Brazilian Boxer Viviane Obenauf Sentenced To 16 Years For Killing Her Husband With A Baseball Bat

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Viviane Obenauf looks on during her Super-Featherweight contest against Katie Taylor at Manchester Arena on December 10, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Former three-time boxing world championship title challenger Viviane Obenauf was sentenced to 16 years in prison for killing her husband with a baseball bat. The Brazilian boxer was convicted and sentenced for the October 2020 murder of “Thomas,” whose full name was withheld due to Swiss protection laws. The 61-year-old man was struck 19 times in the head with a baseball bat in their home in Interlaken, Switzerland.

“Thomas” was only married to Obenauf for ten months before his death, and his wife pleaded not guilty to the murder. However, blood samples from clothing worn by the two proved that Obenauf committed the crime. During the trial, an argument was made that the couple was at odds over Obenauf’s pregnancy, which received a less than enthusiastic reaction from Thomas due to her artificial insemination. The dispute is believed to be the motive for the vicious killing.

Part of Today’s Boxing Generation

Obenauf (14-6, 7 KOs) fought most of her career in Switzerland, beginning her career in 2014. Fighting at both lightweight and super featherweight, Obenauf won a minor title in 2017 via eighth-round TKO. She fought for her first world title the same year, losing to British fighter Chantelle Cameron when she retired in the corner after five rounds of the ten-round fight for the vacant IBO female lightweight title.

Obenauf fought the current undisputed female lightweight world champion, Katie Taylor, early in her career, losing by points to Taylor in the six-round affair. The fight was only Taylor’s second pro bout. At the time, it was Obenauf’s second defeat, with her first coming by way of Italian boxer Vissia Trovato on points in her seventh pro fight. Obenauf is part of the generation of female boxers that began to put the women’s game back on the map after the days of Ann Wolfe, Laila Ali, and Christy Martin.

Compared to her peers in Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano, Claressa Shields, and the rest of today’s champions, Obenauf never won a title. She did represent her native country of Brazil in the Olympics as a gymnast before becoming a boxer.

She eventually retired in November 2019 and opened a gym with her late husband in Switzerland. Her husband also owned Des Alpes restaurant locally in Switzerland, and the two reportedly lived in an apartment above the eatery.

A History Of Incidents

A local report said that the 36-year-old fighter had been arrested in the past for allegedly assaulting a man who tried to grope her. She was reportedly celebrating her 30th birthday in London in 2016 when that incident happened and spent several hours in jail on the night of the altercation, per Swiss news outlet Blick.

“She always had two faces,” said an ex-boyfriend of the fighter who told Blick in 2020 after the murder that it was no surprise that Obenauf was behind bars again. “It’s like flicking a switch.”

The ex-boyfriend, a weightlifter, described a drunken argument between the two resulting in an altercation where he claims he was punched multiple times. However, he did admit to also slapping her.

The crime is one of the most sensational recent incidents in boxing.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.