Posts Tagged ‘AIBA

02
Jan
17

Women’s Boxing Circa 2017

Women’s Boxing Circa 2017

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Amanda Serrano defending title against Calixita Silgado, July 30, 2016. Photo Credit: Behind The Gloves

While women’s boxing has been around since “modern” boxing began in the 1720s, its place in American sports consciousness began with a trickle in the 1950s and grew to a steady flow by the late 1990s before petering back in the late 2000s.

Boxer Christy Martin’s bout against Irish fighter Deirdre Gogarty on the undercard of a Mike Tyson pay-per-view championship in 1996, put women’s boxing on the “map.” Not two weeks later Martin was on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in her characteristic pink boxing attire, and for the likes of boxing impresarios Don King and Bob Arum, it was a race to find other female fighters to add to the undercard of boxing bouts.

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Such fighters as Lucia Rijker and Mia St. John, while not household names by any means, were becoming known in the boxing community—and even sported decent pay days that could be numbered in the thousands rather than the hundreds. At the same time, women’s boxing became a sanctioned amateur sport leading to the development of a national team in the late 1990s. The beginnings of international amateur competition began in 2001 coinciding with the legalization of the sport in countries across the world.

In the United States, the entry of Mohammad Ali’s daughter Leila Ali along with other boxing “daughters” such as Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, thrust the sport into the realm of popular culture including covers of TV Guide and a myriad of talk show appearances. With Leila Ali’s ascendency, however, other American female boxers of the period such as Ann Wolfe, Belinda Laracuente, and Layla McCarter, could not find traction on pay-per-view cards or on cable, despite excellent boxing skills (frankly much better than Ali’s) and by 2010, it was hard if not impossible to find female boxing on American television.

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At the same time, internationally at least, women’s boxing was in an ascendency in such places as Mexico, Argentina, South Korea, and Japan, not only with opportunities for decent fights, but reasonable paydays, and most importantly, fights which were broadcast on television—and continue to be to this day, with female bouts routinely marketed as the “main event.”

International amateur women’s boxing was also on the ascendency culminating in the inclusion of women’s boxing as an Olympic sport in the 2012 Games in London. For such European fighters as Ireland’s Katie Taylor and England’s Nicola Adams, winning gold medals became very important national achievements leading to endorsements and other opportunities, not the least of which was recognition of their place in history and as role models for younger women and girls. For America’s boxing phenomenon, Claressa Shields, who at 17 was the first American female to ever win a gold medal for boxing, the usual promise of Olympic gold endorsements never appeared, and any sense that the inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympics would perhaps enable a resurgence of the sport in the United States did not materialize. The other American female medalist who won a bronze in the 2012 Games, Marlen Esparza, had slightly better luck in winning endorsements, with adds for Coca Cola and Cover Girl, and a certain amount of traction in the Hispanic community, but otherwise, her Bronze had little effect on the sport as a whole.

In fact, women’s professional boxing has remained virtually absent from the airways in the United States with very, very few exceptions over the past eight years—and in fact, with respect to national exposure, i.e., network television or nationally televised cable boxing programs (ESPN, et al), such instances can be counted on one hand between 2012 and 2016.

The exceptions have been certain local fight cards such as New York City-based promoter DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing series, which have promoted and televised female bouts on local cable television channels. The same was true of a few of boxing champion Holly Holm’s fights in her local New Mexico market.

Some women’s bouts are also available live from time to time on US or internationally based internet pay channels at anywhere from $10 to $50 a pop. Otherwise, the only other means of watching female bouts has been on YouTube and other video services, where promoters may upload fights days after the bout. Viewers have also come to rely on uploads from fans that record all or some portions of female bouts. The clips are uploaded to social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and now Facebook Live, in addition to YouTube, Vimeo, et al. Additionally, it is possible to watch international female professional boxing bouts via satellite television. International amateur female boxing tournaments are also available on occasion for website viewing, and certainly women’s boxing in the 2012 and 2016 games were available on the NBC Sports website, albeit, after much searching.

Three of the handful of professional female bouts broadcast since the 2012 London Games included, boxing champion Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano’s six-round bout which was televised on a CBS Sports boxing program on May 29, 2015, boxer Maureen “The Real Million Dollar Baby” Shea’s pay-per-view title bout on a Shane Mosley fight card broadcast in August 29, 2015, and the last nationally broadcast women’s bout on NBCSN, which pitted two highly popular local North East fighters Heather “The Heat” Hardy and Shelley “Shelito’s Way” Vincent for the vacant WBC international female featherweight title on August 21, 2016. This latter fight was the first female bout to be broadcast under the new upstart Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) promotion arm that has brought boxing back to broadcast television on NBC and CBS, as well as broadcasting on cable television outlets including Spike TV, NBCSN, and ESPN.

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Heather Hardy (R) defeated Shelito Vincent by MD in their ten round slug fest on August 21, 2016. Photo Credit: Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment

Four months on from the PBC broadcast, with a second Olympic cycle resulting in Claressa Shields winning her second back-to-back gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games – the first American boxer, male or female to have won that distinction – the status of women’s boxing in the United States is at a crossroads of sorts.

Since 2012, mixed-martial arts (MMA) have made significant inroads across platforms on cable, broadcast and internet-based telecasts. Moreover, this increase in visibility has come at the detriment of boxing—with more and more advertising dollars being thrown towards MMA contests. Of significance, however, has been the increasing popularity of women’s MMA (WMMA)—especially since UFC, the premier MMA league added female MMA fighters to their roster. Beginning on February 23, 2013 (UFC157), UFC began broadcasting WMMA bouts.

With the announcer declaring it a “gigantic cultural moment,” Ronda Rousey, a former bronze winning Olympian in Judo, and the Strikeforce* bantamweight WMMA champion, easily defeated her opponent Liz Carmouche with a classic “arm bar” move and in so doing, established a new first for women’s martial sports. Rousey went on to capture the imagination of country with her girl-next-door looks, winning ways, and eventual appearance in films such as The Expendables 3 and Furious 7. This catapult of a female warrior in gloves (albeit not boxing gloves) to include being only the second female fighter to ever appear on the cover of Ring Magazine (to much consternation by the boxing community), did not, however, have any particular visible effect on the fortunes of female boxing, per se,

Her first loss, however, in UFC 193 on November 15, 2015, was to a female boxer turned MMA fighter, Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm. A highly experienced female boxing champion, Holm’s boxing career of (33-3-2, 9-KOs) while very impressive, never led to the kind of breakout name recognition or big dollar paydays that should have been her due, given her talents, and caliber of many of her opponents including bouts with such boxing royalty as Christy Martin and Mia St. John (albeit later in their careers), British boxing star Jane Couch who single-handedly created women’s boxing in England, and the truly fearsome French fighter, Anne Sophie Mathis. Ensconced in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Holm enjoyed a loyal following and excellent local coverage, and while she was a known quantity in the boxing community; it was only with her forays into MMA that she was able to break through to a larger audience and a chance at bigger paydays and television exposure.

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The irony of a Rousy’s loss to a boxer was not lost on the boxing community (nor has the fact that Rousey’s recent loss in UFC207 was due to her inability to defend against her opponents unrelenting boxing “strikes”). A growing number of boxing writers who have also begun to champion the place of women in the sport with such features as Ring Magazine‘s monthly feature by Thomas Gerbasi.

November 2016 brought a flurry of attention to women’s boxing. Claressa Shields appearance on the November 19th Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward fighting a four-rounder against former foe and USA National champion in the amateurs, Franchon Crews not only ended in a unanimous win on the cards, but the chance to see the fight live as a free streaming event. Shields has been quoted as saying, “It’s definitely a big deal, and it’s a big deal for women’s boxing, period …We really wanted a fight where we could put on a show.”

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Claressa Shields delivering a straight right to Franchon Crews in their four round professional debut on November 19, 2016. Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Locher

Boxing writers and Shields herself have asked if this will be the launch point for women’s boxing—and with Claressa Shields recent appearance on the cover of Ring Magazine in celebration of her remarkable back-to-back Olympic gold medal appearances, she is certainly an important figure to be reckoned with as 2017 looms—not to mention her 77-1 boxing record in the amateurs.

Ireland’s Katie Taylor also be turned professional in England in early December, and quickly racked up to back-to-back wins with the second one also broadcast live on Showtime’s streaming online service.

Additionally, in late November, Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President at Showtime stated they intended to include female boxing on the network in 2017—a first since 2009. Espinoza has been flirting with the idea of putting a female bout back on the air for the last couple of years—and has paid keen interest in the success of DiBella Entertainment’s local fight cards that have included such female fighters as Amanda Serrano, Heather Hardy, and Shelito Vincent.

In an interview with The Sweet Science, Espinoza is quoted as saying; “It’s been on our to-do list for a couple of years. It’s really at its capacity. But we made a decision we are going to prioritize it.”

The first event is slated to be a WBO women’s world super bantamweight championship with the remarkably talented Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano (30-1-1) set to fight Yazmin Rivas (35-9-1) in what promises to be a hard fought bout between two technically proficient warriors.

AIBAs (the world international amateur boxing association) rules change just this past week may be the most far-reaching. All women’s amateur elite bouts will now be contested with in three rounds of three minutes each. The parity of the rounds and number of minutes per round is a first in the amateur world—and while elite men will still contest without helmets, there is further discussion of this otherwise controversial rules change that took effect before the Olympics in 2016.

With respect to the number of minutes per round—the normalization of the three-minute round will, in my estimation put pressure on the pros to accept this change, especially as amateurs with experience in the changed format turn professional. Given that in MMA men and women contest using the name number of rounds and same number of minutes per round, there will certainly be more impetus to push through three minute boxing rounds for women. Some states allow this already—such as New York State, but there has been reluctance to push for fights using three rounds based on the perception that women will want more money. Given the pay equity issues that already exist, there may be somewhat of a case to be made, however, with the push to three minutes, that last claim of women’s boxing being “less” than men’s because of the number of minutes in a round will be pushed aside once and for all.

Showtime’s potential entry into broadcasting female boxing along with signs that boxing sanctioning organizations are beginning to put resources into the sport led by the World Boxing Council which has now held two consecutive WBC conventions devoted solely to women’s boxing may help further propel the sport back into a more prominent place in the United States—and in place such as the United Kingdom.

Time will tell whether this actually happens, but as always, I remain hopeful!

 

*Strikeforce was an MMA and kickboxing league operating out of California from 1985-2013. WMMA practitioners such as Mischa Tate and Ronda Rousey were important champions and helped prove the case for televising female MMA bouts. They were particularly popular draws on Showtime. Strikeforce was bought out in 2011 by Dana White and its roster eventually folded into UFC.

 

 

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.”

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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

28
Jan
13

Women’s bodies, women’s minds…

Women’s bodies, women’s minds… (updated 1/30/2013)

Lady Sybil, Downton Abbey

If you happened to catch Downton Abbey last night (warning, spoiler alert), you were no doubt reeling from the news of Lady Sybil’s very realistic death from eclampsia.

As many women know, pre-eclampsia is a rather miserable and dangerous complication of pregnancy that affects between 5-10% of pregnant women. The symptoms include high blood pressure and protein in the urine and can occur as early as the 20th week and as late as the days leading up to labor and delivery. Prompt treatment is an absolute necessity and if the fetus is at all viable, c-section is often the prescribed next step. Without treatment, women can develop seizures, changes in mental function, fluid in the lungs, blood disorders, severe liver disease and death.

In the case of Sybil, she began exhibiting signs at the end stage of her pregnancy and while she had been under the treatment of Dr. Clarkson, the local family doctor, her father, Lord Grantham insisted on bringing a “celebrity” doctor, Sir Philip, all the way from London to attend to the birth. Lady Grantham objected and insisted that Dr. Clarkson at least consult on Sybil’s case. Admittedly, Dr. Clarkson had misdiagnosed Matthew’s paralysis and Lavinia had died under his care, but when it came to the hours before the onset of labor when he began to suspect pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, he certainly knew his stuff and knew enough about Sybil’s state of mind to insist that she be taken to the hospital for emergency surgery.

Sir Philip, looking very droll indeed was dismissive of Dr. Clarkson’s concerns — waiving off Sybil’s obvious confused state as nothing more than normal pregnancy stuff. Lord Grantham, in his place as pater familia of course concurred, and let precious hours slip by and even as they welcomed the birth of Sybil and Thomas’ baby girl, what they did not see was Sybil’s fall into more precarious health until she finally died in the throes of her uncontrollable seizures.

Whew!

That was a lot!

More to the point, decisions about women’s health portrayed as beholden to a patriarchal order with the wealthy, (white) male gentry at the top of the pyramid, still seems all to familiar circa 2013.

It was, after all, during the 2012 election cycle that we were treated to then Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s “discussion” of a woman’s “right to chose” in the case of rape:

“Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

And as late as two weeks ago, a Republican, Phil Gingrey of Georgia, an OB/GYN, in speaking about Todd Akin, said:

“What he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’”

“That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that.”

Okay, so I’ve hit into two huge issues here, but if we ratchet it back a bit to say … women boxing in skirts … where are we really?

Member of the Polish National Woman's Boxing Team in a Skirt

Member of the Polish National Woman’s Boxing Team in a Skirt

The AIBA “examined” the issue for a year and a half and after a huge uproar cheated their way out of the controversy last winter by stipulating that each country’s national team could “chose” whether to mandate shorts or skirts for its female athletes while their male athletes would continue to wear shorts only.

Light Heavyweight in a men's gladiator skirt.

Light Heavyweight in a men’s gladiator skirt.

You might laugh at the latter, but there certainly are a lot of men boxing in skirts–albeit they are called “gladiator” skirts which makes them “male” versus the “female” kind of skirt that doesn’t actually have open slats, except of course, when they do.  Hmmm…

Melissa Hernandez v. Jelena Mrdjenovich in Gladiator Skirts! Credit:  Rob T Sports Photography/ Rob Trudeau

Melissa Hernandez v. Jelena Mrdjenovich in Gladiator Skirts! Credit: Rob T Sports Photography/ Rob Trudeau

As for the female “mental” state, back in the 1950s not one, but two of my aunts (one on each side) were sent to mental institutions in their late teens for some version of “hysteria.”The Snake Pit

Digging deeper it seems both were hipster gal’s circa 1956 who were enamored with art, smoking reefer and sex with boys (not to mention that one was a teen mom — more later): solution, off to the nut house for shock treatments for their anti-social behavior.

It’s no wonder then that when I was nine and caught site of The Snake Pit on channel 9’s Million Dollar Movie, I was truly terrified. It gave me nightmares for weeks on end, not the least of which was the thought the I could be taken away too if I acted “funny.”

Downton Abbey, 3:4, Sybil's DeathWatching the fictional Grantham’s in action last night I began to ask myself, are we really so different than the tableau of shock and surprise at Lady Sybil’s sudden death.

Afterall, we live in a world where 700+ women die each day in childbirth. And no, that doesn’t necessarily happen here, but given the decisions that are made with respect to providing prenatal care to poor women, the statistics certainly give us pause.

In the United States the statistics as of 2010 are 12.7 deaths out of every 100,000 births. Among African-American women that statistic jumps to 34.8 deaths per 100,000. In New York City that translates into an appalling statistic:  eight African-American women die for every Caucasian woman.

And people wonder why Obama’s Affordable Care Act is so important — get it! Reproductive and prenatal care from contraception to post-natal checkups will actually be covered for all women beginning in 2014.

Throw the problems of the Grantham’s former maid Ethel into the mix (kicked out after getting pregnant by a rich cad, turning to prostitution to keep her son fed, and finally giving him up in order for him to have a better life), including the utter meanness of her peers and we have a picture that can also rival the present.  Seen Teen Mom lately?

In sum, not a very pretty picture at nearly 100 years in advance of the Downton Abbey storyline where yes, yes, yes, women in the United States have made extraordinary strides that includes, just last week, the decision to open combat roles to women in the Armed Forces, but as for things like pay equity, reproductive rights, equal protection under the law, violence against women, the medicalizing of women’s “natural” life changes, and the like, we have a long, long way to go.

10
Dec
12

Katie Taylor, “Women’s Boxing Ambassador”

Katie Taylor, “Women’s Boxing Ambassador”

Katie Taylor, Gold Medal Women's Lightweight, 2012 Olympic Gold Winner, Credit: Leinster Leader

The news that Katie Taylor has been named the “Women’s Boxing Ambassador” by AIBA, (the governing international amateur boxing organization), in the run up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil is a big boost for the sport.

Her appointment is important and when Taylor says, “I want to help elevate women’s boxing to ensure it sits at the pinnacle of sporting achievement,” these are not mere words echoed by the Irish Gold Medal Olympian for the press release.

Nor are Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu’s, President of AIBA’s sentiments when he stated, “She has inspired a generation of women boxers and the acceptance of women’s boxing in the Olympic program has been in part a result of her outstanding achievements.”

Taylor’s amateur boxing career in an out of the ring exemplifies what it means to forge forward using her talent, gumption and immense athletic skills as an entree into a larger world as her following in Europe and Asia shows.

Beyond that, in her native Ireland, a scan of local headlines gives a sense of her importance:  “Boxing Sensation Katie Taylor to Visit Limerick” read a recent one in the Limerick Leader, while another touted readers to  “Win a VIP meet and greet with Olympic Boxing champ Katie Taylor at Whitewater this Sunday,” in the Leinster Leader.

And she is so beloved in Ireland that a couple of years ago Taylor was the Grand Marshal of the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade — no mean feat for a girlboxer from Bray representing a sport that was illegal in Ireland twenty years ago.

What she is now is not only the pride of Ireland, but the face of women’s boxing to the world; a young woman who through her boxing will help continue to push the barriers that have led to a wide acceptance of women’s boxing in her native country.

We can only hope that she is as successful on the international stage.

Girlboxing offers our heartfelt congratulations!

19
May
12

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/19/12 Finals!

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/19/12 Finals!

The finals were an exciting culmination to a remarkable tournament that pitted 325 superb amateur athletes from 77 nations in a test of ability, skill, savvy and courage.  The competition was also something more, the first international Olympic qualifying test for female boxers in history.

Tiara Brown in her Semifinal win over Svetlana Staneva, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images Asia Pac

Team USA came away with two Olympians, one gold medal, two silver medals and two bronze medalists.

Franchon Crews winning her semifinal bout over Timea Nagy, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images AsiaPac

Olympians!

Marlena Espara (Flyweight)

Claressa Shields (Middleweight)

Gold Medalist!

Tiara Brown (Featherweight)

Silver Medalists!

Franchon Crews (Light Heavyweight)

Raquel Miller (Welterweight)

Bronze Medalists!

Christina Cruz (Bantamweight)

Mikaela Mayer (Light Welterweight)

Raquel Miller defeating Irina Porteyeva in the semifinals, Credit: Feng Li/Getty Images AsiaPac

Click here for the Full Bout roster for the Finals held on 5/19/12:

5:19:12 Full Roster Finals

Click here for full results for Semifinals (5/18/12) & Finals (5/19/12):

5:18:12 Results Session 12A

5:18:12 Results Session 13A

5:19:12 Results Session 14A Finals

Click here for Medalists!
18
May
12

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/18/12!

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 5/18/12! (Update 2)

The Semifinals!

LIVE NOW!!!

All five of the remaining USA Boxing team members are scheduled to compete in the semifinals today.

Results so far are as follows:

Franchon Crews (81kg) routed her opponent Hungary’s Timea Nagy by the score of 22:8 to win her semifinal bout in the first session of today’s Women’s World Championship action today.  She led the fight from the beginning, but really put it away with a 6:2 third round and a 9:3 fourth round.  No word yet on who Crews will face in the finals!

Raquel Miller (69 kg) proved victorious in her semifinal bout over Russia’s Irina Poteyeva winning the close bout 13:10.  Miller was able to hold Poteyeva off through most of the match and will proudly move on to the finals!

Christina Cruz (54 kg) lost her semifinal bid to Italy’s Terry Gordini by the score of 7:11.  The low scoring bout saw Gordini to effectively hold Cruz to low points throughout, though Cruz was able to tie Gordini 2:2 in the third round.  Cruz has been a true champion with excellent showings throughout the tournament so this is a big loss.

From the PM sessions, Tiara Brown (57kg) defeated Bulgaria’s Svetlana Staneva by the score of 22:14.  She moves onto the finals as the top seed in her division!

Mikaela Mayer (64gk) who fought the North Korean light welterweight  Kyong Pak on the heels of her quarterfinal rout of India’s Meena Rani, lost a tough, close battle 24:25 to Pak. Mayer and Pak each won a round in the first two, but Pak pulled out a 3-point advantage in the third. In the fourth round Mayer came back very strong, however, a mid-round stop effected her momentum and though she took the round 10-8, Pak’s holding at the end of the round cost Mayer the bout.

Other results from the first session are as follows:

Ireland’s Katie Taylor took her semifinal bout and will be in the finals against Russia’s own Sofya Ochigava. Ochigava defeated the heavily touted British fighter Natasha Jones 18:10 to gain her spot in the final.

Click here for the Full Bout roster for 5/16/12:

5:18:12 Full Roster Semifinals

Click here for full results for 5/16/12 & the first session for 5/18/12:

5:16:12 Results Session 10A

5:16:12 Results Session 10B

5:16:12 Results Session 11A

5:16:12 Results Session 11B

5:18:12 Results Session 12A

AIBA’s article link is here: Russian women continue terrific form in quarter-finals.




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© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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