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Professional boxing

Womens boxing
Holly Holm Vs. Angelica Martinez
September 2007. IFBA Weltgerweight title fight
Photo by Anthony Jr. Griego from his page on Flickr
Printing with the author's permission.

English version


Just women boxing
















Knockdowns in women's boxing












One of many knockdowns by Christy Martin



Christy Martin



Bridgett Riley (left)



Margaret McGregor against a man



Suzette Taylor has a heavy punch

Boxing is a sport where two participants of similar weight attack each other with their fists (usually placed into special gloves) in a series of two to three-minute intervals called "rounds". Boxing is nicknamed the "sweet science" and also called fistfighting, pugilism or prizefighting. Boxing is subdivided into professional boxing and amateur boxing. In both divisions, the combatants (called boxers or fighters) avoid their opponent's punches whilst trying to land punches of their own. Points are awarded for clean, solid blows to the legal area on the front of the opponent's body and head above the waistline. The fighter with the most points after the scheduled number of rounds is declared the winner. Victory may also be achieved if the opponent is knocked down and unable get up before the referee counts to ten (a knockout, or KO) or if the opponent is deemed too injured or for any reason unable to continue fighting (a technical knockout, or TKO). In both amateur and professional versions, the fighters wear padded gloves, attacking only with the front of the fist. In professional boxing each round usually lasts for three minutes and there may be 4-12 rounds in a bout. Unlike official amateur boxing, professional boxers are not required to wear protecting helmets. Boxing terms and basic techniques are described here

Boxing formed from traditional ritual fist contests rooting in ancient times. Fist fighting was one of the most popular sport in ancient Greece, it was included in all Olympic games. In the most of ancient fistfights punches were allowed to any parts of body including "below the belt" and fighters covered their fists by leather strips at best. The contemporary form of boxing was invented by English noblemen in 18th century and became much more established and civilized. Since that time, boxers have been wearing big gloves and punches have been allowed only to the front upper parts of the body ("over the belt"). Boxers are fighting in a special ring - a square tiny playground enclosed by ropes. Women's boxing has its own long history but it became wide-spread during the past one or two decades having become very popular sport and show. A lot of women started career of professional boxers where they may earn good money (much less than male boxers though).

Women's boxing has existed as an officiated sport since the beginning of the 20th century. Compared to men's boxing, however, it lacked popularity and exposure. This might be attributed to the fact that women's boxing, at that period, confronted a society filled with stereotypes and which categorized professions as either 'men's work' or 'women's work'. Machism was predominant during a large part of last century, and therefore women's boxing couldn't attain a lot of fanfare for most of it. It should be noted that during the 1970s, a popular female boxer came out of the United States Northwest. Her name was Cathy 'Cat' Davis and a few of her fights were televised. To this day, she remains the only female boxer to appear on the cover of Ring Magazine. But a scandal broke out where it was said that some of her fights had been fixed, and as a consequence, women's boxing as a sport was almost killed. During the 1980s, women's boxing briefly resurfaced in California under the wings of sisters Dora and Cora Webber. The twin sisters were world champions and packed crunching punching power and a good chin. But the boom of women's boxing came during the 1990s, coinciding with the boom of professional women sports leagues such as the WNBA and WUSA, and with boxers such as Delia 'Chikita' Gonzalez, Laura Serrano, Christy Martin, Deirdre Gogarty, Laila Ali, Jackie Frazier-Lyde, Lucia Rijker, Ada Velez, Ivonne Caples, Bonnie Canino and Sumya Anani, all world champions, jumping into the scene. Nowadays, women's boxing's fan base is growing with a lot of television exposure and interesting fights. There are a few organizations that recognize world championship bouts, and fights are held in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Unlike martial arts, boxing (as well as freestyle wrestling) came from the ritual rather than martial contest tradition. In case of fist contests, the goal is knocking an opponent down, not killing him. Fist fight as a form of entertainment was world wide popular including Russia where it was just the only fun in villages and vicinity settlements (for the both, participants and spectators). Russian mentality created a distinctive form of fistfight - "wall against wall" instead of "face to face". Now, boxing is the most popular combative sport in the world. Although fist fighting was always male dominated activity female names appeared among boxers since the sport boxing was born. In 1904 female boxing was including in the Olympic programme as a demonstrating sport. In the second part of XX century women literally burst into the boxing world. Recently, boxing became so popular among women that it will become an Olympic sport soon. The volume of information about female boxing in the WEB is far greater than about all the other forms of female combative sports (and even the most of male ones).

Let's consider terms and rules of women's boxing. Each bout consists of several periods - rounds (usually six or ten in professional boxing). The main goal of a boxer in a bout is (by punching an opponent "over the belt") to bring her to a condition where she is unable to continue the bout (unconditional victory). If the bout has finished as scheduled and nobody unconditionally won, a winner is announced depending on the number of points counted for punches reached appropriate parts of opponent's body (victory by points) - decision is made by side referees, usually, there are three of them. Referee decisions sometimes seem not to be adequate to audience expectations.

Unconditional victory might be gotten in the following ways:

  • By knocking an opponent down when she is unable to get up on the foot and to continue fighting until a referee counts to "ten" (or if for that period she is in unconscious condition even not falling down). This position is called a "knockout" (KO). If the knocked down fighter managed to stand up she may continue the bout (in that case the position is called "knockdown"). In amateur boxing being knocked down theoretically doesn't drop the chances to win.

  • By inflicting trauma to an opponent that is considered as dangerous by a referee (sometimes involving a doctor) that makes it impossible for her to continue. The injured participant is announced as a loser (in professional boxing it's called "technical knockout" - TKO). The most popular women's injuries are bleeding nose, blue eye or bad bruise on a cheekbone.

  • When one boxer fully dominates in the ring while the other one doesn't defend (unconditional victory with obvious advantage).

Female boxing is subdivided into professional and amateur ones. Professional boxing bouts are longer (up to 10 rounds); amateur boxers wear protective helmets. Besides, duration of a round is 2 minutes (comparing to 3 men's minutes). Special plastic breast protectors (plates) are mandatory. Existing plastic plates actually protecting a part of chest causes some particular features of female boxing where more punches are directed to a head rather than to a body.

In female boxing early stoppages seems to happen more frequently. First of all, because there are just few skilled female boxers in some weight categories especially in heavy ones, so as a result mismatch bouts take place quite often. Other reasons are: worse ability to keep a blow, possible demoralization due to a visible face injury and finally more fragile women's skin.

Female boxers usually wear shirts of various fashions, shorts (sometimes, knit pants). Rarely, they wear brief skirts instead of shorts, which make the show more feminine (For example, elegant Helga Risoy box in a fetching skirt). Like the other combative sports, boxing in women's performance is more emotional and ardent show and in critical moments it's accompanying by yells and yelps of participants. It sometimes happens that awesome female boxers sob being beaten. Fjr example, in 1995 tough and merciless Irish boxer Deirdre Gogarty burst into tears after had gotten a cruel lesson from Mexican Laura Serrano. Well-known "American gladiatrix" powerful Shannon Hall (she is at left on the first video clip below) during 10 rounds stood with dignity against Suzette Taylor but then she was shaked by a powerful line of punches to head and burst into tears just on the ring. Broken noses and blue eyes substantially spoil impression of female boxing, although by itself the show seems to be quite exotic. The famous Russian boxer Zulfia Kutdusova told how she answered the stranger's question regarding her blue eye: "Did you fight over a man?". "No, just over bucks".

The most skillful and strong female boxer (and kickboxer), Lucia Rijker, probably is the only one whose boxing style is close to men's. She already made an attempt to fight a man (in kickboxing bout) but she got a deep knockout from an unknown Tai boxing professional (lighter her by 10 pounds). In 1999 another attempt was made to arrange a mixed boxing bout between a professional boxer Margaret McGregor and a lighter strong guy without real boxing experience. That fight made a lot of noise but the man didn't seem to manage to make even a punch (or he didn't want to) and she was announced a winner after some dummy hand swinging. By the way, Rijker herself categorically assured all doubting ones that a woman would never be able to box a man on the equal footing. A Russian strong kickboxer Natalia Larionova declared the same statement.

Boxing (in any its modification) is more cruel and traumatic form of contact sports than, for instance, wrestling. That's why many female combat fans prefer wrestling (girls' blue eyes and bleeding noses aren't taken as just regular athletic traumas yet). Like in male pro boxing serious traumas happen in female pro boxing too. For instance, during a light-heavyweight bout powerful boxer Suzette Taylor damaged vision and hearing of her her robust opponent Karrie Frye. If compare female boxing with grappling, we can note some spectacular "lightness" of female boxing (no holds and pouncing) and even some choreographic features (there is a ballet "Boxing", where men are actually boxing though), rage and ardor (stakes in boxing are high: a victory on one hand and possibility of spoiling an appearance at the other) which attracts audience.

Bouts where the most engaged female boxer Christy Martin participates are very spectacular. Having likable face and typical female pedestal-like figure she is very combative and aggressive, she doesn't become flustered when has a blue eye or bleeding nose and very often falls her opponents heavily on canvas. Emotional excitement causing by Martin's bouts is intensified by a combination of ferocious persistence and ordinary lady-like appearance, so you never forget that just a women is fiercely struggling. The daughter of great Mohammed Ali, Laila Ali fights very ardently and impressively. When she started her pro career and fought against knowngly weak opponents many people consider her just as a daughter of her famous father. Now they think differently. Female heavyweights and middleweights are interesting phenomenon. Until recently, three of them dominated the ring - , Vonda Ward, Martha Salazar and Carley Pesente (who gave an interview to our club). Formiddable black middleweight Anne Wolfe managed to persuasively defeat all her opponents (i\ncluding three victories ove undefeatable Vonda Ward). She challenged an experienced male boxer but authorities banned the match.

It's amazing that having a baby doesn't interfere female boxers with being in good athletic shape and keeping combative rage. They continue participating in competitions even in breast feeding period. Danielle Somers, a mannish Belgian female boxer, just after a victory took her sucking son in her arms and demonstrated him to the audience. A kickboxer just after a bout stepped out of the ring, sat down and started feeding her baby (the camera was following the process of taking her female fighting accessories off). This form of contest requires a lot of abruptness that barely contributes to feminine appearance as well as broken face does. Although many female professional boxers look a little rough (the main type is slightly coarse, wiry, often stooped, with barely marked breasts), there are really beautiful female boxers, for example, Bridgett Riley ("Baby Doll") - a tall, lovely and graceful woman who is quite lady-like (when not fighting) but when fighting she is aggressive and fierce. In 1998 "Black Belt" magazine awarded her the title "woman of the year". But even regarding her, it's visible that for a couple of years she became more coarse. When Bridgett managed to flop down also elegant Aicha Lahsen (after surviving first-round knockdown from her) she looked quite ugly when jumping and loudly crying out open-mouthed. Our guest, famous boxer Alicia Ashley even now is not at all less graceful and elegant than Bridgett was in 1998. One of the most famous and dangerous female boxer Regina Halmich known by her tough and aggressive fightng style, was pictured by the erotic magazine "Playboy" and her photograph decorated it's cover.


Videoclips

Elegant Norwegian Helga Risoy looks nice even being knocked down (by Kathy Collins)


One of the most famous female knockouts
Ann Wolfe takes down Vonda Ward


Female Boxing - KO's Only 28

Laila Ali in fighting










"The daughters" in fighting: Ali against Frazier-Lyde


Lusia Rijker in fighting






Regina Halmich in fighting








Two faces of Regina Halmich







Awesome Bonnie Cannino gets heavy punch



Russian dangerous beauties Vlasova and Kutdjusova


Stoppage


>> Amateur boxing

>> Just a knockdowns

>> Punches and kicks

>> Combative activities


Ten boxing positions and techniques in 100 best photographs


Hanna Gabriel of Costa Rico is one of the most gracious and skillful female boxers
Her boxing style illustrated the known boxing truth: boxer's legs are even more important than the arms!
And also: female boxer does not necessarily looks manly


Hanna knocks out Gardi Alvares in 15 secs


Hanna defeats Dacota Stone by TKO in the 8th round


Hanna Gabriel fights against menace Melicenda Peres. Rounds 3-7
Hotel Casino Conrad in Uruguay. January 9, 2011


Hanna Gabriel fights against menace Melicenda Peres. Rounds 8-10

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'Russian sledgehammer' and 'Stony Fist' on the ring: Natalia Rogozina and Pamela London


Animations under the cursor


Set the curson on any picture below

hold on for a few moments and enjoy...



Women's boxing is real!

Karen Bill knocks down Leila Ali







Christy Martin knocks down her opponents



Ali vs. Almager

Halmich delivers hooks



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