I’m filled with anticipation and excitement as I tune in to the fight that marks the pro debuts of Claressa Shields and Franchon Crews. Not just because I’m about to watch what promises to be a solid match, but something more.
There is a tangible feeling that women’s boxing is on the precipice of becoming more mainstream, more accessible, and more acceptable. With Olympian’s like the two-time gold medalist, Claressa Shields, and Ireland’s Katie Taylor making their debuts just days apart, and other’s like Tiara Brown, Victoria Torres, Franchon Crews, and Nicola Adams all poised to make their moves to the professional ring, it feels like the women are finally going to take a place in the spotlight.
There was a small moment in time in 2009, when Christy Martin stepped into the spotlight with a televised fight on Showtime. It was the same era that Laila Ali was making her mark on professional boxing.
Young girls began to consider making boxing their sport. But this wave of excitement was short-lived. More televised women’s fights failed to follow. The spotlight dimmed on women’s boxing once again.
However, even in the darkness, women continued fighting. Women like Heather Hardy, Holly Holm, Cecilia Braekhus, Ada Velez, Seniesa Estrada, and countless others, all over the world, press on, building their careers one fight at a time. Not for the huge purses or the celestial fame that the men garner, but rather for the sheer joy and passion they have for their sport.
Women like these are inspiring young girls and women in the amateur ranks. The number of female boxers is growing. Women are already fighting in the coveted undercard spots of some of the mega-star fights of our time. There are an increasing number of fans, men and women alike, of women’s boxing. In response to this, Showtime Sports announced its dedication to televising female bouts in 2017.
So, as I settle in to watch two of my idols face one another, I cant help but feel that not only am I about to be treated to a great fight, I am also witnessing a new era in boxing. As this new batch of fiercely talented women make their pro debuts, there is an electrified excitement in the air; the feeling that, this time, the women are here to stay in the spotlight.
Originally published by http://www.stingsports.com