Brooklynfights.com sat down with Keisher “Fire” McLeod-Wells (7-2) at Brooklyn’s Gleason’s Gym before her 5/30 title fight taking place at Resorts World Casino in Queens. Fire will face Particia Alcivar (8-3) in a rematch having defeated Alcivar via split decision in 2012.The upcoming bout is for the vacant USA New York State Flyweight title.
You have a fight coming up for the USA New York State Flyweight title and currently hold the IBA World Flyweight Title. Your opponent, Particia Alcivar lost in a couple recent contentions before winning her last bout. What expectations do you have of her as a competitor?
I fought her before. It was in my 5th or 6th fight…She was 5-0 at the time. I knew her from the amateurs. She took some time off. She always fought at 118, and was one of the top amateurs in that weight class. So I knew she had some experience…She was what I expected. I had seen her fight in the amateurs. I honestly didn’t see any progression, really. She’s a tough fighter, and that’s about it. The fight that I fought with her, I thought it was one-sided. It was a split decision. Some judges like aggressive, even if they’re not landing. If they see someone going forward, they like that, that kind of style.
I’m a mover. I like to box you and knock you in your head. I was catching her with my jab. It was a 6 round fight. I thought it was unanimous. I was happy with the win, but I wasn’t totally satisfied. I like getting unanimous decisions.
For this fight, what’s your prediction on how it’s going to end and in what round?
You know, I would love to say the second round, but my first round, usually it’s a feel-out round. I don’t know. I go with the flow. I go off energy. That’s how I fight. In the first round, I go off energy, what I am getting from my opponent, and then evaluate the whole situation.
My coach, my team, we understand each other very well. Sometimes my coach doesn’t even have to say anything, just a look and I understand what they want. We have that kind of chemistry.
You know I am not a big puncher. In my record, you see I only have one knockout, but I think I have gained a lot of strength since my last fight. I’ve got a lot of power now, and I dropped her in the first fight. I caught a clean knockdown with a jab. And then they counted me as a knockdown when the punch didn’t even land…I slipped, and they counted me, and I was like “What the hell?” If you watch the fight, you see very clearly the punch missed. I don’t look for the knockout, but I would love one.
You mentioned that you’re stronger for this fight. What’s your training camp regimen been for this fight? What have you been doing to strength train and all the rest?
I don’t want to give out my secret yet, but I’ve been running the beach a lot. The beach helps, running in that sand. She’s a marathon runner…her legs are probably stronger than mine, and that’s just how it’s going to be…I’ve been doing pullups, pushups and dips. I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to look like a man. I am trying to rely on my speed, my sharpness and my quickness, but I have to rely on my team, and we’ve been implementing that a lot. You know, if I could spar all day for my training, I wish I could do that.But you know, you have to implement so many different things to get a successful outcome.
At 5’8”, you’re tall and have long reach for your weight class. How does that factor into your fighting style?
I can probably win a fight on just the jab alone, if that’s all I had to rely on. I have the reach advantage in the distance. I know how to keep my opponent away. I am able to see them more. You know how when you’re two fighters about the same height, you exchange punches? You only can feel where they’re coming from. You can’t really see where they’re coming from. If I am on the outside and the girl is not that aggressive, I can kind of see them. I can see that jab or right hand coming. I have the advantage of looking down and seeing them, and that’s a great advantage.
You’re a native of Brooklyn?
Yeah, born and raised.
Where’d you come up, what neighborhood?
I don’t even know because I moved around so often in Brooklyn. I want to say my first neighborhood was Flatbush, but right now I reside in Bushwick. I’ve probably resided in almost every neighborhood in Brooklyn.
How’d you get into boxing?
I got into boxing when I was acting. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a famous actress. I went to a theater program, National Black Theater of Harlem, then I went to Emmanuel College for a while for film and TV. At the time, Terminator 3 was being made. They were looking for someone fresh and new. I was submitted for the role. I went to the audition…I went and the only issue they had, they thought I was very waifey. They wanted a female Terminator in Terminator 3. It didn’t matter at the time when they were auditioning what race or anything, they were just looking for someone new, a fresh face. I had a good audition. They liked it, but what they said was that I was very waifey. That was the term they used. I was like “What’s waifey?” Like a hanger.
You mean like a clothes hanger?
My manager was like “They want to see you again when they have the other casting,” and I had like two months to build up some muscle. So I was like, “Wow, what can I do? I don’t want to just sit there and lift weights, because it’s boring and I wouldn’t do it.” So I went through the newspaper and saw a promotion for boxing, for Kingsway…I went in there, and was like “Hey I am auditioning for this movie, and I just want to hit the bag to work on my arms.” And long story short, I didn’t get the part but I fell in love with boxing. I loved the sport, I loved the environment, and there were hot guys in there.
There was a trainer who had a team of girls there. I had lost a trainer and was just hanging out in the gym and doing my own thing. He came up to me and was like “Hey, have you ever thought about competing?” He was like “I can make you a champion in a year.” I didn’t know about boxing. All I knew was Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. Didn’t watch the fights, nothing.
I didn’t know girls were competing. He explained the sport, what boxing was and how he loved it. I was in awe of how he was talking about the sport and women. He said “I hear you’re an actress. This can open up doors for you.” And I thought, “Yeah, I need some doors opened, because every time I turn around, they keep shutting.” And he said, “I tell you what, you come train with me, and I will make you a champion.” I didn’t think about it, didn’t go home and talk to anyone about it. I just started training with him and in less than a year I won my first championship, in 2003.
My first fight was in 2002, then I turned pro in 2009. I went all over the state for amateurs–nationals…I won world titles twice, and the Golden Gloves 4 times. I won a bunch of amateur titles. I won my first pro title last year.
From here, where do you want to go in boxing? What’s next?
You know what, I never have a what’s next. That’s how I always live my life, even when I left home. I have a short attention span. This was something I started and loved and I just went on with the flow. But what I did plan was coming to Gleason’s. When I saw the banners, I was like “really”–I just wanted one of those banners. I said I am a champion, and they said, “No, you have to be a world champion.” I didn’t care about a belt. The biggest one was a banner. I am going to do the sport until I don’t like it, and until my body can’t do it. Otherwise, I don’t have any specific plans.