At the end of last year I attended an all-female boxing show ‘This Girl Can Box!’ at Tottenham Community Sports Centre, London. The event, in its second year, is a showcase of female amateur boxing with bouts ranging from junior skills to Elite Area Title matches with boxers travelling from across the country.
The event is the brainchild of Terri Kelly from Haringey Police and Community Club who organised the event to create a platform for women and girls to compete. She recognised that women have much less of an opportunity to box due to the comparatively low numbers of competitive female boxers. ‘We needed to link up round the country and help each other develop and we can only do this with the experience of good competition. You need to box to develop your skills’. She also saw this as an opportunity for clubs with a lot of girls to get them on the same show recognising that they would often have to travel long distances to match their female boxers, especially juniors or elites. Kelly’s plan is to grow the event, generate revenue through ticket sales and sponsorship and use this to invite foreign teams in following years, again increasing opportunities for boxers.
The day fostered team spirit and inclusion with boxers stepping into the ring for the first time, moving up into another category or dusting off the cobwebs after inactive spells. In all there were 17 bouts, four of which were Elite, including a Southern Area title belt contest.
Amy Andrews, winner of the Southern Area Title belt said of the event ‘We are very lucky to have opportunities like this where girls can progress in the sport. To box for a title on an all-female show was a huge honour – and lots of fun. There was so much talent on display, I’d like to congratulate everyone involved’.
The show also saw an all-female line up of officials; time keeper, judges, referee and OIC, possibly for the first time here in the UK.
Further celebrating the achievements of women the trophies were presented by role models such as entrepreneur Anna Samuels of ‘The Boxx Method’ and former GB and England representative Lesley Sackey.
However, there was something missing and it was glaringly obvious – there was not a single female coach. The show achieved its aim, to showcase the talent of our female boxers, it even promoted female officials and role models, normalising a woman’s place in sport and business, however the absence of female coaches was concerning. I will explore why this may be the case in another post but in the meantime I will continue to try and raise our profile by sharing my experiences, interviewing inspirational coaches and spreading key messages. As the saying goes ‘it’s hard to be what you can’t see’ so I urge female coaches in any sport to make what you do visible, celebrate your achievements, pass on your skills to any athletes that show potential and encourage their progression into coaching.
Bio: Rachel Bower, is a boxing coach at Earlsfield ABC. A former National Champion and England representative she now coaches Novice to Elite Amateur boxers at club level, the London Female Squad and the Metropolitan Police boxing team. She also holds a position on the England Boxing Coach Education Sub Committee.
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