Equality for Female Boxers in the Olympics

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  Shirley Tucker fought Toni Rodriguez where Tucker shows her superior skills against Rodriguez...

SHIRLEY (ZEBRA GIRL) TUCKER, "The girl who kayoed a commission", excerpt:  Boxing Illustrated Magazine, by editor Mary-Ann Noble, dated April, 1979 issue. 

Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Tucker forced the California Commission to change their regulations which forbade female fighters from engaging in more than four-round bouts.    Just who is this fighting female who dared to take on the California Commission. 

Born Shirley Lyn Tucker on Aug. 22, 1956 in Redmond, Oregon, "Zebra Girl" was one of 13 children -- nine girls and four boys.  She is a divorced mother of two children, a 4 1/2-year-old son Jamie and 18-month-old daughter Kori.

"I'm no crusader for women's rights, I just want to be somebody"   explained the 5-foot-3, 118-pounder with the short, curly honey-blonde hair.   "I want to prove women can box and don't have to stay in the kitchen and cook.   Quite a few people have tried to talk me out of fighting, but I tell them to just give me a chance, that's all I want to become is a world champion, make enough money   to buy a cocktail lounge, retire and tun the "Zebra Cocktail Lounge."

Shirley is the first to admit that boxing isn't for every girl.  "Boxing is great if the girl has what it takes but a girl has to work and train hard."

   Training is so time-consuming that Zebra Girl doesn't hold down any other job except that of being a mother to her two children and being a professional pugilist.  She works out at home in the mornings and at Al Lemay's gym in Sebastopol,  Calif., in the evening."  "I have my good days and bad days when I'm training and get butterflies in my stomach when I enter the ring for a fight.  I have a good defense and know it can keep me from getting hurt.   "To be a good boxer, you need coordination's, a lot of endurance and great concentration.  It doesn't take guts, you just have to put your mind to it.

   "I'm really aggressive and take the initiative because I don't like my opponents to keep pounding on me,"  said Shirley in describing her ring style.  It comes at no surprise that a female would call "Rocky" her favorite movie, and Sylvester Stallone her favorite actor.  Although her busy schedule as mother and boxer doesn't allow her too much spare time, Shirley likes to watch the championship fights on T.V.  My favorite television show is "Eight is Enough."

It's natural that some people would cast asperions on Zebra Girl because she has decided to become a boxer.  "I get mad when people ask me if I'm gay.  Just because a woman becomes a boxer it doesn't mean she's a homosexual.   If a guy is a ballet dancer, does that make him gay?  I'm no more a homosexual than my mother and she had 13 children."

   Zebra Girl isn't in boxing for her for her health.   "I like the money.  I got $3,500 for stopping Jamie Gayden in the four round in Accra, Ghana, last year.  They had never seen women boxers in Africa before, so we made history in front of a couple thousand people.  "Most men make $250 for a four-round fight, I have never made less than $300."  Shirley gave it a lot of thought when asked to name her toughest opponent.  "Jamie Gayden was tough to fight because of her confusing style, but Karen Bennett was the hardest hitter I have faced thus far," stated Zebra Girl.

Shirley's father, a mechanic in Bakersfield, isn't in favor of her ring career, but Shirley's mother, who used to work in her corner, encouraged Zebra Girl.  "She said if that's what I want to do, she's going to stand behind me," said Shirley.  "Boxing hasn't changed me," explained Zebra Girl.    



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