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Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty Together Again at IWBHF Induction
Press Release:  Bernie McCoy
Photo: Mary Ann Owen
June 27, 2015
     
   
   

(JUNE 27) The first two classes of the International Women's Boxing Hall of Fame (IWBHF) are dominated by "modern era" (1995-2005) boxers, several of whose names continue to be synonymous with the sport. Christy Martin, Lucia Rijker and Laila Ali are logical candidates for a three woman Rushmore of female fighters, likely to be included in any paragraph written about the history of Women's boxing. All three have (Martin, Rijker) or will (Ali) ascend to the sport's Hall of Fame and are joined by talented boxers from that era who were honored in the 2014 class (Regina Halmich, Bonnie Canino) or will be inducted on July 11 (Laura Serrano, Jeannine Garside, Ann Wolfe, Deirdre Gogarty, Terri Moss), indicative of the popularity of the sport during their time in the ring, a time when the popularity of Women's boxing was at it's zenith.


[2014 IWBHF Inductee Hall of Famer Christy Martin (third from left) a special guest at the 2015 Induction Ceremony on July 11th, will do a special presentation on our 2015's International Women's Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee Deirdre Gogarty]

Simply stated, these boxers knew how to box and they dispelled, quickly, the attitude, prevalent at the time, among too many fight fans, promoters and the media, that "girls had no place in a boxing ring." These Hall of Fame boxers knew about angles, knew about "sitting down on punches," knew how to spin off the ropes or out of a corner. They were far removed from the first female boxers who appeared in the mid-seventies, athletes who forced to endure such patronizing attention as CBS announcer Tom Brookshier infamously comparing them to "saloon girls brawling in the old West," and, condescendingly, "hope(ing) they don't get hurt." But what really separated these boxers from those who had gone before and, to a larger degree, far too many who would come later, was the fact that their careers were largely comprised of fighting the best possible opponents available and, in many cases, taking bouts with each other.

Laura Serrano began her professional career by stepping into the ring with Christy Martin who was, at the time, firmly implanted at the top of the sport. Shortly thereafter, Serrano fought fellow 2015 IWBHF inductee Deirdre Gogarty, to rave "live" TV commentary extolling the devastating ability of Serrano "to go to the body." Near the end of her career, Serrano, still seeking out the best available opponents, matched up with Jeannine Garside, with whom she will be inducted into the IWBHF on July 11. And near the end of her career, Gogarty fought a memorable ten rounds with 2014 Hall inductee Bonnie Canino for the WIBF featherweight title. What distinguished these matches, that typified an era of the sport that the IWBHF has extensively honored with it's first two classes, is that, prior to the opening bell, it was difficult to pinpoint the better fighter. These were "two good fighter" bouts that were more the rule than the exception. The comparison with today's sport is, sometimes, all too obvious.

   

But despite the predominance of competitive bouts that fed the popularity of female boxing during that period, one bout continues, to this day, to loom over all others. One bout, one six round female bout still resounds as the takeoff point for the sport and the success that it knew in the late nineties and early years of the new century. It was a March 16,1996 undercard bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas featuring a main event between Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno. The world wide pay per view TV audience was estimated at 30 million in over 100 countries. And what they saw, in that female bout "underneath" the main event, was six rounds of boxing skill. Not six rounds of female boxing skill, six rounds featuring two athletes, who happened to be female, who knew how to box. Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty transfixed the MGM Grand crowd along with the TV audience with their skills and eliminated, in twelve minutes of action, any question among those that saw the bout, that both Martin and Gogarty belonged to be exactly where they were; in the ring of a championship card in Las Vegas.

Martin, the bigger puncher, scored a second round knockdown while Gogarty, the skilled boxer, recovered from the knockdown and, at the end of the bout, left Martin bleeding copiously from the nose. And both fighters left the fans in the venue and those millions in front of their TVs with a new outlook on the sport of female boxing; an appreciation of the athletes and their ring skills that propelled the sport well into the new century. A month later, (April 15, 1996) Christy Martin appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on her way to becoming the putative "face" of Women's boxing. Deirdre Gogarty went on to a successful (16-5-2, 14KOs) career that will culminate on July 11 in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her induction into the International Women's Boxing Hall of Fame.

And that induction will be highlighted by a reunion of the two boxers as Gogarty will receive her plaque and be welcomed into the International Women's Boxing Hall of Fame by Martin. The moment will recall what many in the boxing community still consider the signal female boxing match in the history of the sport; in an era when the sport of Women's boxing and it's athletes reached a high level of competitive excellence; an era that continues to be honored by the IWBHF. The Martin/Gogarty reunion will also be one more highlight of what promises to be the event of the year for and about the sport of Women's boxing.

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