Bantamweight Ava Knight-Salicka was born on August 15, 1988, in the little town of Chico, California. Half Polish and half African-American, she takes no shame from what she does. As a child, Ava never played sports but she did ballet through her years of 4-6. In school she was always quiet and never out spoken ... one of those girls that you could walk by and never notice. She has a very loving family that supports her in what she does.
Ava started boxing at Chico Boxing for Fitness in June of 2001, at the age of 13. Not knowing yet that she had the talent to compete, she attended the gym and boxed her first amateur fight in 2002. She had a hard time getting fights through the years and had to fluctuate between weight classes and fight the same people two or three times to stay busy. Though many fights were at least three or more months apart, she finished with a record of 28-4. She fought and beat the 2006 110-lb Golden Gloves Champion twice and the 2006 National P.A.L 114-lb Champion twice. She attended the U.S Nationals in Colorado Spings in March 2006, but lost to Cheryl Houlihan by a controversial 13-10 decision on March 10 after defeating Amy Augendhal by RSC-1 the previous day.
Ava was given her ring name “Lady of Boxing” by her coach Joe Rodriguez. She didn’t like the name at first but it came to grow on her. She is trained by Joe Rodriguez, his son Luis Rodriguez, and her father Elliot Knight. Ava didn’t know that her father was a former amateur boxer when he was a kid until she was four years into boxing. She also trains alongside professional boxer Mario Hernandez and amateur boxer Morris Rodriguez, both aspiring to be champions in the future. She loves boxing and wants to conquer it. She is very humble but takes pride in making everyone around her happy.
Ava made her pro debut on August 30, 2007, at age 19 at Colusa Casino Resort in Colusa, California, . She weighed in at 114 lbs and fought a to a four-round unanimous (40-37,39-37,39-37) decision over Leonie Hall (118 lbs) of Oceanside California, who fell to 0-2-1 with the loss.
On September 20, 2007 at Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas, California, Ava (115½ lbs) fought Katarina De La Cruz (5'3", 116 lbs) of California just hours after she got the call for the fight, winning by a KO at 1:19 in the first round and sending De La Cruz's record to 0-2-1.
Ava's third fight was against Jodi Esquibel (106½ lbs) of Albuquerque at the Isleta Casino near Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 11, 2008. Ava tried to come down to 108 lbs, but could only make 109½ lbs; Jodie’s team still accepted the fight. Ava fought to a majority draw with Jodi, but many saw that it as a robbery. The first round was Knight’s with clean blows and dodging most of Esquibel’s punches, while the second round was Esquibel’s. The last two rounds appeared to be Knight’s with strong punches that opened up Esquibel’s nose and put a welt on her forehead. Judges Rocky Burke and Margaret Garcia scored the fight 38-38, while Judge Joel Perez had it 39-37 for Knight. Knight felt that she was robbed by a "home town decision".
Her fourth fight was on February 9, 2008 at Aquarius Hotel, Laughlin, Nevada against the more professionally experienced Sharon Gaines (112 lbs) of Las Vegas, Nevada . Knight won with a unanimous (58-56x3) six-round decision. Gaines fought a tough fight but Knight fought a better fight dropping Gaines's record to 11-10-0 (3 KO's).
On June 12, 2008 at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, Knight (124 lbs) fought WIBA champion and aspiring MMA contender Elena Reid (126 lbs) of Las Vegas to a draw over six rounds. Knight took the fight a week in advance. The fight was close but Knight felt she won landing harder cleaner shots stunning Reid at times, while Elena was hitting Knight mostly with slaps and punches with little behind them. Knight felt she won again but was not disappointed that she drew with a world class fighter whose record advanced to 19-4-6 (5 KO's) with the draw. According to Christopher Connor of Pound4Pound.com, "While the bout seemed a mismatch on paper, it was an exciting fight as the three time S.F. Gold Gloves champ Knight often was the attacker over the reigning IFBA Flyweight champion Reid. "Baby Doll" did her best work in rounds three and six as she used her jab and her experience to frustrate the Chino native, keeping the more aggressive Knight at bay."
On November 18, 2008 at Table Mountain Casino in Friant, California, Ava (117½ lbs) won the IFBA North American Bantamweight title with a hard fought eight-round unanimous (77-75x3) decision over undefeated California rival Kaliesha West (117¾ lbs) of Moreno Valley. According to Mario Ortega Jr of 15Rounds.com, "In a thrilling eight-round bout, West got off to great start as her speed seemed to bother Knight early. As the rounds progressed, Knight gained the momentum by landing the cleaner and harder shots. In the fifth, a knot began to develop on the left side of Knight’s forehead as the result of a clash of heads. Action was fast and furious, as neither woman wanted a punch to go unanswered. Late in the fight, Knight’s clear edge in power seemed to tilt matters in her favor. Undeterred, West kept coming forward until the close of a great fight fought at an extremely high level. After an action-packed eighth round, both fighters received a standing ovation." West's record fell to 10-1-0 (2 KO's) with the loss.
“This is big for me,” said Knight after the bout. “I want to cry, but I can’t get it out.” Knight's trainer Joe Rodriguez also acknowledged West after the bout: “West was good, and I take my hat off to her for giving Ava the opportunity, but Ava Knight is “The Lady of Boxing,” and she showed that tonight.”
On August 29, 2009 at Ciudad Deportiva in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, Ana Maria Torres (115 lbs) of Mexico won a 10-round unanimous (97-94,96-94,99-91) decision over Ava (115 lbs) for the WBC Junior Bantamweight title. A local report opined that Torres was 'much superior' and 'used her reach advantage to good effect' but Knight moved well and made for a difficult target. She also gave Torres a bloody nose which 'only made her more determined'. Torres moved her record to 19-3-2 (11 KO's).
“That loss was the most important fight I’ve had to date,” Knight said later. “I learned more about the mental game. The physical part is important but it doesn’t matter if your mind isn’t in it 100-percent.”
On January 14, 2011 at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, Ava Knight (110 lbs) won by an emphatic KO at 1:55 in the first round over Gloria Salas (108¾. lbs) of Palm Springs, California, who fell to 3-6-1 (1 KO) with the loss. The win advanced Knight's record to 6-1-2 (3 KO's). Video of KO
On June 18, 2011 at the Sports Arena in Pico Rivera, California, Ava Knight (117 lbs) and Kaliesha West (118 lbs) of Moreno Valley, California fought to a 10-round split draw in a rematch for the WBO Bantamweight title. The scores were: 96-94 West, 96-94 Knight, and 95-95. Mary Ann Owen told WBAN, "West and Knight were like mirror images, their fight was an offensive battle. Both fighters used excellent combinations in a continuous struggle to the end." Knight's record moved to 6-1-3 (3 KO's), West's to 13-1-3 (4 KO's).
On October 29, 2011 at El Palenque de la Feria in Colima, Mexico, Ava Knight (111¾ lbs) knocked out Arely Mucino (111¾ lbs) of Monterrey, Mexico in the second round of a scheduled ten-rounder for the IBF Flyweight title. Mucino began the fight aggressively with straight lefts and hooks to the liver but Knight used her height advantage to land a straight left followed by a right hook to the chin that knocked Mucino to the canvas. The fight was stopped by the referee at 0:34 in the second stanza. “I thought I actually lost the first round,” Knight told Ryan MaquiŮana, "but our plan was always to come in and go for the knockout, so we were able to do what we had to do.” Knight improved her record to 7-1-3 (4 KO's) while Mucino fell to 14-1-1 (8 KO's).
Ava was named WBAN's Fighter of the Month for November 2011 for her KO of Mucino.
Ava attends Butte College and is working on a Masters in Business. She spends the rest of her time in the gym.
To check out fight reports, complete up-to-date boxing records, with huge digital photos you can go to the WBAN Records Member Site
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