Female Boxing Champion - Graciela Casillas

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Female Boxing Champion - Graciela Casillas

Key Takeaways

  • Graciela Casillas is a retired American professional boxing and kickboxing world champion. She mainly competed in the bantamweight category (weight range 117 — 118lbs / 53 — 54kg). For her athletic prowess, she was given the nickname 'The Goddess.'
  • Between 1976 and 1979, she studied at the University of California in Santa Barbara. She obtained her "Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society" undergraduate degree from the university. Her educational background also comprises the following postgraduate degrees: "Masters of Science in Counseling and Guidance" from the California Lutheran University (1981-1983) and Masters of Science in Physical Education from the Azusa Pacific University (2003).
  • In June 1979, Ms. Casillas defeated Karen Bennett in her professional boxing debut and became the World Women's Boxing Association (WWBA) World Bantamweight Champion. In December 1979, she defeated Irene Garcia and became the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) Women's World Bantamweight Champion. This made her the first professional athlete to hold world titles in both boxing and kickboxing simultaneously.

Introduction

The research brief provides a complete biographical profile of the former boxing and kickboxing champion Graciela Casillas. Information about her background details and various professional accomplishments has been presented below.

Background Details

  • Graciela Casillas is a retired American professional boxing and kickboxing world champion. She mainly competed in the bantamweight category (weight range 117 — 118lbs / 53 — 54kg). For her athletic prowess, she was given the nickname 'The Goddess.'
  • Ms. Casillas was born on January 01, 1957, in Oxnard, California to traditional Mexican parents. Her zodiac sign is Capricorn, and she is currently 64 years old.
  • Her childhood consisted of living in a large family with her two sisters and eight brothers. As a child, she was not a tomboy but "played with dolls and learned to cook and sew."
  • In high school, she became actively involved in church activities and student government. She became a member of a Catholic youth group and was given lessons in tae kwon do and other martial arts. Even though she sought the spiritual and self-improvement benefits of martial arts, her instructor insisted on realistic, full-contact training.
  • She quickly became the leading disciple in her martial arts class and outshone even her brothers and other male students. After the group disbanded, she began studying hwarang-do, another Korean martial arts, under the tutelage of Joo Bang Lee.
  • In 1975, Ms. Casillas enrolled at Ventura College. In 1976, she became the "elected president of the undergraduate student government," thereby becoming the first person of Hispanic origin to hold the position. She also participated in local beauty contests with great success.
  • Between 1976 and 1979, she studied at the University of California in Santa Barbara. She obtained her "Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society" undergraduate degree from the university.
  • Her educational background also comprises the following postgraduate degrees: "Masters of Science in Counseling and Guidance" from the California Lutheran University (1981-1983) and Masters of Science in Physical Education from the Azusa Pacific University (2003).

Various Professional Accomplishments

  • In 1976, during her time as a student in Ventura College, Ms. Casillas "won her first amateur full-contact karate bout" after knocking out her opponent Crystal Lee in the second round.
  • In 1977, during her time as a student in the University of California in Santa Barbara, Ms. Casillas "retired from amateur full-contact karate competition with a 6-0 record" and became a professional kickboxer. She had defeated all six of her opponents by knock-out. She also started "taking boxing lessons from Julio Flores."
  • In June 1979, Ms. Casillas defeated Karen Bennett in her professional boxing debut and became the World Women's Boxing Association (WWBA) World Bantamweight Champion. In December 1979, she defeated Irene Garcia and became the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) Women's World Bantamweight Champion. This made her the first professional athlete to hold world titles in both boxing and kickboxing simultaneously.
  • She retired undefeated from professional kickboxing in 1981 and from professional boxing in 1986. Upon retirement, she had a kickboxing record of 31 wins (including 18 KOs), 1 draw, and 0 losses. Her boxing record is equally impressive with 5 wins (including 2 KOs), 1 draw, and 0 losses.
  • Her October 1981 "kickboxing bout with Cheryl Wheeler is widely regarded as the greatest female-female professional fight ever." This was Ms. Casillas' last professional kickboxing match. Between her December 1979 match against Irene Garcia and her last match against Cheryl Wheeler, Ms. Casillas never lost her WKA Women's World Bantamweight Championship title. She was also the WWBA World Bantamweight Champion from 1979 to 1981.
  • However, Ms. Casillas feels that Cookie Melendez was her toughest kickboxing opponent to date. Ms. Casillas suffered a broken nose during her fight with Cookie Melendez in March 1981 and won the bout through the judges' decision.
  • She is credited with being the designer of "the world's first boxing skirt, complete with sequins and chiffon." In one of her interviews, she said, "Just because I step into the ring doesn't mean I lose my femininity. That skirt is my trademark. It's symbolic."
  • Ms. Casillas holds a 3rd degree black belt in Kenpo Karate, a "3rd degree black belt in Kodenkan Jujitsu," and a 10th degree black belt in Shen Chun Do. She has "trained under Grandmaster Angel Cabales, Sifu Dan Inosanto, Grandmaster Bobby Taboada, and her husband Sensei Ernie Boggs."
  • Ms. Casillas has served as the "President of the United States Sport Jujitsu Trade Association and an assistant coach to the USA Jujitsu Team. She was awarded Black Belt Magazine’s 'Woman of the Year' in 1989." She is also a "Black Belt Hall of Fame inductee."
  • "She was the first and only woman to be certified to the advanced instructors level in Serrada Escrima, under the late Grand Master Angel Cabales."
  • In 2006, Ms. Casillas won the world championship in Filipino stick fighting.
  • Currently, Ms. Casillas owns the "Casillas Martial Arts Academy" in Oxnard, California. The academy offers courses, workshops, and seminars on martial arts and self-defense to students.
  • She also functions as "a full time counselor and part-time professor at Oxnard College. As a counselor and department chair, Graciela serves on the Academic Senate, Student Services Leadership Committee, Planning and Budget Committee, and the Matriculation Advisory Committee. As a professor, she has been instrumental in designing and developing curriculum for new courses in the Health & PE department."
  • According to IMDb, Ms. Casillas has appeared in the movies 'Fire in the Night' and 'Full Impact' and the TV series 'The Camacho Experiment' and '52 Masters.'

Research Strategy

For this research on the complete biographical profile of the former boxing and kickboxing champion Graciela Casillas, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that are available in the public domain, including blogs, media articles, excerpts from Black Belt Magazine, professionals boxing websites like 'Women Boxing Archive Network,' and Graciela Casillas' LinkedIn profile, among others. Since Ms. Casillas was a sporting icon of the early 1980s and retired very early in her professional career, some sources in the public domain (such as the excerpts from Black Belt Magazine) are dated. We have provided whatever relevant information is available in the public domain for a comprehensive biographical profile of Graciela Casillas.
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