Susianna "Susi" Levonovna Kentikian (born Syuzanna Levonovna Kentikyan on September 11, 1987) is a German professional boxer. She was born in Yerevan, Armenian SSR, but she left the country with her family at the age of five due to the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Kentikian has lived in Hamburg since 1996 and began boxing when she was twelve years old. Following a successful amateur career, she turned professional in 2005 when she signed with the Hamburg boxing promoter Spotlight Boxing. Kentikian won her first world championship fight in February 2007, and she is the current World Boxing Association (WBA) and Women's International Boxing Federation (WIBF) world flyweight champion.
Kentikian is undefeated, having won 16 of her 22 professional fights by knockout. Since 2007, the German television station ProSieben has broadcast her fights live. Kentikian has gained minor celebrity status in Germany, and she hopes to reach popularity similar to the retired German female boxing star Regina Halmich.
Susianna Kentikian was born in Yerevan, Armenian SSR, the daughter of veterinary doctor Levon Kentikian and his wife Makruki. At the age of five, she left Armenia with her parents and her four-years older brother, Mikael, because her father was called up to serve in the military during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. In 1992, the family first moved to Berlin, Germany, and stayed at asylum seekers' homes. However, due to the violence at these facilities and their poor knowledge of the German language, they left Berlin and moved to Moldova and later to Russia, where Kentikian went to school for a short period of time. The family returned to Germany in 1996 and relocated in Hamburg, again living in government facilities for asylum seekers. Kentikian's residence status remained uncertain for almost a decade. Several times, she and her family were taken to the airport for deportation, but the intervention of local friends such as her amateur trainer, Frank Rieth, who called lawyers, the media, and local politicians, prevented their final expulsion. Her family received a permanent residence permit in 2005 when she signed a three-year professional boxing contract that established a stable income.
At the age of 16, Kentikian began working as a cleaner in a local fitness center to help her family financially. She graduated from high school (Realschule) in the summer of 2006, and she eventually became a German citizen in June 2008. She has applied for dispensation to be allowed to retain her Armenian citizenship. Kentikian now lives with her family in an apartment near her Hamburg boxing gym.
Kentikian discovered her enthusiasm for boxing when she was twelve years old after accompanying her brother to his boxing training. She started with regular training herself and stated that boxing had allowed her to forget the difficulties of her life for a short time: "I could let everything out, my whole energy. If you have so many problems like our family, you need something like that."
Kentikian won the Hamburg Championships for juniors from 2001 to 2004. She also won the Northern German Championships for juniors in 2003 and 2004, and in October 2004, she had her biggest amateur success by winning the International German Women's Amateur Championships in the featherweight division for juniors. Kentikian found it increasingly difficult to find opponents in the amateur ranks, as few boxers wanted to face her in the ring, and her status as an asylum seeker did not allow her to box outside Hamburg. Kentikian's final amateur record stood at 24 wins and one loss. She later blamed overeagerness for her single loss, having fought despite health problems at the time. Her aggressive style and fast combinations, and her ambition to always attack until she knocked out the opponent earned her the nickname "Killer Queen"; she now uses the identically-named song by the English rock band Queen as her entrance music.
Kentikian was discovered as a professional boxer at an exhibition fight during qualifications for the World Amateur Boxing Championships. At the beginning of 2005, she signed a three-year contract with the Hamburg boxing promoter Spotlight Boxing, a joint venture of Universum Box-Promotion, focusing on young athletes. Since then, she has been coached by Universum trainer Magomed Schaburow. Kentikian started her professional career on January 15, 2005, with a win by unanimous decision over Iliana Boneva of Bulgaria on the undercard of German female boxing star Regina Halmich. Over the next 14 months, Kentikian won nine of her eleven fights by knockout. Her unusually high knockout percentage, rarely seen in lower female weight classes, began to draw attention. On July 25, 2006, she won her first belt, the International German flyweight title, against Daniela Graf by unanimous decision. In her first international title fight on September 9, 2006, Kentikian beat Maribel Zurita from the United States with a fourth round technical knockout for the WIBF InterContinental flyweight title; the fight was stopped when Zurita was cut over the left eyebrow.
In her 15th professional bout, Kentikian fought for her first world championship in Cologne, Germany, on February 16, 2007; it was also her first time headlining a fight card. She won by a ninth round technical knockout against Carolina Alvarez of Venezuela, and thereby won the vacant WBA flyweight title. Alvarez took unanswered punches in most of the rounds and was bleeding heavily from her nose, and the referee eventually stopped the fight in round nine in concern for Alvarez's health. Six weeks later, on March 30, 2007, Kentikian made her first title defense. Before a crowd of 19,500 in the Kölnarena, she fought on the undercard of the popular exhibition bout between German comedian Stefan Raab and WIBF world champion Regina Halmich. Kentikian beat María José Núñez from Uruguay with a third round technical knockout. Núñez was knocked down in round two and Kentikian finished the fight one round later with a right cross followed up by combinations that left Núñez defenseless on the ropes, causing the referee to step in.
Kentikian next faced Nadia Hokmi of France in her second title defense on May 25, 2007. Hokmi, using her height and reach advantage, proved to be the first test of Kentikian's professional career, and both boxers fought a competitive bout. While Hokmi started out slower, she managed to win several of the later rounds by landing repeated combinations. Kentikian won through a split decision for the first time in her career. The fight was voted among the five "Top Fights of the Year" by WomenBoxing.com. On September 7, 2007, Kentikian defended her title against Shanee Martin from the United Kingdom, winning by a third round technical knockout. Kentikian controlled her opponent from the opening bell and the referee stopped the fight after Martin was knocked down from a straight right hand in round three.
Following the retirement of long-standing WIBF belt holder Regina Halmich, Kentikian unified the WBA and vacant WIBF flyweight titles in her hometown of Hamburg on December 7, 2007. She met Nadia Hokmi in a rematch of their contest six months earlier. The French boxer again proved to be a tough opponent and the fight developed very similarly to their first encounter. Once more, Kentikian had the better start, but Hokmi scored during the second half of the fight, again making it a close bout. This time however, Kentikian was ahead on all three of the judges' scorecards, winning by unanimous decision. On February 29, 2008, Kentikian successfully defended her titles against Sarah Goodson of the Philippines by a third round technical knockout. Goodson, who had fought almost exclusively in lower weight classes before, was overpowered by Kentikian and the referee ended the fight after a series of body punches in round three.
In her next title defense on May 10, 2008, Kentikian beat Mary Ortega from the United States with a first round technical knockout. Ortega, who had previously fought against well-known opponents such as Elena Reid and Hollie Dunaway, was knocked down twice by straight right hands during the first 90 seconds of the fight. When Kentikian had Ortega pinned against the ropes again, the referee stepped in shortly before the end of round one. The quick stoppage came as a surprise to many, including television commentator Regina Halmich, who had expected a hard-fought bout. On August 29, 2008, Kentikian defended her titles against Hager Finer of Israel, Regina Halmich's last opponent before retiring. Following a close first round, the boxing match turned into a brawl, and Finer scored during the first half of the fight. From round five onwards, Kentikian managed to take over the bout by landing the cleaner punches and she won by unanimous decision.
At the beginning of her professional career, Kentikian was primarily featured in the local media in Hamburg and occasionally in national German newspapers; in particular, her difficult childhood and her long-time uncertain asylum status sparked interest in the press and led to comparisons with the boxing film Million Dollar Baby. Her height of also drew attention, and she was dubbed "Germany's smallest professional boxer". Early on, Kentikian was considered one of the big talents in German boxing, and the media mentioned her as the potential successor of record world champion Regina Halmich, a goal she had also set out for herself.
In 2007, Kentikian was introduced to a much larger audience due to cooperation between German television station ProSieben and her promoter Spotlight Boxing. In addition to live broadcasts of her fights during so-called "ProSieben Fight Nights", she appeared several times on the popular television show TV total. She also took part in a four-round sparring session with the show's host, Stefan Raab, and participated in the competitive entertainment event World Wok Championships, where she teamed with Sven Hannawald, Christina Surer and Markus Beyer to win the four-person competition. Her first world title defense, fighting María José Núñez on the undercard of the popular Raab vs. Halmich exhibition bout, was seen by 4.69 million television viewers—her most watched fight to date. A camera crew visited her for one year prior to her first world championship fight against Carolina Alvarez; the documentary aired in June 2007 on the German public broadcaster Das Erste. A shortened version with commentary in English was aired by the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle in October 2007.
|22 Wins (16 knockouts, 6 decisions), 0 Losses, 0 Draws|
|Win||Hagar Finer||Decision||10||2008-08-29||Düsseldorf, Germany|
|Win||Mary Ortega||TKO||1||2008-05-10||Halle, Germany|
|Win||Sarah Goodson||TKO||3||2008-02-29||Hamburg, Germany|
|Win||Nadia Hokmi||Decision||10||2007-12-07||Hamburg, Germany|
|Win||Shanee Martin||TKO||3||2007-09-07||Düsseldorf, Germany|
|Win||Nadia Hokmi||Decision||10||2007-05-25||Cologne, Germany|
|Win||María José Núñez||TKO||3||2007-03-30||Cologne, Germany|
|Win||Carolina Alvarez||TKO||9||2007-02-16||Cologne, Germany|
|Win||Maya Frenzel||TKO||4||2006-11-21||Hamburg, Germany|
|Win||Maribel Zurita||TKO||4||2006-09-09||Magdeburg, Germany|
|Win||Daniela Graf||Decision||10||2006-07-25||Hamburg, Germany|
|Win||Evgenia Zablotskaja||TKO||2||2006-04-15||Magdeburg, Germany|
|Win||Emilina Metodieva||TKO||4||2006-01-14||Aschersleben, Germany|
|Win||Maria Kriwoschapkina||Decision||6||2005-12-13||Sölden, Austria|
|Win||Svetla Taskova||TKO||2||2005-10-29||Oranienburg, Germany|
|Win||Renata Vesecka||TKO||4||2005-09-17||Ilsenburg, Germany|
|Win||Simona Pencakova||TKO||2||2005-07-02||Hamburg, Germany|
|Win||Albena Atseva||TKO||2||2005-06-04||Aschersleben, Germany|
|Win||Juliia Vlasenko||TKO||3||2005-05-07||Braunschweig, Germany|
|Win||Lucie Hornakova||TKO||1||2005-03-29||Hamburg, Germany|
|Win||Debbie Lohmaier||KO||1||2005-02-26||Hamburg, Germany|
|Win||Iliana Boneva||Decision||4||2005-01-15||Magdeburg, Germany|