Girgrah is set to put 12-bout winning streak on line

Managed locally, she faces Serrano in 130-pound fight

Boxing

April 18, 2003|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Although she holds four different title belts, none of which will be on the line, Isra Girgrah could be fighting her most difficult opponent to date tonight in Lemoore, Calif.

Girgrah (23-3-2, 10 knockouts), who is managed locally by Baltimore's Casey Dansicker, will take a major step up in class and put her 12-bout winning streak on the line against Laura Serrano (15-0-2, five KOs) in a six-round, junior lightweight (130 pounds) bout at the Palace Gaming Center.

Their clash, on the undercard of a main event featuring heavyweight contender Michael Grant, will be the first of several involving female fighters on ESPN2's Friday Night Fights.

According to the Keystone Boxing Web site, Serrano is considered the world's No. 1 female featherweight (126 pounds). Her draws were against Christie Martin (45-2-2) in 1994, and, against Melissa Del Valle (27-0-1) in 2000.

Girgrah, 30, also has held her own in a controversial loss to Martin in 1997, falling to 8-2-1 after a bout Girgrah felt she had done enough to win. Martin is considered, pound-for-pound, the world's best female fighter.

"Isra's fought top contenders when she's won her belts, but it's time for these two to meet. She'll be in there with somebody who has a little bit more of the skills than some of the girls she's fought," Dansicker said. "But if Isra goes in there and wins, everyone will see that she's pound-for-pound, the best."

Girgrah last fought locally in April 2002 at the Wyndham Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel. There, she defended her Universal Boxing Association lightweight (135 pounds) title with a 10-round, split-decision victory over Tracy Byrd, whose brother, International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion Chris Byrd, was on hand.

Girgah also holds the Women's International Boxing Federation lightweight crown, as well as the IBF and International Women's Boxing Federation junior lightweight titles.

Girgrah's past D.C.-area sparring sessions have included former world champ Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, former Olympic silver medalist Clarence Vinson and lightweight contender Lamont Pearson.

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