who was the
manager/promoter for JoAnn and the other girl boxers in South Bend,
Indiana, we made arrangements for JoAnn to appear on the Steve Allen
Show, which was a prime-time variety-type show along the lines of
the Ed Sullivan Show. She would appear at first in a dress, be
interviewed by Steve, change into her trunks, put on gloves with
Steve to fool around, and then have a very brief sparring session of
less than a minute with Phyllis Kugler, who John Nate sent along for
Fox: I know that
you were and still are a boxer. Did you ever train with JoAnn in the
gym? If yes, what was the best attributes JoAnn had as a boxer?
Bob: No I
never had the pleasure of working out with JoAnn. However I was in
her corner during her last fight and she was an excellent boxer. (Her
last fight was with Phyllis Kugler in December 1956) She
had good offensive and defensive moves, was quick, and had fast
Do you remember anything about her boxing training regime?
Bob: I don’t have any
knowledge about her training routine. She trained at John Nate’s
place in South Bend which had a heavy bag, speed bag, and small ring
downstairs from his bar&grill where all of his girls trained.
How he conducted their training I don’t know. JoAnn would be the
person to talk to if possible.
Fox: Did you know JoAnn when she fought Barbara Buttrick, and gave
Buttrick her one and only loss?
Bob: No I did
not. I only know that the fight took place in Calgary and JoAnn won
an 8-round decision.
was JoAnn treated by other boxers and people because she was boxing?
Bob: As far as I
know she was very much respected and is still respected even today.
One of the girls at our Boxing Club – a very good lightweight
fighter and unbeaten in the Golden Gloves – calls JoAnn
“awesome”. The same kind of reaction was expressed by former pro
boxer Kate Sekules.
Did JoAnn have another profession at anytime, or was it solely
Bob: I can only say
that after she had “retired” from boxing she worked as a baker
in a bakery and was also a cook in a South Bend restaurant. It’s
quite possible that she also did some
of that while she still was actively boxing.
Was JoAnn on any other
Yes. “What’s My Line”.
To your knowledge, did JoAnn
ever fight a male ( I have a photo of her with an inscription saying
she fought a male and beat him), and if so, do you remember when, or
where this would have occurred?
JoAnn never discussed this with me. However if she did
fight a male, and he was in her weight class, I would not be
surprised if she beat him. She was good. In 1957 a Michigan promoter
wanted her to box for him but couldn’t find an opponent, and she
and I discussed a possible exhibition bout between us with 16 oz
gloves, but that never materialized – possibly the promoter
wasn’t interested in her boxing an exhibition, but it would have
had to be that since at the time I was two weight classes heavier
More on JoAnn
TL Fox has been in
contact with JoAnn Hagen's sister-in-Law. Apparently JoAnn is
in fairly poor health at this time....
Hagen's Boxing Trivia:
When JoAnn Hagen was boxing,
they did not have "White" boxing shoes. Hagen took a
pair of ice skates, and took the blades off, and wa...la... Hagen
had a white pair of boxing shoes!
Comments from Barry
I enjoyed reading the interview about Hagan, especially the
references to the Steve Allen show. The show was a scream, and if you're
ever in NYC, stop in to the Museum of Television and Radio where they have
it on tape. Unfortunately, they won't let you record it (or anything at the
museum) since they don't own the copyrights, but if you found out who had the
copyright to the old Steve Allen shows perhaps you could get a video copy of it (Actually, I thought copyrights expired after something like 50 years).
Too bad she's in poor health, it would have been interesting to talk to her,
I'm sure. I'd have loved to have seen her on "What's My Line".
I'm sure no one would have had the nerve to guess that the pretty blond was a boxer-and I'm
sure there were a lot of dropped jaws when she told them.
Maybe her sister-in-law can find out when the "What's My Line" show
aired.Incidentally-she did say on the interview portion of the Steve Allen
show (that was conducted while she changed from her dress to her boxing
trunks on stage, behind a partition!) that she had fought with, and beaten,
MORE ON JOANN
HAGEN, GO HERE