Diversity within Women's Ranks
Recently the USAB Women's Task Force discussed the history and current depth of the women's program. We reminisced about past champions, and discussed the potential of current contenders. We discussed the future of our women's national program, and how female boxers through the past 15 years have contributed to a historical legacy to which today's girls and women can aspire. Regularly we strategize about ways to best prepare our boxers for 2012 success.*
Since 1993, the first year that USAB allowed girls and women into its national program, many amateur champions stand out. Dallas Malloy was the teenager who challenged the right of girls and women to compete as amateur boxers, winning that right as a result of her federal lawsuit in 1993. In 1997, the US began to hold annual national championships for girls and women, and compete internationally in women's boxing. And in 2008, 15 years after Malloy won the right to compete, we stand at the gate to official entry into the Olympic Games.
Over these past 15 years, many boxers have made their mark on the history of our amateur sport, domestically and internationally. It would be impossible to note everyone, however here I highlight a few boxers who embody the diversity, talent, tenacity, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence evident throughout the history of women's participation at USA Boxing.
Athletes Serving Athletes
Denise Lutrick was the first female boxer to serve on USA Boxing's Board of Directors. Since then boxers Anna Gutierrez (Carrizales), Krysti Rosario and Angel Bovee have also served USA Boxing membership as athletes on the Board. These four boxers were each also National champions, and chose to give back to their sport by advocating for boxers. Other athletes serve membership on USAB Task Forces and LBC and Regional Boards.
Some former boxers now serve membership as USA Boxing officials, working as timekeepers, clerks, referees, and/or judges for local, regional and national bouts. Nicole Woods, Yvonne Reis, and Krysti Rosario enjoyed successful amateur careers and now use their boxing expertise to help keep our sport safe and enjoyable.
Amateur Success into Professional Glory
There are a number of former amateur boxers who have gone on to parlay their amateur sport experience into professional success:
- Carina Moreno won multiple titles at US Championships, National PAL, and National Golden Gloves, and represented Team USA in many international events, including the inaugural AIBA Women's World Championships in 2001. Ms. Moreno turned professional in 2003, and since that time has amassed an impressive record on her way to multiple World championships in the Jr. Flyweight division.
- Ann-Marie Saccurato was a pure slugger in her amateur days, when she won the National Golden Gloves. Since turning professional in 2000, she has developed into a world-class banger with style. Saccurato is the WBC Lightweight Champion, is ranked #1 in the world, and is a shining example of the benefits of perseverance and focus, from the amateurs to the pros.
- Emily Klinefelter, Bantamweight, just began her professional career this year, planning to build on her reputation as a boxer-slugger. Emily won multiple championships domestically and internationally, and goes down in history as one of the most decorated amateur boxers on Team USA.
- Alicia Ashley won the first-ever Women's US Championships, in the Featherweight division in 1997. Since her pro debut in 1999 Ashley has been willing to take tough fights, winning respect of fighters and promoters, alike. Ms. Ashley is currently ranked #1 in the world in the Bantamweight division.
- Jill Emery, Welterweight, turned professional in 2005 after an impressive amateur career; she was named USA Boxing Female Athlete of the Month on several occasions, and Athlete of the Year in 2004. As a professional, Jill won her IFBA Welterweight World Championship in July on Fox Sports’ "Best Damn Sports Show," and is ranked #1 in her weight class.
A quick look at the world rankings on WBAN (www.wban.org/rankings/rankpage.htm) reveals many who competed with USA Boxing. From club shows to national tournaments many boxers used amateur experience as a stepping stone into their chosen career path, and we applaud the work ethic required to stay competitive on both the amateur and professional levels.
Devonne Canady, Heavyweight, put the US National Team on the map when she won a gold medal at the first-ever Women's World Championships in 2001. An entertainer at heart, Canady had the crowd on its feet and put the world on notice that US competitors have heart and fight, and won't quit until the final bell. Canady’s match was featured on a broadcast on Oxygen network.
Teresa O'Toole, Featherweight, was a true ambassador for the sport, boxing up until amateur retirement age. O'Toole won each of the National Championships, and at every competition kept a positive attitude found only among those who find true joy from competing in the sport.
Decorated boxers who remain amateurs
Boxers continue to box as amateurs for the love of the game, the fierce desire to compete, or for the hope to box in the 2012 Olympic Games. Whatever the reason, the rosters of National tournaments and the roles of the amateur rankings reveal history being made before our very eyes.
Interesting Stories among the Country's best Athletes
The 15-year history of women's amateur boxing at USAB includes participation by a diverse group. We recall national championships contested by a veterinarian, a fitness instructor, a stunt woman, a television producer, an actress, an art director, a pianist, a firefighter, a television news anchor, a journalist, a dancer, a martial arts instructor, a police officer, a school teacher, a mother, and students seeking degrees in high schools, college and universities, medical schools, law schools, and technical schools from across the United States.
This year's amateur champions include a pipe-fitter (Queen Underwood), an environmental scientist (Lisa Kuronya), a singer (Franchon Crews), an athletic trainer (Caroline Barry), a journalist (Rochelle Gilken), a high school student (Alexandria Cardenas), a certified massage therapist (Victoria Perez), a grocery clerk (Katonya Fisher), and many more diverse people from around the US who enjoy the benefits of amateur boxing as they compete against the best.
Get to know the female boxers in our local, regional and national programs. Today's amateur boxers continue the tradition of becoming America's best athletes, and they lay the foundation for US greatness in the upcoming Olympic Games.
* Information on the possibility of 2012 Olympic inclusion can be found at www.LetThemBox.org
** A complete list of all champions of the US National Championships from 1997 - 2008 are available by pdf in the resources section of this website.
Current USAB women's rankings can be found at http://www.usaboxing.org/content/index/2677