Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Plant City's Chevelle Hallback to fight at Tampa Bay Times Forum

TAMPA — Chevelle Hallback can emphatically recall the moment she fell in love with boxing.

At the age of 7, Hallback woke up late one night in her Plant City home to the sound of her mother and father cheering from the other room. Curious, she peeked her head out the door to see what the commotion was about.

There, she saw her parents huddled around the family's television, watching Muhammad Ali fight Leon Spinks.

"I was in the doorway moving (around)," recalled Hallback, now 42. "I'm like, 'Man, I wish I could do that. I know I can do that.' And I went to bed thinking that."

Years later, Hallback discovered the world of female boxing, entering the sport professionally in 1997.

She last fought in 2011, losing to Myriam Lamare by decision in a light heavyweight bout in France.

In a career that has since spanned across the globe and included the World International Boxing Association's super featherweight and light welterweight world titles, the woman known as "Fists of Steel" hasn't had a chance to fight back home where her mother can see her compete in person for the first time.

That will change tonight at the Tampa Bay Times Forum as Hallback (28-8-2, 11 knockouts) enters the ring against Dominga Olivo (8-10) in a six-round bout as the co-main event for the World Boxing Federation's Thunder at the Forum.

The six-fight card features Sarasota native China Smith (34-4, 27 KOs) fighting Mike Sheppard (21-16, 9 KOs) as the other main event for the WBF North American world heavyweight title.

"There's not a world title that I can win, there's not any country that I can fight in that can compare to this," Hallback said.

"I'm fighting at home; itty-bitty Plant City. It doesn't get any bigger than this."

Smith, 35, returns to the ring for the second time after taking six years off to start a nonprofit organization to help at-risk youth in Bradenton.

He called the chance to fight near his hometown before 40-50 friends and family members in attendance, "the biggest opportunity of my life and my late career."

Hallback said she doesn't expect to retire anytime soon. Instead, she has another plan: become the first female boxer featured in a bout on HBO.

"I really believe that I'm going to make history," Hallback said. "I want my name written down that I did the unthinkable. I did something they said could never be done."

. Tonight

Thunder at the Forum

When/Where: 7:45; Tampa Bay Times Forum. Co-main event, China Smith vs. Mike Sheppard, and Chevelle Hallback vs. Dominga Olivo

Tickets: Call (813) 301-6600 or

Plant City's Chevelle Hallback to fight at Tampa Bay Times Forum 06/12/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2014 9:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the funk they are in right now.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Tim Beckham (1) after being doubled off first on the liner by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) in to end the seventh inning of the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, July 24, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — with a season-high seven-plus innings. It wasn't only that he got deep into the game but how, using his high-octane fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC


    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.