A few years ago it seemed like women’s boxing had exploded all over the country and was only bound to grow.  Million Dollar Baby had just come out, and the desire for women to take part in a sport that was considered a “man’s sport” was on the rise.  There was never a shortage of opponents in my more than common weight category of 57 kg, and it seemed like the women’s categories were always full at tournaments, provincials and nationals.  In 2009 women’s boxing really got a shove forward when it was decided that it would be accepted in the 2012 Olympics. So where have all these women gone?

In the last year it is getting harder and harder to find fights.  At first I allocated this to experience.  Having over 30 fights now I find it difficult to find opponents with similar experience (in the West).  Even in Washington and Alberta, everyone there is to fight I’ve already fought, or they’ve retired.  However, you would assume that eventually the newer women to the sport would gain that experience and I would have a new opponent to fight, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The biggest shocker was at  Nationals this year.  I was astonished at how few women were actually there competing.  Most weight categories had about 6 women, and mine only had 4!!  This was a huge surprise as it’s a very common weight category, unlike say 48kg, which commonly has few athletes.

So what is happening here?  Has boxing just come out of fashion? Do these old school coaches not know how to coach a women?  Maybe, and I hate to say this, the average women can’t hang?  Boxing is a difficult sport.  It can be equally rewarding and punishing and to compete at an elite level requires a great amount of dedication and time.  But what I can’t understand is why more men seem to have have this time and drive.

Last night a friend and fellow female boxer suggested to me that the few women who were involved in boxing have crossed over to MMA and kickboxing, which I can see.  One of my main sparring partners is a kick-boxer.  But the question still remains, why isn’t women’s boxing, now a Olympic sport, bringing in more women?

2 comments on “Is Women’s Boxing on it’s Way Out?

  • Jaime:
    I can only talk about Women’s Boxing in Europe NOT North America.
    You certainly have a few really good ones in Canada led by Mary S,and at least inc others like Ariane.Of course with only 3 weight divisions in Olympics there will be quite a few who will lose out and there will be far too many who have to gain or lose far too much weight.

    In UK there are now almost around a thousand active women compared with about 150 or so pre Olympic approval. Mainly in England but several in Wales and a few in Scotland .In Ireland apart from Katie Taylor there are now close of 500 actively involved especially at school/youth level and it is very very popular.

    In 57kg there was amassive increase in number of fighters in comparison with 2 yres earlier and will be an even bigger number in next year’s worlds in China, pre-2012 as it is the only qualifying tournament..

    In UK you will see some first class performers in Olympic team once chosen, Savannah Marshall, Nikki Adams, Natasha Jonas Amanda Coulson,Ruth Raper, and several others (the big UK problem will be choosing which 3 – at this (very early stage) probably Marshall seems most likely.

    In Ireland of course medal hopes will rest on Katie T.
    In addition to her the sport owes much to such as Anja Norman the Irish Development Manager and Rebecca Gibson of the ABAE in UK.

    A few up and coming even in Afghanistan. I do agree that USA should have many many more at top level but they do have one youing world champ and also of course queen underwood..

    Similarly very strong in many others parts of Europe especially the former Russian Republics plus countries like Turkey.Equally doing very well in India,. In my opinion is is “on the way up” not on the way out though I do agree that in some counttries MMA is much more popular and will continue to thrive for a few years especially at expense of men’s boxing.

    Good luck with your hopes for London 2012. “Dare that Dream” – “Follow that dream” … then turn pro after 2012 for a year or whatever but if you do so before you will probably live to regret it…as would Katie Taylor who has been following the same dream since age of 12+ although of course she has also represented Ireland at soccer on more than 40 occasions… and still only 24.

    Maybe you should take a few weeks in Europe to coincide with one or two of the big amateur tournaments that are open to ‘all comers’?

    Good Luck…Mike

  • Just like men’s boxing, women’s boxing is being competed against for media attention, public fandom, and fight ticket dollars by rising MMA. The media and the public both like the more varied, movie-like sorts of fighting in MMA, and the atmosphere of dangerous violence promoted by ads that stress how few rules MMA has. I remember once years ago my parents, who were involved in Olympic fencing, suggesting that the sport would get more public attention if the fencers did away with their electric hit-scoring suits and fenced shirtless. To which my brother added, especially the women. Not so funny when one considers what sorts of ads one sees all over Vegas. In my science fiction books, I predict that the future of pro fighting sports is heading toward lethal, naked cage fighting. But we’re not there yet! Advertising that builds excitement can always help any genre of fight attract the public. Promoters need to invest more in unique ads.

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