Pro Boxing Returns To Iowa City

By Tom Donelson
Updated: August 24, 2008

Terrence Crawford vs Aaron Anderson

Terrence Crawford vs Aaron Anderson

IOWA CITY, Ia. — “Welcome to Professional boxing in Iowa City” and with those words, the first professional card held in Iowa City in 27 years began. The main events or the co-main events featured Iowa City natives Emily Klinefelter and her sister, Katy.

The first bout featured Jerry “Rough House” Simpson versus a last minute replacement, Guadalupe Diaz. He began the first round by popping his jab but the jabs had little effect upon Simpson but when Simpson left hook connected; the force of the punch pushed Diaz back.

In the second round, Simpson changed to a southpaw stance and it had its desired effect.Simpson right hand hooks and left continuously found their mark and Diaz ended up on the canvas three times, the final time ended the fight.

The Cedar Rapids native obtained his third victory in front of a friendly audience.(Cedar Rapids is just a 30-minute shot down Interstate-380 and many from Cedar Rapids made the trek.)

Welterweight prospect Raul Tovar prepared to fight Trenton Titsworth but his opponent managed to end up in jail days before the fight and Raul Tovar ended up fighting lightweight veteran Rob Frankel in an exhibition. Frankel was in town, supporting the two women opponents of the Klinefelters sisters.

He agreed to fight an exhibition to fill the hole that the Titsworth disappearance caused. However, neither Frankel nor Tovar treated this as an exhibition. Frankel’s foot movement gave the rugged Tovar trouble in the early portion of the fight but as the fight dragged on, Tovar left hook slowed Frankel down and both fighters fought a vicious inside game that benefitted Tovar.

Tovar’s left hook open up a small cut over Frankel’s right eye. Tovar showed the audience why he could be a future champion and Frankel showed the guts and guile of a veteran.

In a battle of former Olympic hopefuls, Terrence Crawford fought Aaron Anderson in Anderson’s pro debut. Crawford had three professional fights under his belt and this showed up immediately.

Anderson attempted to box and move but Crawford cut the ring off effectively.Crawford’s jab snapped Anderson head back and his left hooks slowed Anderson’s movement.

What became obvious in the opening rounds, Crawford punches had more power as one could see an occasional wince on Anderson’ s face before Anderson would give the routine “you really didn’t hurt me” shake of the head.

Crawford consistently switched from orthodox to southpaw but he looked more mechanical and less fluid. When Crawford fought from the southpaw, the power of his punches diminished and this allowed Anderson to survive the fight.

In the third round, Crawford put his whole arsenal to work as Crawford’s right nailed Anderson and sent the Tennessee native down for the first time.He followed up vicious his left hooks to be body and once again weaken Anderson before another right sent him down on the canvas for a second time.

From that point, Anderson moved out of harms’ way and survived the round.At the opening of the fourth and final round, Anderson got on his bicycle and moved away from Crawford as Crawford went for the knockout.

In the middle of the round, Crawford trapped Anderson but Anderson held his ground as he was determined not to lose his first fight by knock out.Crawford showed the potential of championship timber and Anderson lost his professional debut but he must be asking himself if there are better ways to make a living.


Cedar Rapids Jim Barr, one of the event referees, spent three decades in the fight game including four fights in the professional ranks that he won. Broken hands ended the undefeated fighter career and so he began coaching boxers.He also became an official in the amateur ranks and using his experience to become one of Iowa’s more respected referees.

“The biggest difference between the professional and Amateurs is that in Amateurs bout’s it is quantity of punches that counts whereas in the professional rank, it is the effectiveness of the punches,” Barr commented to me.

When asked what makes a good boxer, he added, “I have found that former wrestlers make good boxers. They have the mentality and discipline to do the training since they had to do it as wrestlers.”He added, “They are used to the one on one competition.”

In discussing the decline of American amateur boxers, he stated, “I have lost many of my fighters to the Mixed Martial Arts, especially those with wrestling background.They learn the basic of boxing and then move on.”

Another aspect of the Amateur game was the lost of the allure of Olympic boxing and boxing in general.”When I was starting boxing, you had big stars like Sugar Ray Leonard coming out of the Olympics and they become professional stars. There is nothing special about being in the Olympics today and the stars aren’t coming out of the Olympics,” Barr noted.

“With the lost of the Olympics as a special draw, there is less reason to become an Amateur.” And there is Mixed Martial Arts competing with boxing for athletes.

Barr added that as a judge, he judges each fight accordingly.”In professional, it is not about how many punches you throw but what the effectiveness,” Barr stated, “It is not just about accuracy but the effect of the punch upon the opponents.”

“A jab doesn’t carry the same weight as a well placed hook, especially if the jab or jabs don’t hurt the opponent.”

After our discussion, he went off to referee the Katy Klinefelter-Diamond Martinez bout.The Klinefelters mom, Cindy Parson has not just made peace with her daughter but is enjoying their rise.

“The first two years, it was hard to look while they fight,” Ms. Parson declared, “but my daughters have learned to be good on defense, so I don’t worry as much.”Cindy Parson sat in the front row with her Klinefelter Team T-shirt as she along with friends cheered her daughter on.

The nearly sold out crowd roared as Katy Klinefelter moved toward the ring. This was Katy’s debut and after a successful amateur career, the professional world awaited to be conquered.

Her opponent was Diamond “Star” Martinez.Katy Klinefelter original goal was to feel out her opponent as she noted after the fight, “I did not see any videos of her to prepare for this fight.”

This feeling out process lasted but 30 seconds as Klinefelter’s power immediately was felt by Martinez. Martinez was game but did not have the skills of Katy Klinefelter as her punches were not only stronger but more accurate.

Martinez hit the canvas twice and after the second knockdown, the referee stopped the fight. The audience went wild as one of their hometown favorites won by a first round knockout.

Now it was Emily’s turn and like Katy, she did not have a chance to see any videos. Her opponent, Ana Hub, decided that she was not going to be the sacrificial lamb as she moved out quickly, with wide wild punches. Emily ducked under Hub’s punches and countered with brutal hooks to the Hub bodies.

Klinefelter attacked after the initial Hub’s attack and a combination to the body nearly sent Hub down and a right did.At one point, Hub stood at the rope and Klinefelter half expected the referee to stop the fight.

She landed a hook to Hub face and nailed the Denver fighter with one more devastating hook to the body that sent Hub. Hub was paralyzed by the power of the punch and the fight ended with another Klinefelter one round knockout.

As Emily joked after the fight, “I couldn’t let Katy steal the show, so I had to follow up with my own first round knockout.”


Chet Koerner, TKO promoter based out of Houston, is hoping to bring more shows to Iowa City and give the sisters more fights.”We’re going to try and come back here four times a year,” Koerner told the local media, “We are hoping to bring in other women fighters to challenge the Klinefelter sisters and build up their record.”

For Koerner, he showcased not just the Klinefelters but Crawford and Tovar.”Crawford and Tovar will be part of a ESPN card in a couple of weeks,”Koerner affirmed.Iowa City may have witnessed four potential champions. As for Iowa City, the revival of professional prize fighting is being led by two skilled women; the Klinefelter sisters.