Who run the ring? Lindenhurst’s Alicia Napoleon wins the Women’s WBA Super Middleweight Championship
The woman fighting out of Lindenhurst made history at the Barclays Center, while also proving a woman’s worth in the ring
It doesn’t matter how unreliable the Long Island Rail Road has recently been, Alicia Napoleon definitely enjoyed the long train ride home. The 32-year old from Lindenhurst walked into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY determined to make history. She walked out as the new Women’s WBA Super Middleweight Champion, defeating Femke Hermans via unanimous decision (99-91, 98-92, 98,92).
Napoleon (9-1) was considered the favorite throughout, which was interesting when you noticed how Femke (6-1) had the reach and height advantage. She managed to overcome those obstacles and swiftly move her way to glory. Alicia came in with two goals: to become a champion and to make a difference for female fighters in a male-dominated industry. The first one required ten rounds, while the second one just required the bell to ring.
Alicia Napoleon walked into the ring wearing all gold, a sign of things to come. She wanted the vacant championship, no matter how much of her body she had to sacrifice. With all of Brooklyn on her side, she worked hard right from the gate. Femke started the first few rounds strong, but it was in round two where Napoleon seemed to knock her off of her feet. Towards the end of that round, Alicia hit a swift shot right past the face of her opponent.
Femke struck hard with a flurry of her own in round four, but Napoleon could not be brought down. You could tell that Femke was slowing down, as she looked sluggish. Femke was desperate to try and find a way out of Alicia’s way, but to no avail. After attacking her throughout the seventh, to the point where Napoleon basically shoved her against the ropes, it was the eighth round in which Alicia Napoleon showed her true grit.
With Femke in full retreat mode, Napoleon landed head shot after head shot in round eight, each more brutal than the last. Femke did offer some up of her own, and the fight suddenly resembled a pair of gladiators fighting it out to the death. It was more of the same in round nine and ten, as Femke was too tired to try and go after the active Napoleon.
As the fight ended, both fighters received a standing ovation, and the Barclays Center erupted when Alicia was announced the winner. It was a goal Alicia has been waiting her entire life for, and there’s still work to be done, as she stated after the fight.
“It’s hard to find words to describe this right. It’s so surreal it’s almost like a dream. I’m just glad I did it. This is one down, but there’s many more to go. The goal is to get them all.
It was an incredible display of resilience for both fighters. For Alicia, it was about waiting for the right time to shine, which happened to be the fifth round. For Femke, it was an to attempt to stay in the fight against one of the top female boxers around.
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Coming into the fight, Napoleon wanted to try and set an example for little girls everywhere. While boxing is a full-time job for some, Alicia doesn’t have that luxury. She has jobs outside of boxing, and she believes it’s time that changes.
Alicia has seen how MMA has grown in such a short period of time. Ronda Rousey broke several barriers for women in the combat sports world. While an entirely different entity, pro wrestling has felt a change as well. Women are main eventing shows and are no longer the bathroom break of various organizations. Hard working women are getting their just due and Alicia believes boxing can do more.
“I think this means a lot for women’s boxing, not just that I won the belt, but where I was placed on this great card. People are going to continue to see and hear more and more from women boxers.”
Her goals are similar to Heather Hardy, who has fought inside the octagon and boxing ring. “The Heat” is looking to make history by fighting Ana Julaton in boxing and MMA in 2018. She spoke to Double G Sports a few months back on The Main Event radio program, discussing how the sport of boxing can do better to accommodate women. Just imagine those two joining forces to help further solidify women’s boxing.
Alicia Napoleon can go to sleep knowing she accomplished a lot in front of family and friends. She can go to sleep knowing she’s a champion, joining an elite company of boxers. However, she also knows she will wake up to a sport that still needs change in it. Just like her fight against Femke, she is more than ready for the challenge.