Cabrini honored alumna Fredia Gibbs (ʼ19), the kickboxing world champion once called “The Most Dangerous Woman in the World,” during a statue dedication ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 28 at the Reflection Pond next to the Thomas P. Nerney Pavilion. The statue is the first erected in the name of a female athlete in Pennsylvania.
Gibbs, who grew up in Chester, Pa., and joined the Cabrini community as a Women’s Basketball standout in 1984, played professional basketball in Europe before returning to the United States to become the first African American woman to hold the International Sport Kickboxing Association (ISKA) world kickboxing title. She was inducted into the Cabrini Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
“Cabrini is home to me,” said Gibbs, who studied Marketing as a student-athlete. “The togetherness that I experienced there and the tools that the school provided helped me to achieve greatness in my career. Cabrini is the best place this statue could be.”
The Cavalier record books would never be the same once Gibbs, nicknamed “The Cheetah,” transferred to play basketball at Cabrini after completing her freshman season at Temple University. Gibbs has the three highest single-season totals for points and steals, three of the top four single-season assists records, and two of the three best single-season rebounds tallies in Women’s Basketball program history. She amassed 2,395 points, 901 rebounds, 680 assists, and 318 steals during her three seasons at Cabrini. After an honorable mention in 1986, Gibbs was one of only 10 Division III players to be named a Kodak All-American following the 1987 campaign.
“Cabrini Athletics is honored to recognize Fredia for her world-class career,” said Kate Corcoran, Director, Athletics and Recreation. “Fredia’s place in the Cabrini Hall of Fame highlights her many accomplishments on the court here, and we are thrilled to have played a part in her tremendous professional success in the ring.”
The fireworks that Gibbs produced on the court soon transferred to the ring as she began her professional kickboxing career with eight straight victories, including the 1994 ISKA World Championship. The Cabrini alumna went on to win World Kickboxing Association and WCK Muay Thai world titles and later enjoyed great success in women’s professional boxing with a 9-2-1 record — the lone draw coming in the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) title fight.
The statue dedication ceremony began inside the Dixon Center with guest speakers including representatives from Sports Legends of Delaware County Museum and Quietstorm Martial Arts Academy, as well as Gibbs' family. During the outdoor statue unveiling, Gibbs was presented with a ceremonial Harlem Globetrotters basketball from team coach Chris “Handles” Franklin and a championship belt from Celebrity Boxing CEO, Damon Feldman.
“Fredia is a role model of resilience, of grit, the value of hard work, and caring about others,” said Cabrini Interim President Helen Drinan. “Her life’s journey includes never quitting, on the basketball court, inside the ring and outside in a range of ventures. That journey also included returning to Cabrini to finish her degree.”
The bronze sculpture of Gibbs was created by sculptor Jennifer Frudakis-Petry, of Doylestown, Pa.