Sports

Women of Knockout

Compared to men’s boxing, however, it lacked popularity and exposure. This might be attributed to the fact that women’s boxing confronted a society filled with stereotypes and which categorized professions as either ‘men’s work’ or ‘women’s work’, or because most people did not believe they would find the same caliber as in men’s boxing.

Women’s boxing can trace it beginnings to London in the 1720’s. During the following one and a half centuries women sporadically came out to the ring for exhibition and competitive fights as well as for prize bouts. In the second half of the 19th century women’s boxing got publicity in the States and outside of it – thanks to Richard Fox and his “Police Gazette”.

Women’s boxing first appeared in the Olympic Games at a demonstration bout in 1902. For most of the 20th century, however, it was banned in most nations. Its revival was pioneered by the Swedish Amateur Boxing Association, which sanctioned events for women in 1988. The British Amateur Boxing Association sanctioned its first boxing competition for women in 1997. The first event was to be between two thirteen-year-olds, but one of the boxers withdrew because of hostile media attention.

The A.I.B.A. accepted new rules for Women’s Boxing at the end of the 20th century and approved the first European Cup for Women in 1999 and the first World Championship for women in 2001. Women’s boxing was not featured at the 2008 Olympics; however, on 14 August 2009, it was announced that the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board (EB) had approved the inclusion of women’s boxing for the Games in London in the 2012 Olympics, contrary to the expectations of some observers.

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 Stephanie Jaramillo Delia ‘Chikita’ Gonzalez, Laura Serrano, Christy Martin, Deirdre Gogarty, Laila Ali, Jackie Frazier-Lyde, Lucia Rijker, Ada Vélez, Ivonne Caples, Bonnie Canino and Sumya Anani, all world champions, jumping into the scene.

Women’s boxing is growing with more television exposure, including the movie Million Dollar Baby. There are a few organizations that recognize world championship bouts, and fights are held in more than 100 countries worldwide.

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