The Big Question: What's your assessment of women's boxing?

Boxing Monthly
12/06/2017 6:56am

We canvassed opinion among the Boxing Monthly online team about the current and future state of women's boxing...

As a founding member of the ‘Unofficial Ann Wolfe Fan Club’, it’s no surprise that I’m an ardent supporter of women’s boxing. Ann would spark you and your entire family tree over a spilled milkshake.

Women’s boxing used to be regarded as a novelty act. The days of Christy Martin bowling over a rabbit in the headlights on the undercard of a Don King PPV are thankfully long gone. Fighting heart and a brawler’s mentality have now been eclipsed by technique and natural flair, mismatches replaced with 'Fight of the year' contenders.

The underlying problem with women’s boxing has always been a lack of depth, promotion and genuine rivalries at elite level. The sport is now thriving in Mexico with a solid fan base in Germany and Scandinavia, but the big money markets of the US and UK have remained untapped due to a lack of star quality.

The introduction of women’s boxing in the London 2012 Olympics has changed the game. The emergence of blue chip names like Nicola Adams, Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields and their backing by major promoters should see the women’s game cross over and gradually resonate with a wider audience. It won’t happen overnight but the portents are promising. - Mark Butcher

Whilst women's boxing is pretty prevalent in places like Mexico and Japan, it's still early days in the UK and the US. We should also remember that we've only had two Olympics with female boxing. Whilst the elite ladies are excellent there simply isn't the depth in quality just yet. Rivalries are also lacking and there is a debate to be had about minutes per round and size of gloves. All in all it will take time for these things to be worked out. - Marcus Bellinger

The USA has been behind the curve regarding female boxing, but it seems to be making a surge here, particularly with the Olympic success of Claressa Shields. Fighters like Shields, Heather Hardy, Jennifer Han, Seniesa Estrada and others are building into minor regional draws.

But until the girls start fighting under the same rules as the boys, with three-minute rounds as standard, they will continue to struggle for recognition as 'real boxers' among some fans. A concussive knockout every now and then wouldn't hurt either. - Michael Montero

The growth of women's boxing is one of the most heartening developments in boxing during the past five or six years. As Mark identified, the introduction of female pugilists into the Olympics was the game changer. Hopefully the lure of gold medals and the wide exposure the Olympics provides will ensure that the production line of talent eventually moving into the pro game is maintained and increased, allowing female boxers to earn more exposure - and higher purses.

At present the brilliant Cecilia Braekhus rules the sport and I would love to see her crack the American market in the way she has become a superstar in Norway. She certainly has the skills and the charisma to do so. The future for women's boxing is only going to get brighter - sadly, some people within the sport still need to wake up to this fact, although the number of sceptics is thankfully dwindling. - Luke G. Williams 

The likes of Nicola Adams, Katie Taylor, Cecilia Braekhus and Claressa Shields are all brilliant boxers and are to be applauded for their skills and achievements, as well as for what they are doing for women's boxing and the inspiration they are bringing to girls around the world - however, I'm afraid I am just not a fan of women's boxing.

We have come some way since the early days: Christy Martin gained a cult following 20 years ago as she stood out so far, we had the sexual drooling surrounding Mia St John, the interest in extending the Ali legacy as Laila followed in her father's footsteps, plus the fourth instalment of Ali-Frazier as Jackie followed Smokin' Joe's example and squared off against the family nemesis ... but I still don't have any interest in women's bouts.

I know I'm old fashioned, but I still think Scouts should be for Boys while Guides is for Girls, so it's not just in boxing that I am aware how 'behind the times' I am.

I think female boxers should have all the rights, all the opportunities and all the showcasing they deserve - I just reserve the right to not really follow it. - Colin Harris