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Lucia Rijker and Jane Couch boxing, 2003
|Also known as||Pugilism|
|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. Reports of women entering the ring go back to the 18th century.
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.
During the 1920s, Professor Andrew Newton formed a Women's Boxing Club in London. 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. 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." 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." The story was reported across the country and even internationally.
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.
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, 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. 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.
In 2015 the World Boxing Federation unified various women's titles to have one title holder.
History in the US
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.
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 
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. Amongst females, the sport has been supplanted by Women's MMA.
Women's boxing in Australia has a small following in the country.
Differences between men and women's boxing guidelines
Men and women’s boxing are very different when it comes to the specific guidelines. 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.
- Blonde Fist (1991)
- Girlfight (2000)
- Knockout (2001)
- Million Dollar Baby (2004)
- Mary Kom (2014)
- Irudhi Suttru (2016)
- List of female boxers
- List of current female world boxing champions
- List of WBA female world champions
- List of WBC female world champions
- List of IBF female world champions
- List of WBO female world champions
- List of WIBO world champions
- Women's boxing in Australia
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