Female Boxing Champ Eileen Olszewski ‘The Hawaiian Mongoose’

Last September, Eileen “The Hawaiian Mongoose” Olszewski, a native of Honolulu who fights out of New York, traveled to Italy to take on WBC female flyweight titlist Stefania Bianchini in the champion’s hometown. Although Olszewski had only four pro fights at the time, she departed Italy with a draw. Because most boxing insiders thought she lost a hometown decision, her stock did not drop at all.

When Olszewski got her second chance at a world title, again against a much more experience champion in WIBA and IFBA female flyweight titlist Elena “Baby Doll” Reid on February 28th in New York, she left nothing to chance. She jumped on Reid from the get-go and the two-way action had the raucous crowd on its feet on many occasions. After 10 rounds of relentless action, Olszewski won a majority decision to fulfill her dream of becoming a world champion. She raised her record to 5-0-1 (0 KOS), while Reid, who resides in Las Vegas, slipped to 19-4-5 (5 KOS).

Eileen The Hawaiian Mongoose Olszewski defeated Elena Reid to become a boxing champion.
Eileen The Hawaiian Mongoose Olszewski (left) defeated Elena Reid to become a boxing champion. (Photo by Robert Mladinich)

“I felt that I was in control of the fight, but when you fight the champ you’ve got to dominate,” said an elated Olszewski, who is trained by her husband Matthew Olszewski, an undefeated kick boxer. “I kept coming on because after the fight was over I didn’t want to be telling myself that I could have done more.”

Olszewski’s manager, David Selwyn, has made clear that the newly crowned champion is eager to take on the best fighters in the world. The fight that he believes makes the most sense is against WBA flyweight champion Susi Kentikian, 20-0 (15 KOS), an Armenian who is enormously popular in her adopted home country of Germany.

“I believe that no woman between 108 and 115 pounds can beat Eileen,” said Selwyn. “Eileen has had only six fights, but has fought better competition than Kentikian has. Eileen is willing to fight anyone at any time in any place if it makes financial sense. Kentikian last opponent, Sarah Goodson, was 26-15-1. She had virtually no chance of winning. We are officially challenging Kentikian. All it will take to make it happen is a fair and reasonable financial offer.”

Olszewski’s road to boxing prominence is anything but ordinary. She is a classically trained dancer who came to New York in 1992. She landed a job as a Knick City Dancer, where she danced and performed stunt work at New York Knicks pro basketball games at MSG. For the soft-spoken and deeply spiritual but intensely driven Olszewski, that job was a dream come true.

She only started boxing in her thirties, after meeting her future husband and developing an interest in the sport’s training methods. What attracted her most was the fact that it was one of the few athletic endeavors that she found extremely challenging. A naturally gifted athlete, she had been able to master most other activities with minimal effort. Within a few years, she had won a slew of local, national and international tournaments.

“I have been involved in boxing for a long time, and I am so impressed with Eileen’s level of commitment to boxing,” said Selwyn. “She works as a full-time personal trainer, but still finds the time to prepare herself totally for the challenges of boxing. Elena Reid had a reputation as one of the best female fighters in the game. When I presented Eileen with the opportunity to fight Elena, she didn’t think twice about accepting. She is a fierce competitor.”

The 26-year-old Reid has been fighting professionally since 2000. She lost a close decision and also battled to a draw with longtime world champion Regina Halmich in Halmich’s home country of Germany. In her last ring appearance before fighting Olszewski, she became the first active male or female boxing champion to officially fight (and win) in the MMA when she scored a second-round knockout over Tammie Schneider in December.

Prior to fighting Olszewski, Reid admitted that she’d have to bring her A-game to New York. “I know that Eileen was a very established amateur, and that she’s beautiful and talented,” said Reid. “But I have made plans to deal with her by taking advantage of my southpaw stance and jabbing all night long. Jabs win fights, but body shots are my favorite.”

Reid learned the hard way that putting together a successful formula to beat Olszewski is easier said than done. One television commentator, Dave Bontempo, has heaped praise upon Olszewski’s superb ring generalship. He glowingly compared her to an “old-time” fighter. Another time he said it looked like she was “gliding” in the ring.

One thing Olszewski did not do against Reid was glide. She kept moving forward and never stopped throwing punches. Reid, who had grown accustomed to taking charge of fights through much of her career, was out-slugged, out-boxed and out-hustled. This was Olszewski’s night to shine, and no one was going to deny her a victory.

Prior to the fight, Olszewski said that, “Elena has been a top fighter for many years. I thought she won both fights with Halmich. But I’ve done my homework and I’m ready to rumble and win my first world title.”

Afterwards it looked like the broad, beaming smile would never leave Olszewski’s face. “I’ve never seen her so happy,” said Selwyn, who added that his phone has been ringing incessantly with media requests. “She worked so hard for this moment. Through all of the ups and downs, she never stopped believing that she would win a world title. She made history.

“A few years ago, she was a dancer who decided to become a boxer,” he continued. “She dared to dream big and fought her heart out to become a world champion. As humble and modest as she is, no one is more determined to succeed once she puts her mind to something.”