Reile vs. Baligajic-Adler featherweight title fight cancelled

reileBy Ron Scarfone - Stacey “stayLo” Reile had to pull out of the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) featherweight title fight scheduled for September 4 in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to her trainer Jorge Rubio having an expired passport. Rubio decided to let Reile know of this when she came to the gym for training on August 25. Rubio has travelled outside the United States before, such as when he went to England to train Amir Khan last year. Apparently, Rubio’s passport expired this year, but he made no attempt to renew it. Reile was actually not the first opponent of WIBA featherweight champion Irma Baligajic-Adler to pull out of this title fight. Sandy Tsagouris also pulled out of this fight because her trainer Billy Martin had other commitments to boxers fighting during the weekend as this WIBA title fight. Martin did not want Tsagouris to use a substitute trainer.

Reile took this fight on short notice in mid August against Baligajic-Adler and was happy to have another opportunity to become a world champion. However, Reile did not want to make the same mistake twice by fighting in a European country without her usual trainer. Reile already did this in May 2008 when she fought Ina Menzer in a featherweight championship bout in Germany and the fight was prematurely stopped by her substitute trainer. Reile did not want to be at a disadvantage like that again in the home country of a world champion. Baligajic-Adler became the new WIBA featherweight champion after winning a controversial split decision over Jeannine Garside in December 2008. The bout occurred in Baligajic-Adler’s home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. One judge had Garside winning the bout 98-92 while the two other judges scored it in favor of Baligajic-Adler by slim margins of 97-96 and 96-95. Garside felt that she was robbed of victory by the judges..

Because of the controversy surrounding the win by Baligajic-Adler, WIBA president Ryan Wissow said he selected judges for this bout based on their prior track record. The judges come from the Eastern European countries of Poland, Hungary, and Montenegro which borders Bosnia on the southern side. The referee comes from Serbia which borders Bosnia on the eastern side. Wissow said that he would not be able to attend the WIBA title fight in Bosnia because he has another fight in South Korea that he is obligated to be at. Nevertheless, Wissow would have someone else supervise the fight.

According to Reile, matchmaker Mirko Skoko of Germany was supposed to send her a travel itinerary and airline tickets. Reile requested three plane tickets: one for herself, her trainer Jorge Rubio, and super featherweight boxer Melissa “Huracan” Hernandez who would have been working as the second. It is customary for boxers to arrive for a title fight about a week before, especially when there is a need to become acclimated to a foreign country such as adjusting to a different time zone and jet lag from a lengthy flight. The venue for the fight is located in the mountainous city of Zenica which has an altitude of about 1,000 feet above sea level. Reile resides in the United States in the state of Florida which is an area of low altitude and would have needed time to adapt to the higher altitude. Reile said that Skoko had informed her that he wanted her to arrive in Bosnia just a couple of days before the title fight which is why she believes that Skoko never sent the flight itinerary and plane tickets in ample time. Reile emailed Skoko as to when she would receive these things, but Skoko did not send them to her or provide any information regarding when she would receive them. Reile was grateful for the opportunity to become a world champion and was willing to travel to Bosnia as long as she would arrive in the country before September 1 considering that the fight was scheduled for September 4.

Just a few weeks ago, Reile found out that her mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Reile’s mother has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment, but the chances of survival from a disease of this severity are very low. In spite of the urge to be with her mother, Reile did not want to let this opportunity to win a world title pass her by. Reile had scheduled a flight to see her mother in New York during the time after she would have returned from Bosnia. The health of Reile’s mother had absolutely nothing to do with Reile’s decision to pull out of this fight. Reile spent money out of her own pocket for her required medical tests and plane tickets for Melissa Hernandez to travel to Florida and back home. Reile wanted to bring the WIBA featherweight belt to her mother who was told by doctors that she had only three months to live, but Reile does not want to be in a title fight without her regular trainer. It was Rubio’s responsibility to make sure that he had a valid passport. Reile intends to find a new trainer so that this issue of passport problems will never happen again.

Reile did a photo shoot at Club KO Training Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida for the upcoming September 2009 issue of Nine5Four Magazine. The magazine has interviewed world class male boxers in the past, but Reile is the first female boxer to be featured in the magazine. The magazine’s website is The photo for this article was used with permission from D. Francis and Randall Jones of Nine5Four Magazine.

Article posted on 26.08.2009

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