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Lamonakis rules; big fight on tap

Pugilistic Sonya "The Scholar" Lamonakis raises her arm triumphantly Saturday after beating Tiffany Woodard for the New York State Heavyweight Boxing Title.
Submitted photo/Claudia Bocanegra

Pugilistic Sonya "The Scholar" Lamonakis raises her arm triumphantly Saturday after beating Tiffany Woodard for the New York State Heavyweight Boxing Title. Submitted photo/Claudia Bocanegra

The wait is finally over for Sonya Lamonakis.

The Turners Falls native and professional heavyweight boxer fulfilled a lifelong dream Saturday by defeating Tiffany Woodard by unanimous decision to win the vacant USA New York State female heavyweight title, her first title as a professional fighter. Lamonakis earned a 78-74, 79-73, 77-75 win at the 5-Star Banquet Hall in Long Island, N.Y.

The fight marked the first eight-round bout in Lamonakis’ career, but she said she felt better as the fight endured.

“I’m really happy right now,” Lamonakis said. “I think I fought really well. I broke her down. I threw a lot of punches. I moved around. It was a really good fight.”

This marked the fourth time the two women had locked horns in the ring and Lamonakis owned a 2-0-1 record in the previous three bouts. Lamonakis said she knew Woodard would be ready to fight, and that it was important to get out early on her opponent.

“She came to fight like she always does,” Lamonakis said. “I started the first round jabbing. I dictated the pace and hit her with so many body shots it just broke her down. It was a great fight. It was definitely the fight of the night.”

The bout ended a frustrating five months for the boxer nicknamed “The Scholar” due to her status as a full-time eighth-grade U.S. history teacher in Brooklyn, N.Y. Lamonakis had been trying to land a title fight since November but hit roadblock after roadblock in her pursuit. She was plenty deserving of a title fight, having gone 8-1-2 in her four-plus years as a professional heading into Saturday’s tilt. And while there have been few opponents who could stand in Lamonakis’ way in her pursuit of a title, even she couldn’t overcome bad luck. A title fight in November was waived off after her opponent failed a pre-fight mental exam. Then, in January, Lamonakis had a scheduled fight for the World Boxing Council title postponed due to the death of WBC president Jose Sulaiman.

The good news that Lamonakis recently received is that the WBC title fight is back on and now scheduled for April 26. Lamonakis will travel to Prague, Czech Republic, to take on Marija Pejakovic in a 10-round bout. The 39-year-old said she will spend the next four weeks preparing for that fight but is not worried about the short layoff.

She will also spend the next four weeks celebrating her first professional title as she prepares to win her second.

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