One June 10th in Brooklyn, NY, professional kickboxer Jennie Nedell will be getting the chance to “rectify one of my losses,” in her words, at the Battle of the Millennium against Canadian fighter Anna Sheer.
For this edition of Fighters of New York, we spoke with Nedell, of Lindenhurst, NY, who stands at 5’6” and fights in the 135-140 pound weight class. She has been fighting professionally since 2014 and represents Longo-Weidman Law MMA of Garden City, NY, where she is trained by Coach Ray Longo.
Nedell started her kickboxing journey years ago in a small basement gym, originally just to lose weight and working out just once a week. She laughs thinking about it, “…and we thought we were champions then.” Soon after, Lou Neglia, three-time World Kickboxing Champion, called looking for a replacement female fighter for an upcoming fight only three weeks away.
Nedell, whose only fighting experience had been a few street-fights defending the smaller kids against bullies in the past, believed she was up for the challenge. She lost approximately 20 pounds in three weeks and jumped into the ring. “Little did I know that street-fights only last about maybe 30 seconds? It got real, real quick. If you would have seen my first fight, you would have thought I should have taken up crocheting or something!” Even though the fight wasn’t what she expected, Nedell fell in love with the sport and continued training.
After her first fight her father stepped in and started helping her in July 2001, saying, “If you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it right.” Nedell was a Junior Olympic Softball player and her Dad, Larry Nedell, had traveled around the world with her while she played. He was one of her biggest supporters. Larry lost his life in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
After losing her father, Nedell took some time off from kickboxing. She explains that it was a rough time for her. “I stopped fighting for a bit, I was lost. I did all the wrong things and I realized he wouldn’t want this for me so I got back into it.”
Recently Nedell and her family found out through a 9/11 survivor that her father, a businessman, was last seen helping carry someone out of the building. “He’s my hero. He could have made it out but he went back in to help someone. My dad was the kind of guy that always had to keep going and keep pushing.” Nedell has a tattoo on her wrist of the World Trade Center with angel wings, as a reminder of her dad.
With the loss of her father, Nedell eventually found her way back to fighting. “Kickboxing is a hobby and its fun for me. I’ve used it as an outlet. I couldn’t sit down with a therapist and tell them I was sad, I wanted to punch things instead.” Nedell still receives full support from her family throughout her kickboxing journey. She explains that it is hard for her mother to watch her fight in the ring, so she attends the important fights and her sister is always ring-side.
Nedell started her fight camp a few weeks after her last fight, in preparation for the Battle of the Millennium in Brooklyn. “I took off 2 weeks because I was sick after the last fight, but I feel rejuvenated and I don’t want to leave anything behind. I want to make sure it’s not left to the judges.” She has a little bit more than 2 months to prepare for her June 10th fight, “I’m upping it a little more because I’m aware of what I did wrong in the last fight. We kind of critiqued it; we are going to fix a few things, fine tune it to make sure I’m stronger.”
This will be Nedell’s second go at Anna Scheer. “I fought this girl two or three years ago and I’m a different fighter now. I’m glad I have a chance to rectify it this time. I get to do it for a belt and I’m excited to show everyone what I’ve been working on.”
In overcoming the loss of her father, Nedell fought her way back up from the bottom through her passion for kickboxing, and she is truly excited for her upcoming fight. “I’m blessed with the best team around. With my friends and support system around I feel pretty lucky and those things make you realize how lucky you are. I look around and I feel pretty happy.”
Written by Traci Newman
Edited by Kyle Antonelli
Photos by Matt Culley
* Thanks to Jennie, Ray, and LAW MMA for accommodating NewYorkFighting.comBattle of the Millennium, Fighters of New York, Jennie Nedell, LAW MMA, Ray Longo