3 Times World Boxing Champion
3 x World Boxing Champion
Leeds hometown girl – Michelle was the first professional British Boxing Board of Control “BBBofC” licensed boxer to win a world title from the city.
Michelle also became the first British lady professional boxer to win 2 different world title belts in 2001 – the record still stands.
5’4″ Flyweight Michelle Sutcliffe was born in Leeds and was trained by her number one inspiration – Husband Gary. Who originally convinced Michelle to practice Thai Boxing in Spring 1993 for self-defence and fitness purposes only.
Since Michelle began her career, she has gone onto achieve much success with 28 fights in Thai Boxing, Kick-boxing and Professional Boxing – as the above table states. Michelle was the 2nd lady ever to be granted her professional boxing fighters license by the British Boxing Board of Control – Jane Couch being the 1st. This also includes being the first ever lady to win the BBC North Sports award in 1999. Michelle was also the first ever British professional boxer to compete in South Korea. Michelle accomplished all this after starting late in her sporting career at 27 years old and with no previous sporting background.
Throughout Michelle’s illustrious career she has beaten many quality opponents who had a great deal more experience than herself.
Most of Michelle’s early fights were of a duration between 3 and 5 rounds, with all her world title fights at 10 rounds. Michelle’s Professional Boxing career really began to excel after she fought the renowned Thai Boxer, Mary Hart – who went onto to win world titles in Thai boxing. Michelle stopped Mary in the fourth round to win the vacant British professional Bantamweight Thai Boxing title and a 9th straight win in Thai Boxing.
Michelle fought many big names from overseas and at home in female professional boxing such as Regina Halmich, Daisy Lang, Kim Messer, Para Draine, Sengul Ozocku, Veerle Braspenning, Marietta Ivanova, Francesca Luo, Dianne Berry and Jan Wild. Many of these contests took place in the USA, Denmark, South Korea, Italy, Germany and the UK.
Michelle’s first big fight in the UK was held on September 27th, 1999 at the Royal Armouries – Leeds. This was for the vacant WIBF Intercontinental Flyweight Professional Boxing Title – 50.8kgs. Michelle’s opponent Veerle Braspennings was the Belgian champion and she had been training 6 month’s in preparation for Michelle. Michelle’s power proved dominant throughout, with solid jabs and quality right hands landing often. Michelle stopped her opponent in the seventh round, proving she had what it takes to go all the way to the top.
On the 27th February 2000, Michelle got her chance to prove her world-class ability to fight for the WBF Flyweight World Title Crown. Her opponent – the vastly experienced and dangerous Francesca Lupo of Italy, who was renowned for fighting continuously and coming forward for every single second available in a fight. The Leeds Town Hall was packed and fans did not go home disappointed after watching Michelle the Boxer beat the fighter to punch time and time again. “This was a super bout for me bringing out the best of my abilities. Full credit to Francesca who made this bout very exciting too” said Michelle after the bout.
The 17th May 2001 saw Michelle defend her WBF World Title and capture the IFBA World tile also. This was a risky decision to make by aiming to unify two World Titles, but Michelle pulled it off in style. Marietta Ivanova the fearsome Bulgarian champion was Michelle’s opponent. All the top Russian girls had fought Marietta, but never stopped her and many lost to her also. From the start, Michelle imposed her strong Boxing style with great skills to push Marietta to a halt in the fifth round. Marietta had been stopped and Michelle was now a three times World champion in her own right. Full credit going to Marietta, has many fighters avoided getting in the ring with Michelle.
Of all the big fights Michelle had abroad three bouts stand out at the forefront of being exceptionally exciting and quality watching for the fight fans. Regina Halmich – Berlin Germany October 2000 WIBF World Flyweight Title – points decision to Regina. Kim Messer – South Korea November 2000 IFBA World Flyweight Title – points decision to Kim. Daisy Lang – Hamburg Germany September 2001 WIBF World Bantamweight Title – very controversial points decision to Daisy after seven rounds. Michelle had been dominating rounds four to seven when Daisy received a very bad cut above the left eye. Daisy was in no fit state to carry on and the officials awarded the contest to scorecards by way of an unintentional clash of heads, giving Daisy 4 to 3 rounds at that point. The cut was caused by a succession of two straight right hands from Michelle. Michelle was hoping to make big history in the number one country for female boxing by becoming the first professional Boxer to win a World Title in Germany after 70+ televised World Title bouts.
Michelle respected all her opponents, but feared no one and always accepted any challenge at home or abroad regardless of experience and notoriety. Michelle was always well known for being a skilled, dangerous and very hard-hitting boxer – which can only conclude why so many boxers refused a rematch with Michelle. Michelle’s only disappointment was in that no boxer other than Regina Halmich would entertain a rematch. For that, Michelle has always respected her for that tough decision. Regina although winning a points decision was reported to have received a very badly broken nose and badly bruised face during the fight with Michelle for Regina’s World Title belt in Germany.
Michelle officially retired from professional Boxing in 2002. She currently trains regularly herself to keep fit and takes classes in Boxing Thai Boxing alongside her husband Gary. Michelle thanks, anyone and everybody who had a part to play in her success, especially all the promoters, officials and the fighters of course. Michelle’s family had been very supportive of Michelle’s career and none more than husband Gary who was Michelle’s trainer for her Boxing career and all her Thai Boxing fights. Michelle comments on saying, “My original goal was to achieve a British Title belt, but instead I went further by winning 3 World Title’s in Professional Boxing and holding down a number 3 World ranking in Thai Boxing. The whole experience was fantastic and I thank all those involved in my success”.