Boxing Needs To Learn From MMA’s Example & Give Women Fighters Equal Coverage

Boxing Needs To Learn From MMA’s Example & Give Women Fighters Equal Coverage

By Jack Rainbow

After UFC 248 the MMA world was purring after watching arguably the greatest women’s MMA bout of all time.

Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk put on a fight of the year contender with a brilliant showcase of kickboxing, both fighting tooth, and nail for the strawweight crown.

Both ended up in hospital after and it is not hard to see why, thankfully without serious injury. Over 600 strikes landed in a thrilling fight which made a huge impression upon everyone watching.

Women’s MMA is in it’s best ever spot currently with superstars such as Amanda Nunes, Cris Cyborg, Kayla Harrison, and Valentina Shevchenko all garnering huge fan-bases.

This is due to the respect given to female athletes within the sport. And in this day and age, it is criminal that boxing is yet to follow the example.

Women fighters only fight two-minute rounds compared to the traditional three minutes. This is not only blatantly patronizing to their athletic ability but is damaging to the overall quality of the fight, massively reducing the chances of a knockout.

From a purely business perspective less knockout’s equal’s less entertainment which in turn only fuels misogynistic attitudes relating to women’s boxing. It is outdated and ridiculous in its implicit suggestions and in practical terms, it only gives the fighters less time to work, and less time to showcase their ability. In layman’s terms, it makes no sense.

The fact Matchroom have an undisputed title fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano in a co-main to a non-title bout is indicative of the damage this is causing.

It is not economically viable to make fights like this PPV and is why so many world-champion female boxers need to work second jobs. Yes, women’s boxing is growing but the two minute round system is stifling and damaging.

Imagine if Zhang vs Jedrzejczyk had been three-minute rounds rather than five. Of course, it still would have been an amazing fight but fans would have missed out on huge chunks of the war that unfolded.

There is no physical reason women could not box three-minute rounds and committees need to wake up and remember the year is not 1860 implied suggestion of shorter rounds.

It is time therefore to boxing to follow MMA’s lead. Sure MMA is not perfect. Sexist attitudes remain and Zhang vs Jedrzejczyk not being a headline event over Israel Adesanya vs Yoel Romero is representative of this.

However, giving equal time means better fights and more coverage. Zhang vs Jedrzejczyk shows how the glass wall between men and women’s MMA is being broken down. It is high time Boxing followed the blueprint.

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