Women shape up for equal rights

The Herald Sun, 15 July, 2008

download a pdf of this essay

Victoria's female boxers are shaping up for a chance to compete at the Olympic Games.

Amateur boxing officials are expecting the International Olympic Committee to allow women to box in the 2012 London Games.

The decision, due next year, will breach the last bastion of male exclusivity in Olympic sports.

Boxing is the only discipline in the summer Games in which women are not represented.

'All the advice I'm getting is that it will be included in London,' Ted Tanner, chairman of Boxing Australia, said.

He said the international standard of female boxers is now very high and hoped the IOC decision would attract more Australian women to the sport from other martial arts and combat sports.

Tanner said the inclusion of women would help improve funding for the sport.

'I think it was old values that held women's boxing back,' he said.

Women have to hold their own national championships this month because this year's Australian titles will be staged in New South Wales, where female boxing is illegal.

NSW boxers will compete at the tournament in Brunswick on July 26 and 27, where participants will vie for the chance to represent Australia at the world amateur titles in Ningbo City, China, in November.

It will be the fifth world championships for women and while Australia has been represented before, only one boxer, South Australian Desi Kontos in 2002, has won a medal.

Victorian team members have been sparring with each other and professional boxer Susie Ramadan, who on Friday night won the national super bantamweight title at Knox Basketball Centre.

Ramadan, who scored a unanimous points decision over Edith Smith, is undefeated in four professional fights.

Among her admirers is Sam Soliman.

'Sam said he has seen plenty of women fight, but none have the got the punches like she has,' Ramadan's trainer Con Brizzi said. 'He said she would be great in America.'

Boxer Candy Revuelta, 24, says she hopes the impending decision about the Olympics will improve the level of women's participation in boxing.

She boxed for a year when she was a junior at 17 and had one fight but stopped because thereweren't any opponents in her flyweight division.

Revuelta resumed in October and has had one fight for one win under trainer Ben Chua. 'After I had a break I realised I had a passion for it and I had always loved it. It's an exciting time for women's boxing. There's no way I would give it up now,' she said.

Hairdresser Michaela Ng, 30, will be fighting in the 67kg division and has her sites firmly set on the Olympics.

'I think if I could go to the Olympics that would be the best thing that ever happened to me. My dream has always been to go but I didn't think it could be a reality,' said Ng, who has a 3-0 record.

Her trainer Sam Visiglio said she had a good chance of success at the national titles and beyond after recently beating an experienced German boxer, the Solimantrained Rebekka Atz.

'She came in as the underdog after only two fights and just impressed us so much with her determination,' Visiglio said. 'It's a great incentive to think that she might be able to represent her country now.'

An estimated 30,000 women from 120 countries box competitively. Last year's world titles in Russia attracted 152 boxers from 28 countries.

Vladimir Klitschko The nationality of world heavyweight boxing champion Vladimir Klitschko is Ukrainian, not Russian as reported yesterday.