occurred in women's boxing.."
While women's boxing can loosely trace it
beginnings to London in the 1720's, throughout the ensuing decades,
there were various exhibitions and scattered bouts until the 1950's when
several fighters, most notably Barbara Buttrick, JoAnn Hagen (Verhaegen),
and Phyllis Kugler staged professional fights. The sport rekindled again
in the 1970s thanks to the efforts of several important trailblazers.
The 1970's, in particular, were highlighted by many women’s boxing
"firsts" including many states lifting bans for women to box; issuing
"first time" boxing licenses, sanctioning boxing matches; and the
various commissions approving more than four rounds for women’s bouts.
First-staged women fights. The women would punch, use their feet and knee
lifting/kicking to all parts of their opponents body. They also could maul,
scratch and throw. This resulted in serious injury for either or both
fighters. In other reports, in London in
1722 at the Boarded House, near what is now Oxford Circus, Elizabeth
Wilkinson, the Cockney Championess, defeated Martha Jones.
Susan Cahn in "Coming on strong, gender and
equality in 20th century sport" notes a match between Nell Saunders and
Rose Harland in 1876 at Hills Theater in NYC. they supposedly
fought for a silver butter dish. This was considered the first women's
match in the United States.
Chairman Edwin B. Dooley and asked to be granted permission to judge pro
fights. A week later, he wrote back and said that he would give her a
hearing. SHAIN entered the hearing room on Jan. 6, 1975, and found out the
next day that she had an unanimous vote to be a judge. Her first
professional fight that she judged on was on the eve of
Thanksgiving in 1975. Two years later, Sept. 29, 1977, she was at
ringside in Madison Square Garden judging her first World
championship bout with Muhammad Ali vs. Earnie Shavers. SHAIN WAS
THE FIRST FEMALE JUDGE TO WORK A WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT. It
was also the first time a woman judge Worked a professional fight at
New York’s Madison Square Garden. SHAIN earned a place in the
Guinness Book of Sports Records and eventually became the subject of
a Trivial Pursuit question. Eva Shain lost her battle with
cancer in August of 1999.
In 1975, Caroline Svendsen
receives the first documented boxing license in the United States in
the state of Nevada, and has a sanctioned boxing match in a
scheduled four-rounder in Virginia City, Nevada. In 1976, boxer
is the first woman to be licensed in the California; and in 1978,
after an on-going lawsuit in the state of New York, three
high-profile women boxers, Cathy "Cat" Davis,
Jackie Tonawanda, and
Marian "Lady Tyger" Trimiar receive their
boxing licenses. There are many women who had received first-time
licenses during this period, but these particular historical
licensing events initiate a flurry of publicity that in turn
encouraged other women to join the sport. (WBAN has spoken to past
boxers from the 1950's who claim that they had received boxing
licenses, but at this present time there has been no documentation
to substantiate that information)
lifted after almost 100 years since a professional boxing match had
been held in Fayetteville, NC Boxing had been illegal in Cumberland
County from 1880 until early in 1977 when the ban on the sport was
lifted. November 1977, first female bout, Cathy "Cat" Davis vs. Margie Dunson.
Shirley "Zebra Girl" Tucker challenges the state of
California to increase the number of rounds women could fight.
Tucker was backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, and
ultimately was able to force the California Commission to change
their regulations which at the time forbade female fighters from
fighting more than four rounds.
JILL LAFLER, a 19-year-old Lansing Community College student, who
wanted to be Michigan’s first female Golden Gloves contestant
and had filed a lawsuit to win that chance, dropped her lawsuit.
LAFLER had lost an early round of her lawsuit when the U.S. District
Judge Wendell Miles ruled against her. Even though LAFLER dropped
her lawsuit, it was noted that it had opened up a lot of eyes, and
they realized that the (state) agency needed some type of need for
governing body regulations on women’s boxing.
Former World Women's Lightweight Marian "Lady Tyger" Trimiar
stages a well-publicized month long hunger strike, losing nearly 30
lbs., for the rights of women's boxing and to advocate better money
and conditions for professional female boxers---even though she is
protesting for others and not herself. Trimiar and others direct
their picketing to the promoters at the time who are putting on
televised cards. Trimiar tells the media, "Unless women get more
recognition, we will be fighting just as a novelty for the rest of
our lives. There will be no future."
After eight-years in court in Massachusetts, Gail Grandchamp of
North Adams, Massachusetts wins her battle to fight as in a ruling
by a state Superior Court judge who rules it was illegal to deny
someone a chance to box based on gender. During her battle to win
the right to box as an amateur, she passes the age of 36, the
maximum age for amateur fighters. Even though she knew it would not
help her as an amateur, Grandchamp continues her successful efforts,
and eventually did box professionally for a time.
didn’t recognize female boxers until 1993, and only then after
losing a landmark court case. USA Boxing’s Board of Governor, after
a judge rules in favor of Malloy, passes legislation to implement
and support the concept of female boxing. First amateur female bout
held in the Bellingham,Washington, with Dallas Malloy winning in a
split decision. (TL Fox uncovered previous sanctioned
amateur fights that actually occurred in Minnesota in 1978 - to set
the record straight!)
Dallas Malloy, at 16 years old, became the first female to
challenge USA Boxing's bylaw that did not allow women to compete,
and sues them in federal court for gender discrimination. Malloy
wins her case, which generates both national and international
publicity. Malloy and Heather Poyner become the first to fight in
the state of Washington in a sanctioned amateur bout. Even though
Malloy was determined to pursue boxing, she stopped boxing in the
next year, declaring that it was "boring." (It should be noted
that this event has been portrayed in the news media as a "history
first" for women boxing in amateurs, but WBAN has actually dated
sanctioned amateur boxing for women boxers in Minnesota, in 1978).
V NEWMAN of Aiken County
was recognized as the FIRST WOMAN TO REFEREE AN AMATEUR BOXING MATCH
AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL JUNIOR OLYMPICS. NEWMAN was
the first and only woman referee in South Carolina to hold multiple
state offices, including the South Carolina Junior Olympic Chairman,
a position that she had been elected to since 1991.
USA Boxing adopts rules and regulations implementing women’s amateur
boxing into its amateur boxing program.
Daily News Golden Gloves: In 1995, the New York Daily News Golden
Gloves tournament includes women in their event for the first time.
An amateur female boxer, Dee Hamaguchi, is credited for
breaking this barrier, allowing this event to become a breeding
ground for future professional world champions. In 1994, Dee had
applied to fight in this tournament without revealing that she was a
female, mailing in her entry form using the initial "D", without
giving away her gender. Unfortunately Dee did not get her schedule
for the physical exam and did not participate.
The four-day amateur tournament in Augusta is a result of USA Boxing
reaction to the increase in the number of women boxers. The spurt
occurred after a Seattle-area woman’s successful suit against the
organization in 1991 for the right to compete. In 1993, women were
recognized as members by USA Boxing, and today, membership has grown
to 763 registered participants, compared with 340 in late 1996.
Christy Martin vs. Deirdre Gogarty: Considered by many to be the
birth of modern professional women’s boxing, the two staged a bloody
six-round slugfest clearly impressing those ringside and a world
wide pay-per-view audience, upstaging Mike Tyson’s easy win over
Frank Bruno. A flood of worldwide coverage follows, including weeks
later a Sports Illustrated cover story on Martin. Sadly, while
Martin could have easily carried the torch for the sport, she makes
it perfectly clear through many public comments she is not an
advocate for women’s boxing in general, but instead is only in the
sport for one person - herself.
Amateur Boxing Association of England voted in favor of lifting the
116-year ban against women boxing. Not everyone is in agreement with
allowing girls as young as ten to spar in gyms and to take part in
Landmark lawsuit: Britain Jane "The Fleetwood Assassin" Couch takes
the British Boxing Board of Control to task for sex discrimination
over their refusal to grant her a license to fight in the UK. Couch
who had been denied a boxing license since June 1997, and had to
come to the United States in order to box, was relentless in her
battle to face the BBC in this denial of her right to box. Couch
wins the right to "fight" and in Streatham, UK, on November 25,
1998, stops German Simona Lukic in the second round.
What was billed as the "first" sanctioned bout between a man
and a woman takes place in Seattle, Washington. Margaret McGregor
faces male boxer Loi Chow in a fight scheduled for four two-minute
rounds. This event took on international presence, and brought to
the surface many troubling issues in the world of women's boxing.
After all of the hoopla was over, it was determined that the fight
would be considered an "exhibition" and therefore was far from being
the "first" of mixed matches that have taken place off and on
throughout the history of women's boxing.
Muhammad Ali's Daughter, Laila "She-Bee Stingin" Ali, 21, makes her
pro debut at the Turning Stone Casino, in Verona, New York. The news
coverage leading up to this bout, and the media attention since she
has gotten into the sport has surpassed any of the coverage of any
one boxer on the scene in the past, and/or in the present. Her most
significant fight -- and the sports most significant fight since
Martin-Gogarty -- comes June 8, 2001, when 8,000 fans and
hundreds of media trek to upstate New York, for Ali-Frazier IV, a
showdown with Jacqui Frazier, daughter of longtime Ali archrival Joe
Frazier. The two silence many critics with their spirited and
entertaining eight-round bout, won by Ali. The fight draws more than
100,000 pay-per-view buys, again surprising the experts.