Final triumph

Steffi Slater treats herself to a last knockout

Having lost her title match to Sky Houghton, Steffi Slater wanted one last fight as her retirement party at the tender age of 46. She asked Final Bell Boxing for a favour and they responded.

Her request: going into the ring with a young, talented prospect who has yet to be tested. This corresponds to a career pattern for the Lady in Gray, who defeated many of them before.

After going through scouting reports and videos, Vice President Veronica Lillegard offered a match with Madison Green. Aged 23 and ranked 13 at Super Lightweight, the woman from Cambridge (UK) put her undefeated record of 10 wins (four by way of knockout) on the line.

For her part, Steffi came through the ropes with 24 wins, seven losses and 12 victories by way of knockout.

How did it go? Not very smoothly at the beginning. The taller Madison came in with full awareness that Steffi can produce a dashing start to make up for reduced endurance at elite level.

The redhead attacks through Round 1. The pressure is unbearable when someone taller, and faster, takes a violent game to you without letting you get anywhere close. Without a surprise, the American drops points in the opener.

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Not so fast

Regaining respect is on the top of Steffi’s agenda after hard talk with coach Maxim Weiss. The brunette isn’t about to yield without hitting back.

Steffi changes the tactics to the boxing equivalent of “stand your ground” in the second round. She lets the youngster come in and looks to sharpshoot on the counter. Delivering crunching punches that sometimes make the number 13 contender if the veteran’s hands aren’t made of steel.

Steffi Slater Madison Green 2-1
Steffi Slater Madison Green 2-2
Steffi Slater Madison Green 2-3

Respect is grudgingly given by the girl in orange and navy by the late stage of Round 3. In contrast, the Lady in Gray becomes assertive and aggressive. She attacks, lands hard punches on the prospect and even takes her to the ropes to hammer the body.

Esther: “Madison Green is getting a generous helping of Steffi Slater’s medicine and this one tastes bitter.”

Anna: “Steffi has a hardened and battle-tested body and you don’t want to get punished by her. Which is just what’s happening to someone who doesn’t have the same physical maturity.”

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Old and strong

By Round 4, Madison has been tamed. She knows she can’t win this fight because every attempt at doing so results in a stinging new dose of black leather. For her part, Steffi is fighting like there’s no tomorrow because there isn’t one.

Cornered, the Englishwoman makes a valiant effort to throw a left hook but the American nails her with a long straight right from underneath. It hurts.

Steffi Slater Madison Green 4-1
Steffi Slater Madison Green 4-2
Steffi Slater Madison Green 4-3

Go for it

Between Rounds 4 and 5, Maxim WeiƟ encourages his fighter to go for the knockout. “The girl is mentally beaten. Finish it physically.”

The number three contender takes her time to set things up. Jabbing, moving around, varying the speed and getting ready for the counter.

Steffi makes a clever feint to prepare for the biggest blow. She leans down and backwards on her right to invite the right cross. When Madison obliges, she launches a left hook over the top – and on the tip of the chin.

PISH!

Steffi Slater Madison Green 5-1
Steffi Slater Madison Green 5-2
Steffi Slater Madison Green 5-3

The redhead, who never took such a well-timed power shot like that before, crumbles. She curls up on the canvas, unable to find the strength to pick herself up.

Esther: “Steffi Slater sends Madison Green crashing! There’s no way she’s getting up! Referee Zelda Deniz gets close, has a look… and calls it a day!”

The veteran doesn’t even need to look back. She knows she won, and she celebrates with the local fans who are more than happy to see her on a victory lap.

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Veronica: “Your winner, by KNOCKOUT at 1:28 in Round 5… the oldest female world champion in the history of boxing, STEFFI ‘THE LADY IN GRAY’ SLAAAAAATERRRRRRRR!”

Calling it a career

The veteran gets a very warm round of applause and cheers. Then, she asks for the microphone to make an announcement.

Steffi: “Hi everyone. A number of you know exactly what’s coming. It’s time for me to hang up the gloves and call it a career. I retire as a professional boxer after a couple of decades of competition.”

She gets another round of applause.

Steffi: “There have been highs, including a world title, and lows. Lots of adrenaline and sacrifices along the way. When you’re 46, like me, chances are that you’re overstayed your welcome and that you had one fight too many by chasing former glory. I’m lucky enough to walk out on a win and feeling on top.”

Esther: “What are you most thankful for?”

Steffi: “First is the trust that coaches put in me. You go nowhere without that backing. Same for being given one last chance by Final Bell. I also gotta say that Alesia Schumann agreeing to face me in a title defense was gutsy. I was the one with everything to win.”

Esther: “What’s next?”

Steffi: “Vacation for a few months. Eating cake for the first time in years! Then I’ll think about getting into talent scouting. I’ve beaten up many young prospects. I should be able to identify the best ones, right?”

The cheeky remark makes people laugh.

Steffi Slater Madison Green 7

Special belt

The reigning Super Lightweight champion, Alesia Schumann adds her presence to the ring for a special moment. She carries a platinum belt produced by the WBU and puts its on Steffi’s waist.

Alesia: “Steffi, this is the Career Achievement title produced by the federation to honour your work. Boxing will remember you as the oldest champion among women but also for another thing. You’ve taken many younger fighters to school, including myself, and taught us lessons the hard way. You’ve been brilliant at this. You beat us by being too strong.”

Steffi: “No student ever thanked me, though.”

Alesia: “I wonder why.”

The chatter makes the audience laugh.

Alesia: “Credit usually comes when you retire, that’s why.”

Steffi: “So, what did you learn?”

Alesia: “Stay away from the oldies. They’re dangerous.”

This gets another laugh.

Steffi: “Thanks, Ally. Nice belt, by the way.”

Alesia: “Enjoy the time off!”

Steffi Slater Madison Green 8-1
Steffi Slater Madison Green 8-2

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Steffi Slater
Steffi Slater
Former Super Lightweight world champion. A veteran who had a very successful run after moving up in weight and migrating to Germany.