Update: Report of Jackie Tonawanda dying on June 9, 2009: Press
New York City, NY, June 9, 2009:
Jackie Tonawanda, known as the “Female Ali” has heard the final bell this
morning. She fought a mighty battle and we will all miss this Pioneer,
Coach, Advisor, Friend, Relative and confidante. Known in the sports world
as one of the pioneers of women’s boxing, she has won many battles in the
ring and in her life and now has come to her final destination.
Bluehouse Publishing/Pamela Blue
Update 08/31/02: WBAN has been
notified that Jackie Tonawanda told persons at the Harlem Exhibition that
took place on August 10, 2002 that her 31 boxing record was from
"Underground" fighting. This in essence has set the record
straight as Tonawanda did not have sanctioned boxing fights and is 0-1-0
according to WBAN at this point.
JACKIE TONAWANDA - "SETTING THE
WBAN is setting the record straight on
Jackie Tonawanda. Tonawanda has had a variety of descriptions of
her boxing record, ranging from 23-0 to 36-1. WBAN will list
Tonawanda as having one fight against Diane Clark that other
boxers said they knew she had fought and lost to. And will list her mixed
match with the male kickboxer by the name of Rodiana that took place
in 1975 at the Madison Square Garden--- until proven otherwise.
Also, Tonawanda was NOT the FIRST woman boxer to obtain a boxing license in
New York. She along with Cathy "Cat" Davis and Lady
Tyger Trimiar, all received their boxing license at the same time. The News
World had a photograph of them all being handed their license at the
same time in 1978.
Clearly there are
THREE women receiving their boxing license at the same time.....
If at ANYTIME, Tonawanda wants to send
in documentation of her 36-1 -- 23-0, record, then WBAN will add those
But through years of extensive research,
dating back to September 1996,
on the history of women's boxing, I have not been able to verify or FIND any
documentation to support Tonawanda's stellar past boxing record.
On June 8, 2001, WBAN put out a plea to the public and Tonawanda to send in
information and this was the information sent in:
June 11, 2001 - Information has
come in that about four years ago, Jackie Tonawanda went to a boxing gym in
Connecticut, and told some boxing folks there that she was going to FIGHT
Vinny Paz. She then asked these boxing folks for about $1,500 - 2,000
for vitamins. Anyone else knowing anymore about this incident or
June 12, 2001 - (Journalist - Carol Ann Weber
reported) "I met Jackie
Tonawanda at the Women's Sports Foundation press conference held the morning before the Awards Banquet last year, Oct. 16. She waited until after the press conference and then began proclaiming who she was. So, I walked over and offered to interview her and provide some publicity for her. After she told me she was the first woman boxer, the pioneer, the female Ali, etc. I asked her questions about her life and her career. She immediately said she couldn't offer me any information because she had a book deal on her life and couldn't tell me any details. At that point, I got up and walked away, as I didn't want to waste any more of my
time," said Weber.
Note from Sue TL Fox: Lastly, I remember distinctly the first
time I had learned about Jackie Tonawanda in 1976. I was training in
Carlos Palomino's gym in Westminster, California, when I found out about
Tonawanda and that she was a light-heavyweight/ heavyweight. I recall
that I thought, how in the world would she find ANYONE to box because
there were like 2-3 women remotely in her weight class. So when I
began researching women's boxing in 1996, I almost fell out of my chair when
I found newspaper articles reporting Tonawanda's extensive boxing record.
Again, I ENCOURAGE Tonawanda to contact WBAN
if she has some names, dates, documentation, newspaper articles with her
actually named as boxing with a particular boxer, promo posters, and/or
photos of her fighting a woman boxer in an event.... Anything....
Update 06/09/09: Tonawanda never did
contact us throughout the years. We received info that she passed away on
June 9, 2009. We feel that our research on Tonawanda is accurate as to
the historical background she had in the sport. Tonawanda, had
one fight we found, where she lost to Diane Clark. We also have
documentation on an exhibition fight with a male kickboxer.
ORIGINAL PLEA FOR HELP
FROM THE PUBLIC
VERONA (JUNE 8, 2001) Last night at the Turning
Stone Casino at the Ali/Frazier event, Jackie Tonawanda made a brief
televised appearance to speak with one of the commentator of the
The commentator introduced Tonawanda as "The" pioneer of women's
boxing. The commentator also said of Tonawanda that her
boxing record was 36-1 (36KO). Tonawanda nodded in
The problem is, and has been is that WBAN has
been unable to substantiate any winning bouts of Tonawanda, except
for two exhibition matches that she had against male boxers. One past
boxer told WBAN that Tonawanda LOST to Diane Clark of New York. There
appears to be some validity to that information,
as in the 1980 rankings, Diane Clark is rated over Tonawanda.
So the Question I have of Tonawanda and/or ANYONE
that would have information to set the record straight: Who
did she fight all those years, in a weight class that had hardly any women
boxers, especially in the light-heavyweight division? WBAN would like to get
some "names of opponent's" and "dates" of these
Case in Point: References are listed as
September 26, 1976- New York Times
Title: "The Female Muhammad Ali Meets Idol
by Margaret Roach
Excerpt: Miss Tonawanda, who has won 31 bouts, 13 by knockouts, has
received substantial publicity since she filed a suit against the New York
State Athletic Commission seeking a license to box in New York. Miss
Tonawanda, managed by Alex Karras, says she has been offered the chance to
fight Mike Quarry "in the Astrodome in Texas, four months from now,
in a 10-round bout. After that, I'll really be in demand," she
said. Like Ali, Miss Tonawanda makes predictions about the
outcome of her bouts. About the proposed Quarry matchup: "He
won't be able to touch me. I have a lot of confidence in myself.
But there will be no knockouts, either. He's a good
fighter." "I want to settle down soon and have
children." she said. "I am 28, and I have to think about
starting a family soon." And her fiancée's plans seem to be right
in line with Miss Tonawanda's "After the Quarry fight," he said,
"I want her to retire."
May, 1976 - For the Cause of Women's Boxing - Boxing Illustrated - by
Excerpt: "The only fights she (Tonawanda) has been
able to get to date have been mostly exhibition matches
in other states, plus a few pro fights where the licensing of
fighters is not as strict as it is in New York."
Dec. 25, 1974 - Woman Boxer (23-0) is Suing for a
License, Won't Fight Men, New York Times
Excerpt: "I've been fighting for 12 years, only against
women," said the 5-foot-9-inch, 175-pounder, "I've had 23
fights and won them all-three by
*Note: The VERY FIRST WOMAN to be licensed in the
United States to fight SANCTIONED boxing matches was Caroline
Svendsen. IN 1975....
Yet, Tonawanda was saying she had 23 fights in 1974,
and WBAN has not found ONE news report of any of these fights.
Now if she is referring to these 23 fights as
exhibitions, then every past woman boxer, including myself would have
a massive boxing record!
So as it stands now WBAN has these many variations of Tonawanda's
record and would like to ask Tonawanda to contact WBAN, or ask for the
public's help in "Setting the Record Straight".
Variations of Tonawanda's record from News report to report:
Variation: 36-1 (36KO)
Variation: 23-0 (3KO)
Variation: 31-0 (13 KO)
Variation: Few Pro Fights