Women's boxing

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Lucia Rijker warms up in the ring.

Although women have boxed for almost as long as the sport has existed, female fights have been effectively outlawed for most of boxing’s history, with athletic commissioners refusing to sanction or issue licenses to women boxers, and most nations officially banning the sport.[1] Reports of women entering the ring go back to the 1700s, and the first reported American bout occurred in 1876 in New York.[2]

Women's boxing first appeared in the Olympic Games at a demonstration bout in 1904. Its revival was pioneered by the Swedish Amateur Boxing Association, which sanctioned events for women in 1988. The British Amateur Boxing Association sanctioned its first boxing competition for women in 1997. The first event was to be between two thirteen-year-olds, but one of the boxers withdrew because of hostile media attention. Four weeks later, an event was held between two sixteen-year-olds. The A.I.B.A. accepted new rules for Women's Boxing at the end of the 20th century and approved the first European Cup for Women in 1999 and the first World Championship for women in 2001.

Women's boxing was not featured at the 2008 Olympics; however, on 14 August 2009, it was announced that the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board (EB) had approved the inclusion of women’s boxing for the Games in London in the 2012 Olympics,[3][4] contrary to the expectations of some observers.[5] Although women fought professionally in many countries, in the United Kingdom the B.B.B.C. refused to issue licences to women until 1998.[6] By the end of the century, however, they had issued five such licenses. The first sanctioned bout between women was in November 1998 at Streatham in London, between Jane Couch and Simona Lukic.[7]

Renata Cristina Dos Santos Ferreira punches Adriana Salles.

Early history[edit]

Women's boxing goes back at least to the early eighteenth century, when Elizabeth Wilkinson fought in London. Billing herself as the European Championess, she fought both men and women. In those days, the rules of boxing allowed kicking, gouging and other methods of attack not part of today's arsenal.[8]

History in the US[edit]

Bennett sisters boxing

During the 1970s, a popular female boxer named Cathy 'Cat' Davis came out of the United States Northwest, and a few of her fights were televised. To this day, she remains the only female boxer to appear on the cover of Ring Magazine. But a scandal broke out where it was said that some of her fights had been fixed.

During the 1980s, women's boxing briefly resurfaced in California under the wings of sisters Dora and Cora Webber. The twin sisters were world champions and packed crunching punching power and a good chin.

But the boom of women's boxing came during the 1990s, coinciding with the boom in professional women sports leagues such as the WNBA and WUSA, and with boxers such as Stephanie Jaramillo, Delia 'Chikita' Gonzalez, Laura Serrano, Christy Martin, Deirdre Gogarty, Laila Ali, Jackie Frazier-Lyde, Lucia Rijker, Ada Vélez, Ivonne Caples, Bonnie Canino and Sumya Anani, all world champions, jumping into the scene.[9]

Women's boxing has experienced more television and media exposure, including the major motion picture Million Dollar Baby. There are a few organizations that recognize world championship bouts, and fights are held in more than 100 countries.[10][11]

On 16 April 1992, after eight years in court in Massachusetts, Gail Grandchamp of North Adams, Massachusetts won her battle to become a boxer, as a state Superior Court judge ruled it was illegal to deny someone a chance to box based on gender. During her battle to win the right to box as an amateur, she passed the age of 36, the maximum age for amateur fighters. Even though she knew it would not help her as an amateur, Grandchamp continued her efforts, and eventually did box professionally for a time.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge announced that it would be an Olympic sport at the 2012 Games in London.[12]

European championship women boxing 2011[edit]

In October 2011 the 2011 Women's European Union Amateur Boxing Championships were held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

2012 Summer Olympics[edit]

Women were allowed to box for the first time during the 2012 Summer Olympics, producing the world's first 12 female Olympic medalist boxers.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Woodward, Kath (2010-07-28). "BBC Sport - Women in boxing over the years". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  2. ^ a b Brown, Sarah (2014). "Against the Ropes". Bitch Magazine. Retrieved 2014-11-25. 
  3. ^ "Women's Boxing Olympic place a victory 'for justice and equality'". Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  4. ^ Women’s boxing for 2012 and golf and rugby proposed for 2016, Official Website of the Olympic Movement [1]
  5. ^ Andrew Eisele (2006). Women's Boxing, About.com
  6. ^ "Sport | Round one for women's boxing". BBC News. 1998-11-24. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  7. ^ "Sport | Women's boxing makes instant impact". BBC News. 1998-11-25. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  8. ^ "Honoring Women’s Labor: Elizabeth Wilkinson-Stokes, 18th Century Boxer!". Girlboxing. 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  9. ^ Brown, Sarah (2014-05-13). "Against the Ropes". Bitchmedia.org. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  10. ^ "Female boxers' fight for survival in the US". Al Jazeera English. 2014-11-10. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  11. ^ "COLUMN ONE : Striking a Blow for Equality : Dallas Malloy has won her fight to be America's first sanctioned female amateur boxer. The scrappy 16-year-old knows the rewards of blood, sweat and a killer instinct. - latimes". Articles.latimes.com. 1993-10-18. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  12. ^ "BBC SPORT | Olympics | Women's boxing gains Olympic spot". BBC News. 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  13. ^ Park, Alice (2012-08-09). "Olympic Women's Boxing Has Its First Champions, and a Generation of Girls Have New Role Models | TIME.com". Olympics.time.com. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  14. ^ "Women Finally Get Their Chance to Be Contenders in Olympic Boxing". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  15. ^ "Nicola Adams becomes first ever winner of an Olympic women’s boxing tournament". Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  16. ^ Hoye, Sarah (2015-05-27). "Can boxer Claressa Shields repeat in Rio? | Al Jazeera America". America.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  17. ^ Padraic Halpin (2013-09-20). "Boxing: Golden girl Katie Taylor threatens to turn back on Olympics | Others | Sport". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  18. ^ "Boxing wants more women fight at Olympics". Nation.com.pk. 2015-07-03. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  19. ^ Bella, Timothy (2015-03-20). "SXDiaries Claressa Shields | Al Jazeera America". America.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  20. ^ "Fight Like A Girl The Movie — a gritty, first-person narrative of a female boxer". Fightlikeagirlthemovie.com. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 

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