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Female pro boxer finds ideal setting at tribal college
6 May 2004

BISMARCK, ND - If an altercation occurs in the women's dormitory at United Tribes Technical College it's a good bet that it'll end quickly and professionally if Shannon Gunville is on duty.

      The newly hired resident assistant (RA) has some experience with mixing it up. She's a professional boxer - said to be the first female pro boxer in North Dakota.

Shannon Rose Gunville
Pro boxer Shannon "Wild Child" Gunville might get a match with Tanya Harding at the Sturgis, SD bike rally this summer.

      Shannon Rose Gunville, 23, is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She boxed at Turtle Mountain High School and learned the sport from her father, noted artist and former boxer Wayne Gunville, who serves as her trainer.

      "Ours is one of the few father and daughter relationships of its kind in the sport," she said.

      Gunville turned professional because she couldn't get any more fights as an amateur. Her record was nine and one.

      "I beat the Minnesota and Canadian champions," she said. "I had to take it easy during some of the fights so they wouldn't get discouraged."

      Since leaving the amateur ranks in September 2003 she won the only fight she's had as a pro.

      "It felt so good the first time, winning at Four Bears," said Gunville. "The crowd was over 1,500 and mostly Native. I signed so many autographs I couldn't keep track. I love fighting in front of Native American casino crowds."

      Gunville's nickname "Wild Child," may have something to do with her boxing style.

Shannon Gunville
Shannon Gunville, UTTC's newly hired women's dorm resident assistant (RA), has some experience with mixing it up.

      "I really don't know if I have one yet," she said. "I'm quick footed and I zigzag around. If anything it's an all out, open style. Whatever comes, I just let it all go."

      Her athleticism and conditioning was sharpened by two years of basketball at Bismarck State College, where she led the conference in scoring. Now, as an employee of UTTC, her situation is ideal for pursuing her career.

      "I'm more comfortable here around Native Americans. I really like being on campus. I like working out here. I just want my chance to get out there and prove myself and make Native Americans proud."

      Her daily workouts at the UTTC gymnasium include practicing for the four, two-minute rounds that constitute a fight in the women's pro ranks.

      To attract fights with opponents who are closer to her 5 foot 3 inch size, she recently dropped from 134 pounds to 126. Most of her opponents have been taller with longer arms.

      "There's good competition out there," said Gunville. "Some are better prepared mentally than others. I push myself by thinking that my opponent is going to kick my ass. So I get prepared."

      Thus far she's never been hurt in a fight, never cut or knocked down. Her father taught her how to protect herself, she said.

      Two fights are being planned for the summer - a June 19 bout at the Sky Dancer Casino in her hometown Belcourt, ND, and one in August that could be her most difficult challenge yet. Gunville says she might be matched for a rumble with the notorious Tanya Harding (the former ice skater) at Sturgis, SD during the annual motorcycle rally.

      "I don't know yet what to say about that one. When the time comes I'll just let my hands do the talking."


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