Nowadays, women’s boxing is becoming quite popular. But it was not always like this. Let’s look at how the sport came to be.
Women’s boxing began as early as the 1720s in London. However, the sport gained wide popularity in the United States and outside the country only at the end of the 19th century. It was thanks to the efforts of Richard Fox and his Police Gazette.
At the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis (USA), men’s boxing was presented as part of the obligatory program. Women’s bouts were held in a demonstration version. At that time, girls’ boxing was still not popular enough to gain a foothold in the Games programme.
Women’s boxing developed extremely slowly for objective reasons. For example, the battered faces and bodies of male athletes were associated with valour and heroism. At the same time, the injured faces of girls were seen by society as a denial of femininity and a lack of humanity.
On the other hand, men regarded female boxing not as a fully-fledged sport, but as exotic entertainment. Girls who did it were seen as easily accessible and promiscuous.
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In the 20th century, attitudes towards women’s boxing began to change. It looked like a light dance and newspapers wrote that it was even useful for girls to learn how to box to be more graceful and slender. Schoolgirls were advised to practise hooks to the head and blows to the solar plexus. Those days, the ladies who attended the Madison Academy in New York practised wrestling and boxing, among other things. In the 1920s, boxing was a popular way for wealthy American women to maintain their figure and stay in good physical shape. The young ladies of Boston practised wrestling as part of their physical education.
It took many decades before women’s boxing began to resemble men’s boxing, emphasizing technique, punching accuracy, sharpness, and knockouts. During this period, when female boxing began to resemble male boxing, the public started to speak out negatively and attempts were made to ban women’s boxing.
The popularity of women’s boxing came to an end when in 1954 on American TV a super lightweight fight with Barbara Buttrick was shown. It was she who in 1957 became the first professional boxing world champion.
In the 1970s, the first licence to allow a woman to box was issued. The same years saw the start of sanctioned women’s bouts. From 1975, ladies started boxing en masse, despite condemnation by the authorities and the public.
In the 1990s, women’s boxing was so widespread that it no longer came as a surprise to anyone. However, the sport attracted millions in 1996 after the famous Christy Martin vs Deirdre Gogarty bout. It took place before the main fight between heavyweights Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno. At the same time, the girls showed an equally exciting fight. Their fight featured sophisticated technique, will to win, knockdowns and even blood. 30 million viewers in over 100 countries watched the fight between Martin and Gogarty. Many consider that day to be the birthday of modern professional women’s boxing.
A new wave of interest in this sport was marked by the arrival of the daughters of three great boxers. Laila Ali appeared in the professional ring in December 1999 when she was 21 years old. Jaqui Frazier made her debut in February 2000 when she was 37 years old. Freeda Foreman first entered the ring in July 2000 at the age of 23.
The eight-round bout between Ali and Fraser occurred on 8 June 2001 and ended with the former winning by judicial decision.
Today, women’s boxing is at the height of its popularity almost all over the world. Women in the ring are no longer a source of surprise or condemnation. Millions of spectators watch the bouts, and betting companies accept bets on the ladies’ fights (you can find the most reliable betting odds on Meta.reviews).