Can Girls Box? You Bet

What comes to mind when you think of boxing? One image surely is that of two sweaty, grunting, bare-chested men having it out in a boxing ring, oozing aggression and pounding one another with painful punches.

But boxing is not all about bravura and bruises, it is equally a sport that teaches and improves agility, physical strength, sharpness of mind and stamina. And women and girls are taking note.

Boxing for women was banned (!) in the UK until 1996, when the Amateur Boxing Association of England finally admitted publicly that: “women were in no more physical danger than men when entering the boxing arena”. (Truly, Stone Age days…) Since then, female boxing has sprung to life and the sport was admitted for the first time to the 2012 Olympics. There has been no looking back since. Today, there is a long list of impressive, professional female boxers with most of their fights broadcasted by all the key TV networks. Check out amazing young boxers like the American Clarissa Shields (the Simone Biles of boxing), Katie Taylor from Ireland, Savannah Marshall and Terri Harper from the UK, all super stars in their own right.

But away from the professional world, women and girls have started to discover the great benefits of boxing and are taking to the ring in masses. Boxing has exploded in popularity amongst women and is now one of the fastest growing sports globally. Obviously, you don’t have to compete or fight in the arena to be a boxer as boxing-training & sparring are such a brilliant cardio work-out on their own and not much is needed in equipment or space to get started.

TalksforTeens caught up with Faith, a student at Parsons NY, and amateur boxer at the famous Overthrow Boxing Club in New York about what boxing means to her. Watch our video here.

The benefits of boxing are plenty, but most importantly, it allows to literally punch out those lingering stereotypes of young women and girls being fearful and powerless. Boxing instead makes us feel empowered and strong and is a great means of self-defence, because self-defence is not only about being able to punch someone, it’s also the lack of fear and cowering when being challenged.

The London based boxer and model Ramla Ali does exactly that; focus on boxing as self- defense for women. Ramla, who was a force to reckon with on the amateur circuit, became a successful professional boxer in 2020. Being a great athlete and role-model, she is a darling of the female boxing scene and has enviable contracts to boot, a.o with Nike, Pantene and Cartier. But despite all this success and attention, one of her main priorities is the Sisters Club, which she set up to give much needed self-defence boxing classes to women and girls. This is not “boxercise”, she says, but “it is teaching women and girls how to actually box and defend themselves”.

Besides self-defence, though, the most lasting benefits of boxing are the real physical and mental empowerment and strengthening. Boxing has an immense toning effect on the body; working on our core- and lower body strengths as well as building arm muscle and overall coordination Each punch – or avoiding one – requires all our attention, so any thoughts of things on our to-do-lists are out of the window. Boxing is an exercise in being in the present, teaching us to control our minds and emotions, to eliminate the trivial and to truly focus; characteristics that establish resilience in other parts of our lives too.

Want to start boxing? Forget your fear about being beaten up or bruised. Get going, get fighting and get fit. Google who does classes in your area as most gyms today do offer boxing classes and will have the equipment you need to start training. But the real deal are the traditional boxing gyms, which can be great fun and have good communities. And who knows, you might even try a run in the ring and love it.

Lastly, boxing outfits (as well as gloves) can be surprisingly fashionable… So, no excuse then :)

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