When I asked some friends recently what kind of categories they’d like to see in The Queensberry Rules’ year-end awards, Lisa Creech Bledsoe of The Glowing Edge volunteered: Howsabout the best in women’s boxing for 2009?
I thought it was a good idea, but I needed someone far more attuned to women’s boxing than me to do it. Who better, then, than… Lisa Creech Bledsoe?
With that, I give you her take, which makes a convincing case that in 2009, women’s boxing (including Lucia Rijker, at right) came a long way. — Tim
I only began blogging women’s boxing news midway through this year, but what a year it has been. In addition to seeing my first women’s fights on-site, online, and via pay-per-view, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the undisciplined proliferation of boxing’s governing bodies, the heart of some of the world’s most dedicated female boxers, and the frustrating battle women fighters have to get fights and be seen.
Here’s my take on the top four historic moments in women’s boxing in 2009.
1. Women’s Boxing Admitted to 2012 Olympic Games
While big names like Manny Pacqiao and Floyd Mayweather kept men’s boxing in the online conversation during 2009, women’s boxing finally got a search spike with the August 13th announcement from International Olympic Committee chair Jacques Rogge telling the world that the 2012 London Olympics will be the first to feature women competing in every single sport including the last holdout, boxing. Hopefully that landmark decision will hold tight, given massive shortfalls in budget funding for the program.
2. Women head a major MMA fight card for the first time in history
This is not boxing, but in my opinion it accomplished a great deal for women’s fight sports by bringing Gina “Conviction” Carano and Cris “Cyborg” Santos together as the first women in MMA history to headline a major MMA fight card. The fight was short, but it delivered power, excitement and a new reigning queen to women’s world-class MMA. It doesn’t matter that Dana White behaves like such an ass with regard to women’s fight sports — forward-thinking businesses like Strikeforce and CBS (who televised the fight) are on board.
3. Lucia Rijker becomes first woman inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame
Undefeated boxer Lucia Rijker (17-0, 14 KOs) achieved this singular honor partly be being a phenomenal boxer, and partly because she is one of the first to retire from the sport since women’s boxing began to win sanctioning. Let’s hope the other main boxing HOF, the International Boxing Hall of Fame, follows suit.
4. Christy Martin pushes record of wins to 49
Christy Martin (49-5-3) has been a mainstay of women’s boxing for more years and more fights than most other female boxers in the sport. In a world where it is so much harder for women to secure fights, Martin has continued to find, fight and win them in unforgettable crowd-pleasing style. For win number 49, which was quietly conducted with almost no press coverage, Martin took the title despite a tenth-round broken hand. Although there was initial speculation that she would hang up the gloves, rumors in the women’s boxing world once more include the possibility of the push for a 50th win.
I encourage everyone who is interested in daily news about women’s boxing — both amateur and professional — to check in regularly with WBAN, the only major source of online news in this area that I’ve come across. I wish less of their content were hidden behind a paywall, but there are still plenty of stories freely accessible. Beyond that, it’s a hard task to find news, stories, or information online (or anywhere) that consistently tells the story of the women who box. Here’s to positive change in the years ahead.