Female Boxing on the Rise

by Crystal Varellas

“Always keep your hands up,” said Vicky Zois, now 26, who has been training for amateur boxing for six years. Moving around the ring wearing big shorts, a sweatshirt and leather gloves, Zois said that boxing is a great form of defense and a great way to boost woman’s confidence. She also feels it’s the best way to get into shape and can be mentally and spiritually healthy.

“Boxing for me is the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. I feel like it saved me from a lot of downfalls and its made me a much stronger person than I ever thought that I could become.” Said Zois. Zois lives in Queens and trains in the south Bronx at John’s Gym.

“It’s changed my outlook on life and it’s made me very happy and strong and I feel so good about myself. It’s become a lifestyle, that’s me. It changed me as a person. I was not as confident and I was broken and it’s completely made me the opposite.” Zois said.

Zois is one of a growing number of woman who are turning to the sport of boxing despite its danger and roughness.

While some woman use boxing as a form of exercise to stay in shape, Zois, is a serious boxer and is one of many women excited about the 2012 Olympics. This would be the first time female boxing would be considered an Olympic sport.

Being 10th in the United States, Zois hopes to represent her homeland Greece for the Olympics. ” The Olympics gives an opportunity for woman to shine after all the hard work they put in and show how strong and independent we are and how seriously we take this sport.”

Having a good coach is key to prepare for a fight. “First and foremost, a good coach always protects his fighter,” Zois said.  “They must know their fighters limitations and know what the fighter is capable of.” She believes a good coach turns his fighters weaknesses into strengths.

Training and diet is everything in boxing. It is necessary to run at least five times a week, three miles a day, train hard, and eat right. Zois feels that a fighter should spar three times a week as well as train and make sure to stretch. All fighters agree that an intake of high carbohydrates is vital with the amount of work put in.

Before a fight, woman must overcome anxiety. “It is important to focus and meditate and have your game plan. You have to fight with your heart and always keep your hands up,” Zois said.

Women’s boxing has been a controversial sport for years. This dangerous sport divides opinion more than any other sport. After all the debate, it has made its way into the 2012 Olympics. Christodoulou Papasavvas, amateur boxer and woman’s trainer believes, “I think it’s a big step for boxing and for woman boxers.”

Cathy Brown became the first woman in the UK to win a professional boxing title in 2006. Since Pro Boxing is known to have serious medical risks, it is women’s amateur boxing that is growing quickly. Women have also found that boxing is a great way to simply stay in shape.

Terri Robinson, age 52, boxes for the workout at New York Sports Club in Manhattan. “Its one of the best workouts I’ve ever had, it works your core. It makes you feel so good, it kills you while you’re doing it but after you feel great!”

Terri’s trainer, Rodney Howard King Carter, believes that woman train just as hard as men if not harder. As a former Golden Gloves boxer he has much experience training and fighting in the ring. “It’s a sense of empowerment, helps you release some tension or stress that you may have. It’s a form of therapy”

“I think society makes it a little harder to accept woman as fighters. I think people are afraid of seeing woman bloody. In my experiences, women fight better then most men. Train and untrained, I’ve seen better fights by woman,” Carter said.

“With boxing I am so aware of how I move and it increases my coordination” Robinson said.