Posts Tagged ‘NBC Sports

02
Jan
17

Women’s Boxing Circa 2017

Women’s Boxing Circa 2017

serrano-zarika-ii-photo-by-marilyn-paulino

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.

cover-christymartin-si

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.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-3-21-11-pm

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.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-3-22-50-pm

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.

rs_1024x759-151115105326-1024-ronda-rousey-ufc-defeat-cm-111515

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.”

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-3-32-13-pm

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.

 

 

07
Feb
14

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

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

Friday Night Fights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

31
Jan
14

Friday night at the women’s boxing fights!

Friday night at the women’s boxing fights!

Friday Night Fights

Okay so, ESPN Friday Night Fights, HBO, Showbox, NBC Sports, Fox Sports all seem to have forgotten that there are a heck of a lot of great women’s boxing bouts.  For tonight’s “card” I’ll start with a title bout from last week’s USA Boxing Nationals and add in some golden oldies.  Enjoy!

First up, our Gold Medal winner Claressa Shields battling Franchon Crews to take the USA Boxing 2014 Middleweight Title!

Next … Cecilia Braekhus (23-0, 7-KOs) vs. Oxandia Castillo (12-1-2, 9-KOs) from 8/9/2013. This was Braekhus’ last fight–she fights the great champion Myriam Lamare tomorrow night.

Here’s the weigh-in for what should be an awesome battle, tomorrow’s bout (Feb 1st) between Cecilia Braekhus and Myriam Lamare for the WBC, WBA & WBO Female Welterweight titles!

One of the greats! Ana Maria Torres (28-3-3, 16-KO) vs. Jackie Nava (23-4-3, 12-KOs) in their first battle on 4/11/2011 at the World Trade Center, Boca del Rio, Veracruz, Mexico. What a war!

Ana Maria Torres vs. Jackie Nava II from July 30, 2011 at the Metropolitan Arena, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico.

15
Jan
13

An interview with Shelito Vincent, to fight on 1/19/2013!

UPDATE!!!

Shelito Vincent takes it 59-55, 58-56 x 2 over Nydia Feliciano!!!

Per @TalkinBoxing on Twitter, Feliciano came out strong in the first round and used her height advantage well in the second. Vincent dug in though and started to really bring it in the third round. By the fourth and fifth round she was breaking Feliciano down with hard hitting and relentless pursuit. The fight was the war they anticipated with both fighters slugging it out to the end of the bell in the 6th round.

An interview with Shelito Vincent, to fight on 1/19/2013! 

Shelito Vincent, January 19, 2013

Shelito “Shelito’s Way” Vincent (6-0) is readying to fight her seventh bout on January 19, 2013 against boxer Nydia Feliciano (5-3-3).  The six-round bout is set for the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.com ($40 & $125).

Girlboxing had the opportunity to interview Shelito ahead of her upcoming bout.  Here’s what she had to say:

Shelito Vincent & Sherine Thomas, 11/29/12. Photo Credit: Cross Face Productions

Shelito Vincent & Rosie Sherine Thomas, 11/29/12. Photo Credit: CrossFace Productions

Q1.  You’ve got a great winning streak going for you. With the seventh fight on the line, what are you looking to achieve in you fight against Nydia Feliciano, arguably your most experienced opponent to date?

Looking to achieve the W… And a shot at taking her number one ranking in US from her… Yes definitely the most experienced to date… And she is an amazing fighter… It’s going to be a great hard fight… Probably a war… The city and casino will have a great women’s fight that night… Exciting from start to finish… We both going in ready for war… The whole card is stacked and will be dope from the debuts to the main events… I’m honored to be on this card with all these amazing fighters…CES, NBC and Main Events thank you for the opportunity… 

Everyone should grab their tickets and come support this great night… They are $40 an 125$ VIP…Contact myself at 860-574-5227… If in need… No one should be empty handed lol…

Shelito Vincent & Ivana Coleman, 10/18/2012, Credit: Eagle Sports Photography

Shelito Vincent & Ivana Coleman, 10/18/2012, Credit: Eagle Sports Photography

Q2. You turned pro in October of 2011. Now that you are well into your second year as a professional fighter, what is your game plan for achieving a title in the crowded women’s bantamweight division?

The game plan is always the same… Work harder than anyone else… And always give it our all… Of course timing has to be right too… I’ll be the first to tell you… I lack the experience these other woman had… I was 11-4 as an amateur; I won the National Golden Gloves  in 2011… Then turned pro and had 6 fights… Most women have an extensive amateur background… I’m pleased with the pace I’ve been moving… Jan 19th will be the next test…

Shelito Vincent and her team @ Manfredo Boxing and Fitness

Shelito Vincent and her team @ Manfredo Boxing and Fitness

Q3. Peter Manfredo has been training you for some time, how has his mentoring helped you in the ring and how are you both working towards getting you to the next level?

Peter has made me a monster… I look at tapes from my debut and Ammy fighs and compare them to now, and the transformation is miraculous… I owe that man a lot… He gave me a chance and we haven’t let each other down… He gives me a hundred so u’ll never see me give him any less than 150… He’s like the father I didn’t have growing up… He’s there for me even outside the ring too…. Everyone needs a Lil’ Manfredo’s guidance in their lives lol… Great, great man and I’m lucky enough to call my friend…
Shelito Vincent, November 2012, Credit: CrossFace Productions

Shelito Vincent, November 29, 2012, Credit: CrossFace Productions

Q4. Your story continues to be one of triumph over adversity. Now that you have comfortably made the transition to professional boxing, what do you see as the challenges that are most important for you to overcome?

The biggest thing I struggle with is my own mind… I still struggle with bouts of
depression… But that’s also what keeps me motivated an keep moving forward In my career and in life… The fight is often therapeutic…
Q5. The fight card you’ll be on is set to broadcast on NBC’s Sport Network. While your fight might not make it to the broadcast, what is your sense of when women’s bouts will begin to routinely appear on air again?  Have you seen any changes since Claressa Shields brought home the gold this past August or is it more of the “same ‘ole, same ‘ole?
I‘m not sure…but it needs to happen…MMA does so much for their women… People will tune in… An I myself sell more then any male in this area… And Every time I do better… People do want to see it… Plus women are so exciting to watch… We go so hard trying to prove we belong here….I have people that fly in from other states when I fight and I don’t even know them… All we can do is cross our fingers and hope we can get some time… I think it will happen though…
Q6. You are starting to train young fighters yourself. What do you try to instill in your girls coming up and what they can accomplish in the sport and in life?
Hard work and dedication will get you anywhere and all you need… You just have to have the will and drive… And in life nothing can keep you down… Dark clouds eventually separate… Weathering the storm is the hard part… But no matter how gloomy things get there is always a turn around as long as your desire to shine through is there… Never let anyone or anything keep you down… Always talk and let it out… Locking away pain and harboring depression is so hard and draining… Feels amazing once you air it out…

Q7.  What’s next for you after Saturday night’s fight?
March 15th Twin River…. But only focused about getting through this fight right now…
Shelito Vincent v. Sherine Thomas, 11/29/2013



August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,890 other followers

Girlboxing Now! on Twitter

@Girlboxingnow

Share this blog!

Bookmark and Share
free counters
Blog Directory

Blog Stats

  • 692,918 hits

Twitter Updates

© 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.

%d bloggers like this: