Amy Hayes Boxing Announcer
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Amy Hayes and Tommy Brunette

Special Tribute

Tommy Brunette - My Friend

On February 28th I lost a real friend.

Just before the fight! Not just any fight, but his fight.

Roughly two hours before fight time I got my usual check up call from Tommy Brunette to make sure everything was ok and that I was ready to go. Joey, our friend and right-hand man, was there within the hour to pick me up. My mom and I met him in the lobby and were greeted by quiet chaos. Joey calmly informed us that Tommy had a heart attack. It was stunning to say the least, but based on Joey's military manner I felt confident everything would be ok. After all, if Joey was holding up, we should all feel good, right? You see, Joey is always calm and strong on the surface. It could have something to do with his training and recent return from Iraq. He told us that Tommy was at the hospital and breathing on his own. I had confidence that the doctors and technology would take care of him, wouldn't they?

We all arrived at the River City Ballroom ready to work and take over for the Brunette Family if need be. Upon arrival, we saw Kim Brunette who was clearly hurt and distressed. All I could do was hug her and tell her we would take care of everything and that they could count on us to have the Show go on! Not long after, most of them left for the hospital.

Only 20 minutes before I was to go on Fox Sports Net and meet the hungry fight crowd of St. Paul, Mom looked over at me with tears in her eyes and said, "He's dead." I was in shock. I really thought everything was going to be ok and it wasn't.

There would be no picture taking or sales that night. I cried, we all cried. I had never experienced anything like this right before show time. All I could do was put it in my mind that this show must be excellent, for that was Tommy's dream.

The show was more than great. The sell-out crowd of more than 2500 fight fans were on their feet all night. I know Tommy would have been so proud. I am so grateful to have been there and to help make that show a success. Tommy and I had big plans together and always had. A part of my spirit to continue as a ring announcer died that night too.

I am sad today and I miss you Tommy. Thank you for always believing in me from the very beginning. You will forever be apart of my confidence and voice that drives me!

I feel sad that writing this is all I can do for you, but I love you and will say your name proudly for the rest of my life.

Lots of hugs and kisses from your girl!

Amy

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Amy Hayes doesn't pull punches as the best female ring announcer in boxing. "I remember being 17 and working as a ringcard girl in, Detroit," she says. "I looked at the ring announcer and thought, I want to be that. Screw carrying this card around!" The 28-year-old athlete worked as a Hawaiian tropic girl and modeled for 10 years while breaking into broadcasting.

"My father did talk radio in Detroit," she says. "When I was little, we would pretend we were doing the nightly news together. Now I live with my parents in Lexington, Kentucky." The self proclaimed new Mouth From the South has announced fights on ESPN, Showtime and Fox Sports Net.

"I want to be the first woman to announce a major title fight," she says. Her favorite boxer Shane Mosley, but the person she"d like to KO is announcer Michael Buffer. "One time before a fight he threatened to walk if I went out there," she says. "I know he's the best, and I was nervous, I think he felt the heat, knowing that a young woman could actually go up there and carry off the announcing duties without it being a joke."

Although Amy's career is gearing up with new radio projects, sportswrithing and her 2003 calendar, moving to Lexington has helped her get back to her roots. "Basketball is like a religion here," she says. I'm dating a former University of Kentucky basketball player and we're a great match-we play hoops all the time. If he gets serious on me, he has to buy me a horse. I have dogs and cats, and I've persuaded my dad to let me get a goat. I'll name him Cassius Clay."

- Reprinted from Playboy Magazine

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