ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (May 6, 2013) - The true "Queen of Boxing," 14-time world champion Holly "The Preacher's Daughter" Holm, may be hanging-up her gloves Saturday night but she's only switching from a ring to a cage as she pursues her very promising mixed-martial-arts career.
Holm (32-2-3, 9 KOs) will defend her International Boxing Association (IBA) and World Boxing Federation (WBF) junior lightweight titles against former NABC World lightweight title-holder "Merciless" Mary McGee (20-1, 11 KOs) in the 10-round main event headlining the "Mayhem" card, presented by Fresquez Productions, at Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque.
Rather than announce her retirement from boxing right after Saturday's fight, Holm went public several weeks ago, in order to let her boxing fans realize that this would be their last opportunity to watch her box. It certainly would have been easier and less stressful to wait, but the New Mexico sports icon has always appreciated her fans to the maximum. Plus, she's still going to be fighting, only in a different combat sport.
"I am dealing with some pressure being in my final time in boxing," she explained, "and knowing that I'll be in MMA. So, I'm focusing on this last fight and feeling some pressure, but there's always some pressure in a fight. I want to end things on a good night. I didn't want to just cruise through my last fight in boxing. This isn't bad pressure. I did want to let people know and there will be a lot of people there Saturday night who may not have been if I hadn't made my announcement."
Holm nearly retired two years ago but, at that time, she wasn't quite ready to make the fulltime switch to MMA. Her plan was to first fight and defeat European starts, Ann Sophie Mathis and Cecelia Breakhus.
"This has been a long time coming," Holm noted. "I talked with my coach (Mike Winkeljohn) about leaving boxing for MMA back in 2011. I told friends how much I really enjoyed MMA. In a perfect world, I would have but I still wanted to fight Ann Sophie and Cecelia. Then, I could focus 100-percent on MMA. I've always been excited about MMA. Plans changed, though, when I lost to Ann Sophie. I knew I had to have a rematch (Holm won by decision). I started enjoying MMA training even more but thought I'd be fighting Cecelia in April, and then would focus on MMA. That fight didn't go through and when she chose to fight Mia (St. John), I jumped at an MMA fight in February. I really enjoyed it. The fight with Cecelia didn't happen and here we are. I always told myself I'd stop boxing if my passion wasn't there 100-percent. I found myself getting less motivated in the gym to box, more motivated by MMA."
Holm met every challenge during her 11+ year boxing career, finally exhausting all of her options, in terms of fighting world-class opponents. She has an incredible 21-1-1 record in world title fights (212 of her career 275 rounds fought have been in world championships), and 14-1-1 against other world champions, defeating a virtual Who's Who list of woman boxers from the 140 through 154-pound weight classes, including Mathis, Christy Martin, Mary Jo Sanders, St. John, Jane Couch, Duda Yankovich and Chevelle Hallback (twice).