(APR 10) English Super Bantamweight
boxer, Marianne ‘Golden Girl’ Marston, who is due to be on the under
card of Brian Cohen’s WBC Americas Title Fight in South Philadelphia
on 9th May, suffered a further setback in her professional boxing
career when the American Embassy in London refused her visa
After regularly traveling back and forth to America to train for
over two years, on the visa waiver system, with no problems as well
as having contacted the London Consular by e.mail to verify which
visa she should apply for, Marianne had expected her visa
application to be a formality.
Marianne is expecting further repercussions from her failure to
secure a visa, as her contract with sports clothing and equipment
manufacturer, Pugilist Urban Garments, is reliant on her being in
America as part of the promotion of their P.U.G. Athletic brand into
the $50 Billion American Sporting goods market in 2009.
Both Marianne’s contracts with Team ‘USS’Cunningham, who represent
and train her in America, and the May 9th event promoters, ABBCorp,
Inc. and Bionic Bull Enterprises, are also on the basis of her
securing the visa. Her not being able to make the 9th May fight is
particularly worrying for Marianne as Donna Cohen, of ABBCorp, Inc.
and Bionic Bull Enterprises, had made an offer of a twelve fight
contract between May 2009 and Dec 2010.
Marianne, a protégé of legendary Heavyweight boxing champion of the
World Smokin’ Joe Frazier and former IBF Cruiserweight World
Champion, Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham, spoke of her feelings during her
daily training session at Gleason’s Gym near Tower Bridge in London.
“I can’t believe that they refused my visa again. I originally
applied in March so I could return to Philadelphia to resume
training with Steve (‘USS’ Cunningham) and Shar’ron (Baker) in
preparation for my anticipated pro-debut.
The guy that interviewed me at the Embassy in March said he was
refusing my application because I don’t have adequate socioeconomic
ties with the UK, not much family here or a job, and as such doesn’t
feel I would return here. He also said my boxing is just a “hobby”.
I found that unbelievably insulting. I’m English born and bred,
London is my home and always will be. It’s not my fault I only have
two close family members still living and Boxing is my job, I can
get plenty of fights in America. I am aware that the chances of
getting many fights here in the UK is very slim as there just aren’t
many female pro-fighters here.
As for my not returning to the UK, I have been going to America for
the past couple of years to train, firstly at Joe’s (Smokin’ Joe
Frazier) and then at Shuler’s (The James Shuler Memorial Gym) on the
visa waiver system, I’ve never abused it, I always returned within
the 90 days. If I was going to stay illegally surely I would have
done it then, not after going to the trouble of applying for a visa.
Yes, I accept I’m an amateur by definition as I have yet to have my
pro-debut fight, but I am a professional in reality. Boxing is my
life and now it is the way I make a living. They don’t realise how
hard I train. It’s not a hobby, I run between 3 and 17 miles in the
morning, then spend between 4 and 5 hours in the afternoon training
at the gym.
I reapplied for my visa after P.U.G. renewed my sponsorship and I
had been e.mailed the contract to fight on May 9th. These were
already being discussed, but had not been sorted, before my first
application so I didn’t mention them. I supplied the contracts from
P.U.G. and the promoter but the guy who interviewed me the second
time said I have just changed my story and the refusal still stands.
It makes me wonder if they don’t believe that a woman could make a
career of being a professional boxer.
I’m flabbergasted, I have been waiting so long for my professional
debut, I was supposed to debut last May but Frazier’s closed down
and I was left without a gym, trainers or management. Then in
August, as I was preparing for a fight in New Jersey, I burst my
Achilles tendon. I was on the Casino Battle Royale card for January
this year, I’d even made my appointment for a visa interview back
then, but as the whole event got canceled I put the interview back
to March so I could get back in time for Steve’s fight (Steve ‘USS’
Cunningham - Tomasz Adamek’s IBF Cruiserweight World Championship
bout on December 11th ‘08), now this happens. It feels like I’ll
never actually get to fight.
I’m not going to give up though, I’m still training hard just in
case we can get this sorted and I can get to fight. ”
Marianne’s professional debut was due to be on the under card of
Philadelphia’s Brian Cohen WBC Americas Light Heavyweight title
fight on May 9th 2009 at the South Philadelphia High School.
Marianne’s bout would have been one of three female bouts on the ten
fight card. Promoter Donna Cohen is a big supporter of Women’s
boxing and every event she promotes includes at least one female
match-up. Source/Press Release