Equality for Female Boxers in the Olympics

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Boxing Illustrated Magazine,
 April 1976  By Jane Beverly (excerpt)








BARBARA Napier has to be the busiest amateur girl boxer in the middle west -- perhaps anywhere in North America.  The 20-year-old native of Lima, Ohio,  fighting out of Dayton, was on a vacation in 1974 with a girl friend when she spotted an unusual ad in a Tyler, Texas newspaper.

"We saw this ad for girl boxers, so I figured I would give it a try.  I went down to the gym and talked to them," Barbara recalls.  The promoters turned her loose in the gym with a minimum instruction, jumping rope, hitting a punching bag, calisthenics and a variety of other techniques employed by boxers to build up their stamina.  From the first time she put on a pair of boxing gloves, Barbara was hooked.  "They felt really good....like I'd always wore them."   The bouts were four one-minute rounds and the only serious advice the Texas ringman gave her was to "get in there and do the best you can."  Ms. Napier doesn't remember being scared.  "No, I wasn't, not really.  I just knew I had to protect myself and stay away."  Barbara had a perfect debut.  She not only won the decision but was awarded a special trophy for her performance.  The angular young woman (she stands five-foot, six inches and weighs 112 pounds) won two more bouts in Tyler and then invaded Dallas where  distaff boxers were reportedly more plentiful.   Before returning to Dayton, Napier compiled an undefeated string of five wins and one draw. 


Doyle Weaver started the "Missy Junior Gloves" club, in Duncanville,  (Southwest corner of Dallas), in 1973, and it went until 1981, when that City decided they needed the old Military Barracks for their Car Maintenance. He & I talked of re-starting the program in 1985, and he had a reunion of old members, some of them mothers by then, and some even sparred in an old ring, but not much more came of it.  He also was teaching music, and nursing an invalid mother, so time was a gold commodity. He had a large group, and the guest book person who guessed 300, was almost right. Doyle ran anywhere from 100 to 300 at any one time, and most of them had to fight boys from other gyms for the experience.  A lot of male pride went on the canvas. Though Parents of the girls  were receptive, it was hard to convince area people that this was a  viable teaching tool for girls.  

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