In Sue Fox's Own Words.....
found out about female boxing
when I watched the news one day on October 24, 1975. They were
broadcasting the results of a female bout that had just taken place the
night before between boxers, Caroline Svendsen,
34, and Jean Lange, 35, at the Expo Center, in Portland, Oregon. The news revealed that the fight was the first sanctioned female bout in the State of
Oregon. When they reported that the women were paid to fight, it immediately
hit me that I was actually paying to fight in karate tournaments!
I had at that time about 30 plus amateur fights in Martial
Arts, competing in many karate tournaments
throughout the Northwest.
Fox won this Karate bout by points - 1974
The next day, I started
calling around to the boxing gyms to find
out how a person would go about becoming a boxer. I ended up talking
to a guy, Abe T., who supposedly managed fighters. He immediately
volunteered to take me under his wing as a
Little did I know,
newly-found manager did not appear to have my interest at heart. Being young and
new to the sport I knew that I needed management and a trainer, but I did
not know anyone in the business. Abe's enthusiasm and immediate acceptance
of me probably should have been a warning sign, but I wanted to fight!
Abe told me
that he would get me a fight with a girl by the name of Theresa
"Red Star" Kibby. He said that Kibby had never had a fight, had
been only boxing casually for two years and was not in very good shape. I
had wanted to fight Caroline Svendsen, and/or Jean Lang.
It was quite a publicity gimmick--female black belt against female
boxer. The news media went into a frenzy about the match and did several
feature stories about the upcoming fight. There was quite a bit of hype over
the whole ordeal. My newly-found "manager" never even bothered to
get me a boxing trainer. He let me continue to train at my karate
school with my karate instructor, no
boxing ring, no proper boxing equipment—nothing. The fight was set to go on February 12, 1976, so
with about 10 weeks of boxing training in a karate
school, I was faced to
days before my fight, I began to read newspaper articles in the local papers
about my opponent's background. I quickly found out that Kibby had not been boxing
for two years---she had been boxing for close to thirteen years with her two brothers, who
were also professional boxers. In fact, one of the brothers was listed
on the same boxing card as Kibby and me.
After I got over
the shock of the unexpected information, I immediately called my manager to
find out why he had not told me the truth. He tried to calm my fears.
"sprung" another new piece of information on me.
He told me that the fight
would be four three-minute rounds, not two-minute rounds as originally agreed upon. I
quickly figured out that "he was definitely the best man on their team."
It was not only sad to have a person, my supposed manager,
have my best interest at heart, and if this deception man had that, he never
would have put me in this match until I had been boxing for at least two
Needless to say,
this was no "Rocky" story, and the bout was a disaster. The referee stopped the fight in the third round,
after I was too stubborn to fall down. What was unfortunate
for me and for other martial artists was that everybody thought that I would win
because of being a black belt. They did not realize that I had been duped, and by
taking away my powerful leg kicks, I was just a "bad boxer."
(With research done on this
particular bout, WBAN found out that this fight was actually not sanctioned by the Oregon Athletic
Boxing Commission, and results were never given to FightFax, it ends up
being no more than an exhibition). Both
the commission and FightFax, the official record keeper of the
fight, stated that there was no record of this fight being
recoup from my "not-so-great" start in professional boxing.
down to California to get into a boxing gym with a competent boxing trainer and
manager. I found a gym in Westminster, California, that World Welterweight
Champion, Carlos Palomino trained at. The first day I walked in, I approached one of
the trainers, and asked him if I could use the gym to train. He reluctantly
said that I could. I told him that I would start the following day.
The next day, I took my equipment to the gym and started warming up.
All of the male fighters completely ignored me. They walked to the shower area in their
underwear, acting like I did not exist. After about a half hour or so, one of the
trainers approached me and asked me if I wanted to go four rounds with one of their
fighters. I was eager to do that because I thought, "all right" they
are going to accept me in the gym. I put my headgear and gloves on, my
sparring partner got his equipment on, and we proceeded to spar four three-minute rounds.
This little fighter who was much lighter than me, probably a bantamweight, proceeded to
kick the wholly daylights out of me, even with a head gear on. I got body
punched, hooked, and who knows what else during those four rounds.
At the end of the fourth round, my body
felt like someone had just put me through a meat grinder. I was exhausted, and
shocked at what a beating I just took. Even though I was hurting, I went to my
sparring partner and shook his hands while still gloved up. I thanked him for sparring
with me, and told him that I would like to spar with him the following day.
did he know that, THAT was the last thing I wanted to do!
next day before going to the gym, I dreaded having to face him again in the
ring. I knew that if I failed to show up at the gym that I would never save
face in the gym. I decided then that if I had to take a "beating" everyday
from those fighters, I would. I loved boxing that much.
The following day, I walked in the gym, ready to take my punishment. To my amazement, the
guy that beat me up the previous day was not there. I cannot even begin to tell you how
relieved I was, and I didnt care to ask why he was not in the gym.
a week of not seeing him though, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked one of the
trainers what happened to him. He proceeded to tell me that my "sparring
partner" was instructed to KNOCK ME OUT, and that when he was unable
to do that, he was too humiliated to return to the gym. I never saw that fighter again.
Documentation of Fox, 142 lbs. vs. Toni Lear, 140 lbs,
- Fox won by a
Four - Round WIN - Unanimous decision -
Hyatt Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, NV -April 1977
I trained for about
9-12 months in Carlos Palomino's gym, and during that entire time, I
did not have one conversation with Carlos other than, "Hi and bye."
trainer did finally break down and say one thing to me. I was thrilled when he
called me over to the side of the ring while I was sparring with someone.
immediately went to where he was standing and he then proceeded to tell me that he wanted to give me a word
of advice. He said to me that if I could not "at least"
jog five miles a day, to quit boxing. Palomino's trainer woke me up with that
startling statement. I was running about three miles a day, but it was obvious to
him that it was not nearly enough. From that day forward, I added another three
miles on the road at night.
A fighter that Fox deeply admire and fought
in 1977- Gwen Gemini - Fox considered Gemini one of the best female boxers in the sport,
and always felt that Gemini was a a much better boxer then herself...
Documentation of Sue Fox vs. Gwen Gemini
Tale of Tape: Gemini, Pro record: 14-1-1, - Fox, 4-2-2
documented program, Portland, OR - 1977
fight ended in a four-round draw
NBC's Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder
Gwen Gemini and Sue Fox did a quick
Exhibition bout, where they had a ring set up in the Television
studio, and then they were interviewed by Synder, along with boxing
Manager Dee Knuckles -July 7, 1977
Even though I did receive a little notoriety
as a boxer, there were many setbacks in the 1970's, during my boxing career.
of the major setbacks for me and other female boxers was when
Top Rank made
an offer to me and other top contenders. (Letter
of offered to Kibby, I was offered the same deal) They wanted to sign us for a one-year
contract, guaranteeing us three national fights, paying us $15,000, whether we fought or
not. I was told that the reason they later withdrew their offer
was the negative feedback from the public after the airing of the (Sports Spectacular) televised nationally a Welterweight Championship fight
between Teresa Kibby and
at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 16, 1977. What they didn't know
was that even though Ludian had the flu and was very ill, that she fought
Another setback for my career, was when I was offered a fight with Lavonne
and her manager would not accept a rematch with me at the Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in
1977. I had fought Ludian on May 1, 1977, previously at the
Sahara Tahoe, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. [Fight
This was a venue that was a hometown for Ludian. The fight ended in a
four-round controversial draw. I had almost knocked her out in the first round
according to the Nevada State Journal, who wrote that Ludian admitted to
seeing the lights of Vegas. This fight was also named "Fight of the
Month" according to Dee Knuckles and Bill Dickson. I was later offered
to fight her on a big card that was headlining Ernie Shavers at the Caesar's
Palace, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. T Promotions offered Ludian $5,000, and
I was offered $2,500. Ludian turned down the fight
according to promoter Bill Dickson.
I decided to hang up the gloves after it
became obvious that female boxing was
beginning to die out. I went back to
college to pursue my dream of becoming a police officer. I worked different
jobs, until I finally was hired in March of 1990 as a police officer.
My personal thoughts about boxing....In
total I had about 12 plus fights with some of those fights being just
exhibitions. Before I boxed professionally, I had about 30
amateur light-contact, and full-contact Karate competitions.
There were no opportunities for female boxers in the amateur arena, so in
the past all of us had to step immediately into the ring as a pro in order
to gain any experience. When I turned pro, I did not have a real
boxing trainer, no ring to train in, no wraps ever put on my hands,
absolutely clueless about what boxing was about, only training 3-4 months
before my first fight.
I was a perfect victim at the first part
of my boxing career for unscrupulous people in the sport to take advantage
of someone who did not know what was going on.....I did not learn the
"ropes" of boxing, until I let loose of my Karate Instructor, relocated to
Los Angeles, California, began training in the Westminster Gym, that housed
world champion Carlos Palomino, and I was truly exposed to real boxing,
training in a
real boxing ring and equipment, with genuine boxing trainers.
This is one of the top reasons for the continuing driving force that I have
personally strived for, in regards to other female boxers who are talked into
mismatches, over-matches, etc.-----mainly, I know what it feels like,
lived it firsthand in the past.
After boxing, Fox
ambitions, playing music professionally
since 1981 until 2011, singing, playing alto sax, bass guitar, and keyboards
in various rock & roll, Top 40, and variety bands. She also
fulfilled her goal to become a police officer - retired as of 2008.
Fox was an undefeated Full-Contact
fighter 6-0, earning two Northwest Championships, 1977-1978; three
years amateur competition in Karate tournaments, with about 30+ fights
in tournaments, before boxing professionally. Earned black belt
in 1975; 1976-First woman in the State of Washington
to obtain a boxing
1977-First woman licensed in State of Utah; first woman licensed in the
State of Montana, 1976. Ranked #1 in the world by the WBB and WBBA as a
welterweight (Champion spot was vacant); Ranked #2 Welterweight 1978;
Ranked #3 in 1977, ranked #3 in 1980, middleweight (WBB). In 1977, two fights were named "Fighter
of the month". Charlene Anthony vs. Sue Fox,
Las Vegas, Nevada. Also, Lavonne Ludian vs. Sue Fox, Sahara's
Tahoe Resort, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Appeared on the Tomorrow
Show with Tom Snyder, July 1977, and featured on other television news
features in the Northwest.
# # # #
# # # #
After Sue Fox boxed in the past...
In the year 2002, Fox was honored
by being featured in the 2002 Brown Prizefighters
and female boxers that included Alex "The Bronx Bomber" Ramos, Oquendo, Paz, Brian Viloria, Ricky Hatton, Jermain Taylor, Christy
Martin, Sumya Anani, and many more.
personal goal for WBAN was to make
its own history...
On June 13,
the Isleta Casino & Resort, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and
televised on Pay-Per-View, the boxing event “FINALLY” debuted the
first-ever independent world title WBAN belts for females. WBAN “Finally” made its own history in the
sport! It coincided with WBAN's tenth anniversary on the net. What better way to celebrate those
then to honor the top female boxers in the world with a prestigious
independent world title belt for being the
"best of the best" in the sport.
On this night, WBAN awarded two women boxers in its "history
first". One WBAN belt was awarded to Holly Holm, after
she defeated Mary Jo Sanders in a 10-round unanimous decision. In a second bout, WBAN awarded the best of the best, between Chevelle Hallback vs. Jeannine Garside. Hallback received the belt
after winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Garside--leaving no
doubt that this was the “Fight of the Night.”
On October 9, 2009, in a
history-first in Europe, in Marseilles, France, Myriam Lamare of France,
Marie Saccurato. Lamare not only won the WBF Junior Welterweight World
title, but also the FIRST WBAN Junior Welterweight Independent belt
that had been awarded out of the United States. Lamare and Saccurato made history for WBAN by fighting for the first
WBAN Independent belt in Europe.
On December 3, 2010, WBAN again
made its own history when Holly Holm fought Ann Marie Saccurato for the WBAN
junior welterweight title,
as it was the first time that WBAN had two boxers fighting a "second
time" for our belt.
Holly Holm was already the WBAN Junior Middleweight belt when she had fought
Mary Jo Sanders in June of 2008. Saccurato had fought for the junior welterweight
title over a year prior, fighting Myriam Lamare, who [Lamare]
ultimately won. On this date of December 3rd, Holm
defeated Saccurato by a eighth
round TKO, and she became the first female boxer in history to win two WBAN
In yet another
history-first with the WBAN belt, Holly Holm fought a third time
for a WBAN belt, and it would be ultimately for the WBAN
Welterweight world title. Holm fought Anne Sophie Mathis
on December 3, 2011, and lost that fight by being stopped by
Mathis by KO. Mathis from France is currently our WBAN
Welterweight champion. On June 15, 2012, in New Mexico,
Holly Holm rematched with Mathis, winning the WBAN World
Named in the "Top
Ten" as Most Influential in the sport of all time - Ring Magazine - February
Sue Fox Named in the "Top Ten" Most -Significant Female
All Time - Ring Magazine - Feb. 2012
In February of 2012, Fox was named as one of the top ten
female boxers of all time as one of the Most-Influential in the sport, by Ring
Magazine, 90-year anniversary commemorative Issue, February 2012. Other
women in the top ten, Christy Martin, Laila Ali, Grace Cassilas, Lady Tyger
Trimiar, and more... [Link]
On July 10, 2012, NBC Olympics
published an interview article with Fox, "Pioneering
Pugilists: Sue Fox" , in anticipation of their upcoming coverage of the
finest amateur female boxers in the world who will make history for the
first time being included in the 2012 Olympics in London. [NBC
In February of 2013, Lori Steinhorst of
Bad Girls Boxing Organization awarded Fox with the "Spirit of Giving" Award,
for the efforts of Fox of developing the sport through WBAN.
ESPN: Featured Story on History of Women's
WBAN Makes Its Own History - 2008
WBAN Makes History in Europe-2009
WBAN celebrates 11 years on the Net!
WBAN celebrates 12 years on the Net!
Link to Story
WBAN celebrates 13 years on the Net!
Link to Story
WBAN Celebrates 14 years on the Net!
Link to Story
Review of WBAN:
Link to story - May 11, 2011
In conclusion....Boxing in the 1970's......(Fox had a shaky start in pro boxing
as there were no amateur programs in existence at the time and very few
women who boxed in the 70's. Many of the female boxers had to
jump right into fighting as a pro to gain any amateur experience....WBAN
uncovered by extensive research with the Official Record Keeper for the
sport FIGHT FAX, and other sources, i.e., boxing commissions, that
many of these past fights that happened in the 70's were not sanctioned
bouts, and are in fact either "unsanctioned" or in many cases "exhibitions."