusiastic about the fight and was quoted as saying she "wants
to come into the sport with a bang." Tonya obliged, though not in
the way Lopez would have hoped.
Linda Lewis reports thus:
> It's 11:20 PM here, and I just got a phone call with our little
> friend from Tulsa. She called me and was very excited to report
> that she won again. She wanted me to write to you so you could
> let the fans know. It was another unanimous decision ( 4 point
> spread ) by the judges. Needless to say, she's very happy. She
> said she's not hurt, and that her opponent was very gracious to
> her. She ( Tonya ) signed autographs for over an hour.
> So this was FYI from me.
> Best to you as always,
By all accounts this was not an easy fight for Tonya with the
WBAN site (www.wban.net) describing a bloody contest. Tonya
sustained a nosebleed in the first round and by the second round
Lopez was bleeding too. Unfortunately, in a tabloidy style that
appears to be typical of the site, it cites reports by un-named
"insiders" to rubbish Tonya's efforts, describing the match as "a
cat fight" and "pretty bad". They did, however, describe the
venue as sold out with a 900 strong crowd.
Fortunately a more positive and objective report came from the
"Tulsa World" newspaper, which ran a short item on the match:
> Purists might view former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding's
> venture into boxing as a lark, but it would be hard to deny her
> Seconds into her match against Alejandra Lopez, Harding was on
> the receiving end of a shot to her nose. Blood leaked from her
> right nostril, but it only served to spur her aggression.
> She unleashed a combination to the face of Lopez that also drew
> blood. By the time the four-round bout ended, the white satiny
> top Lopez was wearing was heavily splattered with blood.
> Harding (2-1) earned $10,000 for her unanimous four-round
> decision over Lopez, making her pro debut, in the women's
> super featherweight bout.
> "She is a gladiator at heart," trainer Jeff Hargis said.
> "That's something you have to have. You can't train that."
> March 28, 2003 - Tulsa, Oklahoma
For an inside view of the fight, this press release of 31 Mar
2003 gives a behind the scenes look:
On Friday, March 28, Tonya Harding sat in the dressing room of
the Creek Nation Casino in OK with her trainer Jeff Hargis &
Will Massie. She had already worked up a stiff sweat in
preparation for her third professional battle against Alejandra
Lopez. Tonya was very nervous, but confident that she would
prevail. Then suddenly she leaped toward the rest room and
retched. Seconds later she was led into the ring amidst the
mixed cheers and jeers of 2000 fans, an over capacity crowd.
She immediately asked Jeff Hargis to "take her down."
His words to her were soft and reassuring. In milliseconds the
roar of the crowd hushed into a distant hum. Deep solid breaths
brought on increased relaxation and with that, the realization
that she had become a savage predator with only one intention:
to go after her prey. Jeff gave her suggestions of
invincibility and impenetrability; that she could not be hurt;
she could almost see the lightening rays emanating from the
tips of her gloves. It was as though a veil had dropped across
her face changing and morphing her. The sound of the first bell
produced the desired Pavlovian response.
Tonya's nose had already been broken during her last fight, yet
she went after Lopez with the grace and cunning of a stalking
cat. Tonya began to throw swift left jabs, bobbing and weaving,
when a wild blow struck her nose causing her to bleed. Tonya
took her glove, wiped it across her nose, and momentarily
glanced at the blood; she lunged toward Lopez, checked and
suppressed both of her hands, then hit her with a right and
broke her nose. With blood pouring from both nostrils and a
split lip, Alejandra Lopez kept slugging as Tonya drove her
backwards with devastating right hands; until the bell sounded.
In her corner Tonya Harding was unusually silent; that tell
tale shroud still frozen across her face while Jeff worked on
her bloodied nose. "Ouch, that hurt!" is all she said. At that
moment Lopez had one foot out of the ring ready to quit when
her trainer told her no; she had to see it through. But
throughout the rest of the fight Alejandra threw solid punches
and fought with dignity and distinction.
At the sound of the second bell both fighters rushed out with
Tonya making use of the strong right hand that she had been
perfecting for months. Lopez was stunned and staggered and had
it not been for a local ruling, she would have been given a
standing eight count. With both fighters covered in blood and
punching continuously the crowd screamed violently; calling for
Tonya to "kick her ass." Tonya still in predatory mode drilled
down the center and followed up with punishing body punches
that staggered Lopez once again; but the bell saved her.
The fourth round belonged to Tonya exclusively as she
unrelentingly hit Alejandra with right crosses and body shots.
At the sound of the bell, both fighters hugged in the middle of
the ring and Tonya held her hands up to the audience as they
cheered loudly for her. With her gloves removed, the look on
Tonya's face changed dramatically as she smiled and told Lopez
how much she enjoyed the match. The unanimous decision was in
Tonya Harding's favor 40-36.
The roar of the crowd didn't cease until Tonya emerged from her
dressing room only to find an endless line of people waiting
for her autograph. Two hours later and 2,000 signed photos, she
was still not finished; the whole time she was holding a tissue
up to her nose to abate the bleeding. Finally she was pulled
away and taken out.
In the minds of both trainers Tonya Harding is no longer a
skater; she is a bona fide boxer; or as Will says: she has a
"heart from hell." This girl truly wants to be a champion; and
people identify with that. Tonya is turning her life around by
training hard, which convince all onlookers that she is not a
joke or a freak. When a competitor signs a four-year contract,
it's no longer lighthearted; and certainly not a circus act.
Tonya Harding is a professional boxer. She obeys her trainers
and does exactly what she is told to do. The days of temper
tantrums and prima dona antics are gone. Her effectiveness and
ability has surpassed that of any fighter Jeff Hargis has ever
trained. All of her past indiscretions adds to the value of her
name and, as she constantly advises interviewers: "do not dwell
on my past; but evaluate me for what I am doing now; and if I
get beat I'll get back up again. Just show me some respect for
Tonya's next two fights were to have been May 2nd in Tulsa, OK
and May 9th in Iowa. Unfortunately these had to be canceled due
to the broken nose. The exact details are unclear - some reports
say it was because of damage in her last fight and others say it
was broken during sparring, but either way it seems that on the
advice of her doctor Tonya pulled out. "She has been at home,
taking some time off to recuperate," trainer Hargis said.
TONYA HIRES NEW TRAINER
Then, a bombshell development. In an article from the Portland
Tribune on May 16, Tonya announced she had fired Hargis as a
trainer and hired his assistant, Will Massie:
According to the article, Tonya ditched Hargis after learning
unsavory things about his past, such as alleged convictions for
gun possession and prostitution, which Hargis denies. For his
part, Hargis claims he was fired by Tonya for being too strict,
accusing her of being uncooperative and partying too hard.
According to Hargis, Tonya "needs to cut back on her night-life
activity," and "She wants to eat once a day. She needs to eat
five or six small meals a day. Things like that we would disagree
on; it's like pulling teeth to get her to do what you need to
do." All of this is quite an about-face from what he told "Blades
on Ice", where he said "the Tonya I know is very cooperative,
very receptive to constructive criticism". He also claims that
Massie has been using drugs and plying Tonya with booze, which
Massie and Tonya deny.
It appears there was also disagreement over where Tonya would
train, with Hargis reluctant to travel to Vancouver where there
are no proper boxing facilities. Hargis believes that Massie is
not qualified to be a trainer.
Concerning the upcoming fight, Massie promises a better, more
seasoned fighter than before, and is quoted as predicting a
knockout. He also says that Tonya has switched to training in a
real gym as opposed to the hotel rooms she has been using in the
END OF AN ERA - TONYA'S OLD RINK CLOSES
It is with sadness that we report that according to an article in
the "Oregonian", Tonya's former home rink during her time as
champion, at the Clackamas Town Center Mall, closed on April
The rink has had a checkered history since the mall opened in
1981. In 1988 there was a proposal to close the rink and replace
it with an antique carousel, but this fizzled largely after a
plea to save it by Tonya, who was 17 at the time and already a
nationally ranked skater. In recent years the rink operators have
had financial difficulty, such as Ice Chalet and Dorothy Hamill's
failed venture. Its heyday was in early 1994 when thousands
thronged to watch Tonya practice for the Olympics. It even once
bore a large banner about Tonya, provided by her fan club.
Ironically, the very boom in skating that the Tonya/Nancy
incident caused has in fact contributed to the Clackamas rink's
demise. There are now simply too many ice rinks in the Portland
area according to those in the skating rink industry. In addition
to the Lloyd Center rink where Tonya currently skates, Sherwood
Ice Arena opened in July 2000 and Mountain View Ice Arena, which
has two full-size rinks, opened in Vancouver in 1998. Valley Ice
Arena in Beaverton is yet another rink in the greater Portland
area and there has been talk of a $10 million ice rink being
developed in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Believing that the money
needed to upgrade the Clackamas mall rink to a competitive
standard with these new rinks would be better spent elsewhere in
the mall, the mall management have decided to close the rink
down, and in doing so have ended an era in Portland's skating
COMPULSORY FIGURES: ICE WARS HEAT UP OVER JUDGING REFORM
Now that Tonya's not doing much skating anymore, some of the
Tonyaphobic squares on rec.sport.skating.ice.figure are
complaining that our e-zine is off-topic in that group.
Accordingly, we hereby introduce "compulsory figures", a new
section in which we engage in one of our favorite activities,
namely hacking into the croooks and incompetent bozos who run ice
skating these days. The way things are going, there should be
plenty of material to keep this section filled up for quite some
The past few months have not only been busy ones for Tonya but
also for skating fans as well. The first few months of the year
saw the formation of a new skating lobby group, Skatefair, a
group of skating fans dedicated to opposing Speedy's secret
judging "reforms". This group now has a web site,
www.skatefair.org, and has organized a successful protest at
Worlds in Washington DC on March 29 that got considerable media
attention. Photographs of the protest can be seen on the web
Now another new player has stepped up to the plate, if you'll
pardon the mixed metaphors: the World Skating Federation, an
organization founded by disaffected skating judge Ron Pfenning,
will cover only figure skating, retain the old 6.0 scoring system
and promises to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to cheating. Most
controversially, however, is its stated aim of ultimately
replacing the ISU itself as the official Olympic skating body.
Such a vision may at first seem ridiculously optimistic, but a
quick run-through of the list of the WSF's supporters on the WSF
web site (at www.worldskating.org) shows there's some heavy
hitters involved, including lots of former skating champions and
several names familiar to readers of r.s.s.i.f., so this can't
just be dismissed as someone's idle fantasy.
How have the ISU and their toadies reacted to this blatant
challenge to their crummy rotten system? Why, the same way they
always do when someone has the guts to speak up for what's right
- with threats, abuse & intimidation, off course. The ISU quickly
issued a statement that judges or referees endorsing the WSF
could be removed and national bodies suspended. The USFSA,
initially supportive of the new organization's aims, then issued
a statement making it clear it did not support the Federation
itself, and warned delegates to its recent annual conference not
to endorse the Federation for fear of endangering their athletes.
Skate Canada went further, denouncing the Federation and
threatening expulsion for any member endorsing or supporting its
activities. It appears that like Microsoft, the ISU won't
tolerate any competition.
We say these guys need to stick "backbone" on their next shopping
list. Firstly, the reality is that figure skating will never get
a fair deal from speedskaters at the ISU, who don't understand
figure skating, and never will. Even if by some miracle they
clean up the corruption (which doesn't look likely) this will not
change. In addition, the speedskaters at the ISU are in fact
heavily subsidized by figure skating's revenue, so expecting them
to let figure skaters control their own destiny is like expecting
turkeys to vote for an early Thanksgiving. The only solution is
for figure skating to get its own federation and the WSF seems
the best candidate to emerge in a long time.
As for who should be playing the heavy, it's the USFSA that
should be threatening the ISU, not the other way around. The
USFSA controls the US ladies, who are the jewel in the crown of
the Winter Olympics. As Christine Brennan pointed out in a recent
article, given that the Olympics are largely funded by the US TV
networks that puts the USFSA in the drivers seat as far as giving
orders, no matter what the ISU or the IOC say about dumping
"rogue" federations from the Olympics.
NBC has paid billions for the rights to cover the Winter Olympics
all the way up to 2010. They aren't going to be at all happy if
there's no Sarah's, Sasha's & Michelle's gliding around come 2006.
We suspect they'd be having a little chat with Mr. Rogge if he
insisted on siding with Speedy and not recognizing the New World
Order in skating that's unfolding. They might like to remind him
of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which turned into a joke when the
Americans didn't show up (he'll need to be reminded, as just
about everyone's fogotten about Moscow - it was that big a
failure). The outcome would be that it would be Speedy - not the
USFSA - that would be getting suspended, and probably out of a
10th floor window by a bunch of Russian mafioski given the way
skating is run these days.
GILLOOLY IS NANCY-BASHING AGAIN
No, not that Nancy, fortunately.
The Oregonian has reported that "Stone Cold" Jeff Gillooly, the
man responsible for the destruction of Tonya's skating career,
has been arrested for domestic violence against his ex-wife
Nancy. This is the second time Gillooly has been in trouble for
this (he was arrested for the same thing 3 years ago - shortly
afterwards they divorced), so it comes as no surprise. Officers
with the Portland Police Family Services Division arrested
Gillooly, now known as "Jeff Stone", at his Southeast Portland
home last month. He was booked into Multnomah County jail on a
charge of fourth-degree assault and released on $10,000 bail.
Sgt. Brian Schmautz, Portland Police Bureau spokesman, is quoted
as saying Gillooly is accused of striking his ex-wife while she
was holding one of their children during a visit to Gillooly's
home in April. Schmautz said the charge against Gillooly will be
a felony because a child was present, so hopefully this loser
will finally be going down for some serious time in the Big House
at last - which is what he should have got for the Kerrigan
If nothing else these events back up Tonya's claims that Gillooly
was a violent man who abused her and shows she had good reason to
fear retribution for not revealing his involvement in the
Kerrigan affair earlier.
PORTLAND PORN PIRATE HITS AN ICEBERG
And while on the subject of people who never seem to learn, long
time readers will recall that back in 1999 we chronicled the
strange case of "Roy Edwards", the former Tonya webmaster who
turned out to be in fact Jim Maxey, one of the Pacific
Northwest's most notorious cyberporn dealers. For those of you
who came on the scene since then, you can read all about it at
Back in the early 90's Maxey got sued by Playboy for trade mark &
copyright infringement, something that eventually cost him half a
million dollars. Well, it looks like Maxey-pad (as we Tonyaphiles
call him) is up to his old tricks: a source in the Portland area
informs us that he's now in trouble with Paramount Pictures for
the doing same thing. It appears he spliced a whole pile of his
porn footage into about 15 minutes of "Titanic" without asking
their say-so, always a bad idea given Hollywood's hard-nosed
attitude towards on-line pirates these days. Now it looks like
he'll be made to walk the plank by Paramount's lawyers. Hopefully
he will follow in the wake of that famous ocean liner and sink
without trace, something that all Tonya supporters will welcome.
We guess it just goes to show that a leopard really can't change
its spots. Once a rip-off artist, always a rip-off artist.
P.S.: And by the way, happy birthday to former "Skater" editor
Joe Haran! We hope that he didn't have a Black Friday.
VISIT THESE GREAT TONYA WEB SITES:
PortIce - http://www.geocities.com/portice
David House - http://www.tonyaharding.org
Charlie Main - http://www.charliesweb.com/tonya/tonya.html
Puppetboy - http://www.puppetland.com/mirrortony2.html
Valerie Smith - http://www.olywa.net/radu/valerie/LilHam.html
Swan Lake - http://members.tripod.com/~TonyaHarding/index.html
Blades of Gold - http://members.tripod.com/tmhfan/index.html
Pegasus Times - http://www.pegasustimes.com/harding/
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