Whenever a woman – any woman — enters a ring, she is fighting for something more than herself. She is fighting to shatter that figurative glass ceiling, the one that long has kept boxers with two X chromosomes from gaining their full and rightful places at the table of their sport.
It remains to be seen whether that barrier has been fully broken through, but recent developments suggest that further resistance to the inevitability of gender equity, or at least a form of it, is futile. And the fighter striking perhaps the most significant blow to date for members of her sex is Cecilia Braekhus, who Friday was named the first recipient of the Christy Martin Female Fighter of the Year Award from the Boxing Writers Association of America.
The Colombia-born, Norway-based Braekhus, 36, who won all three of her bouts in 2017, each of which were world-championship defenses against elite competition, will receive her history-making award from Martin herself at the 93rd annual BWAA Awards Dinner in the spring, the date and time of which have yet to be announced.
“I’m very excited about this,” Braekhus, who has compiled a 32-0 record with nine victories inside the distance since she turned pro in 2007, said upon learning of her selection by a blue-ribbon panel of BWAA members. “This is important to me because it’s part of boxing history, and it’s very important because of the young girls that may think about boxing in their future.
“I think also of all the girls whose names should be on this (award) who went to the gym and trained hard twice a day, only because they loved the sport of boxing. They gave everything and didn’t get anything back – not money, fame or anything. They did it because they loved it and wanted to compete and represent their countries. It’s been a long road for women’s boxing, so it’s great for the BWAA to recognize a female fighter of the year. I’m very proud to be the first, but there are a lot of women that came before me that made this possible.”
The groundwork for wider acceptance of women’s boxing was laid by such pioneers as Jackie…….
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