LONDON — I’d like to let you know that there was a special feeling inside London’s O2 Enviornment on Saturday night time, however in reality, there wasn’t.
The identical characters swayed alongside the gangways, balancing six beers throughout two trembling arms. The identical queues snaked round corners for overpriced pizza and chips. And the identical rendition of ”oooooooh (insert fighter’s title),” sung to the tune of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Arm,” echoed round North Greenwich like there was a neighborhood council rule stating that not less than somebody contained in the constructing needed to be singing it at anyone level.
And that is the most important praise that would presumably be paid to the 22 ladies who fought on Boxxer’s ”Legacy” card in entrance of a offered out 20,000-strong crowd. For it was simply one other night time of championship boxing.
That doesn’t goal to decrease the importance of a female-only invoice, the first-ever televised in the UK. I spoke with Alycia Baumgardner various instances earlier than her struggle with Mikaela Mayer at this occasion and even she felt conflicted in the necessity to placed on a card void of any male bouts.
“This second will elevate your entire sport by exhibiting how ladies can maintain a whole card collectively and entertain the followers simply in addition to our male counterparts,” Baumgardner defined earlier than edging the previous Olympian in a cut up resolution win.
“With these fights, we’re not simply elevating boxing, however we’re additionally setting the tone for what all ladies’s athletics can and ought to be sooner or later. However in the end, I’m not positive there’s a must separate playing cards and make some extent of distinguishing between males’s or ladies’s fights.”
The comparisons continued post-fight as Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall have been requested for his or her response to the turn-out contained in the O2 Enviornment.
“When folks mentioned ladies’s boxing didn’t have followers, once they mentioned ladies’s boxing didn’t promote out venues, no one would watch it — we acquired watched by hundreds of thousands of individuals right this moment, fought in entrance of 20,000, and we placed on a fantastic struggle,” Shields exclaimed, adopted by Savannah Marshall including, “I’m nonetheless amazed two ladies managed to promote out the O2 Enviornment, as a result of most males don’t even do this!”
Whether or not or not female-only playing cards is the reply for additional progress is but to be seen, however Saturday night time’s occasion must act as a springboard for extra alternatives. The expertise pool must deepen by giving younger women the accessibility to boxing gyms and boxing coaching to allow them to observe within the footsteps of the ladies who at the moment are lastly turning into stars. And if the game is to maintain maintain of the expertise it’s nurturing, then their purses might want to higher replicate their contributions.
The argument for three-minute rounds will even re-surface following the weekend’s fights, and it’s actually one thing that ought to be explored sooner or later, however for now, let’s revel within the path that this quartet of fighters have blazed. The night time that “ladies’s boxing” turned simply “boxing.”