(APR 11) Australian women’s
boxing pioneer, former Australian national champion, USA masters
champion and author Mischa Merz has opened her own
boxing gym in
Australia, making it the only female owned and operated
authentic boxing gym in the country.
Mischa Merz outside of Boxing
Her first female fighter, Zoi
Georgiou will make her amateur debut on April 28 in the 58kgs
division and more fighters are in the wings.
Merz opened the gym in February and already it has attracted
female fighters and aspiring fighters who gather regularly to
WIBA super featherweight champion Diana Prazak has made it her
home gym whenever she comes back to Australia, inspiring the up
and coming females.
Diana Prazak - WIBA super
Merz plans to have more female role models visit the gym and
work with the girls giving them advice and helping them develop
‘I know when I was starting out it in boxing it was hard to find
women to spar. And it’s so important to have that in order to
improve and to know where you fit in. So I am determined to make
that happen for the women and girls starting to box now. I don’t
want them to be isolated and only sparring with men,’ she said.
Female boxers - Lisa and Carley
‘I wanted to open a place that had the feel of an old school
boxing gym, that included men but gave women an equal share of
the space and the opportunities,’ she said.
‘I was inspired by so many women in the United States like Terri
Moss, Bonnie Canino, Alicia Ashley and of course Lucia Rijker
who I met and trained with while researching my book ‘The
Sweetest Thing’,’ she said.
‘Those women, who I had watched from afar and admired for so
long were taking the next step in the sport, coaching and
promoting and bringing along the next generation of women. I
wanted to be able to do the same in Australia and they showed me
how. And now Boxing Australia, since the Olympics, has come to
recognise the value of supporting the women as much as the men
so we have a future finally, after people questioning our rights
to fight at all for so long.’
Merz said another motivation for opening the gym was to make
boxing front and centre.
Carley and Luke training in the
Merz in the background.
‘That’s why I’ve called it ‘Mischa’s Boxing Central’. Because
everyone’s offering a smorgasbord of martial arts these days
thanks to MMA. But boxing is a very complex and difficult sport
to master in and of itself. It actually isn’t part of MMA.
Punching in part of MMA but boxing is something else altogether.
It has it’s own culture, it’s own aesthetic and form and I
didn’t want that to be diluted by other sports. I’m a purist and
I’m passionate about boxing. Boxing is central to me.’ For
more info on this gym,