Equality for Female Boxers in the Olympics

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Interviews with Four Women Boxers at The Canada’s Junior Nationals
By Rick McLean
March 5, 2005



(MAR 5) On February 17-20, 2005, the Canada's amateur Junior Nationals took place in Brantford, Canada, and was hosted by the Brantford Youth Boxing Club. The event was first rate, and Jason Robinson and Boxing Ontario did a fantastic job!

While covering this event, I got the opportunity to interview four of the amateur female boxers, Katie Dunn, Leah Evans, Jill Perry, and Linda Ludwig, out of the Province of Ontario.

I first interviewed Katie Dunn, who is from Windsor, Ontario Canada.

Katie is presently being coached and trained by Josh Canty, and three-time world champion Margaret Sidoroff-Canty at the Border City Boxing Club  in Windsor.

Katie has already accumulated an outstanding amateur record of 46 and 10. She is currently in post secondary education taking massage therapy. When asked about her favourite moves in the ring, Katie said that she it is best to stick with the basics, double jab, right. Katie uses mental imagery when training because it helps with nerves and allows her to keep focused. She feels that a boxer should train their mind as well as their bodies.

I was able to see Katie in action on Thursday night when she boxed Ananya Pelletier of Manitoba in a 63kg/139lbs match. This match was to determine who would be on Canada's National women's team. All Katie had to do was win one of the possible three scheduled matches to solidify her position on Team Canada. When asked what she knew about her upcoming opponent, Katie answered that Ananya is quick and busy but lacks defense and she planned to take advantage of that. Her game plan was to mix it up and land some solid uppercuts as well. Katie’s prediction was that it would be stopped, but if not she was ready to go the distance if need be. However Katie’s prediction would ring true when she defeated Ananya by RSCO in round 2.

Katie likes the condition that Canadian women’s boxing is in. As an intermediate she would only get 1 match but at Senior Nationals this year she was able to get 3 matches in. Katie said that in opinion the level of competition in women’s boxing has tripled in only a couple years. One improvement Katie would like to see is with judging. She feels that there is too much inconsistency and not enough experienced judges. When asked about the rules discrepancy compared to men, Katie felt that the rules should be the same for both. For example, a men’s match will be stopped after a 20 point spread while a woman’s match is stopped after a 15 point difference. In addition, women box less rounds and less time per round.

Katie’s short term goal is to compete internationally for Canada, while her long term goal is to keep winning Nationals and eventually compete in the Olympics for Canada, if and when they ever allow women’s boxing in the Olympics.

On a recent edition of ESPN 2’s Friday Night Fights, Emanuel Stewart who has significant influence in U.S.A. boxing stated that women’s boxing lacks the popularity on an international scale and it will be hard to have a good competition in 2008 because only a handful of countries will be able to compete.

On the other hand, Lucia Rijker, stated that women’s boxing is popular, but  just isn’t marketed or promoted properly. Poor attendance is not caused by lack of interest but because of lack of knowledge of events. When asked about the possibility of women’s boxing in the 2008 Olympics and her opinion on it Katie stated that she wasn’t sure yet and that she wants to see what the international competition is like. She does not want to have it were women from one country dominate women in another country. Katie feels that there should be “stiff” competition or it will look bad for women’s boxing.

I asked Katie if she had any aspirations of turning pro and her reply was maybe, but in like 6 to 8 years from now. Her concern with pro women’s boxing is that many women have little or no amateur experience when they start. It is these women who get their matches televised and it looks awful. She remarked that anyone can turn pro so television networks should be “picky” on which they choose to televise or else women’s boxing won’t be taken seriously. To see more on Katie Dunn.

My next interview was with Leah Evans, from Orangeville Ontario who has a current amateur record of 12-5 and has only been boxing for about a year. Evans is a junior member of Team Ontario 2005. Leah is a grade 12 student and boxes out of the Big Tyme Boxing Club in Orangeville  and her favourite punches are uppercuts or straight rights.

Ms. Evans had a first round “bye” so she got the Thursday and Friday nights off. Her original opponent had moved down in weight. Leah boxed and was defeated by Cynthia Bolduc of Quebec by RSCO in round 2 on Saturday night in a 52kg/115lbs contest.

Leah’s long term goal is to represent Canada in the Olympics and maybe someday turn pro if she is able to find the time between her schooling and career choices. The part of training that Leah likes at her club is the “boot camp” that her coaches make the boxers go through. This includes both strength and running exercises that she finds very beneficial.

Leah agrees with Katie that women’s boxing is a good idea for the 2008 Olympics if it’s properly managed. Leah feels that women’s boxing is doing well in Canada but there should be more recognition given to the female athletes. She hopes one day there will be all female tournaments held in order to give them the much needed exposure. Evans wants to see women treated equally with the men in the ring. She stated that they train together, do the same routines, and spar together so it only makes sense. To find out more about Leah’s accomplishments.

The third boxer I interviewed was Jill Perry, who fights out of from Ottawa. She has an amateur record of 26-5 and is in her fourth year of competition. She is a senior female member of Team Ontario 2005. Jill works in the high tech industry as a marketer and as a boxing coach.

Over the past year Jill has been concentrating on honing her punches, for example a lead right and left hook and feels that she has been progressing well overall. She has separate trainers for both her conditioning and for her boxing. Jill was at the Junior Nationals in a coaching capacity and is just about to finish her level 2 coaching certification. She feels that coaching other boxers is a good exit strategy from competition. However, Jill still intends to box competitively for another year. As a coach Jill likes to teach her students the basics with a strong cardio base and the “reality” of the ring. What she means by this is that some of her students come in thinking they know it all after learning 3 or 4 punches, but after a controlled sparring session the students see just how much hard work and dedication is actually required.

When asked about the 2008 Olympics Jill replied that for women’s boxing to progress it has to be featured at the big events. Over her four years Jill has seen the women’s competition improve dramatically. She also likes the fact that many of the gyms and coaches are becoming supportive and more involved in the women’s side of the sport. However, Jill feels that there are still people in powerful places who do not take women’s boxing seriously. To change this Jill stated that women’s boxing must be put on the world stage to allow the public a chance to witness their skills which will put more pressure on the people who do not want to see women’s boxing succeed.

Jill felt that one major improvement that boxing in Canada has made is that there are open weight classes now for the women at the big tournaments. This allows more women the opportunity to fight unlike at some club shows were there might be one or two female matches on the card. Jill’s favourite boxer is Lucia Rijker and she really enjoyed the documentary “Shadow Boxers” and has watched it numerous times. She wishes that Lucia would have more matches but felt she is too good and nobody wants to fight her. To see more about Jill.

The fourth interview I conducted was with Hamilton’s Linda Ludwig. Linda is a senior member of Team Ontario 2005 who boxes out of the Hamilton Boxing Club and currently has an amateur record on 15 and 2. Ludwig is currently enrolled at Humber College in Toronto Ontario in the police foundations program, she also waitresses part time as well.

Her favourite punching combination is the straight right, left hook, and right.  Ludwig was coming off a good showing at the Senior Nationals in Quebec. However, most Canadians were not given the opportunity to see women like Linda in action because the main sports network in Canada called TSN, the “so called” “Sports Network” failed to show any female matches throughout their extensive coverage of that event. Every boxer interviewed including Linda felt frustrated at the lack of television coverage by TSN considering there was just as many women’s matches there as men’s. What excuses could TSN possible have? There is no NHL hockey yet they show the thriving sport of Texas Hold’em Poker daily? This is the perfect opportunity for networks like TSN to show women not just in boxing but in every amateur sport. TSN really dropped the ball and showed they can’t even cover a national event properly. No wonder they do not get any respect internationally!

Linda boxed Genevieve Lachance on Friday night and lost by a decision of 44-31. Ludwig’s long term goal is to continue winning in the amateur ranks before turning pro in a couple of years. Linda feels that there should be women’s boxing in 2008 regardless of any politics involved, she feels it is “long overdue”. Like her fellow women boxers that I interviewed, Linda feels that they should be treated in the exact same way as the men. She cited the fact that men are allowed to have three standing 8 counts and the women are only given two. Linda is a good example of what the “proper” route of a pro women’s boxer should be. She has a positive attitude, is building up a good amateur career, and is not rushing into it. It will be interesting to follow her career and I hope to watch her as a pro someday. To learn more about Linda Ludwig,

In closing I would like to say,  “Thank you to Jason Robinson and Boxing Ontario for allowing me the opportunity to watch the event and do these interviews. I am looking forward to covering more women’s amateur and pro matches in the future. They deserve just as must respect and recognition for all their hard work and I plan to make sure that they get it.

To make comments to Rick McLean,
Email: riggs196@hotmail.com



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