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Knight shines in and out of the ring; continues her plight for respect in women’s boxing

On “Q” Sports recently had the pleasure of speaking with the current top-rated flyweight in the country and No. 3 in the world, Ava Knight. The “Lady of Boxing” is a 3x IBF and 2x WBC World Flyweight Champion and one of the true pioneers of the sport.

Her passion and support for female boxing is unmatched and she is never one to shy away from speaking the truth.

Knight talked to us about her recent loss against Ibeth Zamora Silva, the controversy leading up to it, never fighting in Mexico again, why boxers are avoiding her, and the state of Female Boxing.

Rich: Ava, thanks for the time. Let’s get into it. What are your plans going forward in boxing. When can we expect to see you back in the ring?

Ava: “Thanks for the interview. I am having issues with contracts, but I am steady in the gym. Boxing is my one calling and I will continue to keep pressing on as a world champion that deserves respect. Whether I have a fight or not, I am still in Vegas representing women fighting for better treatment.”

Rich: What did you take away from your last bout against Ibeth Zamora Silva? 

Ava: “I take away the experience. I really couldn’t believe all the shady moves done in the back ground for that fight and I am 100 % positive it will never happen again. With all the moves from the promoter, to the gym, to the camp, and the treatment, I will not be returning to Mexico again for a fight under any kind of those circumstances again. I have done the backyard treatment too many times, now I am demanding respect.” 

Rich: You are still the top rated flyweight in the U.S. and No. 3 in the world. So people have to go through you to have a chance at a title and such. Do you feel that there are some boxers out there that are just flat out avoiding you, because they know they can’t win?
Ava: “Honestly, I don’t really know if people are avoiding me, but one thing I do know for sure, nobody wants to take the risk and the people who do know they have a HUGE chance of losing. I have never backed down from anyone for any reason other than the circumstances they gave us for the fight were unfair, and that is one thing that cannot be overlooked.”
Rich: There has been talk that you and Kaliesha West might fight for a third time. Is that a fight you want especially after the way the second fight ended in a draw?
Ava: “I would love for Kaliesha and I to fight, not because I know I won and they gave us a draw, but because we are top of the line female boxers and this is what the world needs to see. Just like Ana Maria Torres vs. Jackie Nava was to Mexico, West vs. Knight would be to the United States. We are both very talented girls with skills that surpass many men. We deserve the fight, and not only that, I want to prove that I am at the top of the top and she has to settle for second best.”  
Rich: Did you think you got robbed in that fight?
Ava: “I definitely think there were politics involved. With her being the champion, it had to be obvious that she didn’t win or they would have given it to her. They gave us a draw and everyone see’s that fight different but I know I won.”
Rich: Is there anyone on your radar that you want to fight right now at this moment?
Ava: “I want to fight everyone at 112, especially the ones I haven’t faced. Susi Kentikian, Shindo Go, Yesica Yolanda Bopp, Melissa McMorrow. They all need to see me in the ring to claim the name “the best” and at 112, I am undefeated, that is my weight class that I belong in, not 108, and not 115/118.  I have fought better opposition than girls with twice my fights and with that alone, I feel I have more to offer them in the ring as an opponent.”
Rich: You have meant a great deal to women’s boxing and are considered a pioneer of the sport along with so many others. Who do you look up to in the female fight game and what do you think needs to be done to help continue the growth of female boxing in the US? 
Ava: “A lot of the women in the past have given up on boxing, and those are the ones that can still fight, but aren’t. There are so many women I look up to that I hate to name a few and leave some out. All of us women are trying to make it to the top and make a better future for the next generation. We just need to continue to keep setting positive examples for young girls and keep fighting for justice. When promoters realize that we can do a lot for the sport, we will excel and start to see the change and progress.”
Rich: “Why is it that female MMA is thriving and still people do not attend or watch female boxing?
Ava: “People do watch female boxing when they put it on local cards, there is no argument there. People can’t watch female boxing because promoters refuse to televise us. There was an amateur boxing match that started the card on Fox by Golden Boy and I guarantee you that the people loved it. Now just imagine if they put the top of the line American girls on television? It would be great to see the women be on the televised cards and I think the country would respond positively.” 
Rich: Do you ever think there will be a day when the major networks have women’s bout as main events, and PPV events?
Ava: “I know they will, it all just may or may not be in my time period.” 
Rich: When I call a female bout, I feel it is my job as a broadcaster and advocate for the sport to pump it up as much as possible. There are some great female boxers out there, all over the place. What I find disheartening is when people look at female boxing as a side show and they do not respect the boxers as much as they respect the male boxers. Do you echo that sentiment or am I off based with that?
Ava: “I can’t argue with all the people who ‘hate’ that women fight, it would take all day. I can only embrace all the people that accept me and my style and respect me as a human being and a woman with skills. I advocate, I have to, it is my livelihood.”
Rich: ”You are still very young, how much longer would you like to stay active and where do you see yourself in five years from now?
Ava: “I can’t say where I will be five years from now, but I know I want to continue to fight until I feel I’ve done enough. Until I feel I’ve either done all that I can to help the sport grow or until I just can’t fight anymore. I love what I do even though it doesn’t support me, I will continue to find ways to keep fighting on.”
Rich: Do you think the Olympics should level the playing field for female boxing and have more weight classes for everyone to compete in?
Ava: “I definitely do. How can you take a whole sport with many different weight classes and then take it and make all those women fit into three weight classes. It is unfair and it cuts a lot of women out.”
Rich: What does Ava Knight stand for?
Ava: “I stand for justice and equality. I stand for women’s boxing and the movement that will keep women striving for high dreams. I have given up so much of my life for this, I can’t give up now.”
Rich: Anything you want to add for your fans out there and fans of women’s boxing?
Ava: “I want to say thank you to all the people surrounding women’s boxing and that support women in the sport. We wouldn’t be anything without the fans and the supporters. Follow your favorite female boxer and advocate. Follow me on twitter and IG @avaknightboxing and facebook at www.facebook.com/officialavaknight.”

Rich Quiñones is an award winning broadcaster and journalist. He is the lead blow-by-blow Boxing voice for GFL.tv and Go Fight Live’s Boxing on Comcast. He has sat ringside calling the action with Monte Barrett, Brian Adams, Amir Mansour, Danny Garcia, James Kirkland, Mark Breland, Ronnie Shields, Teddy Atlas and Lou DiBella, while broadcasting over 125 bouts for GFL in 2013-2014.

Rich is also a contributor to Ringnews24.com and he has also handled calling the action for Muay Thai and is exclusive lead blow-by-blow voice for CFFC MMA.

You can follow Rich on twitter @ https://twitter.com/RichQonQ and Tumblr.com @ http://onqsports.tumblr.com as well as LinkedIn.