||This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (December 2007) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Noriko Kariya grew up interested in becoming a hockey player, her brothers being professional players Steve, Martin and Paul Kariya. As a child, Noriko looked up to her brothers, particularly Paul.
Kariya moved to the United States once she turned 18, to study at the University of Maine, where she became a member of the women's field hockey team. She intended to keep in shape, so she joined the local KO Boxing Gym.
Kariya's presence at the gym proved difficult for the gym's other patrons. Many at KO boxing Gym felt uncomfortable with having a woman train next to them. Kariya felt unwelcomed, but, after her first sparring session, she felt she loved boxing so much that she wanted to have a career in that sport.
Kariya had a difficult time letting her family know about her new sport of choice, but she found encouragement from them once she told them she would be dedicated to boxing, especially from Paul.
On May 2006, Kariya, nicknamed "Lady Bang", had a photo of her which was taken by Al Bello of Getty Images appear on Ring Magazine. The nickname is a spin-off from her brother Paul's achievement in the NHL when he won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in both 1996 and 1997 for the most gentlemanly player of the year.
On May 24, she had her most important test up until that date, meeting undefeated Amanda Knight in New York City. The pair, both undefeated, held on to their conditions as undefeated fighters when the bout was declared a draw (tie) after four rounds.
- "For This Kariya, a Bantamweight, the Only Ice Is in Her Veins" - New York Times
- "Hockey siblings' sister sticks to boxing" - ESPN
- "Third Kariya commits to UMaine" - Bangor Daily News
- "This Kariya determined to go it alone; Boxer Noriko does her best to distance herself from famous hockey brothers" - The Record
- "Lady bang’s a big shot" - Canada
- "Noriko Kariya v Maria Lucy Contreras" - Getty Images
- "Noriko Kariya: Heart of Gold, but Fists of Iron" - News Blaze