A Short History of Boxing for Girls

Whether it’s boxing for girls or an aggressive bout between two large males, contact boxing is always going to be a relatively dangerous sport which sees a fair amount of head injuries, broken bones and torn muscles. Despite this harsh reality the number of female amateur boxers signing up to classes in their local gym is on the increase, with figures in the UK alone rising from 70 to 900 per annum over just a couple of years. Some believe that this sudden explosion of interest has to do with the strengthening independence amongst single women these days, although it is more likely attributed to the inclusion of a female boxing competition in the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games. In fact it is a relatively exciting time for women’s boxing, which has struggled for many years to find its place within the international sporting stage and be taken seriously by the organizers of male boxing leagues. Finally female boxing tournaments are being aired on popular channels all over the world and a range of major equipment companies have released long lines of equipment geared towards female fighters. Now with the start of the 2012 Olympic Games quickly arriving more and more hopeful future boxing stars are trying to fight their way into the history books, as the first female boxing champion to win an Olympic gold medal; a title that would no doubt propel them into immediate stardom.

A quick look back at boxing for girls

You might be surprised to learn that female boxing has been around since the 1700’s and can be traced back to the grimy back-streets of London where it was practiced by a small group of women for gambling purposes. Shortly after the sport was banned and wasn’t lifted until 1977 when a women’s rights group complained of sexual equality rights infringements. Although female boxing was now legally allowed by law a number of organized boxing leagues didn’t startup until the 1980’s in the US with the rise of the infamous boxing sisters Dora and Cora Webber. It was finally Sweden who hosted the first fully sanctioned all women’s match-up thanks to the well publicized hunger strike by a popular Swedish female boxer wanting more funding and better conditions for women boxers. On the other side of the ocean in the USA a young 16-year old amateur boxer ‘Dallas Malloy’ decided to fight the removal of a law which prohibited female boxers from being allowed to fight in public matches. On winning this lawsuit Dallas Malloy had the first official amateur female boxing match with ‘Heather Poyner’ and won to become the first woman to hold a lawfully recognized female boxing title.

Now and the future of boxing for girls

It was in the 1990’s that female boxing really took off with the world taking boxing for girls more seriously and champions gaining sponsorship from a number of the large sporting goods companies. Some of the more well known matches include the 1996 match-up between Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty which gained an unprecedented amount of international TV airtime or more recently the headline fight between Muhammad Ali’s daughter (Laila Ali) and Jaqui Frazier, which lasted several heated rounds before Laila took the match. Although one of the most iconic and fully sanctioned fights that scored another victory for women’s boxing was the first official man versus woman match against Margret Mcgregor and Loi Choi held in 1999.