Boxer Laura “Lady Ram” Ramsey: A Fighter to the End
By Merlisa Lawrence Corbett
Like most mothers, Laura Ramsey has dreams for her child. However, few hope for this: Ramsey, 45, a math teacher and professional boxer, wants to enter a boxing ring and fight on the same ticket and same night as her 26-year-old daughter, also a boxer.
Ramsey, of Lakeland, already has a name for this fight: “Double Trouble.”
The mother-daughter fight night is more than a dream for Ramsey. It’s a goal. A fierce competitor and perpetual dreamer, Ramsey believes she can make it happen.
Why not? She’s already beaten the odds many times. Pregnant at 16, Ramsey managed to finish college and become a teacher, boxer, gym owner and fight promoter. She teaches math at Bill Duncan, runs Battering Ram Fight Promotions and Lady Ram Boxing Academy in Lakeland.
Her interest in boxing began in 1996 when friends begged her to go with them to a house party in Jacksonville to watch a Mike Tyson fight. “I wasn’t interested in boxing at all,” says Ramsey, who only agreed to go if someone paid her $50.
The undercard featured a fight between Christy Martin and Deidre Gogarty. Televised on Showtime, the match was a pivotal moment in women’s boxing. “When I saw those two women on TV… and me being a multi-sport athlete, I thought, ‘Do they actually get paid for this?”
Boxing seemed inevitable in Ramsey’s athletic evolution. “I’ve done almost every sport,” she says.
Physically gifted, Ramsey began competing in sports at age six. She played basketball at the YMCA and Little League softball. She played basketball, volleyball, softball, and ran track at Lake Wales high school.
She went to Warner College on an athletic scholarship. She dabbled in semi-professional baseball and women’s national power lifting.
In 1997, Ramsey played in the Women’s Professional Fastpitch softball league on a team based in Charlotte. At the beginning of her second year she sustained an injury that left a plate and four screws in her left hand.
Injured and overweight, Ramsey turned to boxing to get back in shape. She trained under Jack Leonard and Tony Morgan at the Winter Haven Police Athletic League gym. “A guy told me if I kept it up I’d be a world champion. Ten years later I was a world champion.”
In 2001, Ramsey registered with United States Amateur Boxing, the governing body of Olympic amateur boxing. She got her first amateur fight in January 2002 in St. Petersburg. Promoted as “Lady Ram” she won a points decision.
She took on other amateur bouts all over the world. In 2003 Ramsey captured several regional and national titles in fights from Chicago to Kazakhstan. She finished 2003 9-2-1.
Her first professional fight was February 28, 2004, at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek. She won a four-round unanimous decision.
Getting fights was difficult for Ramsey, who lacked big-time representation or star power. “I could never get anybody to come to Polk County and take care of me like you would see other athletes taken care of,” she says.
Frustrated, but determined, Ramsey decided to start a fitness center in Auburndale. She partner with a friend and former coach. She borrowed money from her mother and purchased equipment and furniture. “I used everything I had and I just went for it,” she says. “I had a turnkey operation and my partner left me high and dry. It was a blessing in disguise. Because he left me high and dry I had to figure it out.”
After four years Ramsey relocated her fitness business to Lakeland. She continued to take fights when she could and kept winning. However, her success wasn’t turning into the big payday associated with a winning record. “Gas money,” is what Ramsey says she earns.
“If I was a guy… If I had a different body part I would a millionaire. Because the average guys who have done what I have done, they are millionaires. I just never, as a female, got that support,” she says.
Ramsey came close to cashing in when she signed a contract to fight Laila Ali, the daughter of Muhammad Ali. Ali had the name, the fame and the right promoters. All Ramsey wanted was a chance.
The deal fell through. Not getting that fight hurt Ramsey. It also motivated her. She decided to go into promoting boxers. She says she never wanted a boxer to feel the disappointment she felt from losing a fight without getting a chance to step into the ring.
Last year she became the first African-American female boxing promoter in Florida. “If nobody is going to promote me, then I’m going to promote myself.”
She continues to dream about making “Double Trouble” a reality. “I’m just moving forward in my mind to get it done,” she says. “If we fight on the same night we’ll make world history.”