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Public Challenges in Women's Boxing---Not a New Thing!
By Sue TL Fox
May 5, 2009

     
   
   
   
   

(MAY 5) Some may think that women boxers putting out "public challenges" to other female boxers may be something that has transpired in the last 10 years or so.....But WBAN has discovered that the first "Public Challenge" as of this date of the research we have in our archives actually took place on September 22, 1890!

Hattie Stewart, of Norfolk, Virginia, put out a public challenge in a local newspaper, to fellow boxer Hattie Leslie, of Buffalo, New York. Stewart, who was living in Seattle, Washington, at the time of her public challenge, told the press that she wanted to fight Leslie in a "boxing championship" and that she would receive $250, and that Leslie would receive $250, with an additional $100 to Leslie for expenses.

After Leslie found out about the "Public Challenge", she came back with her own "public response". The response was published in the Winnipeg Free Press on September 25, 1890.

Leslie stated the following: "I have seen a challenge to me from Hattie Stewart, stating she would meet me in a glove contest for $250 a side and that she would allow me $100 for expenses; but she has no money put up. Now I will make an offer to her: I will fight her "Police Gazette" rules to govern, with gloves weighing two ounces, bare hands preferred, and I will give or take S250 for expenses. We can get police protection, and if Stewart wants to fight in San Diego, California, she will have to get the same. Now let Stewart put up her money with the Police Gazette, and I will cover it, and I will fight her three months after the articles [Contracts] are signed. This is no bluff.. (Signed) Hattie Leslie, champion female pugilist (not boxer) of the world."

It is unknown if the two ever met in the ring, and unfortunately Hattie Leslie died two years later.  On September 23, 1892, at just 25 years old, she died at the Exchange Hotel, in Milwaukee, of typhoid pneumonia.

WBAN has added a online database History of women's boxing on http://www.wbanmember.com .

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