Posts Tagged ‘2012 Olympics

30
Apr
14

K.O. Mequinonoag Reis: Exclusive Q & A Ahead Of Her May 3, 2014 Fight!

K.O. Mequinonoag Reis: Exclusive Q & A Ahead Of Her May 3, 2014 Fight!

Kali Reis fights on May 3, 2014 at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, MA.

Kali Reis (5-2-0), known in the ring as K.O. Mequinonoag Reis, will be fighting Marva Dash (0-2) on May 3, 2014 at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, Massechussetts. Promoted by Big Six Boxing Entertainment, the bout will be on mixed card of boxing and MMA bouts–and the only female fight on the card. Reis defeated Dash by unanimous decision in a previous four-rounder.

In the words of her manager Mary Del Pino, “Kali Reis is one of the first Native American professional female boxers to come out of New England.  Her rich heritage includes Cherokee, Nipmunk and Wampanoag blood.”

Kali also had a challenging upbringing in the tougher areas of Providence, Rhode Island, but it didn’t keep her down, and she used her athletic abilities and keen intellect to push through adversity. She started boxing at a young age, learning the rudiments of the game on a heavy bag with her coach, the Native American boxer, Domingo Tall Dog. In her late teens, she trained with Peter Manfredo Sr. and eventually with Dr. Roland Estrada at Big Six Boxing Academy. Reis is currently back in training with Manfredo.

Kali Reis, Photo Credit: Christopher Annino

Last fall, Reis shocked the boxing world with her high credible showing against seasoned boxer, Tori Nelson, in a ten-round WIBA Welterweight Title fight in Cockeysville, Maryland on November 7, 2013. While Reis lost the fight, she gained respect for her obvious boxing talent, especially since she’d been out of commission following a serious motorcycle accident in 2012. It was also her first 10-rounder.

When she isn’t fighting, Reis works as a trainer at the Striking Beauties Boxing Gym for Women in North Attleboro, MA, teaching adults and children how to box.

Ahead of her fight on May 3rd, Girlboxing had a chance to catch up with her:

1. You’ve got a 6-round fight coming up on May 3, 2014 against Marva Dash — what can we expect to see on fight night?
You can expect to see a totally different fighter on my end, from the lay time we fought in 2012. I’ve made some serious adjustments to my training camp and the results have proved to be successful thus far. I am very happy with the way I am feeling and looking in the ring.
2. What do you want to tell your fans about your upcoming bout and what motivates you to fight?
I want to tell all my fans IM BACK!! 🙂 I hope you all missed me!!! Dust off your purple and lime green attire lol!! I’ve been away from boxing for a while and I haven’t fought in New England for far too long. I came back in November and it’s my time now. I’ve been training harder than ever and I’m ready to show my fans what I can do in there
Kali Reis & Tori Nelson fight toe-to-toe during the ten-round WIBA title bout on November 7, 2013, Photo Credit: Mike Greenhill3.  The 10-round WIBA welterweight title fight last November against Tori Nelson was quite a bold fight for you — especially since it was your first bout after your serious motorcycle accident.  What did it take to walk into the ring that night?
It took EVERYTHING!! I had been back in training since last July and was scheduled for a come back fight locally in Rhode Island in October. We got the call about the Nelson Title fight about a week after she defeated Alex Lopes for the vacant title in early September and I jumped right on it! It was perfect timing because of the scheduled “tune-up” fight in Oct, but that fight fell thru. So I was going into a 10-round world title fight from over a year lay off. Physically I was in great shape and did what I had to do, mentally I wasn’t all there. Personally I was going thru a few changes and there were a lot of new things for me going into this fight. I had Peter Manfredo back on my corner with Dr. Roland Estrada and I hadn’t had Pete in my corner in years. I had never fought 10 rounds or a main event or in Maryland lol. Not to mention the “ring rust” I didn’t have a chance to shake off prior to this fight. The only mistake I made with that fight is not letting my hands go. I picked it up In the fourth round and every round following but it was a little too late. I want the rematch most definitely.
4. You surprised a lot of fans and boxing aficionados with your ring skills that night — and now you’re ranked number ten at welterweight. Where do you see your career going from here?  Are you working towards another title shot? 
I see nothing but positive moves being made toward that number 1 spot. Especially after the recent positive changes I’ve made. I seem to have finally found my rhythm and I’m focused on doing what ever is necessary to secure my place as a top contender in the female welterweight division. I also have other plans to make some noise in Native Country. I want to (and will) start an all Native cross country boxing tournament. It’s just thoughts and conversation right now but I am determined to make it happen. I do what we as a Nation of people have been doing for centuries, I FIGHT!! Another title shot is in the works right now and hopefully everything goes thru smoothly.
Kali Reis 5. You’ve been around boxing for over ten years first as an amateur and now as a pro — what motivates you to keep in the boxing game?
My love for the sport. I’m definitely not in it for the money lol. I’m not too bad at it either. I look at boxing as an art and I haven’t mastered that art yet; or in better terms I haven’t achieved what I want to achieve from boxing yet. Boxing is one of those skills were you will never know it all and there’s always something new to learn or an area to improve in.
6.  As a proud Native American woman with a rich heritage that includes Cherokee, Nipmunk and Wampanoag ancestry — and one of the few in boxing today — you are a role model for other young women.  How has your experience in boxing helped you — and what can your experiences offer by way of guidance to younger women and girls?
Boxing has definitely helped me to channel and control certain emotions. It has also given me patience in general because I am also a boxing coach and fitness/boxing instructor for all ages and teaching takes a lot of patience. Boxing is a very demanding sport and it teaches you commitment, discipline and offers a feeling of success as you learn more and more. I always teach my girls/students to be humble to the sport and don’t cheat on yourself by taking the easy way out. Boxing isn’t a team sport so if YOU don’t do something it’s YOUR fault, there’s no one else to blame.
7. With the Olympics in 2012 — and Claressa Shields’ success at bringing home the gold, there was a lot of hope that the sport of women’s boxing would find its way back to the mainstream.  Your fight on May 3rd is actually on a mixed card with boxing and MMA — a format that has been used in California as well when Ana Julaton fought on a mixed card. From your perspective, do you think there is reason for optimism?  Certainly the coverage is more positive … the question is why aren’t female boxing matches making it to the mainstream in the U. S.?
When Claressa Shields brought home that gold I thought for sure women’s boxing would get the push it’s been wiring for but it fizzled out quick and no one made any significant noise about it! I think mixing the MMA with boxing is a smart idea from a promoters standpoint to get more fans on board and back to being classic boxing fans as well as cater to the fight fans who aren’t into the brutality that MMA offers. I think the reason female fights aren’t making it to the mainstream is because the fights that happened to be showcased are the wrong fights. They’re unskilled sloppy “pull your hair” slap fest that no one cares to watch. We need the caliber of fighters like the era of Lucia Rijker, Laila Ali, Christy Martin when fight fans wanted those females on main big name cards.

A few tickets are still available for what is anticipated to be a sold-out show.  Tickets are $40, $75 Ringside, available through Kali at 401-368-4294.

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

14
Mar
13

Women’s Boxing: Jen Hamann’s “road to gold”

Women’s Boxing: Jen Hamann’s “Road to Gold” 

Jen Hamann, Photo Credit: Jen Hamann

The 2012 London Olympic Games which featured the introduction of women’s boxing has come and gone. The distinctive honor of having participated as one of the first thirty-six women to compete is also certainly singular. But that has not diminished the hopes and dreams of a new generation of female boxers who have already begun to train for the 2016 Games in Brazil.

One such fighter is 27-year-old Jen Hamann. Based out of Seattle, Jen is a two-time Golden Gloves winner who emerged this year as the 2013 Outstanding Female Boxer at the Jr. Golden Gloves.

Jen HamannJen has amassed an 18-2 record since taking up the gloves in 2009. She is currently counting down to this year’s 2013 USA Boxing National Championships beginning on April 1st, challenging for a spot on the podium at 125 lbs. Jen trains under head coach Tricia Turton, herself a former professional boxer, who recently began Arcaro Boxing. Together, they are forging a partnership to help prepare Jen for the competitive challenges that lie ahead.

Jen Hamann & Tricia Turton

Though no stranger to high-stakes competition as a Division-1 athlete in soccer, track & field and cross-country for Seattle University, Jen relies on Turton to help keep her focused and on point. Hamann also works through her experiences by maintaining a blog that recounts her feelings about the sport that has become so much a part of who she is. The link is here: Hamann Road to Boxing Gold. 

Recently, Girlboxing had the opportunity to enter a dialogue with Jen Hamann about her Olympic dreams. Here’s what she had to say:

1. Boxing is not for the faint of heart, what is it about boxing that has driven you to want to spend the next three and a half years of your life dedicated to gaining a berth on the USA’s women’s boxing team fighting at the Brazil 2016 Olympics?

Boxing has given me an outlet to express myself. There’s something satisfying about letting it all go on a heavy bag.  I also have a bit of a sassy temper, and when I suppress this short fuse, it eventually comes out on others in some other way. Boxing doesn’t change my personality – I’m still sassy as ever, it just lets me express it everyday.  Sports and exercise do this for many people, but boxing does it for me. As for the 2016 Olympics, that’s easy – I can never do anything half-heartedly. Whether a good thing or a bad thing, I have to consume my life what I am passionate about – the Olympics are the principle of amateur boxing. Who wouldn’t want to put on a USA uniform and represent their country? 

Jen Hamann, Photo Credit: Alan Berner, The Seattle Times2. You’ve written that you “see boxing as a tool for self-expression, passion, and awareness.” As you embark on your goal of winning a place on the Brazil 2016 team, how will those three attributes take you through the next four years?

Sometimes I get frustrated for being frustrated at practice. I can be a perfectionist in training, and this narrows my view of possibilities. When I fight my personal style of boxing by fixing bad habits, I loose my passion and I end up working to correct something rather than express something, trust my hands and let them go. The 2016 Olympics is a long road and right now, this is a distance race. The more you can be yourself the longer you will last. Being amateur is hard enough; the more awareness you can have of your self, what you love and how you express yourself, the better boxer you will become.

3. You also see boxing as playing an important role in your personal development. How is that expressed as you go through the day-to-day work of being an amateur fighter?

Being an amateur fighter is hard – especially now. I’m not currently on the radar and no one really knows me, I’m pretty new to the National scene. Since training for the Olympics is a full-time job you can imagine how hard it is right now. I have to walk into fundraisers and local events saying that “I am training for the 2016 Olympics” without much of a resume to back it up. It’s like claiming the title before earning the position. But the more I can say it, the more confidence I have in the ring. Since I’ve started writing about it, my boxing has improved.

Jen Hamann, Photo Credit: Alan Berner, The Seattle Times

4. As an accomplished athlete since high school and as a Division-1 college athlete in Track & Field, Cross Country and Soccer, you are no stranger to high-stakes competition. How have you incorporated those experiences into the training and mental focus you need for the ring?

Soccer was my first love. But the difference between the athlete I was in college and the athlete I am now is my confidence. I was a great practice player, for some reason, I couldn’t translate it into the games – I was so afraid of messing up that it messed me up! In boxing, I went into it as an underdog looking for a new hobby without any pressure of college ball. Clearly things have changed! The difference now is that I’m not afraid to show confidence and passion in the ring like I was in soccer. In boxing I have no problem in front of a crowd and I have fun with it – the performance is no longer a burden but a blessing and I’m lucky to participate everyday.

Jen Hamann5. You maintain an active blog recounting your experiences in and out of the ring, as well as your philosophical inquiries as you train. You recently wrote, “Just like in a boxing fight – we continue to put ourselves in a situation of fear and panic in the ring because we want to simultaneously feel the power of recreating the meaning and intention behind each punch.” What is the practical application of that idea as you train in the ring?

If I can push myself in the ring, push through fear, reactions, and comfort boundaries, then I can do this is real life. Creating these sort of fake situations in the ring makes you more likely to put yourself out there in life – you take on situations that you normally wouldn’t. Taking this perspective, I’ve personally grown a lot – I’m more expressive, more confident, more open to talking about what I want, what I need, what my opinions are, taking risks, and taking stances. The only way to go somewhere new both in boxing and in your life is to experience discomfort.  It’s uncomfortable sometimes to take risks – announcing myself as an 2016 Olympic hopeful, or applying to grad school this year, but without the risk and the fear, the success is far less exciting.

6. You’ve mapped out competitive goals that include winning a USA Boxing National Championship, the National Golden Gloves Championship and the National PAL Championship. While you fight at 125 pounds, it can still be difficult to find competitive amateur fights. How have you and your trainer mapped out your competitive options so that you can continue to compete at the highest echelons of the sport?

Finding good fights can be challenging. Luckily, I have a coach who will fly to the end of the world and back with me to find a fight. As a former professional boxer and a former member of the USA women’s rugby team, coach Tricia knows what it feels like to put on that USA jersey and represent your country. Now retired from competition, she wants to give me that same feeling at the 2016 Olympics. As far as finding fights now, this is why we are doing our best to make it to all the national events around the U.S. – experience is almost everything for a boxer.

Jen Hamann "Skittles"

7. You’ve been fighting out of Cappy’s Gym since you started in the sport, but are following your trainer Tricia Turton to Arcaro Boxing. How is that transition going and what do you both see as your goals as you begin this new chapter in your career as a fighter?

Timely question – I just wrote something about this transition on my blog here: The Adventures of Moose and Kid Skittles. Tricia has always been the brains behind the boxing skills, the mentoring and the person passionate about boxing in her community, so it would be crazy of me not to follow her.  The transition is only difficult because she still doesn’t have four walls where she can hang a heavy bag. Luckily, my community has been amazing at helping us out with places to train and funding trips for fights. If we can get through this, we can get through anything in the future. 

Jen Hamann8.  You have chosen to fight among an elite group of women boxers who are all striving for a place in the Brazil 2016 Olympics.  How would you describe your relationships and what you have to offer each other as you embark on your journey together?

Currently, I am not on the USA team so I don’t know any of them personally. I do know that traveling, making weight, and working towards huge athletic goals cannot be done alone. I feel that the best Olympic contenders for the US will come out of a strong, respectful and hard working National team.  We have to be willing to work together, push each other and respect each other for anyone to push their skills – our teammates can be our best trainers.

I think that there are a lot of youth female boxers who are also under the radar, being over looked. Again, we still have 3 years of training and some of my most recent fights against youth boxers entering the senior class have been hard. They are hungry, they are motivated by the 2012 Olympics, and they will not stop challenging us. Gold Medalist Claressa Shields is a perfect example of this. Which also reminds me of a recent blog piece I wrote: Does it matter how you play the game

9. In closing, what has boxing given you — and in turn what do you hope to give to the sport?

Mostly, boxing has given me a medium to express myself without feeling bad about it. It’s also given me confidence. I used to only like those famous athletes that were polite and politically correct in the media – because I used to think that expressing confidence and self-esteem was synonymous to extreme arrogance. But this is completely untrue! My favorite boxer Melissa Hernandez really expresses this well, both for herself and for other women in boxing. I think she boxes because she loves the sport, but she puts on a great show in the ring because she really does care about promoting the sport of women boxing.

I really just want others to experience what I have experienced through boxing. Though I’m not in the spotlight right now, I hope that the blog captures the ups and downs of working towards a huge goal – something that both boxers and non-boxers can relate to. The blog, sometimes a little too revealing, is right now, my way of giving back because I write pretty honestly about the whole experience. 

Be certain to check out Jen Hamann’s Blog:  Hamann Road to Boxing Gold

31
Dec
12

Of endings and beginnings …

Of endings and beginnings …

2012 USA Women's Boxing Team

As is inevitable for this time of year, we relive our triumphs and disappointments and much like the wisdom espoused by the rituals of the Jewish High Holidays, may even set about examining those aspects of our lives we are most proud of and those we may be at a loss to explain.

In considering my own 2012 I certainly ran the gamut from graduating with my master’s degree to emerging from surgery on my shoulder with a pathetic wing that has taken months to set right.

Meanwhile, my own highs, lows and in-betweens are graced by the luxury of lots of comfort, a loving family and a Brooklyn home that experienced nary a sprinkle during Hurricane Sandy.

I’ve also gotten a book contract, my straight right back and a husband who even squired me to the movies two days running over the weekend!

Counting myself among the luckiest of the lucky, I also keep in mind the triumph and trials of my pals at Gleason’s Gym, the thirty-six young women who courageously took up the gloves to box at the London 2012 Olympic Games and another year in the history of women’s fight for equality whether it be in the boxing ring or the hope that a bus ride home in New Delhi doesn’t result in a brutal gang-rape and death.

Maybe it’s the latter that saddens me most.

I’ve been around a long time and the fact that a woman still isn’t safe whether it’s in New Delhi, Johannesburg, London or the Bronx reminds that me that for all our female bravura at embracing martial sports, the fact remains that there is always some part of what we do that is informed by our need for self-defense.

Talk to my thirteen-year-old about it and she’ll regale you with how to leg sweep a potential attacker or such street savvy stratagems as using big glass store front windows to check on who is walking behind her. The operative thing here is that she is thirteen and has already experienced men saying gross things to her on her short walk between school and home. And while her martial art, Aikido, is defensive in nature, it hasn’t stopped her from figuring out that sometimes the best defense is offense: that and the sense to scream, act crazy and run like hell.

So if we are talking New Year’s wishes, mine is to end assault with the first toll of midnight … that said, keep up the fight to claim the boundaries of the ring as your own, whatever your ring happens to be.

Happy 2013!

 

23
Aug
12

Righting and wronging: Chevelle Hallback

Righting and wronging: Chevelle Hallback

The great Chevelle Hallback (28-8-2, 11-KOs) was to have been the main event battling former foe Victoria Cisneros (6-13-2, 2-KOs), for the WIBA World Junior Welterweight Championship belt this coming Friday, August 24, 2012 at the Whitehall Armory in Whitehall, NY.

The fight was canceled, no word yet on why.

Hallback had a lot to prove to herself and her fans: that she could still bring it in the tough world of women’s boxing where the purses are lousy and the chances for promotion hard to come by at a time when the focus of the sport is trained on Claressa Shield‘s Olympic Gold medal and the future.

Hallback was also coming into the fight with some tough losses behind her, notably against Cecilia Braekhus (17-0) who has been seemingly unstoppable and France’s widely popular Myriam Lamare (19-3). PLUS her last fight had been canceled at the last moment as well.

Having fought two of the toughest opponents in her division and lost–the forty-year-old Hallback needed the win, and a decisive one, if she was to remain one of the top ranked in her division (she is currently ranked #2 by WIBA and #1 by Ringside) with a chance to obtain her goal of being the first women to fight on HBO Boxing. More to the point, if she is to contend with Braekhus and Lamare again, Hallback needs to defeat Cisneros whom she fought two years ago in Albuquerque in an 8-rounder. Hallback took a split-decision in that fight, but for her to remain on top now she needed to defeat Cisneros decisively with a display of splendid skills and heart-in-your-mouth passion.

On learning the news of her Ringside ranking she had said, “Number one! Yeah I’m excited at the news, but I’m not taking my eyes off what I still have to do.”

She also said, “I have to win each round convincingly, or just plain stop her. This needs to be a dominating win for me.”

Unfortunately, Hallback is not only fighting in the ring, but out of the ring, all symptomatic of how disgraceful professional women’s boxing is these days with promoters that don’t care and a fan base hot to watch with no outlets.

This is a real blow to Hallback, but more to the point, it is a real blow to women’s boxing. Truly, these women deserve better.

Here’s an interview with Chevelle from August 2nd. She sounds great!

15
Aug
12

Women’s boxing: past, present, future tense

Women’s boxing: past, present, future tense

Christy Martin & Mia St. John, WBC Title Fight, 8/13/12, Photo: Mary Ann Lurie Owen

Pictures always tell stories.  They speak of triumph, pain and the extraordinary toughness that is distilled down to a moment in time.

For Christy Martin (49-7-3, 31-KOs) and Mia St. John (46-11-2, 18-KOs) two legends in the field of women’s professional boxing those pictures, framed within the confines of a ten-round championship battle are indelible for what they tell us about tenacity, courage and love for the sport that both of these women has put so much heart into. Mia St. John won the fight by decision: 96-94, 96-94, 97-93. The decision was considered fair, and evened up their previous meeting on June 12, 2002 when Martin defeated St. John by decision.

Both women announced their retirement after the fight and given that they are 44 and 45 years old respectively, why not.  They’ve earned the right to hang up their gloves as much as any two champions who ever lived.

Christy Martin (r) & Deirdre Gogarty, March 16, 1996, Credit: fscclub.com

Christy Martin began her boxing career in the Toughwoman contests of the early 1990’s before finding her way to Don King and her most famous bout against Ireland’s great boxer Deirdre Gogarty on Showtime’s PPV in 1996.  That fight put women’s boxing on the map — and ready or not, into the primetime of promotional gambits that sought to capitalize on Martin’s success in the ring without regard for the women who actually fought these battles, or the consequences ten years later when the bottom seemed to fall out of professional women’s boxing in the United States.  Mia St. John was able to capitalize on that first wave herself, entering the ring in 1997 and signing first with Don King and then with Top Rank. She continued to box, just as Christy did through the good and lean times of the sport.

Women fight, win, lose, and tough out purses that barely cover expenses, never mind the cost of hitting the gym every day or going into camp for several weeks before a particularly tough bout, things that are taken for granted in the world of men’s boxing, but seem like flights of fancy for the female fighters. Martin and St. John and countless other women who fought alongside them, some highly renowned, others only in their respective cities or gyms, fight on even now if for nothing else than for love of the sport and the opportunity to fight through the things that bring them to the ring in the first place.

Martin and St. John’s bout was their last battle, but to borrow a term from track and field, they have passed on the baton and then some to countless women who have been inspired by their fortitude as they’ve braved the gauntlet to fight and fight hard in the ring. That it comes on the heels of the debut of women’s boxing in the 2012 Olympics is so much the sweeter.

Women’s boxing has Marlen Esparza (Bronze, flyweight medalist), Queen Underwood (lightweight Olympian) and Claressa Shields (Gold, middleweight medalist) to mark another milestone in the sport as great as the night of March 16, 1996 when Martin and Gogarty put the sport on the map. But they’ve also got sisters in gyms across the United States and the world working out two to three hours a day for the chance to climb through the velvet ropes to tell their own stories in minute frames of images.

What we owe to Christy Martin and Mia St. John is incalculable, suffice to say Girlboxing sends a salute to these two remarkable women who have literally pounded the flesh for glory.

 

 

10
Aug
12

The faces of the women’s Olympic boxing!

The faces of the women’s Olympic boxing!

The faces tell the story.

Joy.

Exuberance

Ferocity

Engagement

Pride

Intensity

Pain

09
Aug
12

Women’s Olympic Boxing Finals!!!

Women’s Olympic Boxing Finals!!!

“I wasn’t supposed to bang with her, but she didn’t respect me, so I had to!” – Claressa Shields on winning her semifinal bout 29:15 over Marina Volnova.

Update:

Claressa Shields wins the first middleweight gold medal in history by the score of 19:12!!!

 

Well it’s down to this, the first women’s Olympic boxing finals in history.

Fighting for the gold for the United States will be middleweight Claressa Shields who put the proverbial “beat down” on Kazakhstan’s Marina Volnova by the score of 29-15 after rocking her to an eight-count in the third and forth rounds. Claressa’s opponent will be Russia’s Nadeszda Torlopova who defeated Li Jinzi by the score of 12:10 in a somewhat lackluster contest.

In speaking about Claressa, AP sportswriter Greg Beacham wrote: “And just like Cassius Clay, Joe Frazier and Oscar De La Hoya before her, Claressa Shields is about to fight for a gold medal.”

Claressa has that effect. She’s infectious and has the same kind of star quality that makes putting her in the company of boxing greats seem like the most natural thing in the world. She’s also promised to bring home nothing less than gold — and knowing Claressa, she probably will.

Claressa Shields and Barbara “The Mighty Atom” Buttrick backstage at the Excel Arena. Buttrick began boxing in 1949 in carnival shows all over England. Credit: Sue Jay Johnson

In the Flyweight division, China’s Cancan Ren who defeated the USA’s Marlen Esparza by the score of 10-8 will take on Great Britain’s Nicola Adams who won her semifinal match against India’s Magnificent Mary Kom by decision 11:6.

Marlen Esparza and Mary Kom will both be awarded the first women’s flyweight bronze medals for women’s boxing. Both performed their best and should feel proud of their place in the evolution of the sport. Marlen has been a fierce competitor and a model of selfless achievement in the American amateur boxing community. And as for Mary Kom — having boxed in the first ever AIBA World Women’s Boxing tournament in 2001, she has persevered in the sport she loves to become an Olympian.

Ireland’s wildly popular Katie Taylor the reigning world champion in the Lightweight division handily defeated Mayzuna Chorieva 17:9 to earn her berth in the finals. She will face the number two seed, Sofya Ochigava from Russia who defeated the Brazilian fighter Adriana Araujo, 17:11.

Katie is a veteran amateur fighter who has long been lauded as the best of best. She also works tirelessly for women’s sports in her native Ireland and has become so beloved that she led the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin in 2011.

Whether these remarkable women win silver or gold — they each have stories to tell of how they made their way through the labyrinth of training, competition and the dings that life threw them along the way. As women they are trailblazers in a sport that more often than not has neglected their presence or worse attempted to meddle in such things as whether they should wear skirts. Still they have boxed their way into the hearts of their fans — and new ones who are being won over by the poise, skills and temerity of these athletes.

As you watch the women’s Olympic boxing finals today remember that you are part of history — and then send up an extra loud cheer for the sheer guts that these women embody as they step into the ring!

Don’t watch the Finals on your own! Cheer on with a terrific web chat!

Join Girlboxing, Sarah Deming and 2012 World Champion Tiara Brown and producer Marianne McCune online with WNYC.org Radio’s online chat as part of the WomenBox coverage! The festivities get underway at 11:30 AM (EDT) in the US. Link to the chat is here.

Great articles from around the web!

Ariel Levy, New Yorker: Claressa Shields Boxes for Gold

Greg Beacham, AP: US’ Claressa Shields advances to gold-medal bout

Eric Woodyard, MLive: Claressa Shields’ promise: Nothing less than gold in the Olympics

John Henderson, Denver Post: Olympic Boxing draws interest from all corners of the world

Ignacio Toress, NBC Latino: Marlen Esparza gets bronze and makes history

Lyndsey Telford, Independent.ie: Katie Taylor hailed as role model in hometown Bray

Olympics Results

Semifinal Session Results

08
Aug
12

Women’s boxing is going for the Gold!

Women’s boxing is going for the Gold!

Marlen Esparza, Claressa Shields and the ten other semi-finalists who will be battling it out today have spent years getting to this point.

India’s Mary Kom boxed in the first International Boxing Association (AIBA) Women’s World Boxing Championships held in November 2001 at a venue in Scranton, PA. Mary was one of 125 boxers who participated in the championship and won a Silver medal in the 48KG division. She subsequently won Gold in 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2010.

China’s Cancan Ren who will face Marlen Esparza in the semifinals is also a Gold medalist having won in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Marlen herself is no stranger to achieving the top spot in her sport having won the USA Boxing national championship five times in her career.

Ireland’s Katie Taylor is considered pound – for – pound about the best that women’s amateur boxing has to offer and if her quarterfinal bout against Natasha Jonas is any indication she is well on her way to Gold in the lightweight division.

And not to say that these remarkable athletes are only in it for the Gold, but as competitors they won’t say no to the opportunity to shine.

As members of the first class of female boxing Olympians there is, of course, a little something extra to the achievements that their considerable talent, gumption and strong work ethics have given them. Whatever happens they will hit the history books–and why not, they deserve every brilliant accolade coming to them for persevering in a sport that loves to hate them.

Even as of last night, @espnboxing tweeted the following: “2012 Summer Olympics–Errol Spence’s loss ensures no U.S. boxing medal…”

Okay, I give up–I thought that Marlen Esparza and Claressa Shields are fighting today for the chance to win a Bronze, Silver or Gold U.S. boxing medal. I guess I got that wrong–or is it that ESPN doesn’t consider that Marlen Esparza, Queen Underwood and Claressa Shields were worth noticing as members of the U.S. Olympic boxing team; not to mention consideration for the years and years and years of work and effort they put into becoming Olympians: win or lose.

Still Marlen and Claressa will box.

They will box alongside the other ten Olympians who have made it to the semifinals and leaving all the doubters and naysayers behind will fight their hearts out for Gold. It will be Gold they can feel proud of as a personal achievement, and yes for a bit of national pride too, no matter that for some of the women who will box for the chance to win Gold, it will be nothing more than an asterisk that’ll sit next to the “no U.S. boxing medal” mindset or equivalent nonsense thereof.

07
Aug
12

2012 Women’s Olympics Boxing Semi-Finals!

2012 Women’s Olympics Boxing Semi-Finals on Wed. August 8! — UPDATED (see link at bottom of post for full quarterfinal results)

Then there were twelve … twelve extraordinary boxers who will begin the medals rounds on Wednesday, August 8th to box for bronze, silver and gold and for their countries!  This is pretty heady stuff in the world of women’s boxing!  The action begins at 1:30 PM Local Time (8:30 AM EDT) on Wed. August 8th.

FLYWEIGHTS 

China’s top seed in the flyweight division Cancan Ren fought a quick and technically smart fight against Russia’s Elena Savelyeva to win her quarterfinal bout by decision with the score 12-7.  Her opponent is none other than the USA’s Marlen Esparza, who fought her signature inside/outside game with quick and assured hands to not only take the win against Bulgaria’s Karhla Magiolocco, but to show her dominance of the ring.  Esparza took the decision by the decisive score of 24-16.

The popular Indian Flyweight Mary Kom (Chungneihang Mery Kom Hmangte), who is a champion many times over won her fight by the score of 15-6 against Tunisian boxer Maroua Rahali.  Kom faces the Great Britain’s hometown favorite, Nicola Adams who handily defeated Bulgaria’s Stokya Petrova by decision with the score of 16-7 in the quarterfinals.

LIGHTWEIGHTS

Ireland’s Katie Taylor, the number one seed in the division, showed boxing brilliance in her match against Britain’s Natasha Jonas. Both fighters gave credance to the idea of calling boxing The Sweet Science. Taylor scored 26-15 by decision after rocking Jonas in both the third and forth rounds.  Her opponent will be Mavzuna Chorieva from Tajikistan who won her semi-final berth by defeating China’s Cheng Dong by the score of 13-8.

Brazil’s Adriana Araujo had a fairly close win over Morocco’s Mahjouba Oubtil scoring 16-12 by decision.  Araujo faces the number two seed, Russia’s Sofya Ochigava who walked through her bout against New Zealand’s Alexis Pritchard by the score of 22-4.

MIDDLEWEIGHTS

The first semifinal bout will be between the USA’s Claressa Shields and Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan. Shields gained her berth in a tough demanding bout against the much taller and experienced Anna Laurell. Shields toughness and ferocity, however won out as she muscled through her opponents defences to take the fight decisively by the score of 18-14.  Volnova gained her berth by toppling number one seed Savannah Marshall of Great Britain by decision, 16:12.

China’s Li Jinzi defeated Canadian favorite Mary Spencer in the quarterfinal by the score of 17-14. Jinzi will face number two seed Nadezda Torlopova of Russia who overpowered the Nigerian boxer Edith Ogoke 18-8 to take the decision.

Taking home the gold!

If viewers and boxing fans have questioned the quality of the boxing at the Olympics (especially the USA Boxing men’s program) — the female fighters have proven that where the women’s boxing program is concerned, they came to medal and medal they will. Fighters such as Marlen Esparza and Claressa Shields will come home with nothing less than a bronze, but truth be told it is gold they are after.

Whatever happens, the excitement in the ExCel Arena has been infectious if not mind-bendingly loud with decibel levels well in excess of 107 for the Taylor-Jonas fight. The Detroit Free Press added this quote which is apt:

“This Olympics just amplifies what they’ve already done,” Charles Leverette, assistant U.S. coach, said of women’s boxing’s inaugural competition. “It’s an exclamation point. These women here, they’re great talents. Me, personally, I think they’re going to be adding another couple of weight classes. This is some of the most exciting competition you can get.” (Full article here.)

Girlboxing for one couldn’t be prouder or more humbled by the remarkable efforts of the first class of female boxing Olympians who have stepped through the velvet ropes to fight. No matter the outcome they are all true champions who have defied the prevailing winds to prove themselves as true Olympians.

Quarterfinal Results Click HERE!!!

06
Aug
12

2012 Women’s Olympic Boxing Quarterfinals!

2012 Women’s Olympic Boxing Quarterfinals!

Yep, today’s the day.  Twelve bouts across three Olympic weights:  flyweight, lightweight and middleweight. Action gets underway at the ExCel arena starting at 1:30 PM local time (8:30 ET).

FLYWEIGHTS

First up will be China’s Cancan Ren against Elena Savelyeva who won by decision yesterday over Hye Song Kim 12-9, in the first women’s Olympic bout in history.

The USA’s medal-hopeful and six-time national champion, Marlen Esparza will fight Karlha Magliocco of Venezuela who won her bout by a 15-14 decision against the Brazilian flyweight Erica Matos.

Next up will be India’s great champion Mary Kom who fought a gallant prelim bout against the much larger Polish fighter Karolina Michalczuk taking the decision by a score of 19-14.  Kom faces Tunisia’s Marous Rahali who had a BYE yesterday.

The last flyweight quarterfinal match will pit Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova who proved herself to be a talented competitor in her bout against New Zealand’s Siona Fernandes by taking the decision 23-11 against Great Britain’s Nicola Adams.

LIGHTWEIGHTS

The great Irish fighter Katie Taylor who as the number one seed is favored to win the gold may have had a BYE yesterday, but she will have her hands full when she faces the popular British fighter Natasha Jonas.  Jonas defeated the highly popular USA fighter Queen Underwood in a heartbreaker in the prelim round taking the decision 21-13.

The second fight will pit China’s Cheng Dong who won her quiet bout 10-5 against Mihaela Lacatus of Rumania.  She’ll face Mayzuna Chorieva of Tajekistan who had a BYE in the prelims.

The next outing will pit the scrappy Brazilian fighter Adriana Araujo who pulled out her win with fierce forth round action against Khassenova Saida (KAZ) by decision with the score of 16-14 against Mahjouba Oubtil (MAR) who will be making her Olympic debut.

The last lightweight bout will pit New Zealand’s popular boxer Alexis Pritchard who took her decision 15-10 against a very scrappy Rim Jouini of Tunisia against Russia’s Sofya Ochigava who sat out yesterday’s prelims with a BYE.

MIDDLEWEIGHTS

Great Britain’s Savannah Marshall, the number one seed in the middleweight division will make her Olympic debut facing Marina Volnova (KAZ) who took her decision 20-11 against Kenya’s great champion Elizabeth Andiego who quite frankly gave it her all in the ring during their preliminary bout–and should have won on heart alone.

Claressa Shields, the 17-year-old American phenomenon will enter the Olympic boxing ring for the first time against Sweden’s Anna Laurell who fought a tight technical bout against Australia’s Naomi Rasmussen winning the bout with a 24-17 decision.

The third bout will see Canada’s best hope for a boxing medal Mary Spencer against China’s Jinzi Li who fought a tough controversal bout against Brazil’s Rosell Feitosa. Li won the bout 19-14, but commentators felt that while she may have won the bout, the fourth round scoring did not accurately reflect action in the fight.

The last quarterfinal bout will pit Nigeria’s Edith Ogoke who won a close hard fought bout against Elena Vystropova (AZE) by the score of 14-12.  Ogoke is matched against the number two seed, Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova who sat out the prelims with a BYE.

Yesterday’s scoring results can be found here.

Today’s official bout sheet can be found here.

Queen Underwood’s emotional post-fight interview from NBC.

 

05
Aug
12

Olympic dreams all 36 of them!

Olympic dreams all 36 of them!

One of the great things about life is the capacity to surprise. Beyond surprises though are the hopes and dreams that inform all of our greatest achievements. Today marked one of those brilliant moments when the first of the thirty-six female boxing Olympians donned the gloves to make their mark on history.

The first women to step into the ring were two flyweights: Russia’s Elena Savelyeva in her bout against North Korea’s Hye Song Kim. The rounds were hard fought if not the most elegant of bouts, but it didn’t matter. Both women fought with heart, tenacity and gumption having both spent years in the ring perfecting their skills for that one moment. Savelyeva won the fight by a 12-9 decision after four rounds–and with her win, what had at one time seemed so impossible became something ordinary, women boxing at the Olympics as if they had always boxed at that vaulted contest whose history as a venue for boxing spans millennia.

And to my mind, watching it through the miracle of digital images transported across space, Teddy Atlas‘ voice speaking to the heart of what makes a champion, it was hard not to feel the pomp and circumstance of the Olympian spirit that permeates the Games in the best sense. I thought of old Nestor in The Iliad lamenting his age and its denial of his chance to sport once more in the ring of combat. It gave those moments a kind of “churchiness” as each young women resplendent in blue and red, their shiny new head-gear and gloves in place; gave it their all with skill and ring savvy and dreams of Olympic glory informing their pas de deux around the canvas.

I ached for Queen Underwood whose years of hard work came to a crashing halt–pushing through tears as she spoke so eloquently for the cameras about her 21-13 loss to Natasha Jonas. Queen fought with fire, each punch the culmination of thousands of hours of gym time as so many pathways of muscle memory. She said, “I took a big jump in my life to get here.”  And she did, but more than her jump, she jumped for all of us. Yes, she is terribly disappointed that she didn’t go on–but she should also know that she was a champion walking into the ring and no less a champion walking out.

Perhaps that’s the point. Each of the thirty-six athletes who will box over the course of the next few days has taken a big jump to get to the Olympics. They have endured countless years of hard labor at their craft and have overcome the personal trials and tribulations that inform a life to step up into the ring in the first place–not to mention enduring the “slings and arrows” if you will, of a wider public that has been somewhat unforgiving when it comes to supporting the sport of women’s boxing.

What I saw today, however, was a brilliant display of skill and temerity–pure and simple and as my husband put, “I keep forgetting that I’m watching women because they’re just great boxers!”  Would that all of us could embrace this wonderous sport with such ease.

===

Today’s bout sheet results from AIBA!

Queen Underwood’s emotional post-fight interview from NBC.

19
Jun
12

The greatest things … Queen Underwood, Olympian!

The greatest things … Queen Underwood, Olympian!

Sometimes things just work out.

For USA Boxing‘s Olympic Lightweight Trials Champion Queen Underwood, talent, determination and sheer courage have won the day in the Olympic Tripartite Commission’s decision to give her the last lightweight boxing berth available to the American continent in this year’s historical debut of women’s boxing at the 2012 summer Olympic Games in London.

Queen will join her teammates and fellow Olympians, Marlen Esparza and Claressa Shields in representing the United States this year.

Also getting the nod were Canada’s fabulous boxing talent Mary Spencer in the middleweight division and Brazil’s great flyweight champion, Erica Matos.

All three women were tremendously worthy of the honor not the least of which for their incredible skills as boxers.

In Queen Underwood’s case there is also something extra.

Her personal story is one of triumph over odds none of us should ever have to face or even consider. She is a survivor and a role model for punching through and finding a way to grapple with the demons that can haunt a person late into the night or otherwise push them into a spiral of self-abnegation and decline. Queen chose another way–and in that choice we are all the beneficiaries of an enormous talent not only in the ring, but in life itself.

(See this superlative article in the NY Times for more on Queen’s personal saga.)

In the game of life as in the ring we often roll with whatever the shots are. Sometimes they are to the gut and sometimes not, what’s great to know is that life has the capacity to surprise and to reward greatness when it counts.

————————

Note to readers:

I will be a one-armed bandit for a while as I am about to undergo the “knife” so to speak for arthroscopic shoulder surgery on June 20th.

It’ll mean I’ll be out of the box for a while, but I will attempt to post, albeit, one-armed. That will likely be next week, but sooner if I can manage.

While I can’t say I’m jumping for joy about all of this, I do look forward to walking into Gleason’s Gym to spend many a happy hour at work on the double-ended bag.

My surgeon is Dr. Andrew Feldman who has otherwise had a lot of “practice” on New York Ranger’s hockey players (he’s their team physician) so I’ve got to figure he’ll be ready for the “show” when he works his surgical magic on my labrum and tendons tomorrow.

I’ll see you from the other side.

 

10
Jun
12

Exclusive Interview with Sonya Lamonakis set to fight on June 14th @ Roseland Ballroom!

Exclusive Interview with Sonya Lamonakis set to fight on June 14th @ Roseland Ballroom!

Gleason’s Gym’s own scholar and favorite female heavyweight Sonya Lamonakis (6-0-1) will be returning to Dibella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing in a rousing six-round rematch against Tiffany Woodard (4-6-2) on June 14, 2012 at the storied Roseland Ballroom.

Lamonakis and Woodard have met twice before. While Lamonakis has won both fights, their last outing also under the Broadway Boxing banner at Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts in August 2011 resulted in a split decision win.

Lamonakis and Woodard, August 2011

While Lamonakis has been hard at work prepping for this bout, she’s also been finishing up the school year at the Family Academy school in Harlem. In between her busy schedule, Sonya agreed to do an interview with Girlboxing.

1. You’ve got a fight coming up against Tiffany Woodard on June 14th as Roseland Ballroom in NYC as part of the Broadway Boxing series. Your last time out with Tiffany you won by a split-decision over six rounds. What is your game plan against her this time out?
This will be our trilogy. She is a tough opponent not to be taken lightly. We are both coming off a draw and want a win. I plan on working angles and combinations. I will be more active than the last time I fought her.
2. You are 6-0-1 now, that’s quite an achievement.  What are you looking to achieve with a win against Woodard?
A win! Again, I’m coming off a draw and I need to get that W and get ready for a title fight in the future.
3. What has your training been like for the fight?  I know your semester is winding down, but you are still working full-time as a teacher in Harlem. How are you able to make things work?
Training has been a little crazy.
I fired my trainers and will have Buddy McGirt in my corner. He worked with me about two months ago when he was here training a fighter for a big fight for about a month. Unfortunately, he went back to his home in Florida and I was lost without him. I attempted to work with “Blimp” Delon Parsley and Lennox Blackmore, but neither of them were to aggressive with my training and took it too lightly. I felt I was not being taken seriously enough and needed a change.
Work is winding down and the summer is here. I am delighted to greet it. I do my best to balance my career and my hobby. I always put my students first. One Saturday a month I set up a trip for my students to take them out of the city on a hike, or adventure so they can breathe some clean air and work on confidence, self-esteem, and finding themselves.
4. Kaliesha “Wild Wild” West issued a press release with her father and trainer Juan West stating that while women work as hard as men in the fight game, they are not catching any kind of breaks for fight promotions or TV air time. I know that you’ve had a great relationship with Lou DiBella and Broadway Boxing here in New York, but do you feel that Kaliesha has a point?  Are things really tough right now for female pro boxers trying to gain the experience, recognition and opportunity that comes with televised fights?
Unfortunately, women are not getting what they deserve. I have never been told or heard that my fights are boring or are not worthy of television. I dream of the day that I will fight on ESPN Friday Night Fights, or even Showbox, or HBO Boxing. For now, I am thankful that Lou allows me on his cards and always gives me TV time on SNY and MSG. It’s baby steps for women. Even as an amateur I had to fight against the odds to create a path for the women to get where they are today. I am proud to be part of the movement that opened up women’s boxing at the amateur and professional level.
5. You’ve only fought two fights since last April, one in August one in January–can you tell us what’s been going on in the women’s heavyweight division and why there seem to be so few fights?
Boxing is an expensive sport. The promoters want to make money. There is not a lot of money in women’s boxing. With the more wins I get the harder it is to find opponents. There are a lot more heavyweights but not ones that want to fight me. They ask for a lot of money and my promoter can only pay so much. It’s not like Lou is making $100,000 off my fight. I sell tickets to cover my purse and my opponents. I’m waiting for an offer from a woman on her card so I don’t have to worry about tickets and I can be the guest on a show.
6. Sonya, you are an inspiration to so many people not only as a boxer, but as a teacher and in your work against bullying. Your personal story is also one of redemption, hope and faith. Tell Girlboxing readers about your work in the community and how it is affecting the lives of young people?

Teaching school and guiding children is something I’m good at. I am positive role model for the children academically and personally. I attended colleges and received masters degrees and hold five different New York State Education Certifications in a variety of fields. I’m also an athlete and the students can relate to me. I love all my children and find the good in each of them. I do my best to instill values and morals in them that will lead to towards successful lives. I tell them that if they want to have choices when they are older they need to have an education. Without an education you have no choices to make. You have to take whatever job you can and do your best to survive. As an example, remember that episode on the Cosby’s when Bill gave his son fake money and had him pay bills until he ran out quickly. At that point he wanted more things, but he had no money left. So without an education, your choices will be limited, but with an education you can go anywhere.

7. One last question — with the debut of women’s boxing at the 2012 London Olympic Games, what do you feel most proud of?
I feel proud to be a part of the movement that accomplished this mission. I attended meetings, competed in the Nationals, signed petitions, advocated for the women and being an amateur boxer allowed me to be part of the debut of women’s boxing. I look forward to the Olympics and hope that it opens the doors for more women in the future of boxing.

Check out Sonya’s new sponsor website here!

For tickets to Sonya Lamonakis’ Broadway Boxing fight at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City contact Gleason’s Gym: 718-797-2872.  Tickets are: $45, $65 and $85.  The first bout is at 7:00 PM.

31
May
12

Kate Sekules and The Boxer’s Heart: A Woman Fighting!

Kate Sekules and The Boxer’s Heart: A Woman Fighting!

As Kate Sekules says of her love affair with boxing in her memoir, The Boxer’s Heart: A Woman Fighting, “I wonder myself what set this obsession in motion.” Kate never stops describing it either, from her affection for the sport on through her experiences beginning with her early forays into the gym and what it felt like the first time she stepped into the ring to fight.  As she says,

“Training to box is one of the toughest physical challenges you can set yourself, and it is clean. But once you step through the ropes, a dimension rears up that is not pure at all. To compete as a runner, a swimmer, a player of tennis, golf, basketball, football-any noncombat sport-what you do is an extension of what you did in training, only more intense; but to compete as a boxer, your aims are suddenly quite distinct from those of your training sessions. You hope to inflict so much pain on your opponents that they fall over and can’t get up.”

Kate’s book is a warm, colorful homage to her years training at Gleason’s Gym — and of the women she trained along side beginning in 1992 on through the late 1990’s. Originally published in 2000, Kate has reissued her memoir with a new afterward to coincide with the historical debut of Women’s Boxing at the 2012 Olympics.

As for the ensuing 11 years, Kate notes the sport has “actually become less visible.” Something we all feel with “more female mis-matches … and more neglect of women’s bouts by mainstream media.”

What comes across, however, in Kate’s highly engaging book is truly the viewpoint of a boxer’s heart.  She shows us her love of the sport, the camaraderie of her fellow boxers and an intimate perspective of the journey of a boxer. As Kate said recently in an interview with Girlboxing, “We confront through boxing the same issues every woman faces,” only in the case of a female boxer we add a touch of “rebellion perhaps and a counter to mainstream culture.”

Kate also made the point that the “book is for men and women about gender roles as much as about the sport.”  Still what Kate provides is a treasure trove of details about the sport at a certain time and place — as well as an intimate portrait of Kate and her cohort of boxing friends all working hard to practice the art they love so much.

These days, Kate can be found back at Gleason’s Gym once a week — after having worked out at Chelsea Piers for a while doing their “Lunchbox” series which she swears was “amazing, he’s really, really good.”  She’s also the owner of Refashioner, a marketplace for pre-owned couture.

The Boxer’s Heart: A Woman Fighting will be hitting bookstores this week — and if you happen to live in Brooklyn, be sure and stop by BookCourt on Friday, June 1st for a live reading!  Details are as follows:

Reading – June 1, 2012 @ 7:00 PM

BookCourt

163 Court Street

Brooklyn NY 11201

To purchase Kate’s Book from Amazon.com click on the link!




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