Women’s Boxing in the 2012 Olympics1 July, 2012
So, this is a very exciting Olympics for me, not just because we are hosting it in the UK but this will be the first ever Olympics that females have been allowed to box.
Some people may not really understand the battle that has gone on for centuries in trying to get a platform for women to be allowed to show their boxing skill in the UK. Most other countries have backed up and supported their female boxers, from promoters and trainers through to sponsorship and TV coverage. It is huge in the US and across mainland europe, and it is just this country that is dragging its heels in the support of women not just in boxing but in all other sports. Without going into too much detail as this blog is about the Olympics, I will give you some information about my background, as you need to hear a little bit to understand why I am so excited that women have eventually been given not just a stage but the best platform in the World to show an amazing skill set.
My battle started in firstly having to find a good coach who would take on a female, then to find a promoter to allow me to fight on their shows. So, I had to make a deal with a couple of promoters, so they wouldn’t lose out on any money, and made a deal to sell enough tickets to cover my opponent’s purse, flights and accommodation for her and her trainer and some cash to go into the promoters pocket (there were no opponents in the UK, so they all had to be shipped over from Europe), hence before every fight I wasn’t just training hard, I was running around trying to sell enough tickets to cover all costs (about 5k) to be able to get a chance to fight on a show. The attitude I had from majority of men during my 10 years boxing never ceased to amaze me, even though I had shown my dedication and passion to the sport and certainly showed my skill was just as good as any man, I didn’t get the respect I deserved. I even used to travel around to all the gyms and pay for the top guys to spa with me (so that my training level was always at its highest). Hence, my purses were never anything to write home about. Even when I fought for World Titles abroad, my purse was terrible, not even a months wage, when my male counterparts were getting paid thousands for the same World title. So, I tried to find sponsorship.
I made a huge bee line for the media and even called myself ‘The Bitch’ to grab journalists attention and that it did as I got a huge amount of TV and press attention, but that still didn’t make the sponsors bite as they were afraid of putting their name to women’s boxing, in case something bad happened and they got bad press. Which was crazy as I was getting more press coverage than most male boxers who were getting sponsorship and a hefty purse, but not getting their sponsors any coverage. Even though I was travelling to other countries to represent the UK, no one batted an eyelid. However, I just had to work full time and even change my career path so I could dedicate more time to my training and still earn enough to pay my mortgage, but to be honest it gave me an even stronger drive to succeed and be the best at my sport. I could give you so many stories, but will get back to how great these Olympics will be for me and female boxing in the UK I just wanted wanted you to understand why I am so enthusiastic!
This platform is the best platform we could ask for and we have three amazing women who are representing our country: Nicola Adams (Flyweight), Natasha Jonas (Lightweight) and Savannah Marshall (Middleweight), these women have trained incredibly hard and deserve all the support this country can give them, they all won medals at the World Championships in China and represented our country in a true first class manner and will be doing so again in the 2012 Olympics, the men have got to leave their neanderthal attitudes at home in the cupboard, and realise as a nation we have to evolve, otherwise we will get left behind. It was 12 years ago that Jane Couch won the battle with the British Boxing Board of Control to be the first ever woman to get her Professional Licence, as they felt that periods and pre-menstrual tension made us unstable, and now they are a great support to women, and it was 16 years ago the ABAE (Amateur Boxing Association of England) lifted their ban on Women’s boxing, alongside supporters like David Haye, Richie Woodall and Steve Bunce (who has had me on his shows several times), its just a shame people like Frank Warren, Labour MP Paul Flynn and Amir Khan feel that women shouldn’t be allowed to box, I suspect their partners are tied to the kitchen sink and only speak when spoken to, Amir Khan even said “I don’t think Women should be part of it, I think women should do something like Tennis”… REALLY! Its a control and power issue that these men have, as they are panicking they may lose their role in society as the stronger sex, and are most probably bullies in their household and to people they class as weaker than themselves. What gives them the right to stop someone from following their dream and a sport they love, just because of their shallow attitude?
Even when it was announced that women had made it into the Olympics, the AIBA (Amateur International Boxing Association) tried to insist that women should wear skirts to fight in! What are they trying to do? Take it away that these women are great at this sport and maybe so much so they think its too male like, so lets get them to wear skirts so we can glamourise it and make it sexy so these neanderthal men can get off on it. As they cant accept the fact that women have been given the chance to box on such an amazing arena, and they refuse to accept their raw talent so rather than watch them as true sports women, they want to turn these women into sex symbols (ooo lets see if we can see their knickers when they move about). Luckily, It was passed that the woman could have a choice and make up their own mind if they wore a skirt, that was nice of them wasn’t it?
So, show your support to these three women who have earned the right to be on such a superb World Stage representing our Country in the Olympics, and try to leave your innate beliefs under the carpet and watch them as boxers and athletes, who are holding the GB flag high. Come on Nicola, Natasha and Savannah and win us the medals you deserve! And give the men who cant see how marvellous you are and give them a dirty wet sock in their face.