Archive for February, 2014

28
Feb
14

Friday Night At The Women’s Boxing Fights … February 28, 2014

Friday Night At The Women’s Boxing Fights … February 28, 2014

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La Barbie Juarez (l) in the ring against a tough Melissa McMorrow as they battled for the WBC Female Superflyweight International Title, February 22, 2014.

Up this week … two women’s boxing title bouts!

Co-Main Event:

Fernanda Alegre (18-1-1, 9-KOs) vs. Marisol Reyes (13-8-1, 6-KOs), WBO Female Light Welterweight Title held at the Club Atlético Huracán, Necochea, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on February 21, 2014.

Main Event:

WBC Champion Mariana “La Barbie” Juarez (39-7-3, 16-KOs) met WBO Flyweight Champion Melissa McMorrow (9-4-3, 1-KO) in a tough 10-round fight at the Gimnasio Miguel Hidalgo de la Angelopolis in Peubla, Mexico on February 22, 2014. They competed for the WBC Female Superflyweight International Title. There was a lot of contraversy associated with the decision so you be the judge! (Fight starts approximately 12:00 minutes in.)

26
Feb
14

Women Box … Wordless Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Women Box … Wordless Wednesday, February 26, 2014

hbox-gordons-1900s

The boxing Gordon Sisters, 1890s variety stage artists.

23
Feb
14

Last Woman Standing …

Last Woman Standing …

LAST WOMAN STANDING

First time documentary filmmakers Juliet Lammers & Lorraine Price have crafted an engaging film about two of Canada’s great national amateur boxing champions, Mary Spencer and Ariane Fortin, both of whom vied for a spot to represent Canada in the 2012 London Games in the 75 kg weight class.

From the opening frame of Last Woman Standing, the cheers of women’s boxing fans can be heard overlaying the film’s energetic score along with the images of the two feature fighters as they go about their hard training regimens.

The importance of the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in agreement with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) to limit female boxing to three weight classes in their debut games in 2012 (as distinct from the original request for five weigth classes), provides the tension in the film as the ramification of the decision begins to weigh on both women. (The three Olympic weight classes for women remain, Featherweight (51kg-112 lbs.), Lightweight (60kg-132 lbs), and Middleweight (75kg-165 lbs.).

Prior to the decision, Spencer and Fortin, boxed in different weight classes. They were also the closest of friends who cheered each other on to national and international titles. With the decision by the IOC, however, it meant that the only way for either of them to compete in the Olympics was to jump up in weight class to 75kg — and as Mary Spencer said, “We never could have imagined that it would come down to us fighting for one spot.”

wdr-620-spencer-fortin

Structured around the events that propelled both women into successive collisions in the ring, the film covers their experiences inside and outside the squared circle as they both fought hard to represent Canada in 2012. What the films depicts is their great courage, fortitude and a will to succeed at all odds — that unfortunately, put so much emphasis on winning a spot, that in Mary’s own estimation it left her thinking that gaining the coveted spot meant her fight had already been won leading to disappointment when she actually fought in her Olympic debut.

Given that women’s boxing in the 2016 Rio Games is still limited to three weight classes, the tremendous pressure that the female fighters undergo for just 36 coveted spots is almost too much to bear. The film also brings home the importance of the Olympics as the one great competition that truly legitimizes the sport for the public as well as the athletes themselves.

Juliet Lammers & Lorraine Price have crafted an elegant, sensitive portrayal of the struggles the two friends underwent in the run up to 2012 — as well as the continuing problems that plague female practitioners of the sport.  

Last Woman Standing had its premier in the United States at the Hot Springs Documentary film festival and was a featured entry at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Montana in mid-February.  The film, an absolute must see, is now available for rental or purchase on multiple platforms including  iTunesAmazon.com instant video, and others. The film continues to screen at various times in Canada. The film’s distributer, Film Buff, is also arranging showings in New York City and Los Angeles.

What the documentary does best, is remind us just how fabulous women’s boxing truly is–and of the immense pride and dedication female boxers bring every time they put on the gloves.

For further information, please refer the Last Woman Standing Facebook page at the link:

LastWomanStandingDocumentary

19
Feb
14

Women Box … Wordless Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Women Box … Wordless Wednesday, February 19, 2014

shadow-boxers-lucia-rijker-film-poster-dvd-cover-world-champion-boxer-boxing-gloves-robe-ring-ropes-image

 Lucia Rijker, women’s boxing heroine! 

Shadow Boxers, feature-length documentary by Katya Bankowsky, 1999.

17
Feb
14

A day off …

A day off …

photo 1-2

A daily something, whether it’s work, going for a run, posting a blog piece or any of a myriad of things can bring a nice bit of order to the day–or act as a set of moments for oneself and oneself alone.

Even with that daily something, it is sometimes nice to have a day off!

Yesterday was just such a day for me–when somewhere late in the evening I realized I hadn’t blogged for the day. Yes, I could have rushed it, but the truth was–it was okay.

Sometimes that break is what we need to kick start something new.

Today, my actual day off from work (the President’s Day holiday), turned out to be a gift of another kind — one extra day at the gym.

I saw friends I rarely run into — and had another chance to box at a leisurely pace, this time going into the ring with boxing trainer, Darius Forde. With Lennox Blackmoore in my corner to coach me through it, I worked through all sorts of issues in the ring offensively and defensively — plus the different looks that Darius showed me.

The rounds on the heavy bag and upper cut bag afterwards were also something a little bit new as I worked through different boxing problems I experienced in the ring.

It got me to thinking that it’s what makes the best part of any day — working through a problem from a different angle. Rather like a piece of art — we get to enrich ourselves by creatively thinking through how best to make something work before moving along.

At any rate, as official day’s off go, it was pretty wonderful.

15
Feb
14

Back in the saddle …

Back in the saddle …

Gleason's Gym - Lennox Blackmoore

After my ring melt down last week, not to mention two snowstorms and my left wrist going all carpal tunnel on me, I didn’t necessarily have high hopes for my return to sparring this morning with Lennox Blackmoore. To be honest, I was dreading it during the middle of the week, but by yesterday, my Pollyanna attitude took over and I started to think that I had a line on how to get respectably pummeled rather than the usual total pummeling!

Getting to the gym a little early, I spent four rounds in front of the mirror working on my stance before heading over the slip rope to do exactly that … slip.

My strategy was to sit lower and use my abs more to propel my legs and to hold my body taut. It also meant that my movements were smaller and I could get my hands back faster to cover up!

By the time Len came, I was very warmed up with a good sweat and when we entered the ring I felt more in control, with tighter punches and at least s-o-m-e slipping. When it came to the dreaded right hook (yep, he was fighting me southpaw again), I still didn’t know how to handle it. By the third one I just said, “let’s stop for a minute,” and asked Len what I should do.

What he recommended was that I weave under the punch to the left and set myself up to throw a left uppercut followed by a left hook.

Talk about a wow! Who knew that old bob-and-weave actually worked as a strategy in the ring! We practiced it a few times, taking us all the way through the bell, and then went back to sparring.  Admittedly I got tagged several more times with his right, but at least I tried to weave under it–and in so doing even surprised him with a few sneaky shots of my own.

By the end of five rounds I was tired, but armed with my new (old) defense, went on the uppercut bag to practice the move some more. The challenge there was timing the bag to duck under and then come up into position to set up throwing the uppercut-hook combination. It took a while, but I actually started to get it, and then used the bag to bob-and-weave on both sides. I also worked out using my “tweaked” stance to the point where my abs actually started to ache a bit by the end of my fourth round on the bag.

Old dog, new tricks … maybe, maybe not, but I certainly felt better about things. Thinking about it as I pounded on the speed bag to close out my workout, I did at least feel as if I’d pushed things along, just enough to sense that maybe, one day, I’ll look in the mirror and actually see a boxer looking back at me!

14
Feb
14

Happy Valentine’s Day @ the Women’s Boxing Fights!

Happy Valentine’s Day @ the Women’s Boxing Fights!

Mako Yamada

Mako Yamada newest WBO Champion.                           Photo: Ulysses Sato and Aaron Jang

This was a big upset, Mako Yamada (7-0, 2-KOs) defeated defending title-holder Su-Yun Hong  (9-1, 5-KOs) for the WBO Female Minimum Weight championship fight! The bout was held on Sunday, February 9, 2014 in the city of Chuncheon, South Korea. Yamada, a 19-year-old from Fukuoka, Japan, won by split decision with a decided body attack in the early going, and came out on top with scores 97-93, 96-94 in her favor and 97-96 for Kong.  You be the judge!

Next up, the main event! The WBC Female Super Bantamweight women’s boxing champion, Alicia “Slick” Ashley (20-9-1, 2-KOs) in her WBC title defense against Zenny Sotomayor (10-5-2, 8-KOs). At age 46, Alicia Ashley is all the more remarkable for her longevity in the realm of professional boxing and for her extraordinary exploits in the ring over a professional career that began 15 years ago in 1999. In her fight against Sotomayor held in Las Pulgas, Tuijuan, Mexico, on October 23, 2013, Ashley won by TKO at 1:43 in the fifth round.

13
Feb
14

Slipping, sliding along

Slipping, sliding along

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What with the snow falling vertically and wind gusting as high as 40-miles-per-hour, my usual leisurely 15 minute walk from home to work was quite an adventure in negotiating where to step. And as for the walk home, Adams Street near Fulton was a veritable icy lake of slush.

When it comes to slip sliding along though, the real dream is avoid the punch that inevitably finds its way onto my head, not the huge piles of snow, ice and all around yuck that is our New York City winter.

The good thing is, life goes on anyway and bitching and moaning aside, it is after all the 13th of February which means not toooooooo many more of these snow-laden morning and evening rush hours to go. Least ways, that’s the hope.

Apropos of nothing in particular, if you do have to think winter–it might as well be skating where so far at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, some of the performances have been remarkable.

12
Feb
14

Women Box … Wordless Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Women Box … Wordless Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Women boxing http://www.vintag.es/2013/04/old-photos-of-women-boxing.html

Women in boxing gloves, 1890-early 1990s

11
Feb
14

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome … oh no, not again!

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome … oh no not again!

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the Ulnar Nerve

It began this afternoon, a twinge on the inside of my left wrist, and then the sudden awareness that my pinky finger and ring finger were feeling a bit numb. Talk about an “oh no” feeling, I had surgical treatment for the same thing in my right wrist about nine years ago, so the thought of having to repeat is not exactly high on my list. While carpal tunnel syndrome generally entails a narrowing of the sheath where the nerve that feeds the thumb, index and middle finger (medial nerve), it can also cause symptoms in the Ulnar nerve.

Thinking about it and given that I’ve had relative wrist health (with the exception of a ganglion cyst on my wrist as a result of rehab on my shoulder), my first question was what’s different?

procare-imak-smart-glove_2The obvious culprit was a new keyboard at work–slightly smaller, lighter and not as angled as the previous one. I certainly hadn’t given it a thought, but as each new key stroke caused yet a new ache on the top of my wrist, I knew I was probably onto something.

The mechanics of my body position in relation to the keyboard aside (which will have to get dealt with tomorrow), my task now is to immediately reduce the inflammation, which includes taking an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen or aspirin). Next up will be wearing a wrist brace to keep it angled in a non-stress position for a few days. There are also a series of exercises that can be done to aid in wrist health. The main thing is to address it fairly immediately and if it continues over a few days–to seek out medical attention.

Carpal Tunnel Exercises

For further information here are some links:

National Institute of Health: Carpal Tunnel Fact Sheet

University of Maryland: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The main thing is to see if non-invasive treatments can be started to mitigate the problem before it gets to the point of requiring serious medical intervention.

Physical Therapy exercises for Carpal Tunnel:

Yoga exercises for Carpal Tunnel:

10
Feb
14

The winter doldrums …

The winter doldrums …

Fortress of Solitude

Fortress of Solitude

Having blown off the gym tonight, I’ve been tucked into my WARM apartment with the family, the cat, some delicious potato-leek soup and lots of the Olympic sport of curling. I even watched a bit of women’s hockey and saw the American team score three goals inside of a few minutes in the first period, quite an impressive bit of playing. And of course yesterday, Sunday, I spent the afternoon and evening watching wall-to-wall figure skating and the men’s downhill, Friday night’s boxing. Oh, plus the Downton Abbey episode with lots of new possible suitors for Lady Mary in the offing, the dowager’s illness and more!

That the thread of the past two days has been non-stop sports and the vicissitudes of life for the upper classes not to mention denizens of their “downstairs” rooms is, admittedly, even for a devoted television watcher like myself, beginning to get to be a bit too much–but given the alternative, c-o-l-d, it is about the best I can muster.  Yes, yes, I was out and about too … party on Friday night, a fabulous lecture series at my daughter’s high school Saturday morning (“Knowledge College” at Bard High School Early College Queens), and a trip to Staples to get Spring term school supplies, but really … those freezing puffs of air on the way to and from places is getting to me.

What with the new season of Netflix’s House of Cards set to begin on Friday, there is that to look forward to, plus the next round of figure skating, so really, aside from the walk to and from work, and yes, maybe even the gym, I’m homebound for the duration until the the temperature reaches into the 50s!

 

09
Feb
14

2014 NY Daily News Golden Gloves …

2014 NY Daily News Golden Gloves …

gloves20s-3-web

Christina Cruz won her seventh consecutive Golden Gloves at the 2013 Finals. Credit: Bryan Pace/NY Daily News

The 87th annual New York Daily News Golden Gloves got underway a couple of weeks ago at B. B. Kings Blues Club. At last year’s Golden Gloves, USA Boxing National Champion Christina Cruz made history with her seventh consecutive Golden Gloves win–surpassing the previous record holder, David Viller.

This week marks Week Three — with two events planned. The full schedule of “fight nights” is as follows:

WEEK THREE

Thursday, February 13
PLATTDUETSCH RESTAURANT – RING 8
1132 Hempstead Turnpike, Franklin Square, NY 11010

Saturday, February 15
ST. PATRICK’S HIGH SCHOOL
401 97th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11209

WEEK FOUR

Wednesday, February 19
POPS GYM
3134 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, NY 10468

Thursday, February 20
NY ATHLETIC CLUB
180 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

Friday, February, 21
HOLYCROSS HIGH SCHOOL
26-20 Francis Lewis Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11358

WEEK FIVE

Tuesday, February 25
PAC PLEX CENTER
1500 Paerdegat Avenue N, Brooklyn, NY 11236

Wednesday, February 26
CLUB AMAZURA
91-12 144th Place, Jamaica, NY 11435

Thursday, February 27
TOTTENVILE HIGH SCHOOL
100 Luten Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10312

Friday, February 28
ST. RAYMOND’S HIGH SCHOOL
2151 St. Raymond Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462

Saturday, March 1 (4:00 PM)
XAVERIAN HIGH SCHOOL
7100 Shore Road, Brooklyn, NY 11209

WEEK SIX

Wednesday, March 5
WILLIS AVE BC
401 E. 141st Street, Bronx, NY 10454

Thursday, March 6
ST. PATRICK’S HIGH SCHOOL
401 97th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11209

Friday, March 7
HOLY CROSS HIGH SCHOOL
26-20 Francis Lewis Boulevard, Flushing, NY 11358

WEEK SEVEN

Wednesday, March 12
ST. BERNARD’S CHURCH
2030 E. 69th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11234

Thursday, March 13
JUDAH BROS AT PAC PLEX CENTER
1500 Paerdegat Avenue N, Brooklyn, NY 11236

Friday, March 14
PETRIDES HIGH SCHOOL – ATLAS FOUNDATION
715 Ocean Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301

WEEK EIGHT

Wednesday, March 19
BISHOP FORD HIGH SCHOOL
500 19th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Thursday, March 20
VARIETY BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
21-12 30th Road, Long Island City, NY 11102

Friday, March 21
ST. ATHANASIUS CHURCH
6120 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11204

WEEK NINE

Monday, March 24
ST. FINBAR AUDITORIUM
1839 Bath Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11214

Tuesday, March 25
OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
275 N. 8th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Wednesday, March 26
NAZARETH HIGH SCHOOL
475 E. 57th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11203

Thursday, March 27 (7:45 PM)
GLEN COVE HIGH SCHOOL
150 Dosoris Lane, Glen Cove, NY 11542

Friday, March 28
ELECTCHESTER HALL
158-11 Jewel Avenue, Flushing, NY 11365

Saturday, March 29 (2:00 PM)
SUFFOLK PAL
99 3rd Avenue, Brentwood, NY 11717

WEEK TEN

Monday, March 31
CHIAM FOUNDATION
4401 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11104

Tuesday, April 1
POPS GYM
3134 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, NY 10468

Wednesday, April 2
EMPIRE CITY CASINO
810 Yonkers Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10704

Friday, April 4
AVIATOR SPORTS RECREATION
FLOYD BENNET FIELD
3159 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11234

FINALS

Wednesday, April 16
Barclays Center
620 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn 11217

Thursday, April 17
Barclays Center
620 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn 11217

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/services/2014-golden-gloves-schedule-article-1.1588038#ixzz2ssyKAFvK

08
Feb
14

The spirit is willing the but the body’s not!

The spirit is willing the but the body’s not!

street_gymnasium_amateur_boxing_lessons

I had a bunch of things to do today (Saturday) — so I switched things around and trained yesterday (Friday), before going to work. The great thing was Len Blackmoore agreed to meet me early and after I warmed up with four rounds of shadowboxing, we hit the ring to spar.

Earlier in the week, I’d been at the gym working out on my own and quite frankly, was feeling pretty great: lots of rounds on the uppercut bag and four great rounds on the double-ended bag gave me a feeling of confidence that carried over as I readied to work out with Len.

Now I’m *not* saying that I was overly-confident or even mostly-confident, let’s just say, I felt as if I’d worked things out with my stance, with moving around in the ring and with slipping Len’s dreaded right hand.  Well as the saying goes, “the best laid plans …”

Right from the start I was able to throw punches, and even managed a few combinations, but nothing I seemed to be able to do defensively protected me from his punches. It’s not exactly as if I was frozen, not at all, but it became obvious that aside from deflecting jabs, no matter how I positioned myself, I was open to hooks and uppercuts.

It was only after my four rounds with Len when I observed him sparring with someone else–someone obviously more experienced in the ring–that I began to see how to work things through defensively by keeping my hands up higher and standing straighter in my stance. What I realized is that I was leaning forward, mistaking it for slipping a punch! Talk about an easy target–no wonder I was getting tagged at will from the right!

Thinking about it later I admit to feeling emotionally stung, as if all of the work I’ve been putting in has been wasted … but of course I know better.

I  just have to go back to basics.

Yep … its time to tweak the boxing stance.

So where to begin … again … grrrrr …. the MIRROR!

07
Feb
14

Friday night at the women’s boxing fights – 2/7/2014

Friday night at the women’s boxing fights – 2/7/2014

Friday Night Fights

Here we are again fight fans! And if Chicago-based new boxing sensation and 6-time Golden Gloves champ Kristen Gearhart (2-0) who is fighting Alliana Jones (1-0) on the ESPN Friday Night Fights card doesn’t get on the air — female boxers will still find themselves shut out of the major US TV networks this weekend.

As alternative …. we have tonight’s fight card with two sensational fights from this past week!

First up is Canadian fighter Lindsay Garbett (8-7-s, 3-KOs) vs. Chinese fighter Xu Chun Yan (4-3, 1-KO) who fought for the vacant WBC International Female Featherweight championship in Haikou, China on February 5, 2014. Garbett lost the battle by majority decision and according to CanadianBoxiana.com told her fans, “Unfortunately I lost a majority decision. I left it all out there and I knew what I had to do. Couldn’t get it done this time. I Had a great time and can’t wait to come home! Thanks again everyone for all the support. I’m so grateful!”

Both are very skilled boxers–and the audience was very attentive. You be the judge! (BTW, Commentary is in Mandarin)

For the main event, here is the complete Cecilia Braekhus (24-0, 7 KOs) vs. Myriam Lamare (22-4, 10-KOs) fight for the WBA, WBC and WBO female welterweight championship held on 2/1/2014. Braekhus took the fight by unanimous decision on points.

Lamare had her pro debut in 2003 and has fought Jane Couch, Belinda Laracuente, Anne Sophie Mathis, Holly Holm, Ann Saccurato and Chevelle Hallback along the way among others. Her only losses other than to Braekhus, had been against Holm and Mathis (twice). Lamare also fought as an amateur

Braekhus, listed as number 1 on everyone’s p-4-p list seems unstoppable with mad, crazy skills and an iron will to win, but let me tell you, Lamare’s no slouch either. The fight, likely Lamare’s last, is all Braekhus, but still a pleasure to watch–with a very lively crowd! (Commentary in Norwegian)

 

06
Feb
14

Emma Chambers Maitland, African-American Female Boxer in the 1920s and 1930s!

Emma Chambers Maitland, African-American Female Boxer in the 1920s and 1930s!

emma_maitland_boxing

Emma Maitland Chambers v. Aurelia Wheeldin, April 26, 1934, NY Golden Gloves. Credit: Vineyard Gazette

Emma Chambers Maitland was a female boxer in the 1920s and 1930s who graced the stage with her boxing act in the United States and France. Born in 1893 in Virginia where here parents were tobacco farmers.  She was fiercely independent and more than anything wanted to be a teacher. She eventually earned a license and made her way to Washington DC were she met and married Clarence Maitland who was studying at Howard University to be a doctor.

What had seemed the beginning of an ideal life, however, fell apart when her new husband died of tuberculosis. By then she had a small child.  Seeking out something better–and after setting up her daughter at her parents home–Emma Maitland made her way to Paris where she became a dancer and eventually, a boxer, training with former heavyweight Jack Taylor, known as the Nebraska Tornado.

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Emma Chambers Maitland and Aurelia Wheeldin, “Tea For Two Girls”, Credit, Cathy Van Ingen

Maitland along with another African-American boxer named Aurelia Wheeldin, appeared at the Moulin Rouge in Paris in a famous dance review called the “Tea for Two.” They went on to perform in a show of their own called the “Tea for Two Girls” that added in three rounds of boxing–which went on to tour the continent.

Back in the United States, Maitland acted as well as danced and also continued to perform with Wheeldin where they had the reputation of “putting on a real fight.” Maitland was also said to have fought competitively outside of the boxing act with female fighters up from Cuba and Mexico. As with female boxing acts in the past both Maitland and Wheeldin billed themselves as champion boxers.

Wheeldin eventually retired from the stage in 1940, but Maitland continued for a while, also picking up work as a “lady wrestler.” She eventually left the stage and began teaching dance and gymnastics before she became a nurse, eventually moving up to Martha’s Vineyard. She passed away at the age of 82, and has since been honored there as part of the African-American Heritage Trail.

HarlemLibrary.EmmaMaitland.Dec111943.TheAfroAmerican.page.23.google.

Female Boxer and Entertainer, Emma Maitland Donates Photographs and Clippings to the Harlem Library, The Afro American, December 11, 1943, Page 23, Credit: Google News Archive

For further information on these remarkable women, please click on the links.

Emma Maitland, Boxing Her Way to Equality and Justice, Elaine Weintraub, Vineyard Gazette.

“Seeing What Frames Our Seeing”: Seeking Histories on Early Black Female Boxers, Cathy Van Ingen, Academia.edu




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