Her weight’s on point, her conditioning is impeccable and her diet is clean, right down to the last calorie. Shelly Vincent is in the best shape of her life as she prepares for her first title defense Friday night. But can she stop a “Bullitt?”
“The problem with bullets,” Vincent said, referencing Friday’s opponent, Christina Ruiz (7-7-3, 4 KOs), nicknamed “Bullitt,” “is when you shoot and hit cement, you have to worry about the ricochet.”
Vincent’s Friday, April 3rd, 2015 showdown against Ruiz at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., will be her toughest test to date. Not only is her perfect 13-0 record on the line, so, too, is the UBF title she won in November, along with the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) super bantamweight world title.
Coming off a 10-round war against Jackie Trivilino six months ago, Vincent now faces a 10-rounder against the “Bullitt,” a seasoned vet from San Antonio, Tex., with lightning speed and a resume that’s second to none in women’s boxing.
This will be Ruiz’s fourth title bout, which includes a win over Christina Fuentes for the then-vacant International Female Boxers Association (IFBA) 122-pound title. She’s also faced Tyrieshia Douglas, International Boxing Federation (IBF) title-challenger Jennifer Han, former World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight world champion Kaliesha West and 33-fight veteran Alicia Ashley, a former World Boxing Council (WBC) title-holder in the super bantamweight division.
“She’s a lot like Jackie,” Vincent said, “and, like Jackie, she hasn’t gotten a fair share at times when fighting on the road. I haven’t seen all of her fights, but she’s been in there with some killers.
“I don’t underestimate anybody. Once again, I’m in a war.”
Never one to settle or get lulled into a false sense of security, Vincent continued to implement new strategies into her training routine, this time working out of the H.E.A.R.T. Performance, Strength & Conditioning gym in New Bedford, Mass., to help tie up the loose ends. With her manager, Kim Gifford, working on her diet and her head trainer, Peter Manfredo Sr., continuing to tweak the mechanics, Vincent feels she’s reached her physical peak. The timing couldn’t be better given the magnitude of this fight.
“Everything feels perfect,” Vincent said. “I haven’t had a bad sparring session. My diet’s on point. Working at H.E.A.R.T. with [Demetrius Andrade] and Kali [Reis], I’ve never felt this strong. Everything’s different. Pete really worked me this camp.
“Everything has come full circle. I’ve never felt this ready.”
The change is noticeable in Vincent’s physique and it could be evident in her power, too, come Friday night. Though she only has one knockout, she’s gotten considerably stronger with each fight as she’s learned more regarding proper training and diet. The results showed when she stopped Alisah McPhee in just four rounds in 2013.
Still, few outsiders consider her a power puncher, which is just the way she likes it.
“That’s even better,” she quipped.
“Everyone will be shocked by my power. I think she’ll be shocked. I have the knockouts, so they don’t think I hit hard, but it’s clear I do. I landed some clean shots on Jackie and she felt those.
“I know this will be a tough fight. Ruiz is only [5-foot-3], but she brings a lot of pressure. She’s a little shorter than Jackie, but I’m expecting the same pace. I know she’s strong.”