“Tiny” Tina Rupprecht Makes a Big Impression
By Phil Woolever
You could say that women’s boxing saved the day for Germany in 2018.
A few years ago regions from Berlin to the Rhine had many of boxing’s biggest fights, month after month. Since the end of the Klitschko brothers’ era all that changed as Felix Sturm, Marco Huck and Arthur Abraham faded into various sundowns.
Since those respective heydays there haven’t really been any consistently emerging stars, and the enduring Juergen Braehmer can only stretch himself so far.
Things have progressed much better in the women’s ranks.
After Ina Menzer hung up her gloves a few years back and Susi Kentikian went into extended (more likely permanent) retirement, fresh faces have taken their place on the scene.
In fact, only women participated in major title fights in Germany during 2018, or held championship belts from the most established sanctioning bodies. Beyond that, Layla McCarter was likely the top pound for pound fighter to perform in Deutschland during the year.
One of the latest ladies to pick up the torch is 26- year old WBC Minimumweight Champion Tina Rupprecht from Augsburg, Bavaria in the Munich area.
”Tiny Tina,” 9-0 (3 KO), fills fair-sized venues around her hometown and has already been the main event on live stream subscription cards. With the right opponent, she appears ready to headline bigger arenas.
In her most recent bout, a successful defense against Niorkis Carreno in December, Rupprecht showed that while she may still be a work in progress, her skill set is far above average.
“I liked the fight with Niorkis very much,” said Rupprecht. “She is a good fighter and has a hard punch, but I think I outpointed her for a very clear victory.”
Tina also notched a win against solid Yokasta Valle last June. “Yokasta is a very strong and uncomfortable opponent,” reflected Rupprecht. “She boxes cleverly and it was a hard fight, but I made it difficult for her too.”
In hindsight, Rupprecht’s most impressive victory may have been a UD 10 over Spain’s Joana Pastrana in 2016 in which Pastrana reportedly fought from round 2 with a broken hand. After that show of courage Pastrana went on to win the IBF title last June.
A unification rematch with Pastrana is an attractive possibility but it’s doubtful either champion is willing to fight in each other’s respective backyards, and neutral locales probably couldn’t equal a hometown purse offer.
When asked about which current fighters provide inspiration, Rupprecht focused on the Ukraine. “Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk really inspire me. I love to watch them box,” she said.
“I think you can’t just pick one (top) fighter in women’s boxing today,” Rupprecht replied when asked about who she perceived leads the women’s divisions. “There are really many great fighters. For example, I admire Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields. They both have very high skills.“
Rupprecht strives to match those champions’ examples. “There isn’t only one thing I work on the most in training, a good boxer is someone who is variable and can do many things,” she observes. “I want to be the best so I try to work on all my skills.”
So far, most of Tina’s fights have been in her home territory, with the exception being a 2016 appearance in Tambov, Russia against Yana Denisova (Win, UD 6).
The five foot tall warrior would like to expand the location list on her resume.
“It doesn’t matter to me where I fight, it can be anywhere. Of course it’s fun to perform in your hometown because the whole audience is behind you then, and that pushes you.”
“I’d like to fight outside Germany again. It would be great for me to fight in the US or in Mexico, where female boxing is very popular and famous.”
With pros like Raja Amasheh making a name for themselves and solid amateurs like Sophie Alisch set to debut, there’s a good chance women’s boxing will remain at the forefront of the sport during 2019 in Germany.
Rupprecht seeks to maintain her momentum and lead the ladies’ charge.
“My goals for 2019 are, first, to defend my WBC belt and who knows, maybe get another one. I want to rise in the ratings as well, and meet strong opponents. I don’t have anybody specific I want to fight next, I just like challenges and fighting the best of the world. That’s the way you can develop yourself.”
Hopefully, the men will be able to keep up.