Klinefelter looks to maintain undefeated boxing career

BY JON FRANK | FEBRUARY 04, 2011 7:10 AM

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Emily Klinefelter’s undefeated record is in jeopardy.

On Saturday at the Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds, she will take on her toughest opponent yet, Christina “The Bullitt” Ruiz (5-3-1, 3 KOs).

Revered by many as a rising star in the boxing community, the 25-year-old Ruiz graduated to professional fighting after a 7-1 stint as an amateur, capped off by a Golden Glove Championship in 2008.

Powerful, aggressive, and fearless, the San Antonio native’s style is similar of Klinefelter’s.

“I just like hunting,” Ruiz said. “I’m way more aggressive than [Klinefelter]. I think it’s going to be a war.”

The up-and-comer’s visit to Iowa City will provide an opportunity to boost her ranking — she’s currently fifth in the nation, while Klinefelter (9-0, 3 KOs) sits at No. 3.

A win in Klinefelter’s hometown would slingshot Ruiz toward national prominence and closer to a title shot, something Ruiz and her manager, Amelio Ledezma, have been chasing her entire career.

“I know Emily is a good boxer, but we’re not going over there to lose,” Ledezma, 49, said. “Christina has a heavy hand. Everyone she has fought, she’s dropped.”

The stakes are high for Klinefelter as well.

A win over Ruiz would give Klinefelter her first professional victory over an opponent with a winning record. Klinefelter’s previous encounters have mostly been woodshed-esque beat downs, full of her opponent enduring swelling, bleeding, and plenty of bruises.

But that may not be the case this time.

“We’re trying to step it up and take on tougher opponents every time,” said Adam Pollack, who trains Klinefelter. “[Ruiz] seems to be a raw talent who’s very strong.”

Aware of the impending danger that lurks within the ring, Klinefelter has emphasized strength training in the last few months. She’s worked on rotation exercises, throwing and jumping with weights, and she’s integrated the use of medicine balls into her routine. Since adopting the new regimen, the 26-year-old has improved her chin-up count to 12 and is capable of doing 27 push-ups — up from 20 just weeks ago.

“We’ll see if that translates into the ring so I can hurt my opponent,” the Iowa City native said.

Unsure of what to expect from the fight, the super bantamweight (122 pounds) wanted to take a balanced approach to this Saturday’s event. While doing more strength training, she still spends the majority of her workouts practicing technique and maintaining cardio endurance.

“We don’t so much tailor our training to specific opponents,” Pollack said. “We prepare for a tough fight.”

Physical characteristics aside, Klinefelter gets the nod in experience. With 95 fights throughout her career as an amateur and professional, the UI alumna has traveled thousands of miles during her fighting career.

Klinefelter said that her days as a boxer may be coming to a close.

“I have a goal, and that’s to get 100 fights,” she said. “I see the end in sight, maybe not this year and maybe not next.”

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