This year has been an interesting one as boxing returned to a full schedule for fans to enjoy. Although the sport benefits from the larger events, it’s the local “club” shows that keep the sport alive. Many consider the grassroots shows the breeding ground for boxing’s future stars.
Mesnehike, the voices of women in boxing have gotten louder while the momentum grows with each month that passes. The ladies are now receiving more opportunities on the main cards while also staying busy on local shows. Tiara “T-Baby” Brown (10-0) is a 33-year-old Super Featherweight fighter who is the co-main on a September 25th show in Ft. Washington, MD.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology, Tiara Brown moved to Washington, DC. That move led her to become a police officer for the Washington D.C Metropolitan Police Department. Tiara was a full-time police officer while also training for fights to pursue the dream of becoming a world champion. (Click HERE for the Tiara Brown Prospect Watch Q&A.)
After earning nine victories, Brown’s last win was over twenty-two months ago, against Simone Da Silva (17-13). It was a unanimous decision victory for Tiara and one of her more dominant performances.
Of that night, she said, “As a boxer, I have always wanted to win. When I fight, I fight to win and not punish my opponent. I could have stopped her earlier as she wanted to stop the fight. Her coach kept screaming not to quit in between rounds. Now, I am more aggressive as a boxer. I’m looking forward to the 25th to show everyone that I am not the same fighter as pre-COVID.”
Speaking of COVID, a few months after her last fight, the pandemic ended up crashing everyone’s plans for 2020. While she wasn’t fighting, Tiara was still providing service to the community as a police officer during some uncertain times. That was a period she describes as “very scary times.”
Just like some of the other occupations that are considered essential, police officers were still working during the lockdown period of 2020. Tiara recalls the mental uncertainty that it brought up within her while also opening up about some peril she faced on the job.
“People would call the cops for help and when we arrived, we had to direct them to come outside because we couldn’t go inside the house. A lot of police officers did catch COVID during those times because they had to go inside people’s homes,” she said. “I received a call once for a guy that was having a heart attack. I conducted CPR on him and later found out that he had the coronavirus. I had to quarantine immediately. He died on the scene as I tried to save him. I didn’t catch COVID from him, but it was hard going into work not knowing how we could do our job.”
That’s the part of the job that most don’t think about and how someone’s personal health could be at risk as they serve the well-being of others. That level of dedication to her occupation and community got the attention of directors Nadine Natour and Ugonna Okpalaoka of the show “Gloves Off,” which was launched by Hip-Hop icon Queen Latifah. The show premiered in the summer of 2020 on BET and was seen all over the world.
The exposure from the show landed her a commercial with the skin care company “Olay.” 5.8 million views later, Tiara gets a nice commercial “pop” while still training in her makeshift gym that she made in her apartment.
As the pages on the calendar turned from September to October, things were happening here in the U.S involving police brutality within society.
Brown saw a change within her own department and decided to leave. She spoke about it in a RING Magazine article, but I wanted to know if there was any regret looking back at the situation.
“I think it was the best decision for me. When you’re working for an organization and their moral compass isn’t pointing in the right direction, I didn’t want to be part of the problem but part of the solution. When I started to stand up for what was right morally, I started to become part of the problem in their eyes. They would look at it as us (Police) against them (the community). It should be the Police vs. Crime and I feel the department as a whole has forgotten that,” Brown told NY FIGHTS.
She moved back down to Ft. Myers, FL, where it all started for her. She started to once again train at the Police Athletic League (PAL) and one day was approached with an interesting offer by the director, Keith White. He asked if she would be interested in becoming a boxing coach for USA Boxing. She quickly accepted and fulfilled all the requirements needed to become an official coach.
When asked about her experiences being a coach, she enthusiastically replied, “It’s been great as I took six fighters to my first Jr Olympics tournament in Texas. When I got there, everyone was so excited to see me, and it was the coolest thing in the world for so many young fighters to know who I am. The icing on the cake was when USA Boxing asked me to hand out the awards at the ceremony.”
Being a fighter and working the corner are two very different things that come with different types of emotions. Tiara was surprised when some of the coaches asked her to work the corner with them. But she quickly realized the depth of the emotional highs and lows in corners, not from the fighter side. “As a fighter, I don’t get butterflies anymore but as a coach, oh my god, I felt like I was having a heart attack! You have no control of what’s going on as I’m not in the ring and can’t do it for them.”
While Brown was working as a coach, she was also able to meet the requirements for the Ft Myers PD. Tiara is passionate about having an impact on her community and was always looking to go back to doing what she loves, which is being a police officer. “I was always aiming to go back to law enforcement because that’s who I am, which is a community servant. I think that God made me into a person that loves to help people. I knew that it would be the Ft Myers PD because that is where I was born and raised. Most of my family lives here so I wanted to be part of the agency that protects those that I love and the community that I grew up in.”
Tiara is a multi-tasker and was still training while waiting for the call that would place her back into the squared circle. Brown told NY FIGHTS that she “never took her foot off the gas” and that she’s worked to stay ready for a fight. “You only get one shot and if you’re not ready, you’ll either get beat down or you won’t get the opportunity. “
That call did come, and the fight is September 25th in Ft Washington, MD. That’s a familiar area for Tiara and she will certainly have ample family and friends at the event.
Getting into training camp details—Tiara trained mostly out of the PAL in Ft Myers but also spent some time at gyms within the Tampa, Ft Lauderdale, and Miami areas. Her head coach for this fight will be Ernesto Rodriguez but it looks like moving forward, she will be with Jose Ozeda down in Florida.
Although Tiara is 33, she understands the importance of being in shape. Tiara is a pescatarian vegan and feels as though she is a “Female Floyd.” Adopting this lifestyle gives Tiara the flexibility to fight between 126 and 130 pounds. For this fight, she will be competing at the junior flyweight limit of 126.
Her original opponent was a fighter out of Brazil but since the lady had visa issues, it’s back to “TBD.” Tiara feels that she will be ready for any opponent that steps into the ring with her.
When discussing the future, Tiara didn’t let me finish the question as she knew which direction I was going. “I’m looking to fight anyone who has status. I’m really focused on the girls from the U.K. Unfortunately, America is behind when it comes to women boxing. You have male boxers from other countries who put women fighters on and help motivate them. My target is those UK fighters as they have status, rankings and fan bases that are out of this world. I respect all of them and their talent which is why I want to fight them.”
Towards the end of the call, Tiara Brown mentioned she had a message for all her fans that have stood by her through the times of inactivity:
“Thank you so much. It’s been a year and a half since my last fight, yet you have stuck by me. With God all things are possible. Never give up on your hopes and your dreams. Anything worth having is worth fighting for.”
To that I say, Amen!
My Three Cents: Tiara Brown has the skills necessary to become a world champion in the future if given the opportunity. A fight that would make sense late next year would be against WBO Super Featherweight champion Mikaela Mayer (15-0). There is a rivalry that dates back a few years, which makes that matchup one to watch in the future.
First things first, Tiara needs to shake the ring rust off and beat her opponent, TBA, on the 25th. As we head towards the end of another year and go into 2022, something tells me that we will see “T-Baby” in some significant fights that could potentially lead to that title shot that she desires.