World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Anne Sophie Mathis

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www.worldboxingfederation.net|14-May-2019 18:55

Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world. 

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.

Former World Boxing Federation (WBF) Womens World Welterweight and Super Welterweight Champion Anne Sophie Mathis from France didn't have a very good start to her professional career, but finished it as one of the most accomplished female fighters the sport has seen. 

Mathis was born on June 13, 1977 in Nancy, in the north-east of France, and turned professional boxer in 1995 at eighteen years old, without boxing as an amateur but with combat experience from amateur Kick-Boxing and Savate. 

On October 21, 1995 In Eger, Hungary she stopped Erika Szegedi (1-3) in the first round of her debut, and less than a month later Mathis was already matched for a title, the WIBF European Super Welterweight, against Marischa Sjauw (5-0-1) in Holland. 

Quite predictably it was much too early for the French teenager, and she was overwhelmed, dropped three times and stopped in round five. It would be her last boxing contest for over eight years, as she returned to Kick-Boxing. 

The “second career” of Anne Sophie Mathis would obviously be much more successful. At the age of twenty-six she made her boxing comeback, in France, stopping Katalin Csehi (3-3) in two rounds as a Light Welterweight on December 6, 2003. 

That would be the start of a 25 fight unbeaten run over almost nine years, boxing exclusively in her home-country where Mathis soon developed into a fan-favorite. She blew away eight straight opponents, before securing her first real test since coming back.

With a much improved record of 9-1 (8), Mathis challenged undefeated European Light Welterweight Champion Natalie Toro (14-0) in October of 2005, firmly announcing herself as a factor on the world-scene with a ninth round stoppage. 

Toro, from Liege in Belgium, had won the WIBF World title at Lightweight in her previous outing, so the fact that Mathis impressively defeated her in an all-action fight was a big statement and clear indicator of what was to come. 

Mathis stayed busy with low-profile victories in February and October of 2006, while a true all-French Super Fight against WBA World Light Welterweight Champion, and fellow future WBF World Champion, Myriam Lamare (13-0) was in the works. 

The fight, probably the most significant female fight ever in the country, was signed and sealed for December 2 on a massive card at the Palais Omnisport in Paris, televised live by Canal+ in France and with both Mathis´ European title and Lamare´s World title on the line. 

And it didn't disappoint, as the two rivals went to war, trading punches back and forth before Mathis got through with a vicious combination in the seventh round to stop Lamare, basically knocking her out on her feet as the referee jumped in to save the now former world champion. 

It was such a great fight, named Female Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine, that they were bound to do it again. Mathis kept busy again with two non-title victories over inferior opponents while the rematch was negotiated and finally set for June 29, 2007 in Marseille as part of another huge televised event. 

The second go-around was close, but while Lamare started best and appeared to be trying for a quick finish, Mathis took over in the second half and retained the WBA World title by majority decision in front of almost six thousand fans. 

Mathis finished 2007 with a second round demolition of former WBF World Champion Jane Couch (28-10) in a non-title fight. On March 8, 2008 she retained the WBA world title, and captured the vacant WBC and WIBF belts, stopping Panamanian Ana Pascal (11-0) in three. 

On November 22 she scored a unanimous decision over Belinda Laracuente (23-22-3) to retain the WBA title only. It would be two years before Mathis boxed again, and when she returned in November of 2010 she had grown into a welterweight as she began her mission towards becoming a two-division world champion. 

Mathis reeled off three routine victories against nondescript opposition, before entering her first decent Welterweight challenge on April 29, 2011 in Seine-et-Marne against Serbian-born fellow former Light Welterweight world title-holder Duda Yankovic (11-2) for the vacant WBO European crown. 

With little trouble, Mathis took care of the game Yankovic inside three rounds, proving that she carried her power well into the new weight-class and that she was ready to fight undefeated Swiss-based compatriot Olivia Boudouma (8-0) for the vacant WBF and WIBA world titles seven weeks later. 

Boudouma was no match for Mathis, who steamrolled her in five rounds to become a two-time, two-weight world champion on June 23, 2011 at the Salle Jean Roure in Les Pennes-Mirabeau on the outskirts of Marseille. 

Next up was a WBF and WIBA title-defense the following October against Cindy Serrano (15-3-2), a Puerto Rican fighting out of New York. With the vacant WIBF world title also on the line, Mathis outclassed Serrano over ten rounds, winning every round and a wide unanimous decision. 

26-1 (Mathis) against 30-1-3, such were the statistics when Holly Holm stood in the opposite corner on December 2, 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA for another female Super Fight. Holm, a massively popular local star, was by most considered the favorite going in. 

But the WBF World Champion, her title not on the line, had other ideas, and put a vicious beating on Holm before the referee finally waved it off in round seven, clearly trying to give the brave home-girl every chance to miraculously come back in the fight. 

Instead it was horrendous scenes as Mathis mercilessly punished a completely defenseless Holm on the ropes before the overdue stoppage. It was such a dominant and conclusive victory, that many felt Mathis proved herself to be the best Pound-for-Pound female boxer in the world. 

But Holm was still one of the very best too, so a rematch was still the biggest fight out there for Mathis and she agreed to return to Albuquerque six months later do defend the WBF world title, and the IBA belt she picked up in the first encounter. 

Amazingly Holm had plenty left after the beating she took in the first fight, and against all the odds redeemed herself by unanimous decision. “The Preachers daughter” boxed very intelligently, and was awarded a deserved triumph by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and 99-91. 

What do you do when you are coming off two genuine Super Fights? Many would try to secure a somewhat easy assignment, but Mathis would have none of that and instead went straight into another Mega-Clash against WBC, WBA, WBO World Champion Cecilia Braekhus (20-0). 

Only three months after the second Holm-fight, Mathis gave Norwegian Braekhus fits before coming up short on the scorecards in Denmark. With a rematch not on the cards in the near future, Mathis decided it was time to move up in weight yet again. 

After a well-deserved rest, Mathis returned on June 1, 2013 against Dominican Yahaira Hernandez (14-4), with the vacant WBF World Super Welterweight title on the line. Only a few days before her thirty-sixth birthday, Mathis put on a masterclass to become a three-weight world champion, stopping Hernandez in five. 

A spell of inactivity followed, as Mathis was on the search for yet another Super Fight. Such came in July of 2014 against WBF and WBO World Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer (17-0), who was also a former undefeated WBF and WBO World titlist at Super Middleweight. 

A Kazakhstan-born German, the highly touted Hammer was mowing down in weight to challenge Mathis at Super Welter, on a mission to become a three-weight world champion herself, but the fight, staged in Dessau, Germany, unfortunately ended in controversy. 

In the fifth round Mathis knocked Hammer down while in a clinch, and the referee disqualified Mathis, claiming she had his Hammer with illegal punches. Hammer was declared the new world champion, but it would only last a few days. 

Mathis team protested the result, insisting the punches were legal, and two days later the WBF officially agreed that the disqualification was not justified, changed the result to a No-Contest and reinstated Mathis as the World Champion. 

On February 27, 2015 Mathis retained her world championship with another close call, when her defense against Oxandia Castillo (13-2-2) from the Dominican Republic was declared a draw. Many ringsiders felt Mathis should praise herself lucky with that result, as Castillo caused her many problems throughout.

Probably realizing that her best days were behind her, Mathis went out with one final Super Fight, the rematch at Welterweight against Cecilia Braekhus (28-0) she had been hoping for since losing their original encounter. 

Nineteen months after the draw against Castillo she fought Braekhus in Norway for the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF World Welterweight titles, but no longer had enough in the tank to give “The First Lady” a competitive scrap, getting stopped in the second round. 

At thirty-nine years old, and more than twenty-one years in the game, Mathis was finally done. With a record of 27-4-1 (23), and as one of the biggest punchers in the sport, she won the European title and three world titles at Light Welterweight, four world titles at Welterweight, and one world title at Super Welterweight.