Women's boxing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lucia Rijker and Jane Couch boxing, 2003
Lucia Rijker and Jane Couch boxing, 2003
Also known as Pugilism
Focus Punching, Striking
Olympic sport Yes, as of the 2012 Olympics

Although women have participated in boxing 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][2][3] Reports of women entering the ring go back to the 18th century.[4]


Women's boxing goes back at least to the early 18th 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.[5]

During the 1920s, Professor Andrew Newton formed a Women's Boxing Club in London.[6] However women’s boxing was hugely controversial. In early 1926, Shoreditch borough council banned an arranged exhibition match between boxers Annie Newton and Madge Baker, a student of Digger Stanley.[7][8][9] An attempt to hold the match in nearby Hackney instead was defeated by a campaign led by the Mayor of Hackney, who wrote "I regard this proposed exhibition of women boxers as a gratification of the sensual ideals of a crowd of vulgar men."[9] The Home Secretary Sir William Joynson-Hicks was among those opposing the match, claiming "the Legislature never imagined that such a disgraceful exhibition would have been staged in this country."[7] The story was reported across the country[10] and even internationally.[11]

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 International Boxing Association (amateur) 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.[12]

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,[13][14][15] contrary to the expectations of some observers. Although women fought professionally in many countries, in the United Kingdom the B.B.B.C. refused to issue licences to women until 1998.[16] 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.[17][18]

Renata Cristina Dos Santos Ferreira punches Adriana Salles, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2006)

In October 2001 the 2001 Women's World Amateur Boxing Championships were held in Scranton, The United States.[19]

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge announced that it would be an Olympic sport at the 2012 Games in London.[20][21]

Women were allowed to competitively box for the first time at the Olympics during the 2012 Summer Olympics, producing the world's first 12 female Olympic medalist boxers.[22][23][24][25]

In 2015 the World Boxing Federation unified various women's titles to have one title holder.[26]

History in the US[edit]

Bennett sisters boxing, c.1910-1915

Barbara Buttrick was the first televised boxing match between two women on television and radio.[27]

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. Cathty Davis was the 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. Marian “Tyger” Trimiar and Jackie Tonawanda were pioneers as they were the first women in the United States to get a license for boxing in the United States.[28][29][30]

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. Women took hunger strikes to be noticed [31]

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.[32][33][34][35][36]

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.[37]

On 16 April 1992, after eight years in court in Massachusetts, Gail Grandchamp 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.[38] 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.[39][40][41][42]

Professional women's boxing has declined in popularity in the United States and struggles to get viewership and sponsorship and many fighters have to fight in Mexico or Europe in order to make a good living.[43][44][33][45] Amongst females, the sport has been supplanted by Women's MMA.[33][46][47]


In Argentina, women's boxing has experienced a notable rise in popularity, due in part to the presence of boxers such as Marcela Acuna, Yesica Bopp and Erica Farias.[48]


Women's boxing in Australia has a small following in the country.


The sport is growing in Mexico.[49][50][51][52]


Womens boxing is not as common as in western countries.[53] Esther Phiri is one the more prominent champions[54]

Differences between men and women's boxing guidelines[edit]

Men and women’s boxing are very different when it comes to the specific guidelines.[55][56][57] Women’s boxing has more rules that are female focused. According to the rules on abcboxing.com, women have to wear a breast guard and have no facial cosmetics. More female boxing specific rules include for female boxers weighing less than 154 pounds have to wear 8-ounce gloves and female boxers weighing more than 154 pounds have to wear 10-ounce gloves. Men’s boxing has male specific rules too. These include wearing protective cups and loose fitting trunks. More men’s boxing specific rules include male boxers in the lighter weight class must wear 10-ounce gloves and male boxers in the larger weight class must wear 12-ounce gloves. Women’s boxing rules are directed to all women’s boxing weight classes unlike men’s boxing. For men’s boxing, the rules differ for male boxers under and over the age of 17 years.

In cinema[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Martial Chronicles: Fighting Like a Girl". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2015-11-05. 
  2. ^ Jason Rodrigues. "Women boxers to make Olympic history in city that once shunned them | Sport". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  3. ^ Woodward, Kath (2010-07-28). "BBC Sport - Women in boxing over the years". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  4. ^ Brown, Sarah (2014). "Against the Ropes". Bitch Magazine. Retrieved 2014-11-25. 
  5. ^ "Honoring Women’s Labor: Elizabeth Wilkinson-Stokes, 18th Century Boxer!". Girlboxing. 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  6. ^ "Formation of the contemporary women's boxing". Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "WOMEN's BOXING BOUTS ABANDONED Promoter Yields to Public Opinion". Hackney and Kingsland Gazette. 1926-02-01. 
  8. ^ Norris, H.C. (1926-04-04). "She Wants to FIGHT Jack Dempsey!". Zanesville Times Signal. Zanesville. Retrieved 2016-07-22. 
  9. ^ a b "WOMEN BOXERS Proposed Bouts With Men". Hackney and Kingsland Gazette. 1926-01-29. 
  10. ^ "WOMEN BOXERS". Western Daily Press. 1926-01-30. 
  11. ^ Brown, Norman (1926-02-04). "Sports Done Brown". Sarasota Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  12. ^ "Women's Boxing". Insidethegames.biz. 2016-09-25. Retrieved 2016-10-01. 
  13. ^ Rachel Dixon. "The rise of women boxers | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  14. ^ "Women's Boxing Olympic place a victory 'for justice and equality'". Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  15. ^ "Olympic News - Official Source of Olympic News". Olympic.org. 2014-08-28. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  16. ^ "Sport | Round one for women's boxing". BBC News. 1998-11-24. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  17. ^ "Sport | Women's boxing makes instant impact". BBC News. 1998-11-25. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  18. ^ "Boxing: First Night Jane Couch - Women face an even bigger fight". 29 November 1998. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  19. ^ "Women's boxing is in safe hands with the new generation after fighting its way back from a sordid past". 27 March 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  20. ^ "BBC SPORT | Olympics | Women's boxing gains Olympic spot". BBC News. 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  21. ^ Nolan, Hamilton (2012-08-03). "Marlen Esparza, Queen Underwood, Claressa Shields: Women boxers are about to become huge stars. Can that last after the Olympics?". Slate.com. Retrieved 2015-11-18. 
  22. ^ "Women's boxing gains Olympic spot". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ "Women Finally Get Their Chance to Be Contenders in Olympic Boxing". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  25. ^ "Nicola Adams becomes first ever winner of an Olympic women’s boxing tournament". Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  26. ^ "WBF | World Boxing Federation". Worldboxingfederation.net. Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  27. ^ "A Pioneer of Women's Boxing Looks Back on a Lifetime of Battles - Broadly". Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  28. ^ Kates, Brian (2003-06-24). "PRETTIER THAN MEN Cat Davis vs. Floyd Patterson Chapter 104". The New York Daily News. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  29. ^ "Women Try Boxing on the Coast". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  30. ^ "Women Have Been Boxing in the Shadows for Too Long". The New York Times. 15 August 2016. 
  31. ^ Leigh Behrens (1987-04-19). "Boxer Hungry For Recognition - tribunedigital-chicagotribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2015-11-18. 
  32. ^ "ESPN.com: BOXING - Women's boxing becoming a real joke". A.espncdn.com. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  33. ^ a b c Smith, Malissa (2014). A History of Women's Boxing. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 263. ISBN 9781442229952. Retrieved 14 February 2016. 
  34. ^ Brown, Sarah (2014-05-13). "Against the Ropes". Bitchmedia.org. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  35. ^ "The Real Knockouts of Women’s Boxing". The Atlantic. 2015-01-16. Retrieved 2015-11-18. 
  36. ^ "A Ring of One’s Own". The New Yorker. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  37. ^ "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". Articles.latimes.com. 1993-10-18. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  38. ^ "ESPN.com: BOXING - Historical Events in Women's Boxing". Assets.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  39. ^ "Grandchamp, Local Boxing Legend, Ready to Film Life Story / iBerkshires.com - The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information". Iberkshires.com. 1987-07-17. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  40. ^ "A Fighter's Passion for Her Olympic Dream". Globenewswire.com. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  41. ^ Rosenwald, Julius (1987-07-17). "Boxer with a mission - Berkshire Eagle Online". Berkshireeagle.com. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  42. ^ "The Grand Champ of Women's Boxing: A Massachusetts fighter opens the door to first-ever women's Olympic boxing". SCN. Retrieved 2016-03-26. 
  43. ^ Raskin, Alex (6 July 2016). "Women’s Boxing Fights for Exposure". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  44. ^ Paul Sullivan (1987-08-17). "These Women Go Toe-to-toe For Extra Dough - tribunedigital-chicagotribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  45. ^ "Female boxers' fight for survival in the US". Al Jazeera English. 2014-11-10. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  46. ^ "Women's boxing hopes to gain traction from Holly Holm's UFC victory over Ronda Rousey". LA Times. 2016-02-08. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  47. ^ "Examining the Growth and Popularity of Women's Mixed Martial Arts". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2014-12-30. 
  48. ^ Hernandez, Vladimir (2 July 2011). "Why Argentina is producing women boxing champions". Retrieved 12 May 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  49. ^ Faris Mustafa (2016-06-01). "Knockout: how female boxing is taking over Mexico - British Airways High Life". Highlife.ba.com. Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  50. ^ AVILA, DAVID A. "BOXING: West remains optimistic despite lack of willing fighters". Retrieved 2 January 2017. 
  51. ^ "MEXICO: OFFICIALS BAN 2 WOMEN'S BOXING MATCHES - AP Archive". www.aparchive.com. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  52. ^ "SPORTS: Women Boxers in Mexico Winning Major Battle in the Ring - Inter Press Service". www.ipsnews.net. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  53. ^ "Fight like a girl: the female boxers of the Democratic Republic of the Congo". 14 July 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2017 – via The Guardian. 
  54. ^ Schatz, Joseph J. (2008-08-04). "Boxer Breaks Barriers for Women in Zambia". WSJ.com. Retrieved 2017-07-18. 
  55. ^ Smith, Malissa (2014). A History of Women's Boxing. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 244. ISBN 9781442229952. Retrieved 14 February 2016. 
  56. ^ Gayle, Damien (2014-10-22). "World Boxing Council shortens women's boxing matches because of periods | Daily Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-18. 
  57. ^ "The Fight for Women's Boxing Rights". Psmag.com. Retrieved 2015-11-18. 


  • A History of Women's Boxing, Malissa Smith, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014, ISBN 9781442229945

External links[edit]