Petite Power Lifter To Pursue New Heights Down Under


April 26, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

Surely you've heard of power lunches and power breakfasts, but how about a power column?

Well, that's what this is, because this column is about a weight lifter, some kick boxing and some plain ole boxing.

So, strap on the leather and hit the bell.


After finishing third a year ago in the American Drug Free Powerlifting Associationnational championships, Debbie Burke of Annapolis set her mind on being first in 1991.

Two weeks ago in Chicago, the 5-foot and 104-pound, 33-year-old reached that goal by upsetting defending World and National Open champion, Robin Jewett, of Maine.

As a result, Burke is headed for the World Open Championships in Australia in November, the first Annapolis resident ever to qualify.

"I'm very excited," said Burke, who is a quality-control engineer at Westinghouse. "It was especially gratifying to defeat the world champion and get the chance to go after a world record."

In the nationals, Burke's winning total weight was 716.2 pounds: 253.5 squat, 143.2 bench press, and 319.5 dead lift. The dead lift and total were personal bests.

"When I get to Australia, I hope to set a world record in the dead lift," said Burke. "That is my best."

The dead lift world mark is 292. So one would think Burke already set a world record in the nationals. Not so.

"No, the rules are slightly different and world records can only be set in the world tournament," said Burke, who has been competing for five years but lifting much longer.

Originally from Trenton, N.J., and a graduate of the University of Delaware, Burke moved toAnnapolis in 1982 when her husband, Michael, was transferred by his employer.

Michael, who Debbie says is "a reluctant lifter," is a mechanical engineer. He assists his wife at her competitions and will make the trip with her to Australia.

When asked where she trains, Burke chuckled and said "at Merritt Racquetball and Fitness Club in Annapolis. It's not known for power lifting, but they have all the equipment I need."

Burke trains three times a week, and her friend and admirer, Sandy Koschinsky, said "she really takes it seriously."

"She was really determined to win the national this year," Koschinsky said.

By competing in several events around the area, Burke qualified for the nationals.

Now that she has won at that level, she has set her sights on the world with the same kind of determination.

"I think I have a good chance, but with it being in Australia, you never know who's going to show up," said Burke, adding that it's probable Japanese women will be competing.

She will worry about that later. It's more important now for her to concentrate on training hardand getting the money together for Australia.

The power lifting association throws in $900. But as Burke said, "You need much more than that to make the trip and possibly someone out there may want to sponsor me."

It will be about a two-week trip, and one, Burke said she hopes, that will enable her to bring back a world championship andworld record.


Cliff "The Hammer" McPherson, who got hammeredas a boxer by Jake "The Snake" Smith at a recent Josh Hall-Victoria Savaliski dinner and boxing show at La Fontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie, jumps back into his realm Sunday in Rockville, Montgomery County.

McPherson will be out to defend his regional cruiserweight kick boxing title at the Crown Plaza. The fight is sanctioned by the Fight Factory Karate Association.

McPherson, who has tried his hand at both boxing and kick boxing the past two years, is ranked ninth in the world by the FFKA in the kick boxing.

With a victory in this regionalMcPherson could earn a shot at the national title.

The Hall-Savaliski combo and Round One Promotions' next dinner and boxing show at La Fontaine Bleu is set for Wednesday, May 15.

An eight-bout card is scheduled and will be headlined by lightweight George Pindell of Annapolis, who returned to the ring after an absence of nearly one yearand took a unanimous decision at the last show, in March.

JoiningPindell are light heavyweight Carson "Irish" McCourry of Pasadena; lightweight Mark Padeletti, who trains at the Harding-Lowry Gym in Pasadena; former Dino's restaurant cook and middleweight Cecil Sims, andwell-known Baltimore boxer Lou Benson.

Hall, who had a near sellout at the last show with about 800 people, says good seats are available. Tickets are $35 ringside, $30 for the third row on back. Boxing-only ducats will be sold the night of the event for $20.

For more information, call 760-2699.

One other note on Hall, a Maryland Boxing Hall of Famer in the light heavyweight division:

The Point Pleasant resident watched and enjoyed with great interest the heavyweight championship bout between Evander Holyfield and George Foreman lastFriday.

Hall, who is about the same age as Foreman, 45, is considering a comeback of his own. That would mean he could headline his own show.

"I'm amazed at the number of the boxers who are coming back strong at age 40 or more, like Foreman and Larry Holmes," said Hall.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.