WHY WOMEN NEED TO MAKE BOXING PART OF THEIR STORY
IMAGE: KAYE SCOTT AUSTRALIAN ELITE BOXER
BY MISSY FITZWATER
Women’s boxing is trending up! It is an exciting time to be a female in the sport of boxing. The top women in boxing are authoring inspiring chapters in the stories of their lives.
Claressa Shields achieved history making moments by boxing her way to a gold medal in 2012 when women (in three weight categories) were finally welcomed in the Olympic arena. She would return to the Olympics in 2016 and write a sequel to that chapter by winning gold again! She continue’s her story in the professional ring by adding passages detailing her victorious road to becoming a world champion!
IMAGE: CLARESSA SHIELDS WINS GOLD AT RIO 2016
Many of the other top women, including former Olympian’s like Marlen Esparza (2012 Olympic bronze medal winner) and 2016 Olympian Mikaela Mayer are continuing to add chapters to their stories by stepping into the professional ring with televised bouts and pro fight contracts just as their male counterparts.
These inspiring and motivating women have many girls and women asking themselves if boxing could become chapters in their own stories. The answer is ABSOLUTELY!
Here is the short list of why women and boxing are a natural fit:
- Why should the boys have all the fun? When you get right down to it…boxing is fun! You get to hit stuff, which relieves stress (therapy) and releases a flood of endorphins - happiness!
- There is not a better full body workout than boxing. It combines high intensity training, with both aerobic and anaerobic activity. A typical training session that lasts for about an hour has the potential to burn 730 - 1055 calories.
- Boxing is designed for every body type. There is no typical “boxer body.” Weight classes for amateur female boxers span from 60 - 189 lbs and above. There is literally a weight category for every body type. Talk about a judgement free zone!
- Amateur female boxers can begin competing at the age of 8 years, and can continue to compete indefinitely. Women have competed into their 70’s and beyond. Age is just a number, not a definition!
These are all excellent incentives for girls and women to consider donning the gloves. But the richest rewards often reveal themselves after real training begins.
Every woman and girl in the sport have their own story to tell and boxing contributes profound chapters to these stories. A common trait, for any boxer male or female, is recognizing a strength which otherwise may go unnoticed and untapped. In the early stages of training, girls learn the basics of offense and defense which always involved the key to boxing, throwing punches. There is pure strength in that act and it always stirs an emotional response in some form within anyone.
Brute strength, which is mostly associated with throwing a punch, is a quiet awakening for the learning boxer. It is an inner empowerment. It allows a woman to stand toe to toe with her own insecurities and tear them down one punch at a time.
The nature of the sport enables women to develop a pronounced independence. It provides them with the ability to rely on themselves in any situation and the confidence to know that they can handle whatever is 'thrown' at them, both in the ring and in life.
Other chapters that boxing contributes to a woman’s life might be titled: “Knock Out Your Goals One Workout at a Time”, “Roll With the Punches; The Art of Resilience”, “Fight With All of Your Might; Standing Up For What You Believe”, "Slipping, Bobbing and Weaving; Problem Solving Skills Learned in the Ring" and “Never Surrender If You Want to be a Contender; Never Give Up On Yourself”.
These chapters contain boxing’s lessons on goal oriented achievement, the value of resilience, living life with purpose and principles, problem solving skills and confidence, self-esteem and value. It is these doctrines that boxing provides that have the power to change lives.
There is an excitement and anticipation surrounding women’s boxing. The major players in boxing are taking notice, top promoters are including women amongst their prized fighters for the first time and sports networks are making commitments to televise more women’s bouts.
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The most exciting advances are taking place at the grass-root level of amateur boxing. USA Boxing is committed to growing the sport of female boxing which currently makes up about 10% of USA Boxing’s membership. The organizations' commitment is to grow this number to 25% by the end of 2018.
Organizations like the National Silver Gloves and the National Golden Gloves will include women in their tournaments in 2018 for the first time. These organizations recognize the value that boxing can bring intrinsically and athletically. They are passionate in their commitments to offer opportunities to support women's boxing which develops competition and participation in unprecedented numbers.
The top women in boxing are also committed to offering support and mentorship to the young women who are beginning their own chapters in boxing. Mikaela Mayer often reaches out to the new crop of girls in boxing via her social media accounts with words of wisdom and support. The competition between women in boxing is healthy and at the same time welcoming and supportive.
The time for women’s boxing is now! It is an exciting time for girls to take advantage of all that boxing has to offer and become the authors of their own stories!