Women in boxing
Boxing is one of the oldest sports of the world and its origin can be traced back to early Greek civilization. Both men and women participated in the event back then but social rules and laws restricted women in the later phase of its (boxing) development as a result pugilism established itself as a sport of men for long time.
Officially, Elizabeth Wilkinson was the first European Championess. She registered her name in the history as a champion in London. Wilkinson fought with both—men and women—before clinching the title in early 18th century. Besides sparring, boxing rules at that time allowed kicking, gouging and other attacking methods.
The first Women’s Boxing Club was established in London in 1920s under the leadership of Professor Andrew Newton. Women’s involvement in the ring was gripped by controversies later. Authorities banned some of the matches stating it as disgraceful exhibition.
Women’s boxing was introduced in the Olympic Games as demonstration bout in early twentieth century—1904. Swedish Amateur Boxing Association worked hard to revive women’s boxing in this grand sporting arena—Olympic Games—and was sanctioned in 1988.
In the year 1997, first women boxing competition was sanctioned by the British Amateur Boxing Association. Two thirteen year old girls were scheduled for the fight but due to severe media attack one of the boxers withdrew the fight. The association later scheduled fight between two 16 year old girls.
New rules for women boxing were accepted by the International Boxing Association (amateur) by the end of twentieth century. It also gave approval for the first European Cup for Women in 1999 followed by the first World Championship for women in 2001.
Despite the progress, the event was not featured in Beijing Olympics but the sport was included in London Olympics in 2012.
Cathy ‘Cat’ Davis was the first boxer in the US and across the globe whose few fights were televised in 1970. Davis was the first lady boxer who got space in the cover page of the boxing magazine called The Ring.
Marian ‘Tyger’ Trimiar and Jackie Tonawanda were the first women who got license for boxing in the US for the first time. Twin sisters—Dora and Cora Webber—contributed a lot in the progress and development of women boxing in the US during 1980s.
The US turned out to be a fertile land for women boxers in the era of 90s. Many faces 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 jumped into the ring for the contest and popularized the sport in international level. All of them were world champions of their time.
However, the popularity of professional women’s boxing in the US is declining at present. Most of them do not get viewership and sponsorship. So, it is a right time for women boxers to gear up and get in the ring and regain the lost popularity of this wonderful sport.