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Sue Fox Named  in the "Top Ten" Most -Significant Female Boxers of All Time - Ring Magazine - Feb. 2012


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When WBAN heard about Mia St. John posing for Playboy, which is on the stands now (November 1999)..... I couldn't help but try to "Set the Record Straight" with women's history about the event. 

"Playboy Magazine
February 1984"



I am sure that most of you think that Mia St. John is the first woman boxer to pose for Playboy.....Sorry, not so.....  TL Fox loves to investigate these things (I guess that comes from having worked as a detective for five years), but I had to find an issue of Playboy that I was sure Grace Casillas, a 1980's undefeated fighter had posed in.  



Well, after asking the assistance from others to solve this puzzle,  I was finally able to find out that Grace Casillas, was in the February 1984 issue.  Okay, don't get too excited.  The above posted photo is NOT Casillas.  She did not make the cover----So Mia is the first to make the cover! (I think....)

Yes, Grace has clothes on... Now you REALLY didn't think I would put the other photos on my site... 

So, another case solved in the "Playboy" history channel of women's boxing, TL Fox is off on a another mission to set the record straight!  TL Fox  Copyrighted article 10/1/99. Copyrighted photos by Playboy February 1984 issue 

a foursome that's sex and strong

Photography by Richard Regley and David Mecey - February 1984 issue (excerpts)

On the third round of a fight for the Women's Bantamweight Boxing Championship of the World, Graciela Casillas--lean, compact, her dark eyes spitting fire--caught Debra Wright with a right cross to the jaw.  Wright went down hard, her head bobbing on the sweaty canvas in the Tucson Auto Auction Building.  

"I think of myself as a warrior when I step into the ring, an honorable warrior,"  Graciela says later.  "I never want to hurt anybody.  If I were into hurting people, I could go out and pick a fight and just be a rowdy individual. But at the moment a knockout happens, it's very. . . exciting.  There's a rush when you hit somebody with a clean, solid punch. You know your whole body clicked."

It was nine minutes before Wright got off the canvas.  Graciela, the only athlete to hold world titles in both boxing and full-contact karate, had defended one of her titles again.

Graciela, the boxer, disdains boxing trunks for their everlasting formlessness.  She designed the world's first boxing skirt, complete with sequins and chiffon.  "Just because I step into the ring doesn't mean I lose my femininity," she jabs.  "That skirt is my trademark.  It's symbolic."

Graciela, highest profile of the four has a twice-broken nose that only adds character to the face that's slipped a thousand fists.  She holds a master's degree in psychology from California Lutheran, has studies acting under Stella Adler and is one of the staunchest defenders of women's right to compete as women.

"The point is not to prove that we're better than men or that we can beat men," say the only woman ever to hold concurrent titles in two sports. "Men and women are different."  


She faced it early in her career even when it came to fighting other women.  She calls her signing for a 1979 fight with world champio Karen Bennett a "freak accident."  It would be the first boxing match Graciela had ever fought.

"Bennett was going to defend her title two weeks later, and she needed an easy tune-up match," the current champ recalls. "I'd just been rejected for a match by the state of Texas as an "inferior opponent, we had to doctor my record up.  I would have done anything to get an opportunity to fight her, to be known. It wasn't even supposed to be a title fight, but I went in the ring and beat her so badly she announced her retirement that night.  After that, they were really in a bind for the title fight two weeks later.  They said I might as well go.  I fought Ginger Kaufman, the number-two contender, and beat her in a unanimous decision. But it was a war."

Having won her boxing title and full-contact crown in 1979, and having held both ever since, Graciela is just about ready to retire from the wars.  She studies acting harder than ever now, though she still trains every day, and would like to take on a few martial-arts films.  Somewhere down the road, she would like to make Hollywood her corner.  There's no reason to doubt her determination.  Or her ambition.

"I've been in the martial-arts world for ten years now.  It's been a real struggle, and I feel to this point I haven't gotten the recognition I should have.  It was a surprise and an honor that Playboy thought I was beautiful enough to be in the magazine, and I'm trying at this point to develop a very visible career.  I've accomplished more than most male athletes.  I hold two world titles in two sports.  So why not go big, so the whole world will eventually know who I am?

"Men are stronger than women," she says getting up to leave fro a flight to Los Angeles, where she was to spar with men that afternoon and kick-box with them that night.  "But women have other natural gifts. 

Copyrighted Playboy editorial 2/84. All Rights Reserved.



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                                        WBAN (WOMEN BOXING ARCHIVE NETWORK) Copyrighted MAY 1998