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Karen Bill (born October 21, 1967) is an American multi-sports athlete who from 1999 to 2002 was a professional boxer. She participated in Olympic Games trials for the 1996 Olympics.
Life and career
Born in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, United States, Bill moved to Fairess Hills, where she began playing little league baseball in 1977. She was the only girl in her league, as there were no girls baseball teams in the area. In her teens, Bill became interested in music, and she joined a teenaged girls' band as a drummer. Her band was not very successful, and soon she was involved in sports again.
In 1985, she won the Pennsylvania state high school championship as a track and fielder. Also that year, she became the first female in Pennsylvania sports history to compete in the state's high school javelin, shot put and discus championships, and won medals in the discus throw and the shot put events.
Bill went to Penn State, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in health policy and administration. She was the captain of the Track and Rugby teams, and helped her track and field team win two Eastern College Athletic Conference titles.
Life in the military
Karen Bill joined the United States Army in 1992, to improve her physical strength and learn physical therapy. While in the Army, she began to play basketball and softball. Bill won a racquetball tournament, and became reacquainted with discus, javelin and shot put, breaking military records in those sports. In 1995, she earned the "athlete of the year" award at the Ft. Sill military base.
Bill received an honorary discharge from the Army in 1998, and went on to open a physical therapy business in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Bill conducted her therapy business from her own home, near the Lawton Army base. She took care of elders and people with physical challenges. Bill found encouragement from such people as cancer patients, stroke or accident survivors, and other patients.
Women's boxing career
On May 7, 1999, she made her professional boxing career debut at Lawton, when she lost by knockout in round three to Carmen Dominguez Paris. She was not supposed to fight that night; she had bought a ticket and gone to see the fight undercard as a fan, but the boxer slated to fight Dominguez did not show up, and Bill offered to fight her instead. Next, she lost to Kisha Snow, also by knockout in the fourth round, in a fight held at Tunica, Mississippi, on September 2, 1999.
Fourteen days later, she obtained her first win, defeating Genevia Buckhalter by knockout in two back at home in Lawton.
Her last fight of 1999 came on December 17, when she lost to Suzette Taylor by knockout in three rounds at Louisiana.
Next was the biggest fight in Bill's career. On April 8, she fought Laila Ali at Detroit, Michigan. Bill knocked Ali down in the second round (Bill is the only fighter to drop Ali to the canvas). Ali recovered and was awarded a TKO in the third round.
She then lost to Monica McGowan by a knockout in ten before going on to beat Ingemar Johansson's granddaughter, Maria, by knockout in round two on July 21. This fight represented Bill's Las Vegas debut.
After defeating Buckhalter again, Bill went on a four fight losing streak, which included two losses to Dakota Stone and one to Kathy Rivers. She had her final bout on September 8, 2002, when she beat Cassandra Geigger by a decision in four at Lawton.
Karen Bill retired with a record of four wins and nine losses, with two wins by knockout.