Archive for April, 2012

28
Apr
12

Missing the gym …

Missing the gym …

Gleason's Gym

Okay, I promise this won’t be a “boo hoo” post or anything, but I’ve got to tell you having a boxing related injury plain s-u-c-k-s!  I mean really, I can’t even put a jacket on these days without a yelp, never mind shadow box!  Even my old shower favorite, slip the water streaming out of the nozzle isn’t exactly cutting it and I’ve got to tell you that attempting a run with one arm pasted to the side of your waist is ridiculous!

When I have gone to Gleason’s Gym over the past three weeks, I’ve been downright wistful.  I mean there were tons of women there last Saturday for the second annual All Female Boxing Clinic — exciting right? — and even saw my friend, wait for it blogger Amy Scheer, who’d come in for the clinic, but was I elated?  The answer is no, I actually felt kind of sad.

Well it seems I am not alone in all of this.  Medical scholars are pursuing research in the psychological effects of sports injuries on Saturday athletes like myself on through elite practitioners.

In a journal article for the Journal of Sport Behavior (1994), authors Nancy Quackenbush and Jane Crossman have written that:

… athletes experience feelings of separation, loneliness, guilt and a loss of identity and independence, because they feel that they are no longer vitally contributing to the team and that they are reliant upon others in the rehabilitative process. 

The fact is that athletes and fitness enthusiasts get injured all the time, when injuries necessitate time away from cherished activities, however, it is important to understand that recovery is not only physical.  There can be a psychological component as well.  And just as it takes a long time to build-up skills to a level of one’s own peak performance, rehabilitation of the injury doesn’t happen overnight either.

If I use my own recovery as a case in point, my shoulder rehabilitation is actually progressing.  During my first week of physical therapy, I could only use one-pound weights for certain of the strengthening exercises, however at the onset of my third week I progressed to three-pound weights.  And sure, it still hurts, and on some days worse than others, but I can actually lift my right arm straight up which I couldn’t do at all in my first week.

My basic four rotator cuff exercises. (Curtesy JumpUSA.com, Topic #474)

And I guess that’s part of the secret. Realizing that progress is relative.  That, and giving yourself a kick in the butt for feeling sad at those points when being in a place like your favorite gym usually brings you nothing but joy!

I also came across a helpful article on coping with sports injuries that may be of interest to anyone going through the same thing.  The link to the article by Elizabeth Quinn is here:  Coping with Sports Injuries: Sports psychology strategies for coping with and recovering from injury.

It is worth the read!

20
Apr
12

AIBA World Women’s Rankings!

AIBA World Women’s Rankings!

AIBA, the International Boxing Association, has come out with their first world rankings. The rankings are based on AIBA’s scoring formula as of April 1, 2012.  It makes for interesting reading ahead of the 2012 Women’s World Championships especially as the top eight of each of the Olympic weight categories will be selected to compete at the Olympics in July. It should be noted that the rankings do not reflect the recently completed 2012 Women’s Elite Continental Boxing Championships.

Here are the top five in each of the Olympic weight categories:

51 KG Top Five Rankings

51KG, #1 Ranked, Ren Cancan, China

   #1. Ren Cancan, China

   #2. Nicola Adams, England

   #3. Alice Kate Aparri, Philippines

   #4. Karolina Michalczuk, Polank

   #5. Tetyana Kob, Ukraine

USA Boxing champion Marlen Esparza is ranked 7th overall, just behind India’s great champion Mary Kom who is ranked 6th.

60 KG Top Five Rankings

60 KG, #1 Ranked, Katie Taylor, Ireland, Credit: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

 #1. Katie Taylor, Ireland

   #2. Cheng Dong, China

   #3. Karolina Graczyk, Polank

   #4. Adriana Araujo, Brazil

   #5. Quanitta (Queen) Underwood, USA

75 KG Top Five Rankings

75 KG, #1 Ranked, Mary Spencer, Canada, Credit: Nathan Denette/CP

   #1. Mary Spencer, Canada

   #2. Nadezhada Torlopova, Russia

   #3. Jinzi Li, China

   #4. Rosell Feitosa, Brazil

   #5. Lilya Durnnyeva, Ukraine

Undefeated USA Boxing champion Claressa Shields is ranked 9th overall.

Shields defeated Spencer in the recently concluded Women’s Elite Continental Boxing Championships.


19
Apr
12

Great boxing video by artist and amateur boxer Desiree D’Alessandro!

Great boxing video by artist and amateur boxer Desiree D’Alessandro!

Talk about a must see video, please take the time to watch this wonderful visual tone-poem to boxing as an art form entitled Artistic Performance, Amateur Boxing and “A People To Come” as part of the Digital (De-)(Re-) Territorializations Conference by artist and amateur boxer Desiree D’Alessandro!

I’d also like to send a huge shout out to the Daniel Martinez Boxing website for posting this remarkable artist’s work.  The link to Desiree’s original post is here.

Desiree D’Alessandro’s website is: http://desiree-dalessandro.com/

Her blog is: http://dalessandroart.blogspot.com/

17
Apr
12

Women have always fought!

Women have always fought!

Female Gladiators, Amazona and Achillia. Marble relief known as the Missio of Halicarnassus depicting two female gladiators. Copyright © The British Museum. Credit: Stephen Murray

Boxing has long been considered a hypermasculine sport harnessing masculine ideals of virility and aggression. It has resonated across millennia as an icon of sacred tradition that stretches as far back as the ancient Greeks with even earlier references to the sport in Mesopotamian cultures.

The earliest known literary reference to boxing is Homer’s depiction of the boxing match at the Funeral of Patroclus in The Illiad. Homer begins this section with the older Nestor’s talk with the Greek hero, Achilles:

My legs no longer firm, my friend, dead on my feet,

Nor do my arms go shooting from my shoulders—

the stunning punch, the left and right are gone.

Oh make me young again, and the strength inside me

steady as a rock! (Homer, The Iliad 579)

When thinking about martial contests, however, what might not be so readily apparent is that women have also enacted one or another form of martial ritual including boxing for just as long.

Accounts of Spartan educational regimens for young women in the same time period as The Iliad show that young female Spartans were trained for fighting in the same short tunic[1] as young men and competed against them during training on a regular basis. The Roman poet Propertius also wrote of women with their “arms [bound] with thongs for boxing.”

Other forms of Greco-Roman cultural representations include the marble relief sculpture depicting two female gladiators known as the Missio of Halicarnassus from the first or second century CE and the black-figured hydria of Atalanta and Peleus Wrestling from 550 BCE.

Atalanta wrestling Peleus, Chalcidian black-figure
hydria C6th B.C., Antikensammlungen, Munich, Credit: http://www.theoi.com

Based on the myth of Atalanta, the hydria depicts her defeat of Peleus in a wrestling match at the funeral games of King Pelias. Given the importance of Funeral Games as “symbolic conflict” that both stand in for actual combat (the physical clashing of the bodies) and as a contest of honor, wherein the vanquished is raised up by the victor, the inclusion of female figures in such representations is certainly provocative.

Diana of Versailles, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France, Credit: http://www.theoi.com

However, given that Atalanta is also depicted as a particular favorite of Artemis, Goddess of both the hunt and maidenhood, we can begin to tease out a notion of gender identity in Greco-Roman culture which allows for a “third way” if you will: that of the maiden huntress/warrioress that also links to the myth of the Amazons.

The warrior women, variously described as a tribe of gyno-centric warrior females were quoted by Herodotus as saying “We would find it impossible to live with [other] women, because our practices are completely different from theirs. We haven’t learnt women’s work. We shoot arrows, wild javelins, ride horses—things which your women never have anything to do with.”

It can be argued that such depictions are liminal, based on a time between girlhood and motherhood. In this in-between space these young women are depicted as small breasted and virginal, thus creating an otherness between maleness and femaleness, on the order of Goddess Artemis and Diana. The status of these figures makes them free to hunt and even pursue martial enactments of maleness, however, the price of doing so is to remain pre-sexual.

Statue of a wounded Amazon, 1st–2nd century A.D.
Roman copy of a Greek bronze statue, ca. 450–425 B.C.
Marble. Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The myth of Atalanta is a perfect embodiment of this ideal. Atalanta enacts warriorness side-by-side with her shipmates Jason and the Argonauts, but can only do so as long as she remains a virgin. The depiction of the mythic women also inevitably shows them in short tunics rather than in long ankle length skirts – thus clearly mimicking the dress of Artemis and Diana. And in some cases, representing a depiction of actual cross-dressing: wearing a short tunic skirt instead of a long skirt.  It should be noted that there are figures of Artemis in a long gown, however, those skirts typically open and show that she is free to run.

To my way of thinking, these are important threads in considering the significant place of female fighting figures historically.


___

[1] Spartan training of young girls was also under the influence of the Goddess Artemis who was often depicted in a short tunic. Throughout Greece, girls participated in formal Games (though not the Olympics) primarily in foot races with aspects of religious ritual associated with such participation.

Work Cited

Boddy, Kasia. Boxing: A Cultural History. London: Reaktion Books Ltd. 2008. Print.

Herodotus. The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories. Fifth Impression Edition. Eds. Robert B. Strassler. Trans. Andrea L. Purvis. New York: Pantheon (2007). Print.

Homer. The Iliad. Deluxe Edition. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Books, 1998. Print.

Murray, Stephen. “Female Gladiators of the Ancient Roman World.” Journal of Combative Sport. July 2003. Web. 12 Mar. 2012.

Papadopoulos, Maria. “The Women in Ancient Sparta: The Dialogue between the Divine and the Human.” SPARTA 6.2 (2010): 5-10. Print.

Plutarch, The Parallel Lives. Loeb Classic Library Edition. N.P. 1914. Uchicago.edu Web. 18 Sept. 2011.

10
Apr
12

Great championship boxing on April 14th: Kaliesha West v. Claudia Andrea Lopez!

>>>UPDATE>>>

Kaliesha West retained her title through ten rounds of fighting against challenger Claudia Andrea Lopez.  West won by majority decision with the judges scoring the bout 98-92, 98-92, 95-95.  Having live tweeted the bout, it is really hard to see how the third judge could have scored it a draw.  West was firmly in control, though the fight was tough and Lopez’s southpaw style took some getting used to.  Kaliesha has been quoted as saying, “Lopez was a crafty veteran who was aggressive during the entire fight. Other boxers avoid her because she is a tough lefty, who has experience fighting good competition. She was what we expected and then some.”

The fight is now on YouTube (albeit in Spanish).  You be the judge!

 

Great championship boxing on April 14th: Kaliesha West v. Claudia Andrea Lopez.

The pride of California, Kaliesha “Wild Wild” West (14-1-3, 4-KOs), the current WBO Bantamweight Champion will be defending her well earned title against Argentina’s own Claudia Andrea “La Chica 10” Lopez (18-5-0, 4-KOs) at the Ernesto Ruffo Appel Municipal Gymnasium, located in Rosarito B.C. Mexico.

For those with access to Televisa, the 10-round, championship take-no-prisoners bout will air as part of their weekly boxing series “Sabados de Corona.” The fight card is presented by Box Latino, and is slated to be led by seven-time world champion, Mexico’s Erik “El Terrible” Morales.

West first won the WBO Bantamweight title in September of 2010 and will be offering her third WBO title defence.  Her last fight was in August 2011 when she won handily over Jessica Villafranca by unanimous decision.  This will be West’s third fight in Mexico – a place she is beginning to call home especially as there are excellent boxing opportunities for her there.

West’s opponent, Claudia Andrea Lopez has the reputation as a fierce competitor and is taking this fight after winning four straight bouts.  A champion in her own right, she is the current WBC Latino Super Bantamweight champion, however, her title will not be on the line in her fight on April 14th,

Boxing News 24 has quoted West’s father and coach Juan West as saying,  “I’ve done my research and Lopez is the type of fighter that managers avoid. She’s strong, left-handed, has a solid chin and she’s a champion. She’s had some close losses to highly rated fighters. This is an opportunity for Kaliesha to make a statement and take her game to another level. She is on a mission to gain the respect of the boxing community and to build a broader fan base by grabbing the attention of casual sports fans.”

For women’s boxing fight fans who happen to be in Mexico, tickets will be available at the Ernesto Ruffo Appel Municipal Gymnasium box office or by calling the offices of Bobby D. Presents at +1 (619) 420 8866. On fight night, the doors will open at 5pm, with the first fight starting at 6pm.

07
Apr
12

Women’s boxing: all eyes on Canada

>>>UPDATE!!!

Congratulations to the Women’s Elite Continental Boxing Champions!!!

Alex Love-48kg (USA), Marlen Esparza-51kg (USA), Clelia Costa-54kg (Brazil), Tiara Brown-57kg (USA), Adriana Araujo-64kg (Brazil), Mikaela Mayer-64kg (USA), Miriam da Silva-69kg (Canada), Claressa Shields-75kg (USA), Franchon Crews-81kg (USA), Erika Cabrera-+81kg (Brazil)!!!

Women’s boxing: all eyes on Canada …

The Women’s Elite Continental Boxing Championships have been underway in Cornwall, Ontario since April 4th and will run through April 7th.  Amateur women’s boxing champions from as far away as Argentina and Brazil and including teams from Jamaica, Ecuador, Mexico, Honduras, Puerto Rico, the United States and Canada have been competing their hearts out.

The tournament has been a preview of the caliber of women’s boxing we can expect in next month’s world championships in China, and importantly, a preview of sorts of how women in the Olympic weight classes will fare.

More importantly, as women’s boxing fever begins to rise, it is offering people who are less familiar with the sport the opportunity to become “infected” by the incredible boxing skills these extraordinary women are  demonstrating night after night.

As always, it seems, women who box do so “wall-to-wall” with barely an opportunity to breathe, never mind allow the action to stop.   As Puerto Rico’s Tiffany Perez who lost a heartbreaker last night put it in an interview with a Canadian paper, “ Women’s boxing is important because women are always the underdogs and this makes them stronger and more determined.” Article link here.

Tonight’s finals will be no exception, pitting the best of that North and South America have to offer for the world to see.  Give yourself a treat and watch the bouts starting at 7:00 PM EST:  Go Fight Live TV

Bout Roster – Finals 7:00 PM EST

(48kg) RED-LOVE Alexandra USA v.  BLUE-CRUZ Claribel ARG
(51kg) RED-ESPARZA Marlen USA v. BLUE-MATOS Erica BRA
(54kg) RED-BENAVIDEZ Yanina ARG  v.  BLUE-COSTA Clelia BRA
(57kg) RED-SANCHEZ Leonela ARG  v. BLUE-BROWN Tiara USA
(60kg) RED-ARAUJO Adriana BRA v. BLUE-SANCHEZ Dayana ARG
(64kg) RED-SILVA Roselaine BRA v. BLUE-MAYER Mikaela USA
(69kg) RED-GITTENS Kimberly BAR v. BLUE-da SILVA Myriam CAN
(75kg) RED-SHIELDS Claressa USA v. BLUE-SPENCER Mary CAN
(81kg) RED BERGERON Maude CAN v. BLUE CREWS-Franchon USA
(+81kg) RED CABRERA Erika BRA v. BLUE-PEREZ Victoria USA


05
Apr
12

Huge middleweight championship bout: Christina Hammer v. Julie “Queen” Tshabalala

>>>UPDATE>>> Christina Hammer retains her WBF Women’s Middleweight Title!

Christina Hammer improved her undefeated record to 12-0 by defeating Julie “Queen” Tshabalala by unanimous decision through ten rounds of boxing.  The much shorter Tshabalala was said to have fought well inside, however, Hammer proved to be overpowering through out the fight.

 

Huge middleweight championship bout: Christina Hammer v. Julie “Queen” Tshabalala

WBF Female middleweight champion, Christina Hammer, 21, is considered the number one women’s boxing middleweight fighting today. She will be putting it all on the line tonight in a championship bout at the Vodova Arena in Brno, Czech Republic.

WFB Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer, Credit: Eroll Popova

The naturalized German citizen by way of Kazakhstan, Hammer (11-0, 7-KOs) will be fighting her third title defense against South Africa’s own (4-1-1, 1-KO). Hailing from Johannesburg, Tshabalala is the current South African Middleweight champion and most recently defended her title against Lilian Molala WBF Female middleweight this past August 2011.

Hammer is known for her tough, saavy fighting style and last October, handily defeated Vashon Living (5-1-0). This begs the question as to whether Tshabalala has the experience to be competitive in the ring against Hammer, although she is known for her tenacity in the ring.

For those who want to see it, the fight will be streaming live beginning at 8:00 PM local time at the following link: www.bild.de




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