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They made the history

Professional boxers

Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker

Boxing
Photo from the site Touch Gloves

Русская версия


Boxing is perhaps, one of the most "non- feminine" activity which can be imagined. Damp with perspiration, bleeding faces, battered noses, black eyes, brutal punches to belly, chest, jaw, nose, knockdowns, knockouts, groggy states, etc. – such things were always considered as manifestations of ultimate male aggressiveness.

Yes, ancient Spartan women maybe sometimes practiced fistfighting; yes, newspapers in the 18th century wrote about Elizabeth Wilkinson-Stokes and her opponents. However, it was too long ago and nobody could imagine how they fought. Until recently, nobody was really able to imagine a woman on the professional boxing ring fighting for real, in her full capacity like a man, with fury and toughness typical for boxing. Saving their presence, the performances of such female boxers of the past as Annie Hayes, Barbara Buttrick, Joann Hagen, Phyllis Kugler and Jackie Tonawanda were extremely far from the real boxing – they added up to circus spectacles like contemporary professional wrestling.

In fact, a person who has never seen present-day women's pro boxing is unable even imagine it. In the last decade of the 20th century, women happened to appear who forced everyone not just to imagine that but also to take women's boxing seriously. Owing to them, our notion of a female gender has absolutely changed. No doubt, the first of the pro boxing women-pioneers should be named Christy Martin who created a furor on the ring.

Prior Martin burst into the boxing ring, other combative women paved her way to the ring. The most of them were kickboxers. In kickboxing kicks are allowed as well as punches (and even knee strikes in some styles) and strikes are allowed not only above the belt. Kickboxing seems to be even less 'appropriate' for women sport than boxing, however it happened to be more available for women, where they were more able to prove themselves. As kickboxing gained popularity (including shaping and aerobic forms), the image of a woman on the ring became more accustomed; women began realizing that they would be able to fight on the ring for real. Later on, many prominent female kickboxers moved to professional boxing where they would make some money.

Before 1990s, women appeared on the ring sporadically, even though women's boxing had a legal status just in few places. A bout between Darlina Valdez and Holley McDaniel held in October, 1983 can be mentioned, which was the first main event on a card and the longest pro bout by the men's rules at the time - 15 three-minute rounds and eight-ounce gloves. Nonetheless, until 1990s, especially the first widely broadcast bout with Martin, women's boxing was behind the scenes, far beyond the mainstream boxing.

Women's boxing became increasingly popular during 1990s with the superstar Christy Martin (born June 12, 1968), a coalminer's daughter and schoolteacher from America, commanding regular television exposure. Christy Martin (5'4?"/147lbs) was the first who brought new essential features into the women's boxing: fury, ardor, technique, persistence, toughness, harshness (and ruthlessness if you will.) Her boxing strengths include aggressive style, good offensive skills, good punching power, sets up her attack with the jab, punches in combinations, experienced against top opposition. She tirelessly and passionately batters her opponent trying to decidedly trounce her (she ended her fights with 31 knockouts out of 47 wins) - Christy called herself an "action-packed fighter". At the same time, she doesn't look masculine at all – she has a regular female body. Martin attracts spectators and boxing fans by the combination of ruthless fighting style and peculiar femininity.

Christy Martin In 1996 an historic event took place which instantly made women's boxing a prime time show. The match Christy Martin against Deirdre Gogarty was the highlight on the undercard of a men's heavyweight title bout (Mike Tyson vs. Frank Bruno). Everyone agreed in opinion that the female match was much more exciting that the male's one. The battle was seen in an estimated 30 million homes and in over 100 countries.

In 2002 Christy Martin fought with Leila Ali, the daughter of the great boxer of the past, Muhammad Ali. As a matter of fact, they shouldn't have fought because belonged to different weight categories. Both boxers thirsted for the fight. Ali fairly wishe to defeat the smaller opponent and to prove she were a truly great boxer rather than a darling of fortune. Martin desired to defeat the oppeonent because Ali unfairly eclipsed her fame. (It was stated in the media that in order to be admitted to the ring, Martin had a load in her robe pocket during the weigh-in.) Being substantially smaller than her opponent (Ali's parameters: 5'10", 162 lbs), Martin sustained a defeat in the bout.

Being the most prominent and decorated female boxer, Christy Martin however doesn't consider boxing as a regular sport for women: “It’s a man’s world, and I just tried to just fit in. You don’t have to run out there and try and make women’s boxing a separate sport. It’s not advanced enough to stand on its own yet like women’s golf or tennis."

Christy Martin is trained by her husband Jim Martin. Her husband-manager-trainer fought professionally as a light heavyweight in the 1970's and retired with a record of 17-9. He was training only male fighters until one of his friends introduced him to Christy, who was working at the time as a substitute school teacher in Orlando. When he was first approached to train Christy, Jim said, "At first I said 'No'. Then I thought I would let her spar with a couple of my fighters, and she would be run out of the ring. But it didn't work out that way. She held her own, and I was impressed. I changed my mind. Then, one thing led to another. We fell in love and got married."

Christy Martin proves that it is possible for a woman to be a pitiless fighter and to keep being a real woman – even though this union is still not common…

Lucia Rijker While Christy Martin is the most known female boxer, another great fighter, Lucia Rijker, is considered as “The Most Dangerous Woman in the World”. As of February 2007, she was undefeated in the ring; her boxing record is 17-0 (14 KOs), and her kickboxing record is 37-0 (25 KOs), conquering five world titles in the process. She met her only defeat in October 1994 at an exhibition Muay Thai kickboxing match against a male opponent, World Champion Somchai Jaidee of New Zealand. In fact, it was the only real male-female boxing match in which the male opponent didn’t give her a handicap. Lucia courageously stood against the skillful strong man who fought in full strength (she was knocked out in the second round.)

Lucia Rijker and Christy Martin were scheduled to fight on July 30, 2005 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Major U.S. promoter Bob Arum (Top Rank Boxing's head) had made their match the main event of a card (with otherwise male boxing matches) called "Million Dollar Lady". Each woman was guaranteed $250,000 (U.S.), with the winner receiving an extra $750,000. Unfortunately, Rijker would not realize this million-dollar dream. On July 20, 2005, it was announced that she had ruptured an Achilles tendon while training for the fight; recovery time was estimated to be 4-7 months. The match was ultimately cancelled.

August 2008

Exclusive of the Female Single Combat Club


References

Women Boxers: The New Warriors. By Delilah Montoya, Maria Teresa Marquez, C. Ondine Chavoya

Women Kickboxing

Christy Martin

Lucia Rijker


Knockouts delivered by Christy Martin
Videoclips

Kickboxing bout between Lucia Rijker and Somchai Jadee
Videoclip

Martins KO

Martins KO

Rijker-Jadee

Full bout

Rijker-Jadee

Rijker is KOed

Martins KO

Martins KO

Martins KO

Martins KO

Kickboxing


Kickboxing

Kickboxing

Kickboxing

Kickboxing


Boxing


Boxing

Boxing

Boxing

Boxing
Elena Tverdokhleb and Myriam Lamare


Christy Martin


Christy Martin
Christy Martin and Leila Ali


Christy Martin
Christy Martin and Kathy Collins


Christy Martin
Christy Martin and Sonya Donleavy


Christy Martin
Christy Martin and Isra Gigrah


Christy Martin
Christy Martin and Deidre Gogarty


Christy Martin
Christy Martin and Lisa Holewyne

Lucia Rijker


Lucia Rijker


Lucia Rijker
Lucia Rijker and Jane Couch


Lucia Rijker
Lucia Rijker and Andrea DeShong


Lucia Rijker
Lucia Rijker and Marcela Avna


Lucia Rijker
Victory!


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Последнее обновление: 30 августа 2008

Last updated: August 30, 2008


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