Being Too Fierce  

by Lisa P. Cohen

© 2015 Being Too Fierce
272 pages

ISBN 978-0-578-17131-9 (hardcover)

Price $27.95



A Riveting Memoir…

I’m starting to come out of my trance when the ring announcer — in the most perfect baritone voice I ever heard — says, “The new I-F-B-A Junior Featherweight World Champion, Lisa “Too Fierce” Foster! The ref is raising my right arm high and Reddz grabs my left and raises it the same. As the promoter places that precious huge white and gold, stone-incrusted leather belt around my waist, a dozen flashbacks start to cycle through my mind and I’m hearing voices from my past. My first trainer Gene’s voice is saying; “Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges!” and then my brother Mark’s voice is saying again and again, “Dance like Ali! Dance like Ali!” But still I’m hearing that mean bitch Mama Graves reminding me over and over, “Nobody don’t want you,” and after her, a chorus of those fakers back in the gym in DC just waiting for me to give up as they mutter under their phony grins, “She ain’t shit”.

And so it is that at the sweetest moment of a boxing triumph she has long dreamed of, Lisa experiences a collision of scenes from her foster childhood with a brand new and surprising vision of herself as a winner. This is a raw story of the agonizing childhood of a woman who, along with her four older brothers, began life rejected and institutionalized by a troubled birth mother and was repeatedly left clinging to a few belongings stuffed in a garbage bag, standing at the front door of yet another foster family whose qualifications to love and nurture her range wildly from promising to abysmal. In mastering the brutal sport of boxing, Lisa learns that the controlled violence of boxing provides her with a virtual punching bag with which to vanquish the painful memories and tormentors of her past. She is nourished by this liberating effort, and we watch her rebuild her life with a positive vision of who she is and what she can accomplish.

About the Author --

Lisa Cohen was born and raised in Washington, DC and placed along with her four older brothers in the now-defunct Junior Village, followed by a slew of often traumatic foster care placements. At the age of 17 she entered an Independent Living program. She began boxing in 1996 at the age of 28 and turned professional the next year, competing under the name of Lisa "Too Fierce" Foster. During her career, she won the IFBA Junior Featherweight World Title. In 2000, while seeking the title, she established and ran Too Fierce Boxing & Fitness in her hometown of Washington, DC. In 2005, she started and managed a non-profit called Capitol City Champs for at-risk children aged 8-18. The organization was geared to boxing and fitness training, life skills coaching, dressing for success, and etiquette. Ms. Cohen also undertook a number of motivational speaking engagements and career days aimed at women, children/young adults, and governmental agencies engaged in foster care. She continues to advocate and speak about foster care to interested groups. At the age of 45, she graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a BA degree in English. She currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband Neil, an attorney. Her son Gerald is a graduate of Norwich University and a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. Daughter Taylor is in her graduate year at Temple University majoring in social work.

Lisa P. Cohen


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