Equality for Female Boxers in the Olympics

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One on One Interview with Tammy "TNT" Taylor
by Mark A. Jones
April 8, 2013
Photos: Courtesy

(APR 8) Tammy “TNT” Taylor, an aspiring professional boxer is set to make her professional debut as a middleweight on May 18 at the Jupiters Hotel & Casino, in Bradbeach, Queensland, Australia against Linda Eliason (0-1). She leaves behind an amateur career that witnessed her win various state and national titles and represent Australia internationally.

Mark Jones: Why boxing? What made you choose the sport?

Tammy Taylor: I have always loved boxing. I got into boxing because my grandfather was actually a World Champion! So a few of my family members trained and fought also. I was the first girl in the family to fight, and have been the most successful. I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy/rough kid growing up, so I fit in well. Boxing also helped me lose a lot of weight! My highest weight was 125kg!

Mark Jones: How long have you been an amateur boxer?

Tammy Taylor: I have been an amateur for around 5 years-I succeeded really quickly in my short time due to my work ethic and attitude.

Mark Jones: What are your accomplishments in the amateur ranks?

Tammy Taylor: I won my first fight by RSC (TKO) and was hooked after that! I won my first Australian National Title after only 3 fights. I have various won state and national titles in both the 69 & 75kg division and was the first female in history from the state of NSW to win a National Title. I have represented Australia on 3 occasions, including Oceana Games, Arafura Games and the Female World Championships in Barbados (where I was lucky enough to train with, spar and fight the best in the world) and won a bronze medal for Australia at an international tournament. I have held scholarships with the NSW Institute of Sport and trained at the Australian Institute of Sport.

I was also one of the most active lobbyists for the legalization of female boxing in the state of NSW (the last state to allowed women to compete) and received a commendation from Julia Gillard (Prime Minister of Australia) for my efforts. After heartbreakingly being injured at the time of the 2012 Olympic Trails (being a leading contender), and finding it hard to get matches in the amateurs-I decided it was time to turn professional. It has always been a goal, and I feel I am more suited to that style of fighting.

Mark Jones: When did female boxing become legal in NSW?

Tammy Taylor: Mid 2008.

Mark Jones: Is professional women’s boxing showcased in Australia?

Tammy Taylor: Female boxing is on the rise and coming into the spotlight much more in Australia!  The talent and quality of fighters coming through is incredible and is starting to be recognized. Unfortunately, however, at this stage we don’t receive enough media coverage, and female fights are rarely televised-which is a shame, because it would be great for viewers to see what female boxing is about and showcase our skill. Foxtel (Australia’s cable TV who televises all sports) almost seem to be a little scared to televise us, as I think they are unsure how the public would feel about it. I have only EVER seen 2 female fights on TV.

There are allot more amateurs than professionals here; therefore, it is rare to see a female pro fight on the card, and it is kind of a novelty/treat to see it! Crowds seem to thoroughly enjoy watching, get quite excited and always respect and encourage the females during the bout and approach us afterwards! Often the female bout is the fight of the night as it is exciting and unexpected.

Australia has a promising future with the females currently in the pro ranks who are undoubtedly going to make a mark on the world stage. I believe within 5 years Australia will hold quite a few Female World Titles, and I plan on contributing to that.

Mark Jones: What are your thoughts on why women’s boxing isn’t showcased in the United States?

Tammy Taylor:  I think the US is lucky compared to Australia with Female Boxing. I have travelled to the US for boxing with the Australian Team, and It seems to be accepted and encouraged allot more there!

I think the mentality is much the same as when the military wanted to change the laws about putting females on the front line in combat…they used the excuse that it's ‘too hard’, ‘uncomfortable’, and that ‘the public wouldn’t tolerate the casualties’. There would be much more empathy and sensitivity if a brutal female bout was televised as opposed to a male. We are seen as the ‘protected gender’, seen as more sensitive and to have a unique role in nurturing. So I think TV producers and networks are trying to save the possible offence it may cause or negative feedback.

Equal rights and female boxing have come a long way, but it’s all about changing people’s attitudes towards it and for Boxing not to just be viewed as a ‘males sport’. I believe this can certainly be achieved by televising evenly matched fights between experienced female fighters!

Mark Jones: What professional boxer, if any, have you modeled yourself after?

Tammy Taylor: I don’t model myself after anyone, nor do I fight anyone else’s fight ;) But I certainly have a lot of role models whom I look to for inspiration, tricks, techniques and signature moves/punches.

Mark Jones: Who are your role models/inspirations?

Tammy Taylor: I have a few inspirations and role models. Ina Menzer is undoubtedly a favorite of mine as far as females go, and Saul Alvarez & Mike Tyson for movement and power.

Mark Jones: When is your professional debut?

Tammy Taylor: My professional debut is May 18th on the Gold Coast, Australia. I will be fighting Linda Eliason at Middleweight (72.5kg)

Mark Jones: What is your daily training schedule like?

Tammy Taylor: My training schedule is pretty intense at the moment as I am fighting in 8weeks. I am a boxer who is in constant training, but really steps it up around fight time. I have stepped it up ALLOT since going from amateur to pro and am training harder, smarter and more ‘boxing specific’ than ever. As well as training with my coach, our team has specialist strength & conditioning coach who takes care of all of our weights and fitness programs.

I wake at 5am every day and start with conditioning-the days vary from; -Long Distance Runs (up to 8kms at the moment, will increase in the coming weeks); -Fitness & plyometric Circuits; -Weights (for power and speed); -to intense sprint training.

I then return to the gym in the afternoon (after work) and train with the Pro team.

My gym is a boxing specific gym that runs programs for Beginners, Intermediate, Amateur Fighters, Professionals and juniors. There are about 6-7 Professional boxers (including 3 Olympians) who train in the Pro team in the afternoons-I am the only female.

The afternoon is when we really get our one on one technique time with our coach and run through many different drills from Shadow Sparring, ring control, movement and footwork, partner work drills, pads, bag drills, floor to ceiling etc. Our afternoon sessions are always well planned out and really target things that we need to work on. My coach is singularly focused on perfect technique and throwing punches properly & effectively with body movement.
We get fit and strong in the mornings and fine tune our skills in the afternoons.

Saturdays are often sparring days in the morning, and I always finish the day off with a long run. We usually leave sparring until 4-6 weeks before fight time so that we are well conditioned.

My diet is pretty clean. I have done workshops and courses in nutrition and received advice about boxer/pre fight nutrition from some of the best coaches in the country. I stick to a lot of fruit, vegetables and proteins and lots of water! A great source of protein in fight camp which my team is pretty keened on is Kangaroo meat!
I also sleep allot! I get extremely exhausted after a day’s training, so I aim to get around 9-10 hours.

Trainer: Gareth Williams
Manager: Gareth Williams
Gym Name: Team TBS (The Boxing Shop)
Nick Name: ‘TNT’
Amateur record: Approx. 30 fights
Home Town: Brisbane, QLD
Birth Place: Penrith, NSW
Stance: orthodox
Height: 179cm (5’ 10 ½”)
Reach: 71”


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