|In 1995, there was a
debate on women's boxing on Danish TV. The issue was the increasing
number of women who joined boxing clubs, but were banned from using
their hard earned skills in the boxing ring by DABU (Danish Amateur
Boxing Association). Leading figures from DABU took part in the
discussion, and their views stretched from welcoming women in the ring
to the "over my dead body" attitude.
In 2005, DABU presented the "Boxer of the Year" award to a woman. This
calls for praise - Not only for the recipient, but also for DABU.
The "Boxer of the Year",
Vinni Skovgaard, is a beacon for women's amateur boxing in Denmark. Her
dedication and impressive results in the amateur ring has earned her the
prestigious award from the Danish Amateur Boxing Association.
She was born in 1980 in the Danish town of Vejle, where she still lives.
Vinni works full time as a sales consultant in a cell phone shop in her
home town. Several times a week she travel the 45 miles to her boxing
club Aarhus ABK after work; where she is trained by Jan Berg and Ivor De
Like many boxers before her, she joined a boxing club just to keep fit.
Seven years ago she played soccer at a very competitive level. She
always prided herself of being the fittest player in her team. Wanting
to ensure, that things stayed that way, she joined the local boxing
club, Vejle AK, to stay in shape during the summer interval of the
soccer league. She soon discovered, that boxing was much more demanding
than soccer, both physically and mentally. The change from a team sport
to an individual sport suited her very well and, last but not least, she
realized, that she liked boxing and was very good at it.
She boxed her first 8 bouts
for Vejle AK. Various circumstances and a wish to develop her boxing
skills further with a new trainer, made her move to Århus ABK, and soon
her trophy cabinet started filling up. The most prominent place is taken
up by a gold medal won at the European Championships in 2004, which gave
Vinni a place in the history books as the first Danish woman to win a
European title. In addition to that, she has won 3 Danish and 3 Nordic
Championships, not to mention several gold and silver medals won at
national and international tournaments. Unfortunately, Vinni was unable
to defend her title in the 2005 European Championships due to a hand
injury that required a 2 month lay off.
Her latest achievement is a bronze medal won at the World Championships
held in Russia in September 2005. Maybe it is no coincidence, that her
parents gave her a name that is pronounced almost like "winner". Vinni
admits to being a bad looser. Like all top motivated athletes, coming
second or third is not good enough for her, so the bronze medal doesn't
give her full satisfaction. But the adverse circumstances of her injury
and five month without a fight before the world championships, does
soften the blow for her.
One of her trainers, Ivor de
Lima, gives her the following testimony; "In my mind, she is the
complete boxer. She is athletic and likes training, she has talent and
is an easy learner, she want to be the best. Vinni is not satisfied
until things really work, and that has an impact on her training."
Asked about the general state of women’s amateur boxing in Denmark and
what steps could be taken to strengthen the sport, she admits, that it
has been an uphill struggle in the seven years she has been involved.
One of the problems, is the difficulty of getting fights within Denmark.
This is partly due to the low number of registered women boxers, but
also a reluctance among some boxers and trainers to take on tougher
opposition. This is the way you learn and develop as a boxer, she
explains; and adds, that she too, had to start from scratch and fight
opponents who had 20 fights more than her. The major part of her 54
bouts has been fought outside Denmark, due to lack of competition. To
compensate for this, Vinni spends a lot of time traveling up and down
the country for sparring, mainly with male boxers.
Another item on the wish list, is increased support from the Danish
Amateur Boxing Association. Things has improved lately, but there is
still a need for more funding, to enable boxers to travel to the
international tournaments, and equally important, to organize training
sessions in preparation for international events. Vinni looks with envy
at nations like Sweden, Norway, France and Italy, who are far ahead of
Denmark in the support they give to women’s boxing. She mentions the
number of women’s tournaments arranged by these countries as just one
example. However, she takes it as good sign for the future, that an
annual international women’s tournament has now been announced to take
place in her home town of Vejle, starting in 2006.
The inevitable question to a top amateur is: ”Do you considering turning
Vinni admits, that it would be tempting to receive some financial reward
for her hard work in the gym. Although amateur boxing has given her many
good experiences, it has been far from a free ride. Diet and mental
coaching to reach and stay at the top, paid out of her own pocket and
devoting all vacation from work to the sport, are just some of the
costs. She has achieved almost all that can be achieved within the
amateur ranks, so going into professional boxing would be a new
WBAN congratulates her with her results so far, and wishes her all the
best in her continued career, be it with or without headgear.
The following is added to Vinni Skovgaard’s profile in September 2007
At the beginning of 2007, Vinni decided to turn pro. However, her
profile would not be complete without rounding up her last year in
While Vinni Skovgaard can look back on 2006 as the most successful of
her amateur career, it was also the year, when The Danish Amateur
Association lost it’s strongest female asset. Skovgaard won the
following official championships, which she could add to her already
March - Esbjerg. Denmark - Danish Champion
June - Porto Torres, Italy - EU Champion + Best boxer award
September - Warshaw, Poland - European Champion
She also brought back silver medals from the following prestigious
March - Tønsberg, Norway - Scandinavia Championships
May - Istanbul - Turkey - Ahmet Comert Memorial Cup
August - Pecs - Hungary - Witch Cup
October - Vejle - Denmark - Venus Box Cup
Vinni fought her last amateur bout in her home town, Vejle at the first
major international women’s tournament held in Denmark. An impressive
amateur career of 59 wins in 74 bouts had come to an end.
Although she was selected to represent Denmark at the World
Championships in India in November 2006, she choose not to say “thanks,
but no thanks” to DABU for the reasons given in this Article.
Instead she decided to take up the challenge of a professional career,
and joined forces with former European Welterweight Champion (1982) now
successful businessman Hans Henrik Palm.
She had her pro debut on 23rd February, 2007 in a four round fight
against Ksenija Koprek of Croatia, which she won by a comfortable 40-36
on all three scorecards.
Her second test as a pro took place only a month later before the
biggest crowd in her career, when she took on Portuguese Eunice Miranda
on the under card of the Mikkel Kessler vs Librado Andrade unification
fight at Parken, Copenhagen on 24th March, 2007. Vinni Skovgaard was in
control throughout the fight and won another unanimous 40-36 decision.
Name: Vinni Skovgaard
Born: 9th November, 1980
Occupation: Sales Consultant
Weight: 63 kg / 139 lbs
Amateur Record: 59-15-0
Pro Record: 2-0-0
Achievements as Amateur: 2 x European Champion
1 x EU Champion
3 x Scandinavian Champion
4 x Danish Champion
Trainers: Jan Berg & Ivor De Lima
Personal Website: Link
to Gallery from European Championships 2004)