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.
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.
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
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
Copyrighted photos by Playboy February 1984 issue
PLAYBOY - ISSUE 1984
STEEL a foursome that's sex and strong
Photography by Richard Regley and David
Mecey - February 1984 issue (excerpts)
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
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
"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
"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.