Five-foot-seven, junior welterweight Fredia "The Cheetah" Gibbs claims to be the "most dangerous woman in the world", and many who've seen her in action as a pro boxer and kickboxer won't second-guess that.
She grew up in a tough part of Chester, Pennsylvania and was a track and basketball standout in high school. "It was tough growing up in my household with my mom," Gibbs told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "She was a very tough woman, she was strict on us. Growing up in the projects, kids will test you and we were not allowed to hit anyone back."
Fredia went to Temple University on a basketball scholarship but academics and Fredia didn't mix well at that time. She eventually graduated with a marketing degree from Cabrini College in 1988. She was the leading scorer on their basketball team and went on to play pro basketball in Europe.
Fredia returned to the US in September 1990 and took up kickboxing in California. She had learned martial arts and karate from her uncle as a teenager, as much for self-preservation as for sport. "Older girls, younger girls, they all tried to bully me", she says.
It was not long before she burst on the kickboxing world as a fierce contender. She amassed a 16-0 record with 15 KO's as a kickboxer, and stunned the world when she kayoed French star Valerie Henin in the third round of an ISKA pay-per-view event. Henin had been called "the most dangerous woman in the world" in some kickboxing circles before this fight. After it, the appellation belonged to Fredia Gibbs!
Fredia made her pro boxing debut on January 23, 1997 with a four-round decision over Maria Fortaleza Recinos. On April 16, 1997 she outpointed Daniele Doobenen over four rounds. But she dispatched her next two foes quickly ...
She separated 42-year-old veteran Gail Grandchamp from one of her teeth winning by a TKO at 1:10 in the first round on the IFBA card in Biloxi, Mississippi on August 2, 1997. Gibbs took the 42 year old "Champ", who looked completely unprepared for this fight, apart with ease. Gibbs' first flurry consisted mostly of left hooks that missed but she landed one straight right and it was enough to back Grandchamp up. As she stumbled back ending up in her own corner Fredia unleased several overhand rights and Gail just covered up until referee Robert Williams stepped in to have a look at her. After Grandchamp's mouthpiece fell out, Williams stopped it.