Incomparable Kealani Vanderleest makes her professional boxing debut

Being a lover of the outdoors, professional fighter Kealani Vanderleest loves being anywhere near the ocean. Photo: Charles Vanderleest

When we see the various professional fighters making their way to the ring, we rarely consider their background. As they approach the stairs, we’re eyeballing their swagger, head movement, width of shoulders, size of arms followed by the thickness of their thighs. It’s our duty; after all you know the person next to you is bound to ask, “Who do think is going to win this one?” And nobody likes to be wrong. 


On Thursday evening, October 25th, 2012 at the Salon Las Pulgas Concert Hall in Tijuana, San Diego’s Kealani “The Hawaiian Punch” Vanderleest will be making that trek. Her opponent is 18 year-old Sandra Robles who is also making her Pro-boxing debut. Vanderleest is one of ten ladies on the “She wore Pink” all female fight card presented by Promociones Mayen and Zanfer Productions.

On the fight posters it says all female, “All Female?” The promoter wanted me to be emphatically clear about this claim. The show will feature female referees, female judges, female managers, a female announcer, female seconds, a female timekeeper and even a female official to distribute the gloves.

You ask, ‘Who’s going to be waiting on the tables?’ The females have graciously relinquished this chore. The male help will be waiting on the tables.

As you can imagine, they’ll be many lecherous males gazing about, going gaga as the female boxers parade passed to breach this traditionally male dominated sport.

It won’t be anything out of the ordinary for Vanderleest. After she began her training four years ago, she’s competed several times in front of sizable audiences, mostly in the sport of Muay Thai. The largest audience being the sold out crowd at this year’s World Championship of Muay Thai event at the Pala Resort and Casino in Pala, CA.

Being fearless, she took that fight on short notice and came very close to defeating the Russian Champion, Lena “The Hunter” Ovchynnikova. Ovchynnikova was scheduled to meet Emily Bearden from New York City for the International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) World Super Bantamweight title but Bearden was injured in training.

(Top, left side) Lealani Vanderleest (L) and Lena Ovchynnikova (R) left it all in the ring at the WCK Muay Thai World Championships on August 18th of this year. In the three other panels we see Kealani Vanderleest working out at the 858 Fight Shop on Miramar Road just across the street from MCAS Miramar in San Diego, CA. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Like our 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama, Vanderleest was born in Hawaii. She’s a graduate of Platt College, a freelance graphic design illustrator, an artist and one of the happiest individuals you’ll ever meet. With her husband Charles’ backing, she now trains full time at the 858 Fight Shop on Miramar Road in San Diego under the guidance of two well respected trainers/coaches, Eric Hoover and Doug Dickey. Besides her WCK Muay Thai fighting, she’s also participated in several USA Amateur Boxing bouts.

Her husband Charles Vanderleest was probed concerning the drawbacks of being married to a professional fighter. “Nobody’s perfect,” he said. “We’ve had our differences. For one, every time we go near a cliff, she wants to dive off it. Two, at times she can act pretty childish. And three, her pet, Pepe LePue and I, we don’t get along.”

The following are examples of her work. Yes, Kealani Vanderleest, the artist, has quite an imagination. This one is called, “Penguins in a Sushi Bar.”

This one is called – “Dude Characters”

This one is titled: Charlie and Duke on La Conchita Beach

This one is called, Canoe on beach.

This one is called: Stories of Pele Hawaiian Fire Goddess

She not only has a keen eye for what is good art, she dabbles in it, herself. Regarding her unique art work, above are some samples of her work – Charlie and Duke on La Conchita Beach, Penguins in a Sushi Bar, Stories of Pele Hawaiian Fire Goddess, Canoe on beach, Dude Characters.

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