The State of Women’s Boxing
By Jonny Duggan @TheSlipandRoll
The dust is settling on the IBF, WBC, WBO and WBA world middleweight titles on Claressa Shields’ proverbial mantelpiece. So just how strong is women’s boxing in 2019?
Well, an impressive near punch perfect performance from Shields against Christina Hammer got the whole boxing world talking.
The spotlight is most definitely on women’s boxing in 2019 and the sport has improved as a spectacle and in standard across both amateur and professional codes. We’re quick to forget that it’s less than fifteen years ago that female boxers like Cathy Brown were being paid under £10,000 for world title fights. In stark contrast to the men’s game, where boxers earned into the millions at the top level since the early 90’s.
But a wealth of talented women are changing that, one win at a time and they’re finally getting the exposure they deserve. Take Katie Taylor for example, a name on fight fans lips across Ireland, The UK, The US and further afield after several dominant performances in recent months. She has a unification opportunity on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s next fight in June at Madison Square Garden.
Other fighters such as Christina Hammer, Cecilia Brᴂkhus and Amanda Serrano are just a few who have made a huge impact on the world scene in the last 18 months. It’s not just at the top level that women are making an impact though; reports in Ireland state that there are as many young female boxers as there are young men now.
Similar to reports in the UK and having been in amateur boxing clubs in England, there are certainly large numbers of females training and fighting in the amateur gyms.
In the UK we are particularly excited about the likes of Natasha Jonas, Shannon Courtenay, Savannah Marshall and on an amateur scene, the hotly tipped Sandy Ryan.
As a nation, we hope Nicola Adams goes on to prove her quality on the world scene after a sparkling amateur career but a disjointed one in the professional ranks.
Of course, I am not naïve enough to think that the problems are solved in women’s boxing. We still have a long way to go and I hope in the near future we see women headlining huge arenas worldwide on a regular basis. I think what would make the women’s game more attractive is longer rounds. Ultimately, fight fans tune in to be entertained, to see knockouts and that simply is not going to happen as often if the rounds are only two minutes long.
To command the same coverage and interest as the men’s game, more exciting finishes to fights would certainly propel the game to the next level. With the big finishes comes the big money and the big TV deals. More women’s boxing on TV can only be a good thing in my opinion.