Tiffany Junot taking on Lakeysha Williams in bout at Harrah’s

Tiffany Junot’s fingernails are pristinely polished and trimmed, but her knuckles are gnarled and calloused.

They make up the hands of a WBC women’s light middleweight champion who is admittedly prissy, yet always punishing once she steps into a boxing ring.

“I can’t treat Tiffany like someone who punches like a girl, because she really cracks,” said Junot’s trainer, former IBA middleweight champion Ron Weaver. “She’s caught me a few times when we’ve sparred, and it took a little to get my mind back together. She’s got an explosive right hand.”

Junot (10-3-1, six knockouts) hopes to detonate that right against Lakeysha Williams during the co-main event of Renaissance MMA’s “World Class Boxing” card, which will be Friday at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino.

The other co-headliner pits “Smokin” Jay Krupp (16-5, eight KOs) against Milton Ramos (9-3-2, two KOs).

Doors open at 7 p.m.

“(Williams) knows she’s coming to fight a world champion in that champ’s hometown,” Junot said.

“I’ve been eating right, sleeping right and training right. I’ve been incorporating coaches (into training) that I’ve been with for 10 years and working with (Weaver), so I hope the fight will have a good outcome.”

Junot would have difficulty topping the result of her last bout — a commanding 10-round unanimous decision over Mia St. John in the main event of the “Fight for Life” charity boxing card in Bakersfield, Calif. After taking the bout in November as a replacement challenger with only two weeks to prepare, the Karr High graduate stymied St. John with relentless jabs en route to becoming the first women’s boxing champion in New Orleans.

“Mia was pretty predictable,” Junot said. “I could see everything she wanted to do from miles away.”

On paper, Williams (9-16, one KO) presents less of a challenge. Nonetheless, Junot refuses to take the veteran lightly.

“Lakeysha has a lot of losses, but most of them came against champions,” she said. “I have footage of her from 2009, but you can’t get too caught up in that because every fight is different.”

Junot launched her career at the James Joseph Boxing Gym and experienced immediate success as an amateur, achieving a No. 1 national ranking after capturing the 154-pound open division title at the 2003 National Women’s Golden Gloves Tournament in Chicago. She turned pro in 2006 and ascended the WBC ranks with a blend of power, conditioning and intuition.

Those traits were showcased against St. John.

“A lot of female fighters don’t take their time, but Tiffany waits until her opponents make mistakes and gets them,” Weaver said. “She gets stronger and stronger as the rounds move forward.”

Junot works with Weaver every other weekend at Friday Night Fights Gym on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., but spends the bulk of her time training with Aaron Navarro in Houston.

She has been a road warrior her entire career and is particularly excited about competing for the first time on her home turf.

“The one thing Tiffany always wanted to do is fight in New Orleans, and right now she’s going to be fighting at one of the city’s biggest venues,” said Mike Tata, Friday Night Fights Gym owner. “She can finally check this off of her list.”

Junot plans to also check off a dominating win, a feat that might lead to a celebratory trip to the salon.

“This is the longest I’ve gone without a manicure,” she joked.

“My hands are starting to look pretty rough.”

For more information or tickets, call 504-201-8281 or 504-408-5631 or visit smokingent.jimdo.com.