Graciela "The Goddess" Casillas was a pioneer of women's
boxing in the early 1980's and held the World Women's Boxing Association
bantamweight title. Her first love was TaeKwonDo but she also became
a dominant force in sport karate and held the World Karate Association
world bantamweight title. She is a 3rd degree black belt in BKF
Kenpo and 3rd degree black belt in Kodenkan Jujitsu. Graciela trained
under Grandmaster Angel Cables, Sifu Dan Inosanto, Grandmaster
Bobby Taboada and her husband Sensei Ernie Boggs. She has been
President of the United States Sport Jujitsu Trade Association
and an assistant coach to the USA Jujitsu Team. She was awarded
Black Belt Magazine's "Woman of the Year" in 1989.
She retired undefeated with a record of 31-0, 18 KO's and spent
the following years developing her own eclectic martial art of
Shen Chun Do, "the way of the warrior spirit".
From her boxing debut at the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium on
July 13, 1979, it was clear that Graciela had that extreme rarity
among small female fighters, a devastating knockout punch.
One of her more famous fights was on September 18, 1980, against
Debra "Cha Cha" Wright in Tucson, Arizona. The 5'4",
116-pound champion and challenger Wright were on even terms for
Then Casillas' trainer Jimmy Montoya began chanting "tres
derechos" ("three rights"). Casillas promptly hit
Wright with a straight right, a powerful right cross, and finally
a right uppercut that snapped the challenger's head back, leaving
her in a heap on the canvas for almost ten minutes.
Seven more knockouts were to follow in a career that included
the third-round demolition of Lanay Browning on January 27, 1983
in Las Vegas that is pictured at right.
Graciela ran out of opponents as a boxer and a kickboxer after
defeating all plausible competition, including Debbie Kaufmann
and Karen Bennett. (There is a page of fight
photos from Casillas vs. Bennett at the Women's Boxing Archive
Her 1981 kickboxing bout with Cheryl Wheeler is widely regarded
as the greatest female-female professional fight ever.
It is a shame that Graciela did not stay active in the ring long
enough to encounter any of the current generation of female boxers
in her weight class. We have the feeling that she would have handed
out some good lessons to all of them!
A report in the Los Angeles Daily News on April 10, 2000
says that Casillas will come out of retirement at 42 and return
to boxing in June or July. Publicist Manuel Herrera claims that "she
could whip any female boxer out there today."