Florida's 5'6" Bonnie "The
Cobra" Canino is a tough featherweight kickboxer and boxer
who severely tested Kathy
Long and Britain's Lisa Howarth in ISKA world title matches
in her long career.
She amassed a 28-4 kickboxing record,
winning the WKA and KICK world championships, before embarking
upon a career as a pro boxer.
She is one of the very few women to
be still standing at the end of a kickboxing battle with Lucia
Her swarming, smothering style and
excellent physical condition gave Kathy
Long fits in their 12-round title bout in 1990. Long was
clearly rattled and barely defeated Canino with a stirring comeback
in the later rounds.
"Kickboxing allowed us to get
in the ring and compete at a time when boxing was still barred
to us," she says. "I could get mainline kickboxing
fights then, but I was still doing gym fights in boxing because
the doors were closed to us."
As a professional boxer Bonnie has
held the WIBF and IFBA featherweight world titles.
Her first pro boxing bout was on January
16, 1996 in Fort Lauderdale. Bonnie KO'd April Griffith in the
first round. On November 20, 1996 she stopped Tina Speakman on
a second-round TKO and three days later she won a four-round
decision over Sue Chase of Ohio.
March 2, 1997 she lost the WIBF Featherweight belt by a 10-round
unanimous decision to hard-hitting Irish boxer Deirdre Gogarty.
Bonnie's performance was a disappointing clutch-and-grab effort
against the Irish star who was the latest addition to Don King's
promotion of women's boxing. Using tactics more reminiscent of
Muay Thai, Canino appeared to be trying to throw Gogarty through
the ring ropes at one point in a fight that was not one of her
Bonnie also suffered a kickboxing
defeat at the hands of Bridgett "Baby
Doll" Riley, in a rematch of an earlier encounter that
she had won.
We saw these losses as a sign that
Canino's long and proud ring career might finally be winding
down. But Bonnie returned to the pro ring to contend for the
IFBA featherweight title against "Battling" Beverly
Szymanski on August 2, 1997.
IFBA title fight vs. Beverly
Bonnie dominated the early rounds
with classic outside hit-and-move tactics behind a pinpoint jab.
Szymanski came back hard once she had figured out Bonnie's southpaw
style and the jab, and began working Bonnie's body to set up
shots to the head. But Bonnie regained control and worked the
jab again in the final rounds to take a unanimous decision and
the IFBA title.
This fight told the world that Bonnie
isn't ready to hang them up yet and that still has some different
looks to show us with all her ring experience.
suffered a setback (and an even rarer loss by stoppage) when
Chevelle Hallback won the WIBF "Intercontinental" Super
Featherweight Championship by TKO'ing her on March 6, 1998 in
Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Bonnie retired after the 6th round
after being cut over the right eye and on the left eyelid by
accidental head butts, with Hallback leading on the scorecards.
Bonnie bounced back well from this
loss on June 26, 1998 in Las Vegas by retaining the IFBA featherweight
title with a unanimous 10-round decision over Canadian veteran Nora
On August 21, 1998 at the Belle Casino
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she won a six-round unanimous decision
over Gloria Ramirez of Sunland Park, New Mexico. Ramirez was
looking to knock Canino out in this one, and wobbled Bonnie early
in the third. Canino's experience showed as she controlled the
last half of the fight to earn a (58-56, 58-56, 59-56) decision.
On September 12, 1998 in Miami, Florida,
Bonnie won a first-round KO over Shakurah Witherspoon of Williamsport,
On September 16, 1998 at the Boomtown
Casino in New Orleans, Louisiana, Bonnie won her second bout
in four days with an 8-round unanimous decision over Sue Chase
On March 25, 1999 at the Pontchartrain
Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, Bonnie advanced her pro record
to 14-2 with a TKO at 0:23 in the first round over Gena Davis
of Erie, Pennsylvania, who fell to 1-4.
On May 27, 1999 at the Gold Strike
Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, Bonnie lost an eight-round unanimous
decision to one of women's pro boxing's most promising newcomers,
1998/1997 US national amateur 125-lb champion Alicia Ashley of
Westbury, New York. Ashley was coming off a tough loss to undefeated
Doris Hackl in Canada only a week earlier and moved her own record
to 2-1 with this win over the veteran, who dropped to 14-3.
In October 1999, Bonnie announced
that she would retire from competition.
if she had any regrets about her fighting career, Bonnie replied: "Not
a one. I wanted to be in this atmosphere, I wanted to eat it,
I wanted to breathe it, and I got there. Fifteen years later
I've been in 39 professional competitions and I've been all over
She is now an executive with U.S.
#1 Fitness based in Dania, Florida and is considering a role
as a boxing and kickboxing promoter. She organized an amateur
all-women's boxing tournament on December 4, 1998 at the Hollywood
(Florida) National Guard Armory. Her protege Ada Velez from Puerto
Rico won the IBA Bantamweight title by defeating Canada's Kathy
Williams in January 2001.