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Lamonakis foe fails physical; title bout nixed

Sonya Lamonakis has waited her entire professional boxing career for a title fight. On Thursday, she found out she will have to wait a little longer.

The women’s boxer and Turners Falls native got some unpleasant news one day before her scheduled title fight when she learned that opponent Gwendolyn O’Neil failed her pre-fight medical exam, causing tonight’s scheduled eight-round bout for O’Neil’s Women’s International Boxing Association heavyweight belt to be canceled.

Lamonakis said via a phone call Thursday night that she was devastated by the news, but that she was told she would get another title fight against a different opponent for another shot at a title in mid-December.

Tonight’s fight was scheduled to be fought in Queens, N.Y., and per state boxing regulations, both opponents are required to take one final physical on the night before the fight according to Lamonakis. In a statement Lamonakis posted on her Facebook page, she said that O’Neil failed the mental exam, in which fighters are given a list of numbers and then required to read the numbers in the same order and backward. According to Lamonakis, O’Neil was unable to read the numbers backward. The elementary school teacher in Harlem by day then continued in her post:

“What kind of professional educator would I be to make fun or point the finger at her? I would not be. So I took it like a professional would, sat down at the commissioner’s office, and got upset. Crying quietly, I saw her laughing at me, and it was at that point I realized I was dealing with a person that must have limited ability, and for me to react to her would take away what I stand for, so I didn’t. I see why she never fought in New York. She will never fight again after this. I’m sorry to everyone. I’m just as upset as you.”

According to Lamonakis, O’Neil has been suspended indefinitely and may never fight again for her own protection. She went on to say that she does not believe O’Neil purposely failed the test, and despite the heartbreak of losing the fight, she was glad O’Neil’s issue was discovered because she would not want to step in the ring with anyone less than 100 percent able to fight and defend themselves.

“It’s devastating,” she concluded. “I just need to trust and believe that everything happens for a reason and prepare myself for the next fight.”

Lamonakis concluded the post by saying that she sold over $8,000 in tickets and will be refunding the money to everyone. The same goes for those individuals who were supposed to travel on a bus leaving from Turners Falls to go watch the fight. Lamonakis said those individuals that were scheduled to take the bus trip should contact her mother, Sharon Lamonakis at 863-3052.

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